2. Sustainability
  3. Engagement
  4. Culture

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When we at Volkswagen support culture and the arts today, then we are taking responsibility for tomorrow.

Volkswagen Cultural Engagement

Because the future is being shaped when creativity unfolds. As a global and socially responsible company, we translate this belief into numerous projects which we strengthen in the frame of long-term partnerships and sustainable collaborations with artists, cultural visionaries and internationally leading institutions. With our help, an even larger audience gets in touch with creative works and ideas. And we firmly support cultural education programmes enabling people to understand the power of art and inspiring them to act creatively.

Volkswagen and Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin: culture for all

Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin
© BBR / Thomas Bruns / Ludwig Mies van der Rohe / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021

Furthering the partnership with the globally renowned museum institution in Berlin which was established in 2012, Volkswagen deepens the cultural engagement with an extension of the multi-awarded Volkswagen ART4ALL program. Made possible by Volkswagen and as a new addition to the program, every month visitors benefit from one day of free entrance to the reopened Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin. The same opportunity will be made available at Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin. An inclusive access to cultural experiences is a key objective of the partnership.

On the occasion of the internationally anticipated reopening of the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin on August 22, Volkswagen and Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin announced a two-year extension of their long-lasting partnership.

Link to video (YouTube) >

Kultursymposium Weimar: Volkswagen actively involved in generational discussions at Kultursymposium Weimar hosted by Goethe-Institut

As a long-standing partner, Volkswagen is also supporting the Goethe-Institute’s international Kultursymposium Weimar with content. With the theme “Generations”, the international panel discussions was held digitally for the first time on 16th and 17th June and was available to all interested parties around the world. Volkswagen sustainability expert Tobias Reuss talked about climate change and solidarity among generations: www.goethe.de/kultursymposium.

For the third time, the Goethe-Institute brought together leading personalities and innovative ideas from around the world to discuss the pressing issues of our society. Voices from culture, science, politics and economics were debating generational issues in many areas of life in the digital edition.

Such as on the “Temperature Rising” panel, where Tobias Reuss, head of the sustainability strategy at the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand, met Indian climate scientist Navroz K. Dubash and Chlöe Swarbrick, a young Member of Parliament from the Green Party, from Auckland, New Zealand.

Volkswagen and its sites

Volkswagen takes its social responsibility seriously and supports cultural diversity in numerous projects, particularly at its company sites. The support all follows our aspiration to make culture accessible to as many people as possible and at the same time to strengthen our cultural partners in their work. At art associations, museums or festivals, Volkswagen sides with innovative culture projects that invite visitors to new experiences. One example is Volkswagen Art4ALL, a monthly offering in the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg. On the last Wednesday of every month, Volkswagen allows free entry into the exhibitions and also offers guides, workshops and a special artistic program on a monthly basis.  

Katharina Grosse. It Wasn’t Us

“Katharina Grosse. It Wasn’t Us“, View installation Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin, 2020
Courtesy KÖNIG GALERIE, Berlin, London, Tokyo / Gagosian / Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder, Wien © Katharina Grosse / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020 / Foto: Jens Ziehe

Volkswagen and Nationalgalerie have been working together since 2012 and in this time have initiated and realised numerous joint projects. One of it, the exhibition by Katharina Grosse which was to be seen from June through January 2021  at Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin. With her work “It Wasn ́t Us” the artist has transformed the spaces of the museum as well as the exterior area behind the historic building with colors, shapes and virtuosic painting. So that all familiar perspectives shifted for the viewers. The artist created a luminous painting on a multitude of surfaces, enabling visitors to move about like explorers on a voyage of discovery.

