International Visitors Programme – SYNERGIZE!

The International Visitors Programme of the NRW KULTURsekretariat (North Rhine-Westphalian Office of Culture) in Wuppertal is a networking programme that facilitates connections between professionals in the field of culture according to their ideas, interests and skills. The aim is to nurture lasting partnerships and sustainable exchange.

The programme, supported by funds of the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia has been working since 2009 to link festival organisers, curators, directors of arts institutions, cultural disseminators and arts journalists from all over the world with the artistic scene in North Rhine-Westphalia. It draws on its relationships with regional and national partners including the regional culture ministries, the Goethe-Institut, local culture departments in the towns of North Rhine-Westphalia and the cultural institutions in those towns, as well as with the vibrant independent arts sector.

Guests of the International Visitors Programme are introduced to the cultural scene in North Rhine-Westphalia, with a particular focus on their respective sectors and interests. They are able to develop personal connections to exchange knowledge and experience, share contacts, broaden their networks and explore ideas together. As well as attendance at performances, exhibitions, concerts and other events, the programme includes participation in discussion forums. Through these activities the participants are given an insight into the diversity and quality of the cultural offering in the Rhine, Ruhr and Lippe areas.

The International Visitors Programme of the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia will mark its 10th anniversary in November 2019 with an international conference in Düsseldorf, entitled Synergize! Culture in Democratic Action: The Socio-Political Impact of International Networks and Cultural Relations. The conference aims to highlight the need for and value of international cultural networking in North Rhine-Westphalia and beyond, as well as to provide a form for discussion and critical questioning, using innovative, interactive formats. At this time of crisis for democracies and societies in Europe and beyond, politically contextualised cultural exchange, as well as the exchange of experience, are particularly urgent. The existence and independence of art and culture form part of the essential foundation of democratic practice, without which societal discourse and understanding are impossible.