The Academy of the Arts of the World was founded in 2012 by the municipality of Cologne in order to respond to the city’s changing identity, shaped by people of many nationalities and backgrounds. The Academy is both a collective of members and cultural producers, based in different parts of the world, and an institution based in Cologne.
The Academy’s mission, as defined by its members, it is to challenge the monoethnic character of the German cultural landscape and to question cultural hegemonies all over the world. For that, is not enough just to show more artists of non-European origin. As a discussion-oriented institution, the Academy looks at the origins and effects of European dominance, and supports postcolonial narratives in Germany where the colonial past and its implications in the present are not reflected deeply enough. In that, it is one of the pioneering institutions in the country.
This mission is translated to the Academy’s lines of research and event programming. The Academy’s interdisciplinary program is called the PLURIVERSALE, and takes place twice a year for ca. 4 months. The program is designed by the Artistic Director, in collaboration with the Academy’s team and members. The Academy commissions, supports, and presents the production of new works, presenting events in different arts and disciplines – film screenings, exhibitions, concerts, performances, discussions – to the audience of Cologne, both in its own venue for exhibitions and discussions, ACADEMYSPACE, as well as in other venues in town and in collaborations.
In parallel to its seasonal program, the Academy also offers fellowships to artists and intellectuals from its network, and supports artists and researchers in Cologne and region with its Open Call. Though primarily a cultural platform and not an academic institution in the traditional sense, the Academy nevertheless also operates an experimental educational program called the Youth Academy, guest curated by visiting artists.