by Rat für Kulturelle Bildung

Since its foundation in 2010 our chair has been particularly involved in national and international research in the field of cultural and aesthetic education. Since 2016 its research focuses in particular on the significance of arts, aesthetic, and cultural education under conditions of cultural transformation in regard to the development of a concept for sustainable cultural education. In this context the chair’s main interest lies in the formation of a historiographically sensitized educational theory about aesthetic and media phenomena and on (qualitative-reconstructive) empirical research about phenomena of our current “post-digital culture“. In terms of research theory, the chair’s work is particularly committed to an approach of global resp. glocal and postcolonial thinking as well as to cultural studies‘ perspectives.

Since 2017 the chair’s theoretical work has been focusing in particular on the development of a concept of sustainable cultural education. In this context, it was first of all necessary „to connect and interlink the concepts of culture, [cultural education] and sustainability“ in such a way „that a logically structured concept could emerge“ (Klepacki 2020b). The challenge here was „that in the discourses on sustainable development, neither the cultural dimension nor the concept of culture is systematically located. Moreover, the composites ‚cultural education‘ and ‚education for sustainable development‘, as well as the terms ‚culture‘, ‚education‘ and ’sustainability‘ each in themselves, not only open up complex horizons of meaning, but also appear to be highly contested in terms of discourse politics […]“ (Klepacki 2020a). Against this background, the question arose „to what extent can the terms culture, sustainability or sustainable development and education be linked to each other in a way that they are not [simply] being used as […] [umbrella terms], but rather to describe a specific subject or field of interest” (Klepacki 2020a). The starting point for the now following considerations was, on the one hand, an understanding of cultural education, „which [decidedly] does not focus on artistic areas or on the ‘art sector’ alone, but which understands cultural education as a form of education in which culture becomes represented and reflexive […]“ (Klepacki 2020a). On the other hand, there was also the question of the „effects that a culture-centered approach would have on the understanding of sustainability“ (Klepacki 2020a).

Believing strongly in the value of international discourse, the chair brought these questions and thoughts into the thematic focus of two joint international congresses — a winter school entitled “Spectra of Transformation“, 20.-24.2.2017; and an international UNITWIN conference “Aesthetics of Transformation”, 2.-4.5.2018 – both held in Nuremberg, Germany. Inspired by the discourse and results of these events and the corresponding publications (cf. Jörissen et al. 2018; Jörissen et al. 2021a) and based on a praxeological concept of culture, Prof. Dr. Benjamin Jörissen and PD Dr. Leopold Klepacki finally developed a concept of “sustainable cultural education“ which “interweaves the two notions of a) the cultural resources (semantics, implicit knowledge, modes and means of perception), as a part of cultural heritage to be passed on by education that strive to materially and spiritually maintain and sustain life, and b) the sustaining of culture itself as a precondition of the former—keeping in mind that ‘sustaining’ does not mean ‘conserving’, but ‘transforming’ according to the changing conditions of existence history brings with it” (Jörissen et al. 2021). Education is thus understood “as […] a process that binds together cultural resources and change, providing culturally meaningful ways of transformation. Aesthetic, arts, and cultural education thus are endeavors that (should) not only care to teach artistic skills and competencies, but should act as an agent of perceptual change based upon the rich and vast resources of cultural and artistic expression – keeping in mind that arts themselves reflect and change our ‘ways of seein’ (Berger 2008)“ (Jörissen et al. 2021b).

Current research projects

In addition to its theoretical work about “cultural sustainability” and “sustainable cultural education” since 2016, Benjamin Jörissen’s chair has been strongly dedicated to conducting research on digitization in aesthetic, arts, and cultural education. Exemplarily four third-party funded research projects shall be presented in the following sections, which are located in three different funding guidelines of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research:

Digitization in Arts and Cultural Education: A Meta-Project (2017-2022)

Since 2017 the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research has been funding interdisciplinary research projects on digitization in cultural education. The aim of the priority program, which comprises a total of 14 projects at 25 universities and research institutions throughout Germany, is to investigate the questions of how the artistic-aesthetic content of cultural education programs has changed in the course of digitization, to what extent aesthetic perception and reception patterns and processes have been changed by digital technology, and what opportunities and challenges this has created for cultural education (see Within the framework of the priority program, a funded meta-project—led by our chair (theoretical and qualitative part) together with our Nuremberg colleague Stephan Kröner (quantitative part)—supports the individual projects in the areas of research and monitoring. The primary task of the meta-project is to monitor, aggregate and disseminate the outcomes of the priority program on the basis of meta-theoretical and meta-empirical qualitative (and respectively quantitative) research syntheses in order to classify these fields in terms of their significance for society, pedagogy, and educational research.

