Since its establishment in 2010, the Erlangen UNESCO Chair has actively engaged in national and international research within the realm of cultural and aesthetic education. From 2016 onwards, the focus has particularly shifted towards exploring the role of arts, aesthetic, and cultural education amidst cultural transformation, with an emphasis on developing a sustainable concept for cultural education. In this endeavor, the Chair is deeply invested in crafting a historiographically informed educational theory that addresses aesthetic and media phenomena, based upon qualitative-reconstructive empirical research on the nuances of our contemporary ‘post-digital culture.’ The theoretical underpinnings of the Chair’s work are firmly rooted in theories of mediality and materiality, critical theory, cultural studies, and, in alignment with these fields, post- and decolonial thinking.

Cultural Resilience: a theoretical framework for collective transformative education

Since the merging of the Erlangen “Chair of Education with a focus on Culture and Aesthetics” (held by Benjamin Jörissen since 2015) and the former UNESCO Chair in Arts and Culture in Education – now UNESCO Chair in Digital Culture and Arts in Education – in 2019, our goal was to develop an education-theoretical concept that integrates a non-individualistic, networked theory of Bildung and subjectivation, as it has been focused in our edited volume “Subjekt Medium Bildung” (Jörissen & Meyer, 2015, VS Verlag), with cultural and transformative perspectives on sustainability that we began to develop in the two international volumes “Spectra of Transformation. Arts Education Research and Cultural Dynamics” (Jörissen et al., Waxmann) and “Cultural Sustainability and Arts Education. International Perspectives on the Aesthetics of Transformation” (Jörissen et al., Springer), the latter going back to two international events — a winter school “Spectra of Transformation” we conducted in 2017 together with ENO, and the conference “Aesthetics of Transformation” which we hosted in 2018 in collaboration with our UNTIWIN partners. Based on a praxeological concept of culture, Prof. Dr. Benjamin Jörissen and Prof. Dr. Leopold Klepacki finally developed a particular understanding of “cultural resilience” that since has been the centre of several theoretical and empirical explorations.

The Chair’s ongoing research projects at a glance


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Detailed descriptions of our current and past research projects

MetaKubi – Metavorhaben zur Kulturellen Bildung in gesellschaftlichen Transformationen – Meta-project on Culture and Arts Education in Societal Transformation (funded by BMBF – Federal Ministry of Eduction and Research; 2024-ongoing)

The meta project supports the funding projects and deals with overarching questions of research on Arts and Cultural Education in social transformations. It makes an independent contribution to their consolidation and further development as well as to the interaction between research and practice. It relies on communicative formats of stakeholder exchange to promote visibility and sustainability beyond the project. To this end, we record, aggregate and contextualise research topics, designs and results of the funded projects in the perspective of the transformation of Arts and Cultural Education against the background of societal transformation dynamics. From an overall view of the funding projects, we classify them in national and international (a) academic discourses on cultural education, (b) discourses on educational research and (c) dialogues with practitioners in cultural education. We communicate these internally with the funded projects as well as with other actors in practice and science in target group-specific formats. At the same time, we fundamentally reflect on the interaction between research projects and educational practice in order to further develop formats of this cooperation. The project partners are united by their interest in developing meta-theoretical, methodological and methodological questions for the further development of research on Arts and Cultural Education. This concerns questions of the interaction of research and practice in the research process, the methodological design of research syntheses and their theoretical framing.


AI4ArtsEd – Artificial Intelligence for Arts Education (funded by BMBF – Federal Ministry of Eduction and Research; 2024-ongoing) 

AI is transforming society and the world of work; it is becoming an increasingly important topic in education. This project explores the opportunities, conditions, and limitations of using artificial intelligence (AI) in culturally diverse and diversity-sensitive settings of cultural education (KuBi). In three subprojects – General Education (TPap), Computer Science (TPinf), and Art Education (TPkp) – creativity-oriented pedagogical AI practice research and computer science AI conception and programming closely cooperate. The project systematically involves artistic-pedagogical practitioners in the design process from the beginning, acting as a bridge between professional (quality-related, aesthetic, ethical, and value-based) pedagogical-practical implementation on the one hand and the implementation and training process of the computer science subproject on the other. The result of an approximately two-year participatory design process should be an open-source AI technology that explores the extent to which AI systems can already include artisticpedagogical specifications at their structural level under favorable real conditions. The focus is on a) the future applicability and added value of highly innovative technologies for cultural education, b) the range and limits of AI literacy of teachers and learners, and c) the overarching question of assessing and evaluating the transformation of pedagogical settings by complex non-human actors in the sense of pedagogical ethics and technology impact assessment.


