Conference Welcoming notes

Welcoming note of the Saxon Minster of the Arts Dr. Eva-Maria-Stange

Participating in the processes of a society and having the feeling of self-efficacy are important, basic pillars of democracy, and this is never more obvious than on the local level of our cities and neighborhoods. For Zentralwerk, art and culture as mediators between different living environments, as a force capable of overcoming boundaries, lie at the very heart of all endeavors. To put the focus on participation through art on the eve of the European Parliamentary Elections while taking up a transnational stance is a welcome initiative to promote a European spirit. As minister of the Arts of a federal state that sees itself more than ever as a region of culture in the heart of Europe, I gladly agreed to be the patron of the TEH conference #87. Of course, I am well aware of the fact that the “zentral” in Zentralwerk, located in Dresden’s district Pieschen, does not stand for any kind of cultural centralism within the European network “Trans Europe Halls”, but invites participants with a note of playful irony to exchange views, to analyze and discuss. Here, in the eastern part of Germany, it has become good practice to apply the terminology of the historical planned economy and the cultural and industrial heritage in a tongue-in-cheek manner. The creative potential of Zentralwerk already manifests itself in the use of language. The organizers are not “lost in translation” – on the contrary. They carved the little word ART out of “participation”, demonstrating that the former factory at the railway track linking Dresden and Leipzig has turned into a new home for keen artistic minds. Zentralwerk may be bulky when it comes to its buildings and complex when it comes to its history, but it has grown to be a creative free space that is just perfect to discuss artistic strategies, methods and ways of working on a European scale. I am sure that the days in May will be inspiring to both the people of Zentralwerk and their guests from all over Europe.

Welcoming note by Dirk Hilbert, Mayor of the City of Dresden

Dear conference participants,

Participation is an important keyword when it comes to shaping the future of society. Especially where the goal is respectful, diverse and future-oriented co-existence, the active participation of our citizens, of civil society as a whole, is of particular significance. Art and culture are outstanding means by which to involve people in social processes. The strategies, methods and projects which can be pursued to achieve this are central topics of your conference. I was thus more than pleased to take on patronage for the conference with its focus on pARTicipation.

Against the background of the current European elections, in particular, participation and social engagement acquire even greater importance. After all, lively democracy is dependent on active citizens who are prepared to become involved in political decision processes and social debates. Exchanges and networking with fellow citizens from other European countries can only be to everyone’s advantage.

The city office which is coordinating Dresden’s application for the title “European Capital of Culture 2025” is co-organiser of the Trans Europe Halles conference. The Capital of Culture application also places the possibilities for art and culture to promote participation in the foreground. The motto “Neue Heimat – New Home. Dresden 2025” is an invitation to all the people of Dresden to shape our “new home”, to bring it to life, and to develop a new sense of cohesion in our city. 

I hope your conference will be a resounding success, with stimulating impressions and insights, and equally intensive and fruitful exchanges!

Dirk Hilbert
Mayor of the City of Dresden

Grußwort des Oberbürgermeisters Dirk Hilbert