The city of Karlsruhe is located in South-West Germany bordering France. It is one of the fastest-growing cities in Germany with about 312,000 inhabitants and has earned a reputation for being a “cradle of modern media communication”, now ranked among the world’s top museums of contemporary art and media art. Together with the University of Arts and Design (HfG), it unites research and education of media arts. By 2017, 1,460 design and media art companies, representing 9.9 % of local businesses, had been established in Karlsruhe, providing job opportunities to over 14,933 employees within the 11 sectors of the cultural and creative industries, including a particularly strong software and games sector.
Events such as Global Digitale, Open Codes, and the ARD Radio Play Days are proof of the outstanding importance of Karlsruhe as the heartland of media art. In addition to these popular events, the Karlsruhe Forum for Culture, Rights and Technology organizes specialist conferences, such as the Security in Digital Infrastructures and the New Forms of Communication Change Politics and Culture, to promote knowledge sharing within the industry and to showcase the city’s media art capabilities.
The Cultural Concept 2025 of the City of Karlsruhe, adopted in 2014, sets out objectives and guidelines for the municipal cultural policy for the coming years, in the following fields: ‘Cultural Heritage’, ‘Cultural and Social Education’, ‘Strengthening the Links between Art, Science, and Technology’, and ‘City: A Space for Culture and Culture and the Economy’. Media education is a core task of cultural education and the combination of art, science and technology is where Karlsruhe’s strength lies. The city supports institutions and actors through institutional or project-related funding of culture, providing spatial infrastructure as well as advising, supporting and networking — from inception to economic establishment.
As a Creative City of Media Arts, Karlsruhe envisages:
- facilitating collaboration in media art projects from other Creative Cities;
- sharing the know-how and experience of Karlsruhe’s urban development, as characterized by its cultural and creative economy, with best practice projects Alter Schlachthof and ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe;
- expanding international collaborative network of the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe in the UCCN in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut;
- exchanging knowledge and experience in the field of archiving and scientific work in media arts;
- funding for the intensification of international networking and exchange in the UCCN through travel grants and artists-in-residence programmes; and
- collaborating with partners from cities and countries of the Global South.