In November 2015, when these lines were written, Europe was confronted with huge numbers of refugees, which set a major challenge to EU politics. What does this have to do with our course programme, with the field of the visual arts? Artists live in a global (art) world; many have global biographies and travel worldwide in the course of their profession. In cities like Berlin, home to artists from all over the world, this migration is not seen as a “threat”, but as a locational advantage, even if many people active in the art scene, even after spending years in Berlin, still speak no German. There are plenty of arguments to explain why the art world is not comparable with other worlds. Above all, it makes a great difference whether someone is forced to flee from a war zone, or merely chooses to settle in another country. However, if we raise the question – critical in European politics today – of how people from a wide variety of backgrounds can live and work together, then I think the art world is a good example of functioning co-operation between people from diverse regional and cultural contexts.
The topic of transcultural exchange is implicit in the 2016 course programme, since teachers will be working together with students from more than fifty countries. The question is always how art can be defined and negotiated in a global world, and how the diverse historical, economic, social, cultural, ethnic and linguistic backgrounds can be rendered productive. The teachers – all successful in the global art world as artists, critics or curators – can share their experience from Egypt, Argentina, Brazil, France, Ghana, Greece, the United Kingdom, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, Poland, Russia, Spain, the USA and of course Germany and Austria.