On 23 May Minister of State Cornelia Pieper briefed the members of the German Bundestag’s Subcommmittee on Cultural and Education Policy Abroad on how work on the new Cultural Academy in Tarabya/Istanbul is progressing.
Minister of State Pieper is due to open the Cultural Academy on 30 October 2011, the 50th anniversary of the recruitment agreement between Germany and Turkey. The plan is for artists in various disciplines to live and work at the Academy for six months with full funding. Currently the historic buildings are being converted to provide five (after a later extension seven) studios. The next step is for the Academy’s Advisory Council to convene under Minister Pieper’s chairmanship to lay down the procedures for granting the planned fellowships.
Legally speaking, the Cultural Academy will be part of the German Embassy in Ankara. This arrangement takes account of the Tarabya site’s diplomatic status, one of the stipulations when it was gifted to the German state long ago. The Goethe-Institut Istanbul will cooperate closely with the Cultural Academy and help look after the new fellows.
Speaking in this connection today (24 May) in Berlin, Minister of State Pieper said:
“I am delighted that, thanks to everyone involved, we now have a very good solution for the new Cultural Academy. For our cultural exchange with Turkish partners this project has great significance. I would like to thank particularly the Goethe-Institut for its willingness to help us look after the artists. The arrangements now in place fulfil the status and budgetary requirements while also doing justice to the whole concept of the Academy. With the go ahead for both the German-Turkish University in Istanbul and the social sciences degree course jointly offered by universities in Ankara and Berlin (Humboldt University) as well as the German-Turkish Translation Prize, it is clear that working together under the auspices of the Ernst Reuter Initiative has enabled us to realize a number of important and forward-looking projects.”
For Goethe-Institut President Klaus-Dieter Lehmann the new arrangements “reflect a sense of realism. I am glad to see the Goethe-Institut take responsibility here. With our curatorial expertise we can play an active role in developing and promoting cultural exchange and facilitating access to Istanbul’s cultural scene. All the effort invested in making Tarabya possible has now paid off.”
The site overlooking the Bosporus in Istanbul’s Tarabya district was gifted to the German Empire in 1880 by Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II and served for years as the German Ambassador’s summer residence.