By organizing regular workshops and focused symposia at academic conferences, it encourages and supports the networking of the funded researchers and offers young scientists opportunities to network and to receive further training in cross-project issues of content and methodology (for further information see

MIDAKuK – Musical Interface Designs: Augmented Creativity and Connectivity (2017-2021)
Since 2017, the chair conducts a research project on musical interface designs which is also part of the aforementioned priority program of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The project is carried out in cooperation with the Leuphana University of Lüneburg. The educational theoretical and music pedagogical significance of hybrid, digital-material music-making things is investigated in the projects, whereas our Chair’s part focuses in particular on the specific meanings of „postdigital“ (Jörissen 2016), hybrid materialities of musical interface designs for aesthetic, creative and artistic practices of contemporary youth cultures. Assessing the transformation of aesthetic experience and new possibilities of musical-creative expression as well as the resulting fundamental consequences, potentials, and requirements for professional music education under the conditions of (post-)digital culture requires the project to combine qualitative ethnography and videography, artefact-analyses, and survey data.

BiDiPeri – Libraries, Digitization, and Cultural Education in Peripheral Areas in the Context of Post-digital Youth Culture (2019-2022)

The most recent of the four projects presented here started in 2019 and explores the questions of a) how peripheral rural areas can be developed in such a way that they offer a culturally attractive living environment for “digital natives” and b) to what extent libraries—understood as cultural places and spaces also of cultural education—can contribute to this.

With these questions, the BiDiPeri research project pursues the important question of how cultural and educational intervention can help to compensate for the structural backwardness of rural areas, which often leads to rural exodus, especially among the younger generations. The aim of the project is first of all to provide empirical insights into the (post-)digital cultural youth worlds in peripheral areas. In addition, the project aims to gain knowledge about interests and use of services regarding the digital-cultural education of young people in rural areas. Beyond that, the conditions for the success of the projects and approaches identified and analyzed on several levels will be examined and then transferred into an application-oriented model for implementing digital-cultural education in libraries in rural areas. The model will be made available to the interested public via an online platform, which will serve to disseminate the project results, but will also provide the opportunity to further develop the suggested model together with research experts and professionals from the field of (digital) cultural education.

Completed research projects

DiKuJu – Post-digital Cultural Youth Worlds: Development of New Methods Fostering Research in Arts Education in a Digital and Post-digital World (2016-2019)

In cooperation with the Institute for Education and Culture (IBK) and the Academy of Cultural Education Remscheid, the chair researched the post-digital cultural life worlds of young people, which are permeated by digital networks, apps, and algorithms, and tested new survey methods, which should decisively enrich the field of research on cultural education. By means of a quantitative and qualitative mixed-method design, the question of what effects digital media change has on the artistic and aesthetic practices of children and young people was investigated for the first time. In addition to a quantitative-representative interview study carried out by our colleagues in Remscheid, the research design included group discussions with young people, explorative online surveys, casuistic case analyses and qualitative interviews with experts and professionals in the field of cultural education. In addition, the research team also tested a methodological conceptualization of the OpenSpace method „BarCamp“ as an approach for a new survey setting. Finally, the joint research work also included an “ideas laboratory” in which new concepts for cultural education practice were developed (cf. DiKuJu; Jörissen et al. 2020).

In the course of the evaluation work, it quickly became clear how strongly the logics of the “post-digital” world also affect the artistic-aesthetic practices of children and young people. Thus, for example, the research team was able to reconstruct a total of three „levels of post-digital transformations of aesthetic practices“ (Jörissen et al. 2020, p. 63) in the context of the exploratory research in various online networks carried out at the beginning of the project. These include in particular a) changes in already known spaces of articulation and experience, b) transformations of forms of communication and staging, and c) changes at the level of social forms and cultural orientations (cf. ibid., p. 64). For example, traditional aesthetic practices are transferred to digital environments, supplemented by new forms of practice, or deliberately replaced by explicitly non-digital forms of practice (e.g., analog photography) (ibid.).

