art-lab 2023

disagreement &

Truth vs. lies, morality vs. immorality, tradition vs. progress. Actually, our world has become insanely simple. At least as long as we perceive values and views that do not fit our own image, giving no time or space to nuances or complex perspectives. But where do we go with a society in which we do not listen to other opinions? How can we learn to tolerate, accept, and use an opinion contrary to our own to examine our own point of view?

In 2023, under the annual topic "disagreement & coexistence", we are dedicating ourselves to the space between disagreement and fellow humabeings from a wide variety of perspectives, together with our partner PB Entertainment from our partner culture Ghana this year. How can we deal with disagreement and still coexist peacefully?


Polarization has always been part of modern history. And yet globalization and the digital world in particular are bringing new conditions with them. In an increasingly plural society, we move between a strengthening of traditionalism and nationalism, while the other side points to its ethical superiority through moralization. In social media, algorithms and filtering systems present us only information that confirm and reinforce our own opinions. Hate speech and cancel culture, in digital and analog spaces, are increasingly perceived as a threat to social cohesion and obscure the civilized exchange of arguments. Hardened cultural and political discourses seem to leadfrom vibrant pluralism to uncomprehending polarization.  

Between the extremes of polarization, many people increasingly yearn for civilized conversations, for listening, being perceived, and truthful exchanges. Between highly motivated discussions in which one side tries to convince the other, there is room for dialogue and peaceful coexistence. Peace does not mean that everyone is mute and of the same opinion. Peace is also when there is a healthy and respectful exchange. "coexistence &disagreement" is also the attempt to explore in and across cultural contexts at which points we block and the unfamiliar becomes so unpleasant that our counterpart's point of view is no longer recognizable.

art-lab 2023

In a four-week art-lab, more than twenty artists from Ghana and Germany dedicated themselves to this year's theme: two weeks in Cologne and two weeks in Accra. Together, they worked and researched project ideas and diverse perspectives on the theme "disagreement & coexistence." Four weeks of cultural and artistic crossovers have passed, contextualized by input from experts in sociology, politics, theater, and psychology. This process-oriented art-lab serves as the foundation and starting point for international co-productions.


art-lab Cologne:

  • Carla und Diego Alejandro de La Vega Wood (Generalkonsulat Mexiko) about “Disagreement and Coexistence in Diplomacy” 
  • Namata Serumaga-Musisi (Decolonial Spacemaker with focus on architecture and acitvism) about “Mapping the Living” 
  • Geraldine Mormin (Prozessbegleiterin) about “Separation”
  • Leonhard Menges (University of Salzburg) about "Disagreement and Moral Relativism" 

art-lab accra:

  • Prof. Esi Sutherland-Addy (Head of Drama Section, Institute of African
    Studies, University of Ghana) about “Disagreement and Coexistence in the Arts”
  •  Yibor Kojor Yibor (Maler & Bildhauer) about “Disagreement and Coexistence in Painting”
  • Prof. Anita Paddy (Clinical Health Psychologist, Military Teaching Hospital Accra) about “Conflict Theories”    

Supported by the Ministry of Culture and Scienceof the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, the NRW KULTURsekretariat Wuppertal, by Engagement Global with funds from the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the foundation VAN MEETEREN.


Photos: Elorm Dunyo (colour) und Mirko Borscht (black & white)

art-lab Cologne

30.05. — 11.06.2023

10. June 2023: Showing & Jam-Session at Liebig 257, Köln

art-lab Accra

08. — 22.10.2023

20. Oktober 2023: Showing at National Theater of Ghana, South Liberia Road, Accra