The Department of Cultural Policy was established at the University of Hildesheim in 1998 and forms part of its Cultural Studies faculty, which has been in existence since the early 1980s. In its research and teaching, the department focuses on taking a holistic view of theory and practice, encompassing artistic practice, academic theory, and aspects of cultural policy and mediation of arts and culture.

The idea of cultural policy as social policy (“Gesellschaftspolitik”) has been part of the German discourse since the 1970s. The UNESCO debate on Culture and Development that was also initiated at this time led the Department for Cultural Policy to tackle the role of the artist in society, the relationship between the arts and processes of social transformation, and concepts of arts education.

In 1998 Professor Wolfgang Schneider joined a delegation to the UNESCO Intergovernmental Conference on Cultural Policies on Development in Stockholm, which resulted in its publication "The Power of Culture". His role as President of ASSITEJ International (a theatre association for young audiences), his membership of the German Bundestag's Enquete Commission on "Culture in Germany", and his involvement with the Goethe-Institut all allow Professor Schneider to bring a wide range of issues to the table in the debate on "Culture and Development". 

In parallel, Dr. Daniel Gad has been working in this field since 2004, including on projects at the Goethe-Institut, the ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen), the German Development Service, the Heinrich Böll Foundation and Pan y Arte. In his dissertation, Dr. Gad analyzed the foreign cultural policies of Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway in developing countries and nations that are in the process of transformation.

From 2007, Professor Schneider and Dr. Gad were also involved in the discussions on the implementation of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. Taken together, this all led to the creation of the Hildesheim UNESCO Chair in Cultural Policy for the Arts in Development in 2012.