Cultures - Histories and Futures addresses globalisation’s impact beyond political power structures, considering emerging phenomena around identity, distinction, coalescence, projection or transformation, as well as new experiences of difference and belonging. Their redefinition means that the cultural coordinates of the present also give way to new perspectives on histories, genealogies, traditions, and visions of the future. On the one hand, this theme’s goal is to raise awareness around the ambiguities, uncertainties or paradoxes of a post-globalised world in terms of cultural and historical differences. On the other hand, art is understood as a critical practice that reflects on the experience of social change through the lens of aesthetics. Essentially, the theme’s activities aim at enhancing transcultural sensitivity.

So far, Cultures - Histories and Futures organises an international semester programme, two summer schools and a curatorial workshop:

Taking place in Zurich and Hong Kong, the semester programme Transcultural Collaboration is organised by seven art universities. Guided by annually changing transcultural topics, such as tradition, identity, genealogy of the present, values, ethics, different ways of life, globalisation processes in general and between Europe and East Asia in particular, participants come together from a wide range of backgrounds to engage in artistic dialogue across disciplines and cultures. Learn more about the program here.

The summer schools Improvise! is designed as a five-day immersion into spontaneous and collective sound making. The programme considers improvisation to be a quintessential, existential experience at the core of music making and being human.

The summer school Fabrication of Relics engages in creating readymades with a focus on historical contexts assuming that today, when relics, crafts or art works are renewed for creative purpose, their meaning and importance only manifests when we are able to contextualise them with reference to our cultures and histories.

The five-day workshop Curating on the Move is a practice-based questioning of the challenges that contemporary curators are faced with in globalised settings. It is based on the assumption that in globalised culture, a strong knowledge of artists and creative practitioners working in diverse geographical, cultural and political contexts is crucial.