ComeArts – fortbilden durch vernetzen:vernetzen durch fortbilden. Gelingensbedingungen diversitätssensibler, digitalisierungs- und digitalitätsbezogener Fortbildungsmodule für die Fächer Kunst und Musik in Community Networks – Training through networking: networking through training. Conditions for success of diversity-sensitive, digitalization and digitality-related training modules for the subjects of art and music in Community Networks (funded by BMBF – Federal Ministry of Eduction and Research; 2023-ongoing)

The “Come Arts” project aims at the research-based development and refinement of adaptive, subject-specific, diversity-sensitive, and digitalization-related (d3) professionalization concepts for teachers and multipliers in the fields of art and music, considering evidence-based criteria for effective training (including long-term effectiveness). The project systematically supports d3 competencies for designing learning-enhancing, challenging teaching-learning scenarios in primary and secondary education.

The initiative utilizes the cross-phase cooperation and exploitation structures of the Come In consortium (, but focuses more intensively on iteratively adapted development research through Design-Based Research (DBR) in subject-specific local, regional, and national community networks (Come Nets). This approach includes a broad science-practice-administration transfer: Each participating sub-project provides at least one comprehensive, adaptable, and diversity-sensitive training module suitable for various learning scenarios and needs. At the consortium level, the results are systematically integrated in an interdisciplinary manner.

The development research is based on existing, standardized assessments adaptable to other subjects and includes systematic peer reviews with experts from all functional areas of teacher training. The research explores the specific conditions for success relevant to the target group and content; it also analyzes the effectiveness of various transfer approaches within the complex multi-level system (usage scenarios). A focus is placed on North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), where differentiated governance ensures dense, cross-state transfer that connects to nationwide developments. The documentation of project results as Open Educational Resources (OER) via a Come Arts portal also contributes to this.

The Erlangen UNESCO Chair is responsible for two part of the ComeArts project, both managed by Friederike Schmiedl as postdoctoral research associate:

The “ComeNet Across” project, in collaboration with Cologne, organizes interdisciplinary networking between music, art, and youth research. Its objective is to generate synergistic effects and transfer possibilities across the disciplines of art and music within the thematic complex of digitalization, digitality, diversity, and participation.

The “ComeNet Youth Culture” project, drawing on insights from post-digital youth culture research, develops a training module that addresses cross-disciplinary foundations and adaptation/scaling possibilities to/on other subjects in the context of formal and non-formal aesthetic education. The interdisciplinary aspects of the training modules are adapted for other school-relevant creative subjects (dramatic arts/school theater, dance/movement, crafts, and design), focusing not only on the scope and limits of adaptability but also on potential synergies.


DiäS – Digital-ästhetische Souveränität von Lehrkräften als Basis kultureller, künstlerischer, musikalischer, poetischer und sportlicher Bildung in der digitalen Welt – Digital-aesthetic sovereignty of teachers as the foundation of cultural, artistic, musical, poetic, and sports education in the digital world (funded by BMBF – Federal Ministry of Eduction and Research; 2023-ongoing)

The DiäS project aims, with a digital-aesthetic focus, at the research-based and evidence-oriented further development, evaluation, and optimization of prototypical approaches for promoting and deepening teachers’ professional knowledge in cultural, artistic, musical, poetic, and sports education in the context of digital transformation.

The foundation is a sustainable networking of education research, practice, and administration. This envisages a consortium structure that is intended to be integrated into the ‘Competence Centre for Digital and Digitally Supported Teaching in Schools and Further Education’ at the federal level. The concepts, approaches, and transfer structures developed and successfully evaluated here are adapted in the DiäS project for the development and deepening of general and subject-specific digital competencies, dispositions, and attitudes of teachers.

In the spirit of the DPACK approach (Döbeli-Honegger, 2021), this involves addressing and critically developing a theoretical framework of ‘digital sovereignty’ (Blossfeld et al., 2018), which links the level of application-oriented digital competencies with the development of reflective attitudes in the context of (post-)digital structures and cultures. This approach forms the basis for conceptual developments in terms of digital global citizenship (UNESCO 2015, 2022) and digital cultural resilience (Jörissen, 2022; Jörissen et al., 2023).

DiäS “Cultural Education TPa”: The sub-project “Global Digital Citizenship Education” (Stephanie Leupert) focuses on reinterpreting “Global Citizenship” through a cultural studies lens, contextualizing it within a (post-)digital society, and translating it into a modular concept for teacher education. This concept aims to foster participation in and contribution to a (post-)digital global society as a foundation for sustainable and democratic societal development. Participation is understood in the light of Jacques Rancière’s concept of the ‘distribution of the sensible’ by the ‘part who has no part’. Here, Global Citizenship is conceived as ‘terrestrial’, active, relational, and post- or decolonial.

DiäS “Cultural Education TPb”: The sub-project “Post-Digital Cultural Resilience” (Teresa Dehling), building upon current theoretical work at the Erlangen UNESCO Chair, develops a modular concept for teacher education that conveys cultural resilience as a sustainability-oriented collective transformative educational process. The focus is on transformations in the relationship between Rooting, Resourcefulness, and Resistance under digital and post-digital conditions, with special attention to the opportunities and challenges of post-migration society.


Completed third-party funded projects

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

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.
Please find the resulting platform here:

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.

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. Jörissen et al. 2020 in Scheunpflug et al. 2020 p.61-78).

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.