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The Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden in India!

International conference: 'Urban Changes and Culture – Conference of Encounters'
Kolkata, February 8-11, 2012 held as part of the year of events ‘Germany and India 2011-2012: Infinite Opportunities’

The year 2009 marked a key turning point for the world: for the first time more than 50% of the global population lived in towns and cities. This situation, which is only set to increase, requires the development of new ideas and concepts for the urban environment and the cultural institutions operating within it. The Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden are thus adding their weight to the German Federal Foreign Office initiative 'Germany and India 2011-2012: Infinite Opportunities' in holding an innovative and interdisciplinary conference project: 'Urban Changes and Culture – Conference of Encounters'. There are three factors behind this project that are of special interest to museums: interdisciplinarity, social responsibility and interculturalism.

The project, which has received support from the Robert Bosch Stiftung, will see two parallel events take place in Kolkata from February 8 to 11, 2012. The first is a youth congress in which 30 young adults, aged 17 to 19 from India, Germany, England, China and Ghana, have been invited to join in discussions and workshops.

Concurrent to this is a conference that will bring together around 20 internationally acclaimed experts from various scientific and cultural disciplines to discuss from a professional perspective the role of cultural institutions in their shifting urban landscapes. Among the participants are renowned, proven specialists from the cultural and museum sector, as well as architects, urban planners and sociologists. They include: Prof. Neelkanth Chhaya, architect and dean at the Faculty of Architecture at CEPT University, Ahmedabad; Prof. Yudhishthir Raj Isar, cultural analyst and professor of Cultural Policy Studies at the American University of Paris; Prof. Heinz Nagler, architect, urban planner and professor at the faculty of architecture, civil engineering and city planning at Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus; Martin Heller, curator, author and cultural entrepreneur; Prof. Dr. Martin Roth, director of the Victoria & Albert Museum London.

Both halves of the conference tackle the question as to how cultural institutions can shape their urban reality on an international level. The differing situations in Germany and India provide the basis for cross-cultural discussions and form a breeding ground for creative, unconventional ideas. The aim is to join together in devising plans for museums, cultural institutions and independent actors to allow them to face up to the processes of change occurring in cities now and in future and play an active role in shaping them.

The conference will end with a joint podium discussion in which the findings of both events will be presented. This final event also aims to raise the awareness of the themes tackled by the conference among the wider public. The dialogue between youth and experienced professionals promises to spark innovative impulses for new ideas and approaches in tackling urban and cultural changes. 

The final event, open to the public, will take place at 2 p.m. on February 11, 2012 in the garden of the German consulate in Kolkata.

Further details:

Expert conference:
Sophie Grüne,;
Mobile: +91 9836574266, +49 172 3667583 (German, English)

Youth congress:
Felicitas von Mallinckrodt,
Mobile: +91 8420004345, +49 173 9615512 (German, English)

Goethe-Institut Kolkata: 
Sharmistha Sarker, (English, Bengali)

Read the press release as pdf.

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