Re:Writing the Future

Four Days of Truth, Four Days of Hope

Artistic freedom, spaces of resilience and international solidarity were the focal points of the festival Re:Writing the Future held on the 25th-28th of February, 2021. Exiled artists from around the world, the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN), and a number of cultural institutions in Berlin came together to explore the role of art in turbulent times and to forge new alliances for an alternative path toward the future. With the participation of two Nobel laureates, over 20 hours of livestream, thousands of global views on Youtube, our website, Facebook, and Zoom; Re:Writing the Future was a resounding success. Among the participating artists and guests were Svetlana Alexievich, Ghayath Almadhoun, Mohammad Ashraf, Khaled Barakeh, Can Dündar,  Ali Hassan, Wolfgang Kaleck, Esra Karakaya, Herta Müller, Rasha Nahas, Marina Naprushkina, Milo Rau, Hakan Savaş Mican, Nazeeha Saeed, Elisabeth Wellershaus, Eyal Weizman et. al.

Through debates, presentations, lectures, and readings, we engaged with and learned from one another. We have learned, for instance, that we associate emptiness, despair, and even death with culture in Covid-times, but also innovation, creativity, and solidarity. And to the question “What does a dynamic cultural eco-system need?” We agreed that it must be diversity.

Concerts, spontaneous online chats as well as soul-stirring conversations in our workshops made the festival all the more lively despite (or perhaps even thanks to) it being held virtually. Accordingly, we are delighted that many report newly gained awareness (“Artists and social work should get closer”) and of being inspired to ask new questions (“How can we tell peoples’ stories while protecting their dignity?”). But most importantly, we are glad that we were left with an impression that the “world feels closer” and a feeling of “growing hope” after the festival.

For those who have missed out or would like to watch it a second time, highlights are now available via the link

The festival was carried out by Allianz Kulturstiftung, in cooperation with the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program and Maxim Gorki Theater Berlin, in partnership with ICORN – International Cities of Refuge Network and funding by the Senate for Culture and Europe of the City of Berlin.

A curatorial team consisting of the poet and essayist Max Czollek, Silvia Fehrmann (DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Programme), Esra Küçük (Allianz Kulturstiftung) and Johannes Kirsten (Maxim Gorki Theater) was responsible for the conceptual development and the overarching idea of the festival.


Re:Writing the Future was realized in cooperation with many actors and institutions in the field of arts and culture, e.g. Academy in Exile, Arts of the Working Class, Boom Boom Tales, CoCulture e.V., Das Deutsche Haus e.V., Deutsches Historisches Museum, ECCHR, Forensic Architecture, Freemuse, Haus für Poesie, the International Institute for Political Murder, Literaturhaus Berlin, the Martin Roth-Initiative, RAW in WAR, Sasha Waltz & Guests, Tactical Tech and Wir Machen Das.