The house it self is based on membership which is a very active membership in most of the cases. That means, members are really engaged and want to get involved. They rely heavily on the employees and the board–on the existing institutional structures. This might be due to artists being involved in the board or advisory board, where decisions are made. The board as a representation of the membership and tries to stay in touch beyond the membership meetings with the needs and wishes of the members. The members organize and are politically active through meetings were they can talk and exchange ideas on the institution and beyond. Your artistic endeavor will be supported by the artistic director, who probably also invited you, if you get along with them, that’s already half the cake.
They were not choosen by an independent artistic and diverse committee themselves. Not enough, they are themselves in a precarious labour situation on time. So what ever they promised you, be careful, they might have their own struggles with the institution. Although they consider themselves as an international place. Sie ist kein Kunstblase, in der nicht auch aktuelle Themen laufend diskutiert werden Art is considered to have the role of democratizing and to be socially and politically informed. But they like to be challenged in their perspectives. Du hast einen Job angenommen und musst dich wirklich in die Institution eindenken. Sie erwarten eine enge Zusammenarbeit. Organisiere dir eine Assistenz!
In return, they will support you in case you get legal problems due to the content of your work. If you raise issues that don’t sit well with the institution, you can still rely on their support. However, you must be prepared for a strenuous negotiation process. Since we are already talking about the strings attached, the money is public money. You may thing this is a good thing, but there are always desires behind this money. There are certainly topics you should be aware will be critical to talk about, such as: Palestine, BDS and any topics which put the financial supporters in a bad light. They fight creatively any rules and regulations which are limiting to your artistic freedom. The communication culture is mostly intransparent and not always respectful. They do appreciate conflict and dissent. So it might get heated, but they will also be invested in solution finding. They are sensitive to the language, but maybe not in the usage of it.
Their understanding of what diversity might mean is oriented toward true inclusion. There is at least potential. They might appreciate you since the understand diversification as an obligation. They will teach you wrong in your own assumptions concering racism, sexism and homophobia at institutions. You will be surprised! You will meet people with an awareness concerning race topics. There is an awarness concerning class. They do have an awarness in terms of gender. Amazingly there is an procedure for any complaints or bad experience you make within the institution. In the event of sexual abuse, the institution itself will take care of it. You are not protected and must otherwise organize external help. There is no juristic counsel you could deploy and no procedures in the case of a complaint or conflict you may have. If you would need a mediator, this will have to come out of your own pocket. would have been a start to becoming a more inclusive institution. There is not even an intrest to participate. There was no other awareness offering. Their understanding of accessibility is a very generall one. At the end, that doesn’t mean so much. and the accessibility of the place is questionable. If you reach your mental limits, you can mention it to the institution. They are prepared to take this into consideration. You have a great awareness of racist experiences that BIPoC artists have. You will find contacts and support in the institution. If you’re planning to bring other non-german artist as collaborators with you, they might be excluded from understanding the conversation.
The speeches given at the opening you will have to translate, since there won’t be cared for a translation. If their programming is very international, this diversity is probably not reflected in the staff and in the mebership. Don’t get fooled by the optics of their program! In terms of artist fees you won’t have to worry. You probably already know how much it will be.
They do consider the fee proposals of the BBK for example. Better don’t do it! You will get a negotiable contract before starting with your exhibition project. It seems, contrary to a lot of other art institutions, they do recognize the precarious situations most artist are in. The work conditions for employees in the institution seem better then yours. They should have resources for hospitality and your well being. But you never know… You won’t have to deal with press issues yourself. The institution will take care of it, but they will cooperate with you on it. It’s unheard of, but the institution will offer you any help and taking care of wrongly published informations on you and your work. And you also will be involved in the public media outlet on your exhibition. The institution sees itself as an copy-editor will support you with your own text edits and contributions on your exhibition. They are aware that the working conditions of artists are a big problem. There should finally be a trade union for artists. The institution is not reliable in this respect.
They recognize the codependency you have with the institution and might be open to be challenged in their institutional proceedures. The institution is ultimately a place for them to test new forms of collaboration and structures.