Basically, the different survey settings and types of material have shown that „[i]n post-digital culture, […] the boundaries between fields of disciplines such as dance, music or theater, for example, but also those between the audience and creative people, subjects of expertise and laypersons, between the activities of making, marketing […] and receiving, are increasingly [dissolving]“ (ibid., p. 73). At the same time, „staging, performativity and ludicity—a life ‚on stage’—[…] are becoming basic dispositions—and thus often also a purpose and motivating factor—for creative activities“ (ibid.). In the process, „[m]aterial and traditional aesthetic-creative and artistic practices […] intertwine in various ways with digital technologies and applications. An application in the sense of hybrid creativity emerges where algorithms actively introduce aesthetic knowledge into design processes, a collective and collaborative creativity where networking technologies merge with net-cultural practices […]. Altogether, algorithmically organized commercial platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, or Twitter play a central, practically ineluctable, role in this process“ (ibid.). In contrast to “ classical (western) forms of individualized creative practice“ (ibid.), „[the aesthetic expertise [in post-digital forms of creative practice] appears increasingly hybridized“ (ibid.). And something else becomes clear against the background of the study’s findings: „Analog-digital artistic-creative activities“ (ibid., p. 74) have already become an integral part of the world of youth culture. They should therefore not be excluded or ignored by the practice field of aesthetic-cultural education or by politics. On the contrary. „Analog-digital artistic-creative activities must be supported in the sense of cultural participation just as much as analogous ones“ (ibid.).

„Condensed happiness“? Several-day music pedagogical interventions: Determinants of participation, effective design characteristics and effects on competencies and personality development (MEMU-IN, BMBF, 2016-2019)
The project embraces two sub-projects: Our Subproject 2 (Kröner/Hasselhorn/Jörissen) conducts a series of music pedagogical field experiments on determinants and effects of music pedagogical interventions within the framework of a complex mixed methodology design.

Berger, John (2008): Ways of Seeing. Penguin UK.

BiDiPeri: (29.9.2020)

DiKuJu: (29.9.2020)

Jörissen, Benjamin; Unterberg, Lisa; Klepacki, Tanja (Eds.) (2021a): Cultural Sustainability and Arts Education. International Perspectives on the Aesthetics of Transformation. UNITWIN Yearbook #2. Springer: Singapore. (Forthcoming)

Jörissen, Benjamin; Unterberg, Lisa; Klepacki, Tanja (2021b): Introduction. In: Jörissen, Benjamin; Unterberg, Lisa; Klepacki, Tanja (Eds.): Cultural Sustainability and Arts Education. International Perspectives on the Aesthetics of Transformation. UNITWIN Yearbook #2. Springer: Singapore.

Jörissen, Benjamin; Schröder, Martha Karoline; Carnap, Anna (2020): Post-digitale Jugendkultur. Kernergebnisse einer qualitativen Studie zu Transformationen ästhetischer und künstlerischer Praktiken. In: Timm, Susanne; Costa, Jana; Kühn, Claudia; Scheunpflug, Annette (Eds.): Kulturelle Bildung. Theoretische Perspektiven, methodologische Herausforderungen, emprirische Befunde. Münster/New York: Waxmann. pp. 61-78.

Jörissen, Benjamin; Klepacki, Leopold; Unterberg, Lisa; Engel, Juliane; Flasche, Viktoria; Klepacki, Tanja (Eds.) (2018): Spectra of Transformation. Arts Education Research and Cultural Dynamics. Münster/New York: Waxmann.

Jörissen, Benjamin (2016). Hegemoniale Ästhetiken und ästhetische Gegenstrategien – Kulturelle Bildung in der postdigitalen Kultur. Infodienst. Heft 120. 13.

Klepacki, Leopold (2020a): Bildung für nachhaltige kulturelle Praxis. In: KULTURELLE BILDUNG ONLINE:

Klepacki, Leopold (2020b): Nachhaltige Kulturelle Bildung. In: Braun-Wanke, K./Wagner, E. (Hrsg.): Über die Kunst, den Wandel zu gestalten. Münster/New York, S. 177-183.

MIDAKuK: (29.9.2020)