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The NRW KULTURsekretariat’s “International Visitors Programme” has a specific focus on direct encounters and has been bringing cultural journalists, curators, artists, cultural educators, cultural politicians and other key players to the scene in North Rhine-Westphalia from all over the world since 2009. As of the end of 2012, around 450 visitors from almost 50 countries had been invited on thematic trips as part of this programme. Many of them went on to develop a strong interest in future cooperation with North Rhine-Westphalian artists, companies or cultural institutions, thanks also to the intensive chaperoning work and referral to regional players mediated by the culture department. The “International Visitors Programme” will therefore be considerably expanded as of 2013.

The chance to attend performances, exhibitions, festivals, readings and concerts enables the international visitors to get to know the cultural life in this region and to forge connections with the varied cultural scene and artists here. Personal dialogue with potential local partners creates lively, supportive networks, often leading to cross-border co-productions and collaborations, which can be eligible for grants.

As a result, the visitors programme was also the basis for the creation of a curators’ network with the Netherlands and Belgium, and for exchanges between up and coming German and Dutch bands. Not to mention dance companies from NRW being invited to visit Africa and India, or cooperation with artists and institutions in Poland, NRW’s partner country for 2011/12.

Many journalists would not visit North Rhine-Westphalia if it weren’t for the visitor programme. Their reporting considerably raises NRW’s profile as a cultured region as well as emphasising and developing its attractiveness as an international business location.

The visitors programme works in cooperation with the Goethe Institute as well as with the visitor programmes in the Netherlands, and other internationally active cultural institutions, creative artists and cultural departments in North Rhine-Westphalia and foreign cultural organisations.

Photo left: © Karin Jung/pixelio.de
Photo right: © Peter Kirchhoff/pixelio.de
Photo background: © Rike/pixelio.de
Kultursekretariat NRW Gütersloh
kulturpartner WDR3
Ministerium für Familie, Kinder, Jugend, Kultur und Sport des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen