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Protecting cultural freedom and expression: The Art of Democracy Festival

Our Art of Democracy Festival will take place for the first time in 2024 as part of the Programme Year of the European Capital of Democracy. But perhaps you are wondering: What exactly does art have to do with democracy?

The core aim of The Innovation in Politics Institute is to identify and develop innovations that strengthen democracy in Europe and beyond. Art is intrinsically innovative, creating discourses and allowing people to come together to support an open, just and free society. It is as simple as that.

Artists reflect on what is happening right now, on the issues that move us all. Looking back at the history of art, it’s interesting to see that thanks to their particular attunement to the world around them, artists have sometimes been able to foretell what the future would bring. In doing so, they help people to navigate a very complex world, while also shaping our discourse. And this discourse has the power to  change the way we think – and to influence the course of our Democracy. 

For a long time, we took democracy for granted, at least in Europe. Yet now, we see that it is under attack. 

Whenever democracy is threatened, art and artistic expression are threatened as well – be it by restrictions of possibilities, budget cuts, or by the censorship of freedom of expression, etc. We need to protect art, giving it a place where it can thrive, with open access to spaces and experiences through art for all. With our Festival, we create places for exchange where individual freedom translates into self-determined societies.

This exchange or discourse is a very important phase for us – in the context of art and democracy. Meaningful conversation, perceiving contradictions and discussing meaning and relevance are core requirements for a successful democracy.

Every festival will contain a walk-in art installation that will serve various purposes and characterise a point where art meets society – in equal measure a meeting place, an event, an art venue and a sensory experience. Interventions, performances, community projects, a residency programme, and a project information centre that doubles as an exhibition place will be integral parts of the festival days.

We focus on contemporary fine art that directly involves its audience, while also being  timely, context-sensitive and socially responsible – values which are bound by neither geography nor language.

Dunja Ganser,
Senior Consultant and Cultural Manager

Art of Democracy” is a format developed by The Innovation in Politics Institute.

For more information on the European Capital of Democracy Programme Year, please refer to the ECoD website or contact: Dunja Ganser, Senior Consultant, dg@innovationinpolitics.eu

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