the emancipatory
potential of
cultural practice

TEH Meeting 81
WUK, Vienna

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It’s (about) politics

Performing the emancipatory potential of cultural practice

The conference It’s (about) politics. Performing the emancipatory potential of cultural practice is an in-depth exploration of what it means for cultural organisations to be political. The conference is an open invitation to debate and reflect upon the importance of art and culture in a political present characterised by the dynamics of inequality. In four thematic routes – including more than 30 workshops, hands-on sessions, and exchanges of experiences – the conference will address a variety of issues, from contemporary political theory to practice-oriented inputs, along with different approaches to networking and building alliances.


Key note speeches

Three Key Note Speeches will present historically developed and contemporary approaches of cultural work to politics.


Route 1: Scenarios of democracy

This route introduces strategies, theories, and practices of political action in several modules. “Scenarios of democracy” investigates formations and spaces of resistance and interference.


Route 3: Know your enemies

In “Know your enemies” we will debate the economic background of the present-day situation. What are the effects of twenty-first-century capitalism? What arguments are there to counter the current austerity policies? How can we act out of a situation of scarcity?


Route 4: Art as a role model

Through various examples of cultural production we will take a closer look at political action by and through art. This route also discusses the possibilities and limits of political cultural production and introduces cases which are pushing the limits.


Route 2: Wake up

In practice-oriented workshops “Wake up” focuses on potentials and resources – of the individual, on the one hand, and of the cultural centres as institutions, on the other. What resources are available to us and how can we use them? How do we already use them? At what point and triggered by which impetus do self-empowerment and political action begin? How can we secure their sustainability?


Conference closing

Keeping up the hot breath …

Building upon the ideas and impulses of the conference, the closing panel discussion will focus on how surmounting the prevailing relations can be further anchored as a central motif of daily cultural work in the future. Because Europe needs democratic change – and thus it also needs the hot breath of active political spaces in art, culture, and media.



All programme details in a compact overview. Have a look!

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