Promoting Diversity

Lecture at the "Transformationen der Theaterlandschaft" symposium

Dr. Özlem Canyürek, Berlin/Hildesheim


Recently, diversity has become a catchword in the entire German cultural landscape. Various stakeholders from the realm of cultural politics lead support programs and concepts to support diversity. The partial study “Förderung von Diversität” investigates the motifs and approaches of several protagonists in cultural politics on the federal, federal state and communal levels that offer up the support of diversity as their objective. In addition, the questions diversity is seen to answer are clarified.

In an effort to provide a comprehensive account of cultural policy approaches to diversity and how the goal of "promoting diversity" is implemented, this partial study analyzes diversity as a dispositive. For this purpose, the study explores forms of the diversity discourse, associated measures as well as the results of these measures. The term “dispositive” is decisive for the understanding of the realization of different discourse results in institutional measures and norms that express power and create a specific framework of diversity. In the analysis of different dimensions of the diversity dispositive, the study determines first which diversity-related concepts are implemented and realized by the examined stakeholders in the field of cultural policy. In the process, the challenges, pitfalls and potentials in perceiving and realizing the diversity discourses are highlighted.

The study comes to the conclusion that a paradigm shift in cultural politics is necessary that considers diversity as a point of departure and cross-sectional topic in all funding decisions. Consequently, a discrimination-critical perspective on diversity must be anchored as an overall goal in cultural policy. Structural measures to development diversity include the introduction of comprehensive diversity guidelines and associated support criteria and the corresponding selection procedures for juries and committees that reflect the diversity criteria. With this purpose in mind, the study offers recommendations for action to support a diversity framework that is based on diversity in the field of performing arts, whereby the emphasis lies on planning, strategies and support measures in cultural politics.