Karajan Music Tech Conference: Overcoming the Corona Crisis with creativity and innovation

Matthias Röder at the Karajan Music Tech Conference 2019

The Karajan Music Tech Conference is a cross-industry networking building an interface between music and the latest technology. It usually takes place one day before the opening of the Salzburg Easter Festival. The conference was initiated by Matthias Röder, Managing Director of the Eliette and Herbert von Karajan Institute. For four years, Volkswagen, Matthias Röder and his team have been collaborating to bring together thought leaders from culture, music, architecture, design, science, technology and business, to create new ideas for the future and to drive interdisciplinarity collaboration. In 2020, a Volkswagen Group representative was present again: Peter Wouda, Design Director of Volkswagen Group Innovation, took part in an digital interdisciplinary panel on ecology, mobility and urbanity and discuss with experts from business, art and architecture how cultural and other institutions will manage after the Corona crisis.

Free access to virtual conference stages

On April 3rd, 2020 it was that time of the year again - but this year virtually. When the exit restrictions were tightened and events were cancelled, Röder pulled out all the stops to take the conference completely online and provide free access for everyone. Using the web conferencing tool Zoom, participants can switch between different virtual stages, actively participate in discussions and network via the web-based instant messaging service Slack.  

An e-tractor for Africa at the Guggenheim in New York

Die e-mobility project has been developed by Volkswagen Group Innovation and Volkswagen Group South Africa
Photo Credit: Philipp Gladsome

With sustainable e-mobility, Volkswagen is taking a new path to drive social progress in Africa. A special exhibit was part of an exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

In many rural regions of Africa, harvest productivity is limited because farmers hardly use any machinery. However, this is not necessarily due to the availability of technical equipment, but to access to fuels. But what there is enough of in these regions is sun. The idea of the electric tractor includes decentralized solar panels that can charge the batteries of the tractor but also of other vehicles or machines and at the same time act as antennas for mobile internet or as shade providers. “The idea is about much more than mobility. It is a sharing and community concept,” says Peter Wouda, Design Director of the Volkswagen Group Innovation Center who is part of the development team.

The project study was on display at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York as part of the Countryside, The Future exhibition in 2020/21. Created and curated by Rem Koolhaas and AMO’s director Samir Bantal in partnership with international universities and scientists, the unique non-art exposition addresses urgent environmental, political and socioeconomic issues and allows visitors to understand the radical transformations taking place outside urban areas and the requiring new responses. Volkswagen was the only cooperation partner to contribute an exhibit to the display.

To the home of the American automobile with re:publica

Volkswagen Expert Panel „New Mobility“ (from left) Jamie D. Junior (COO at Warrior on Wheels for Metro Detroit), Falk Bothe (Volkswagen AG), Diana Nucera (Detroit based artist, educator, and mother of the ‘Tech Zine’ genre), Mark de la Vergne (Chief of Mobility Innovation at City of Detroit), Tina Unterländer (Director Innovation at VW Credit, Inc) und Moderatorin Jessica Robinson (#rpDetroit-Co-Kuratorin)
Photo Credit: Philipp Gladsome

Creating Access to mobility, arts, and culture in Detroit and beyond.

“Deutschlandjahr USA” was a collaborative campaign of the Federal Foreign Office and the Goethe-Institute with support ‎from the BDI. As one of Deutschlandjahr USA’s milestone projects – and Germany’s biggest digital conference – the Sequencer Tour by re:publica offered a platform for discussions and exchanges through a series of innovative event formats. Stopping its tour in Detroit, Volkswagen joined as re:publica’s partner to bring German projects to the US and to inspire and create new ideas.
“Access” was the allover motto for the two-day event with a huge variety of panels, workshops, and performances by artists from Detroit, representatives of the city, mobility experts and many more thought-leaders of various fields from the US and Europe. Volkswagen presented the collaboration with Ricardo Simian, who with the support of Volkswagen experts is building ancient 3D printed instruments. Falk Bothe from Volkswagen AG and Tina Unterländer from VW Credit joined the panel, new mobility, as an option for equity and access.
Additionally, Volkswagen invited to the #EarlyAccess roundtable to kick off each conference day with a thought-leader discussion joined by Matthias Röder from the Karajan Institute, Detroit-based artist Tiff Massey, musician Bryce Detroit, Jessica Robinson from Michigan Mobility Insitute, Janine Koch from re:publica, Ricardo Simian from 3D Music Instruments, Falk Bothe from Volkswagen AG, Tina Unterländer from VW Credit and many more. The many different perspectives inspired a vivid discussion on mobility, culture, and social impact.

