Connecting resources, sharing knowledge

Retrospective of the workshop „Resilience & Relevance“

designed and implemented by Fonds Soziokultur and Dr. Abhay Adhikari (Digital Identities)

What is next for funding organisations? How can we tackle change, diversity, internationalism and inclusion? How can we develop through evaluation and how can we create change through creativity? These questions were raised by Fonds Soziokultur during the revision of the past few years of ongoing crisis and the supportive federal funding called NEUSTART KULTUR.

Workshop in Cologne (12.09.), photos: Nathan Dreessen.

Around 80 bright minds from five different countries working in funding organisations in the cultural sector at local, regional, national and European level discussed these fundamental issues. They met in a one-day workshop called Resilience & Relevance, which took place in Cologne, Stuttgart, Berlin and Leipzig. The Fonds’ journey – from project to process funding after listening to his fundees – exemplified the transformation of funding schemes and new relationships to the needs of cultural practitioners.
Guest speaker Alessandra Cianetti (London), curator and arts project manager, led interactive sessions on how to become more diverse and international. Inez Boogaarts (Rotterdam), cultural scientist and consultant, reinvented what evaluation can (also) be, if we expect it to be useful and even playful for all sides. And Eddy Adams, a UK-based urban policy expert at European level, linked the creative sector to the global crisis and the impact of positive stories and participatory activities.

The in-person workshops were the start of a subsequent online network of funding organisations that attended the workshops. As we all face times of transformation, there is a need to share knowledge and connect resources to address the huge challenges in society and culture.


Part 1: The big disruption: how can we innovate our funding models?
How do we shift from project to process funding? What are other innovative models? In this section we cover good practice case studies.
Part 2: Diversity, Sustainability and Internationalism 
How do we overcome our awkwardness and engage with potentially uncomfortable issues? In this section we cover stakeholder engagement.
Part 3: Measuring Impact 
How do we gather feedback and communicate it to key stakeholders? In this section we cover evaluation strategies and communication.
Where do we go next?
We close the day by discussing practical next steps as well as listening to each other’s experiences of good (and bad practice) to overcome structural roadblocks.

Speaker and facilitator profiles

MECHTHILD EICKHOFF is an expert in cultural engagement and participation as well as the development of experimental formats in cultural practice and funding. Since 2020, she has been Managing Director of the Fonds Soziokultur, one of six federal cultural funds in Germany. Previously, she headed the model institution UZWEI at the Centre for Art and Creativity – Dortmunder U for six years and was responsible, among other things, for the development of collaborative exhibitions and event formats as part of the EU project smARTplaces. Between 2011 and 2013, she headed the Cultural Education Cluster at Stiftung Mercator and worked as the Managing Director of the Bundesverband der Jugendkunstschulen und Kulturpädagogischen Einrichtungen e.V. After studying cultural studies at the University of Hildesheim, she began working as a cultural educator at WerkStadt Witten, a socio-cultural centre in the Ruhr region.

ABHAY ADHIKARI (PhD) is the founder of Digital Identities, a global programme to create new models of engagement and social impact. This programme has been commissioned by organisations such as Google, the Guardian and NESTA. He has run Storytelling Labs in thirteen countries with the private, public and cultural sector. Participants have ranged from BMW and Coca-Cola to museums such as Tate (London), Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam) and Nordiska museet (Stockholm).Abhay also leads the Urban Sustainable Development Lab, which has been named one of UK’s 50 New Radical projects by the Observer newspaper. He currently leads the Careview project to help cities tackle social isolation. This programme has been co-funded by the European Space Agency. Abhay has a research background in biofeedback gaming and has run mindfulness workshops in India, Japan and the UK. Abhay has spoken on digital culture and social impact at events such as Deutsche Welle Global Media Form (Bonn), International Journalism Festival (Perugia) and Battle of Ideas (London).

ALESSANDRA CIANETTI (she/her) is a London-based curator and project manager. Her work explores urgent socio-political issues with a focus on notions and lived experiences of intersectional borders. Over the years, she has conceived, curated, produced, researched, presented talks, written and facilitated workshops about multi-disciplinary and transnational art projects, programmes, and collective organising within the arts sector across the UK, Europe, and internationally. Currently, Alessandra is curator and project manager for the Bagri Foundation, a grant-giving charity which supports the work of multidisciplinary artists from Asia and its diaspora. Alessandra is part of the steering group of Intoart-Artists Direct Change, an equal platform for emerging visual artists with learning disabilities, London, UK and of the Culture and Diversity Advisory Forum of the Lewisham Borough of Culture 2022. She provides mentorship and research supervision for PhD and MA students at Transart Institute for Creative Research and Ca’ Foscari University, Venice, Italy.

EDDY ADAMS is an urban policy expert, process designer and facilitator with a particular interest in participative learning methods. Eddy has a Programme Expert role for URBACT, the EU’s peer learning programme for cities, based in Paris. One of his key roles here has been leading on the design and implementation of the URBACT Summer University, a three-day immersive experience for 500+ urban practitioners.
Eddy also has a European Urban Initiative expert role for the city of Milan, and previously the city of Rotterdam. He has also worked closely with Manchester, Glasgow, Madrid, Torino, Berlin and Umeå. He recently co-moderated the Cities Forum, the EU’s biannual state of the city event and is leading on the peer review process developed by the Commission’s Joint Research Centre, focused on sustainable urban development.
Eddy is a trustee of the Young Foundation and an Adviser to the Social Innovation Exchange.

INEZ BOOGAARTS works as a freelance consultant, interim manager and researcher in arts & culture in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. This includes Fonds Soziokultur, IDEA (Brussels), Kunstmuseum Bochum. In addition to a degree in Social Geography, she has international experience in the areas of cultural policy consulting, cultural management, international cultural cooperation, cultural diversity, strategy development and transformation processes. She was a.o. Director of the Poetry International Festival, Rotterdam (2019 to 2021), Managing Director of the Zukunftsakademie NRW (Bochum), 2016 to 2019; Director of Rotterdam Council for Art and Culture (2012-2015) and Head of the press and culture department of the Consulate General of the Netherlands in Düsseldorf (2006-2011). She serves on juries and supervisory boards. Born and based in Rotterdam, NL.


S27 – Kunst und Bildung (Verein zur Förderung der Interkulturellen Jugendarbeit e.V.)
Schlesische Str. 27 b
10997 Berlin

Filmhaus Köln
Maybachstrasse 111
50670 Köln


Kulturzentrum Merlin 
Augustenstraße 72 
70178 Stuttgart

Leipziger Baumwollspinnerei
Spinnereistraße 7
04179 Leipzig

Funded by The Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media – Neustart Kultur.