Krisengefüge der Künste



English Information

Short introduction

The locally distributed DFG Research Group Configurations of Crisis [DFG-Forschungsgruppe Krisengefüge der Künste] (FOR 2734) investigates the existential threat to Germany's publicly funded cultural institutions. This 'crisis' is composed of a bundle of different factors that trigger institutional changes. In order to address the complex fabric of this structure, the Research Group is testing an interdisciplinary cooperation between the humanities and the social sciences. The investigations within the Research Group aim toward international / european comparison. Scholars from different disciplines combine their subject-specific perspectives on the research object. These are:

  • discourse-historical
  • aesthetic and sociological
  • labor-scientific
  • cultural-political

The thesis is that crisis discourses not only have a destabilising function, but rather an activating and transforming one. Are crisis discourses and their causes not only a symptom, but also a motor of change of institutional blockades and stalemates?

Detailed description of the project

Since 2018, the interdisciplinary and locally distributed Research Group has been dealing with the so-called crisis structure of the arts. Here, the concept of crisis is understood as a summary of endogenous and exogenous factors that trigger institutional changes in the theatre system. These factors are both discursive phenomena and objectively observable dysfunctionalities, such as difficult working conditions at German municipal and state theatres. The crisis factors are examined from the perspectives of discourse history, aesthetics, labor science and cultural policy in the seven sub-projects. Furthermore, the reasearch field also includes a comparative perspective on other European countries (e.g. France, the UK). The underlying thesis is that crisis discourses not only have a destabilising effect but also a highly activating and transforming one. 'Crisis' is innovatively understood as a phenomenon that produces itself by being described, cited, and evoked.

In the first funding phase (2018-2021), the focus was primarily on research into the reasons for and interrelationships in the emergence of crises through factors intrinsic to the institution and endogenous factors, as well as work on goal-oriented methods and interdisciplinary approaches. In the continuation of the collaboration until 2024, the research group is now increasingly focusing on exogenous factors. At the beginning of the second funding phase, the German-speaking theatre system was still largely at a standstill due to the Corona pandemic. The impact of this massive global crisis on the performing arts and their stakeholders is additionally included in the research group's work and comprehensively investigated by the sub-project Theatre after Covid: Impact and institutional transformations.

Furthermore, the Research Group aims to establish the research perspective of an institutionally oriented analysis of the performing arts, which is urgently needed for theatre and music studies, and to anchor it in teaching in the long term.

Research fields and sub-projects

The sub-projects of the Research Group are interlinked in terms of content and also cooperate on a theoretical as well as empirical basis. They are oriented toward these research fields:

  • (De)legitimation
  • Governance as a dynamic factor of transformation
  • Heterogenisation of work
  • Aesthetic reformatting

Sub-project 1: The Third Level - Music Theater Mediation and Structural Dependencies

Sub-project 2: Market as Crisis: Internationalisation of Independent Theater in Germany - Funding Economy, Cooperation Spaces, Aesthetics

Sub-project 3: Cultural democratisation in Publicly Funded Theaters - Theater Governance and Audience Development Strategies in Germany, France and England

Sub-project 4: Outside the Box: Aesthetic Re-formatting at Public Theatres following the 2020 Pandemic-related Closures in Germany, Great Britain and Switzerland

Sub-project 5: Dynamics of Institutionalisation in Independent Music Theatre

Sub-project 6: European Theatre Newcomers: Director's Training in Transition

Sub-project 7: What kind of theatre? Comparative Study of Cultural and Corporate Governance of Public Theaters in Germany, Austria and Switzerland

Sub-project: Theatre after Covid: Impact and institutional transformations