Kulturama: far away, so close

Kulturama: far away, so close

The Goethe-Institut develops the online cultural calendar kulturama.digital for international cultural offers.
By Juliette Müller

Since the pandemic, cultural workers and cultural institutions have faced existential challenges: the access to museums and theaters is restricted, musicians cannot play concerts in public, and many international cultural events have been cancelled. Digital formats currently offer artists and cultural organizations almost the only way to present their work in front of an audience. 

In order to give online cultural offers of artists in times of corona more visibility and greater reach, the Goethe-Institut has launched the digital cultural calendar, kulturama.digital. Cultural creators and cultural institutions of all sectors and worldwide have the opportunity to link their digital offers, such as live streams or on-demand programs, and thus make them accessible to an international audience. 

“In the ongoing corona pandemic, kulturama.digital is expanding the range of artistic digital offers that are made available to a global audience. The culture and creativity that is gathered on this platform amazes me again and again. At the same time, in addition to the artistic aspect, I see the importance of kulturama.digital, above all, in enabling cultural workers to continue working, which is essential for survival,” says Johannes Ebert, Chairman of the Board and Secretary-General of the Goethe-Institut. 

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Kulturama.digital
Internationality and culture from the independent scene

In this way, a diverse and colorful collection of international cultural offers including high and pop culture has emerged over the last few months. Experimental and classic formats are equally welcome. Whether a performance from Egypt, a concert from Namibia, a discussion from Mexico or an Argentine reading, numerous digital formats from all over the world are represented. Digitization makes culture accessible not only from home but also across borders. “Such a platform is important, not just in times of corona. It is a special offer that no one else offers, an offer with worldwide sources and viewers for little independent stories,” says a user from Berlin.

With the help of a global Facebook campaign, numerous cultural offers from over twenty countries have been successfully linked since the website was launched in April 2020. Kulturama.digital relies exclusively on user-generated content that can be uploaded. Most of the visitors are currently from Germany, followed by the USA and Russia. In the meantime, Brazil and other countries also recorded high access numbers. The fact that visitors from different cultures can be found on the platform on a daily basis shows that international cultural exchange is indispensable in times of uncertainty and isolation. 

In the ongoing corona pandemic, kulturama.digital is expanding the range of artistic digital offers that are made available to a global audience
Fundraising in times of corona

In order to provide cultural workers with financial support, kulturama.digital also includes a fundraising concept. As soon as a cultural offer is created in the calendar, there is an option to add links to fundraising platforms. Users decide individually whether and which offers they want to support.  

This text was originally published in Diplomatisches Magazin and republished on our website with permission of the author. 

In addition to this article, we asked author Juliette Müller, programme coordinator of Goethe-Institut in Germany, some questions. 

What are the main learnings from this project?

“Seeing all the different cultural events from all over the world on Kulturama is a great success and experience. The variety of cultural projects across borders can be astonishing. It was a challenge however to market this platform effectively and low budget. But sometimes we would reach over 500 live stream per day, which is a great success. It also shows that transferring cultural projects to digital space is possible.”

What are the most remarkable results?

“I think that giving artists and cultural workers worldwide the possibility to show their work and reach a far greater global audience is definitely a very positive side effect of the whole situation we are in.”

What new content will be added to the platform?

“On December 17 we released a project in our video element about art in times of COVID-19: art works by 32 Ethiopian artists from Addis Ababa, Berlin and Vienna. As part of the Free Art Felega 5 "Disrupt" project, they came together virtually from June to December 2020 under the direction of Yenatfenta Abateand and addressed the subject of Free Art in times dedicated to COVID-19.”