Cultural Office of the City of Dortmund

Picture (Licence/photographer/designer): Maxime Horlaville / unsplash

ART.TRANSFER – two funding programmes for artistic and cultural cooperation with the twin towns

In order to consolidate the goals of international cultural exchange with the twin towns achieved so far, and to strive for future development – especially after the pandemic – the Kulturbüro (Cultural Office of the City of Dortmund) is focusing specifically on two funding modules: “ART.TRANSFER – Work Scholarship” and “ART.TRANSFER – Project Funding”.


Picture (Licence/photographer/designer): Joshua Rawson Harris / unsplash

One of the cornerstones of local authority work outside Germany is represented by town twinning relationships: a structure that has grown historically and promotes cultural exchange, international understanding and economic relations between German and international towns and cities. International cultural work beyond formal town twinning associations has been carried out for years, sometimes decades, by the same activists in Dortmund. Attracting young talent is difficult. This was also the result of the recent discussions held as part of the conference format Tag der Städtepartnerschaften der Auslandsgesellschaft e.V.: for a young generation, the peaceful and friendly meeting of different nations in Europe and internationally is the norm. Here, the focus is aimed less at an ideal value than on the pragmatic aspect of international relations – the individual’s own professionalization and occupational networking. This status quo is also reflected in cultural and artistic exchanges: for example, most professional creatives and artists in Dortmund do not yet associate international town twinning with an offer from which they can benefit.

To transfer the town twinning model into the future also means undergoing a change of perspective. It is also necessary here to deal with the expectations of a new generation in terms of internationality, cultural identity and artistic cooperation, as well as individual profile formation.


Picture (Licence/photographer/designer): Joel Filipe / unsplash

International exchange programmes and research trips enable creatives and artists to establish global networks, find inspiration and reflect on new projects. Contemporary artistic processes become visible and perceptible. Joint exchanges across borders make a decisive contribution to the internationalization of our coexistence and make the diversity of artistic approaches visible.

The basis of international cultural exchange has so far been the principle of reciprocity. This meant that not only was the enrichment of the cultural offers in Dortmund in the foreground, but also the presentation of cultural and artistic impulses and achievements of regional cultural institutions, artists and creatives in an international context.

Two funding areas

A modern programme development has taken place within the framework of two modules: the new additional funding area ART.TRANSFER – Work Scholarship, which focusses on individual artists with innovative project plans , will be applied in addition to the already existing funding area ART.TRANSFER – Project Funding as part of twin town activities.

The aim of the newly designed funding area is to identify individual needs and personal development processes, to promote them precisely and to recognize and support open-ended and innovative work. Thus, artistic work without financial pressure and the transfer of knowledge have top priority in the redesign of the overall programme ART.TRANSFER.


City of Dortmund – Cultural OfficeAnnika Schmermbeck