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    About Kultur Labor Zürich

    Illustration: Joël Roth


    Digitalisation, globalisation, migration and increasing mobility are changing society, and with it cultural production, distribution and reception. Cultural funding from the City of Zurich is aimed at taking account of this fast pace of change and reflecting the realities of a rapidly changing world.

    Against this backdrop, the Cultural Affairs Office has initiated the project «Kultur Labor Zürich» project (originally called «Laboratory for New Forms of Cultural Support») and announced it as part of its 2020–2023 Cultural Strategy. The coronavirus pandemic has heightened the urgency of shaping cultural funding in a future-oriented way.

    The «Kultur Labor Zürich» project allows Kultur Stadt Zürich to take a critical look at its own funding practices and test out new forms of funding for cultural workers by means of pilot schemes. The aim of the project is to gain insights into future-oriented funding of culture. 

    Together with cultural practitioners and experts, representatives of the Cultural Affairs Office are scrutinising the current practice of cultural funding in the City of Zurich by means of a laboratory-like process and testing new forms of cultural funding through pilot schemes. Findings from the pilots are to be incorporated into the next cultural mission statement from 2024 and will enable the City of Zurich to support new forms of art and broader participation with the help of future-oriented cultural funding.

    Development process

    The project is like a laboratory: it is experimental in nature. All of the content is developed through participation and exchange between art and culture professionals, experts and employees of the Cultural Affairs Office and the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK).

    The first step was to take stock of the current practice of cultural funding in the city of Zurich, social megatrends in culture and international examples (best cases) of cultural promotion, with a special focus on the topics of digitalisation and globalisation.

    Based on this, the project committees then developed key fields of action, which the project is to address.

    Based on the priority ranking of the fields of action, pilots were developed remotely (online) for the fields of action, in a process based on a design sprint. The current call for entry for «Creative Tech for Good» focuses on the field of action  «Openness to New Art Forms», while the call for entries planned for summer 2021 focuses on the field of action  «Participation & Diversity». Calls for entries for further pilots are to be announced in 2022.

    The pilot projects will be evaluated throughout, with findings feeding into the ongoing project. 

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