Every autumn our performing arts students take a business tour to Berlin. There they meet arts professionals and administrators in order to learn how different business models and marketing strategies are put into practice, as well as to examine the effects of the local economic, social, and political climate on the cultural sector.
To provide context and a deeper level of understanding for the tour, the trip began with a lecture by art historian Anna Moszynska about the history of Berlin and the important events and artistic movements that shaped the city’s cultural scene as we know it today. Also on the first day of the tour students visited the Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts) to view the recently renovated Fashion Gallery, which displays exquisite examples of costumes from the 18th to 20th centuries. Particular attention was paid to the evolution of costume design and the historic details which mark the progression of each period. Following that visit students explored the Museum für Fotografie and discovered the results of differing curatorial approaches to exhibition design. Works displayed by iconic photographer Helmut Newton provided significant contrast to galleries dedicated to contemporary Chinese photography. To close the first day, students and staff dined together at the historic Clarchen’s Balhaus. Traditional German food and high-spirited dancing combined to create an unforgettable evening for all.
The second day of the tour began with a meeting with administrators from the independent multidisciplinary theatre, Sophiensæle, which promotes cultural discourse through a vast mix of artistic genres – from theatre, dance and music, to performance and visual art. Here the students discussed with staff their focus on promotion of young artists and innovative artistic forms of expression, and the unique challenges as well as competitive advantage created by doing so. The tour continued with a visit to the private collection of Karen and Christian Boros, displayed in a renovated World War II bunker. Here a exceptional remnant of history now houses artworks by international artists dating from 1990 to the present. The day was crowned with attending a performance of composer Philip Glass’s musical theatre multimedia work of historic art, Satyagraha, at the Komische Oper.
The penultimate day began at the Hamburger Bahnhof museum which features major figures and movements in art since 1960. Here students became familiar with exemplary works by distinguished artists such as Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, and Cy Twombly. In the afternoon, students had the opportunity to interview musician Manuel Göttsching about the development of electronic music in Berlin as well as the ways in which the city have influenced music produced there. This was followed by a discussion with staff from the Schaubühne theatre about their mission and strategic plan. The highlight of the day was a backstage tour of the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm, home to the Berliner Ensemble theatre company founded by Helene Weigel and Bertolt Brecht. Here students were excited to see firsthand how set design, costumes, props, makeup, and lighting coalesced under the direction of Antú Romero Nunes to bring a riveting production of Camus’s Caligula to the stage.
The final day of the tour, back at the Schaubühne theater, students attended the First Plenary Session of Milo Rau’s General Assembly, where they were invited to discover the correlation between the Western tradition of theatre and it roots in the civic participation and political assembly practices of ancient Greece.
This business tour is a highlight of the Fall semester of the MSc in Arts & Cultural Management where students actively network with professional and learn cultural management hands-on.
Next stop, Bruges and Brussels in March!
Do you want to take part in next year's business tour?