The Kunstverein in Hamburg reflects the state of current debates within the worlds of art, culture, and society through academic symposia, lectures and panels. Diverse threads of current societal discourse interweave in unique ways in places where art is created, displayed, and discussed. Together with artists, theoreticians and actors from various fields, the lectures and discussions broaden the view of the Kunstverein's program. They are prepared in such a way that its topics are made accessible to a wider audience.
The foundation history of the Kunstverein already shows that it has always been a venue for cultural commitment and debates in Hamburg. In 1817, people recognized that the city lacked a place for exchange on contemporary art, so a group got together spontaneously and founded a society for this purpose. Until today, the members are concerned not only with their own society, but with cultural life in the entire city. The Kunstverein is therefore not only a venue for exhibiting and communicating art, but also a platform for discussions and constructive disputes.
In 2017, Hamburg was influenced by two major cultural events: the long-awaited opening of the Elbphilharmonie and the 200th anniversary of the Kunstverein. This extraordinary constellation promised to attract a lot of attention to cultural activities – both negative and positive. For this reason, the Kunstverein launched the discussion series POSITIONS – On Art and Culture in Hamburg as a platform for lively debates in 2017.In an interdisciplinary and cross-institutional manner, representatives of large venues, small off-spaces, and politics will have a say in responding to the question: “Quo vadis, Hamburg?” The POSITIONS address current cultural problems, issues, and challenges in Hamburg. A special concern of the series is to involve citizens, because we do not want to talk to each other in a cultural ivory tower, but invite the audience to actively participate in the debates.