Austria's Foreign Ministry Launches International Initiatives on the Topic of "Culture of the Future"

Lifestyle & TravelCulture ♦ Published: September 7, 2022; 17:08 ♦ (Vindobona)

The 2022 Foreign Culture Conference on the theme of "Future Culture" was held in the Expedithalle of the Ankerbrot Factory in Vienna. It is primarily about eco-social, digital and ethical challenges and how these can be creatively solved with the help of art.

Austria's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg spoke on the topic of "Future Culture" at the Foreign Culture Conference 2022. / Picture: © BMEIA Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äußeres / Gruber / Flickr Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

The 2022 International Cultural Conference has "Future Culture" as its theme, and the conference is to be all about the artistic shaping of the future.

Shaping the future goes far beyond politics, economics and social issues and is also a holistic cultural task, explained the organizers of the conference and the Foreign Ministry of Austria.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Austria underlines the need for artistic visions, creative ideas as well as imaginative collaborations between arts and sciences to address such key challenges as the climate, biodiversity and overall eco-social crisis and to counter the revolution of Artificial Intelligence with Digital Humanism.

The renewal of the values of liberal democracy and the development of sustainable dialogue qualities play a key role. Future culture understood in this sense is a new focus of the foreign culture for which the BMEIA is responsible.

With its worldwide network of cultural forums and embassies, Austrian Culture Abroad is constantly developing new program ideas to increase Austria's visibility and offer Austrian artists and cultural workers international perspectives. The "Year of Literature 2022" or the call for proposals "On the road again" for Austrian visual artists are just two examples of the multifaceted nature of the Foreign Ministry's foreign cultural initiatives.

With a view to the upcoming 50th anniversary of foreign culture in 2023, the recently appointed Special Representative for Foreign Cultural Affairs, Helga Rabl-Stadler, and Christoph Thun-Hohenstein, who will succeed Teresa Indjein as Head of the Section for International Cultural Affairs, presented the initiative "IMAGINE Arts & Ideas" and the first general theme DIGNITY. Thus, foreign cultures will deal even more intensively with eco-social, digital and ethical challenges. The interplay of art and science, projects of climate culture and digital humanism as well as the dialogue with dissidents will form pillars of a future culture. The goal is the vision of new, holistic ethics as the basis of democratic, social and economic renewal.

Humanism and ecology were also the focus of the presentation by French philosopher Corine Pelluchon, who devoted her talk to the significance of these guiding principles for the European Union. Before this, key future issues such as climate and circular culture, artificial intelligence and extended reality were discussed in a public "NachmittagSALON Zukunftskultur" (Afternoon SALON Future Culture). The diverse potentials of artistic disciplines to drive positive change in cooperation with the sciences were also addressed here. The panel discussions were chaired, among others, by Linz professor of robot psychology and artificial intelligence Martina Mara and climate researcher Helga Kromp-Kolb.

The 2022 Foreign Cultural Conference was again certified and held as a "Green Event."

Schallenberg at the Foreign Cultural Conference 2022

Austria's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg spoke on the topic of "Future Culture" at the Foreign Culture Conference 2022 in the Expedithalle of the Ankerbrot Factory in Vienna. According to Schallenberg, art has a special task right now. Schallenberg emphasized that due to "the war, inflation, threatening loss of prosperity, energy crisis, climate crisis and the pandemic, insecurity and fears are being generated", however, art is an "encourager". Schallenberg explained, "Art is a call for freedom. Art is spiritual nourishment. And we need all of that now."

Austria's Foreign Minister Schallenberg emphasized, "The spiritual resilience we need now is unthinkable without art." He said it was important that foreign culture had taken a variety of measures since the outbreak of the war to support art and cultural workers from Ukraine. But art was also being instrumentalized, said Minister Schallenberg. Despite all the indignation, we should never lose our sense of proportion.

Schallenberg explained however that each art must be free and that the "question of whether it is still permissible to play Tchaikovsky or Stravinsky" is the wrong development. Art needs freedom would like to underline the foreign culture conference 2022 and would like to protect due art and its freedom.

BMEIA Federal Ministry for Europe Integration and Foreign Affairs