VOLKSWAGEN ART 4 ALL: free access to Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin

Since 2018, the Berlin-based museum Hamburger Bahnhof has offered free entry to the public on every first Thursday of the month between 4 and 8 pm, welcoming them to view one the world’s most important collections of contemporary art. Enabled by the support of Volkswagen, this invitation allows guests to engage with the museum’s exhibitions. Additionally, there was an interdisciplinary programme comprised of lectures, artist talks, performances and multi-lingual tours.

Culture is a fundamental part of any vibrant society. It drives individual creativity and curiosity and offers new perspectives. That is why Volkswagen is committed to providing as many people as possible with access to the arts and culture and foster social engagement by contributing to cultural education. In November of 2018 this engagement was honored with the Corporate Art Award as part of the “Art Patrons of the XXI. Century” programme. The award presentation was held at The European Parliament in Brussels as part of its “European Year of Cultural Heritage”.

Cooperations with Nationalgalerie

Klassik picknickt – a midnight summer dream in Dresden

View on the stage

Staatskapelle Dresden live and open-air: For the 12th time in a row one of the leading orchestras in the world, together with Volkswagen, held the open-air concert “Klassik picknickt”, which has become one of the highlights of the cultural summer in Dresden. Last year the Staatskapelle, led by Manfred Honeck from Austria, presented musical specialties from Vienna. Waltz, Mazurka and Csárdás by Johann Strauß Sohn, Otto Nicolai and Franz Strauß: The excellent acoustics at the open-air theatre in the garden of Junge Garde in Dresden, the unique ambience of being surrounded by nature and the one-of-a-kind classical music made the evening a very unique experience for all 1500 guests.

Kultursymposium Weimar – Goethe-Institut

The motto: “Recalculating the route”

For the second time, Volkswagen was supporting the Weimar Cultural Symposium of the Goethe-Institut, which was attended by more than 300 participants from all over the world. Intellectuals, artists, scientists and decision-makers were debating major upheavals of our time in many areas of society. Volkswagen was actively contributing to this debate and so emphasizing how the company invests in creating a livable future.

Prominent thinkers from 70 countries gathered in Weimar to reflect on pressing questions of our day and age together with the audience under the guiding theme ‘Recalculating the Route’.

Hiltrud D. Werner, member of the Volkswagen Group Board of Management responsible for Integrity and Legal Affairs, joined international participants in the panel discussion ‘Gender & Tech – New ideas for a more diverse future’ and described successful measures for the advancement of women within the company.

Deutschlandfunk Kultur, the symposium’s media partner, discussed with Volkswagen’s futurologist Wolfgang Müller-Pietralla his position and analysed on the subject of “Tech euphoria vs. anxiety about the future: What factors determine whether we see things as opportunities or risks?” in a live broadcast.

Link to the website: Recalculating the route

Online Education at MoMA

Depositphotos/ racorn

Experiencing and understanding art is no longer a question of the location. This visionary objective is turned into reality through MoMA’s innovative online course programme. As a pioneer among international museums, MoMA makes its resources available for art lovers from all areas in the world. The courses also propose new approaches how to integrate art into educational activities with children and teenagers. With help of Volkswagen Group of America, the range of online courses has been significantly expanded since 2011 and complemented by a series of free courses. During this time, over 300,000 people worldwide have taken advantage of the online education programme. Additionally, the Volkswagen Group of America has enabled the production of an online course in Mandarin, providing Chinese-speaking users with easier access to the educational programme.

