Bundesvereinigung – German Socio-cultural centre
The Bundesvereinigung is organised as a “Eingetragener gemeinnütziger Verein”, which is the most used term in Germany for a non-commercial association working for the common benefit. There is a board of 8 people elected by the members for two years. Membership meetings take place twice a year.
Members: 14 Landesarbeitsgemeinschaften (LAG) – networks etc) - networks organised at the level of the German states (the “Lander”) – form the membership. They represent 450 Soziokulturelle Zentren in all areas of Germany. It can be regarded as a great success for the development of social culture in Germany that the eastern regions, the former GDR, are as well represented as the western parts.
The Bundesvereinigung’s most important tasks are:
Due to the increasing importance of federal cultural policy in recent years, the "Bundesvereinigung" has become an important partner for politicians. This is demonstrated by such political events as the intervention in parliament to introduce new legislative initiatives, for example one to reform taxation of foreign artists.
- The co-ordination and support of the centres along with their public relations and representation in political committees.
- The networks on the state and national levels ensure consulting, further education, exchange and support forexisting centres and initiatives as well as for those centres and initiatives yet to be developed.
- The underlying purpose of all activities is the acknowledgement of social andcultural work as a fixed component of cultural life, including a guarantee that centres be treated as established cultural institutions with regards to state-funding and taxation.
The "Bundesvereinigung" is not only a network itself, but also part of a broader one.
As a member of the "Deutscher Kulturrat" ("German Cultural Council"), it is represented in the "Rat für Soziokultur" ("Council for Socioculture") as well as federal unions, e.g. the "Fonds Sozio-kultur e.V." ("Sociocultural Fund"). Other co-operation partners are: "Kulturpolitische Gesell-schaft e.V." ("Cultural-Political Society"), "Bundesverband der Jugendkunstschulen und kul-turpolitischen Einrichtungen e.V." ("Federal Association of the Schools of Art for Youth and Cultural Associations"), "Bundesverband Studentische Kulturarbeit e.V." ("Federal Association of Student Cultural Work"), "Bundesverband Freier Theater" ("Federal Association of Free Theatres") and "Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund" ("German Federation of Trade Un-ions").
The "Bundesvereinigung" is also in touch with related initiatives and organisations at a European level, e.g. the "European Network for Cultural Centres" (ENCC), and it is financially supported, especially for professional publications and the "SoziokulturServer www.soziokultur.de" website, by the federal representative of cultural affairs and the media and by the state foundation for culture.
Social culture online and in print
The "Bundesvereinigung" offers a varied information system that is used not only by its members.
- Its online presence www.soziokultur.de and the "Soziokultur" publishing house. The website "Soziokultur-Server" with articles and information has existed since 1995. The homepage presents up-to-date news from the centres, the state associations, the "Bundes-verband" and news about cultural policy. There are convenient links to older information in the archive. Direct links are available to all homepages of the state associations and their centres together with their Internet presentations and e-mail addresses. Interesting and useful material can be found under the headings: "Infos", "Arbeitshilfen" (working aids), "Links", "Forums" and "Jobs". These include literature recommendations, tips for further education, and application forms for projects, artists and job offers.
- Since 1988 the "Bundesvereinigung" also has published information and texts, resulting in the foundation of a publishing company in 2000. Here the "Informationsdienst Soziokultur" ("Information-Service Socioculture") is published - a newspaper with information, statements and discussions about socioculture - and appears quarterly. The other important publication is a series of brochures entitled "Arbeitshilfen Soziokultur" (socioculture working aids). This is designed for the centres and serves as a guide for the specific, mainly practical questions which arise during the challenges of daily work (like GEMA ("Gesellschaft für musikalische Aufführungs- und mechanische Vervielfältigungsrechte" or "Society for Musical Performing and Mechanical Reproduction Rights"), taxes for foreigners, labour law and accounting). Also included are contributions about current tendencies in social culture as well as reports about meetings and conferences. A good overview of the publications can be found on the website of the "Bundesvereinigung". All articles of the information service from the beginning of 2001 can be found here. The brochures and information service are also available through an on-line order form.
Among the services the „Bundesvereinigung“ offers to its members:
- The office in Berlin as a central contact point
- The „Informationsdienst Soziokultur“ newspaper
- Monthly circular e-mails with information concerning federal policy and jurisdiction
- Recording of federal statistics since 1992 and processing the numerical data
- Participation in various contracts (e.g. GEMA)
- Consulting and support in negotiations and conflicts with political decision makers
- Organisation of meetings and conferences concerning fundamental cultural-political issues (e.g. 1999: www.soziokultur.de/20, 2004: elements of future)
Culture Action Europe contact: Andreas Kämpf
Bundesvereinigung Soziokultureller Zentren
Geschäftsführerin: Cornelia Lüddemann
Lehrter Straße 27-30
10557 Berlin, Germany
Tel: + 49 30 3 97 44 59 0
Fax: + 49 30 3 97 44 59 9