Wien, 5. September 2013 Press release

Lopatka: "Austria’s international cultural policy in the service of science and the arts"

Science and Art meet at the International Cultural Policy Meeting 2013

Vienna, 5. September 2013 – The International Cultural Policy Meeting 2013 (http://www.auslandskulturtagung.at) that opens at the Kuppelsaal hall of Vienna University of Technology today will be under the motto "When science and art meet". This annual public event provides an insight into the comprehensive activities of the Austrian Foreign Ministry Cultural Department together with the work done in this field by the worldwide network of Austrian embassies, consulates general and cultural forums. The event is also an opportunity for an encounter between artists and scientists and all other persons and institutions with project work, or a specific interest in the field of international cultural relations.

Science and art are in focus at the International Cultural Policy Meeting not least in the light of the continuing powerful trend to link the two fields. Artists are actively seeking dialogue with science, while scientists for their part have plunged into the arts. The meeting will examine how these cross-overs are taking place. The International Cultural Policy Meeting 2013 will be opened by Austrian State Secretary Reinhold Lopatka, Minister Karlheinz Töchterle and the President of the European Research Council, Helga Nowotny. 

"Science and innovation have penetrated our lives at all levels and are the engine driving our society", State Secretary Reinhold Lopatka said in his opening address. What Lopatka has termed "Science Diplomacy" will increasingly characterise the work of Austrian international cultural relations over the coming years: "In the face of growing interdependencies, worldwide research networks and not least on account of the worldwide competition to attract the best talents in science and research "science diplomacy" will play a significant role in determining which societies and states will be most successful in future. Our global network of embassies, consulates general and cultural forums have thus come to regard themselves as service points for artists and scientists. They support not only Austria’s involvement in the international cultural and arts dialogue, but also contribute to expand our economic relations."

A major focus for the work in the coming year will be the multiple commemorative events in 2014 that will go under the title of "European Year of Contemporary History" in many locations, Lopatka said. "We will not only be remembering the outbreak of the First World War a century ago, but also the fall of the Iron Curtain 25 years ago. Both events were turning points in the history of our continent." The Austrian Foreign Ministry is to organise numerous commemorative projects, exhibitions, conferences and arts projects in 2014. An essential point for Austria in each of these events is the promotion of a forward-looking and pro-European position – up to and including the development of a common European understanding of history.

Lopatka finally referred to the internationally highly respected Austrian network abroad, which includes cultural forums, embassies consulates general, Austrian cultural institutes and libraries that managed some 5,000 cultural events in 2,150 locations in the year 2012. "Our efforts concentrate on creating focal points of attention for Austrian arts and culture abroad and in the course of this we aim to present the highest possible quality standards of innovation and creativity."

A further item on the agenda of the meeting will be a panel discussion of prominent personalities in the arts including Peter Weibel, Anton Zeilinger, Belgian concept artist Koen Vanmechelen and the Russian museum director Daria Parkhomenko, who will examine various perspectives of the issues covered at the symposium. The afternoon session of the meeting will be dedicated to the current focal activities and grant programmes of Austria's international cultural policy, and it will also provide opportunities for meeting representatives of the Austrian cultural forums, embassies and consulates general in personal discussions. 

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