MoMA Partnership (more information)

VW Sunday Session MoMA PS 1

Performance: ATM Presents DEN$E, performers name: Bubblesz
Photograph: Aliza Sena

In search of new discoveries. VW Sunday Sessions at MoMA PS1 offer forward-thinking opportunities to discover art directly and in new contexts. In these annual events which have been taking place between October and April for five years, creative pioneers present a diverse range of art forms and encourage their audience to engage in direct dialogue about artistic and social topics. Volkswagen Group of America has been a dedicated partner of the VW Sunday Sessions since the programme was launched. Through the multifunctional 'VW Dome' in the courtyard of MoMA PS1, also made possible by the company, the museum could extend its event space and consequently its ground-breaking programme for different age groups.

MoMA Partnership (more information)

Exploring award winning art

View of the Exhibition

In September 2019, US-based conceptual artist Barbara Kruger received the Goslar Kaiserring, one of the most important international awards for contemporary and modern art. The German city of Goslar honoured her ongoing creative proclamation of social challenges which is also being reflected in the award winner exhibition. Representing the annual highlight at the Mönchehaus Museum in Goslar and supported by Volkswagen for the fifth time, this year’s show features Kruger’s work from the 1990s until today and will be open until January 2020. Visitors are invited to explore Kruger’s signature collages combining striking images and thoughtful text elements to address political and social subjects. Her art draws attention to various facets of stereotypes, prejudices and inequity and in her exhibitions the artist raises questions and encourages people to seek answers. Volkswagen’s partnership with the Mönchehaus Museum Goslar is a significant element of the corporate commitment to promote culture and the arts making the company an important driver for strengthening cultural diversity around Volkswagen production facilities.

The Politics of Design

Victor Papanek

Giving form to effect change. This is what was driving the work of Victor Papanek, one of the most influential designers and thinkers of the modern age. In a first museum retrospective, Vitra Design Museum presented a comprehensive overview of the innovative concepts and designs of Papanek. As partner of the exhibition project, Volkswagens deepend the collaboration with the institution after Volkswagen invited the Vitra Design Museum in 2017 to contribute to the “Driven by German Design” exhibition in Doha. The retrospective provided insights to Papanek’s socially and ecologically motivated design principles, which were considered revolutionary, but which are more relevant now than ever. When in today’s design practices the perspective shifts from the product to the people, this evolution is also based on principles like “Do it yourself”, “Co-creation” and “Life cycle design” all inspired by “Design for the Real World” which was written by Victor Papanek in 1971 and is now available in 23 languages as one of the world’s most widely read design books. This significant work and a number of further references drawn from his estate are being shown in the exhibition illustrating Papanek’s body of work and his influence. Curated by Amelie Klein and Alison J. Clarke, the exhibition also included a collection of works by contemporary designers who drew inspiration from Papanek’s positions and his philosophy: creativity means responsibility.  

"Art x Tech" Symposium in Beijing

Music meets the future. As founder and host of the "Art x Tech" Symposium in Beijing, in September 2018, Volkswagen Group China is initiated an innovative exchange between art, science and technology. Representatives from the Eliette & Herbert von Karajan Institute and researchers from the Future Center of Volkswagen Group China invited musicians such as the world-famous violinist Daniel Hope and digital experts to discuss how the perception of art and culture are impacted by the growing digitization of all aspects of living and what role artificial intelligence will play in the development of new art forms. Real-life scenarios illustrating how music and autonomous driving could be combined in future vehicles will also be presented. These concepts are the result of the first workshop with musicians and technology experts, initiated by Volkswagen, which took place in Berlin, in spring 2018. The symposium in Beijing ties in with the workshop and will continue the conversation, but also drawing on Asian aspects. Furthermore, the symposium will lead to the debut of the renowned classical music series "Yellow Lounge", featuring six events across Asia for the first time. Connecting club culture, classical music and electronic music with each other, the "Yellow Lounge" series founded by Deutsche Grammophon has generated a new experience of classical music in various places across the world. These next concerts that are supported through Volkswagen will now give the Asian audience a chance at a new way of listening.

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