Shared Past – Shared Future II (BKM)

An outreach initiative for an inclusive society at the Museum für Islamische Kunst

For decades, German society has become increasingly diverse. For Berlin, this is particularly apparent. This diversity provides considerable potential for the cultural, economic, demographic, and societal development of the city of Berlin and the Federal Republic of Germany. Yet, in German public discourse, Muslims have often been constructed as Other and external to German identity, and have experienced rejection, discrimination, exclusion, and the constant expectation to speak out, explain themselves, and justify their (alleged or actual) positions.

At the same time, radical voices speaking in the name of Islam have gained prominence. From the Muhammad cartoons controversy over the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamyan to the Islamic State, extremists consciously escalate crises to put moderate voices on the defensive. On the other hand, a vague sense of insecurity and dissatisfaction are channeled into processes of demarcation from Islam and Muslims, and populist and right-wing movements utilize Islamophobic sentiments for political mobilization.

With its project and outreach initiative „Shared Past – Shared Future,“ the Museum für Islamische Kunst wants to counter such exclusionary identity constructions and, instead, contribute to the shaping of inclusive individual and collective identities. Therefore, the project targets different audiences, trying to educate non-Muslim Germans and Muslim and newcomer communities with links to the areas of the museum’s collection about the multifaceted and historically grown transcultural entanglements between Europe and the Islamicate World. Through art and cultural history, the project aims at making migration and change resting on transregional interconnections intelligible and palpable as motors of cultural and scientific development. This is to provide a basis for raising and negotiating questions of the present and future in the plural society.

To this end, the project fosters transcultural education on several levels in the separate sub-projects:

  • We develop teaching materials for nationwide school education for the following subjects: art, music (in cooperation with Pierre Boulez Saal), ethics/religious education, history, politics. The teaching modules will be available for download free of charge.
  • We collaborate with educational media outlets and textbook editors (in cooperation with Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research and Verband Bildungsmedien e.V.) to promote a diversity-oriented portrayal of Islam and Muslims and of topics and regions with links to the Islamicate world and its scientific and cultural heritage.
  • Turkish program: special exhibition project on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Labor Recruitment Agreement between Western Germany and Turkey in October 2021 to engage the Turkish community in Germany and to increase the visibility of their perspectives; symposium and concert focusing on representatives of Ottoman music and their influence on European music in 2021; music tours through the museum with a focus on transculturality in 2021.
  • Projects with youth leisure facilities: developing a toolbox for discussion sessions on migration, transculturality, identity, and cultural participation in cooperation with Multaka (thematic focal points: music, architecture, art), as well as developing a role-playing game with riddle elements that invites players to discover transcultural entanglements with and scientific achievements of the Islamicate world through a historical setting. Both tools are designed for long-term, nationwide use.
  • We strengthen cultural education and participation in mosques throughout Germany through the deployment of TAMAM ambassadors, who disseminate the educational materials of the TAMAM project and foster their use in educational activities in mosques.
  • Migration Stories (e.g., of objects, persons, ad techniques) will be developed, departing from the museum’s collection. Thematic focal points will be science and music, among others. The Migration Stories will be implemented in the permanent exhibition as well as in the outreach materials of the museum. They are designed to highlight the normalcy of processes of migration and transcultural entanglement, especially between the Middle East and Europe.
  • The pilot project Political Education in Museums at Haus Bastian offers project days and project weeks for school groups, promoting the political-cultural education of school students across the collections of different SMB museums; it establishes the working group „Culture, Politics and Education“ targeting political and cultural educators; and offers continuing education for disseminators. 
  • Implementation of the concert series Mschatta Lounge in 2019, making global entanglements palpable through music and artworks for a broad, musicophile audience. 

This project is funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media and runs until December 2021.

Project manager: Miriam Kurz and Stefan Weber
Staff: Kathrin Allmann (educational media), Laura Beusmann (Migration Stories; assistant to the director), Anja Deller (finance), Dr. Deniz Erduman-Calış (Turkish program), Christopher Förch (political education/ Haus Bastian), Maximilian Heiden (IT), Saiid Ismati (teaching materials), Salma Jreige (Multaka/ youth projects), Dinah Neuwirth (social media), Dr. Leonard Schmieding (political education/ Haus Bastian), Hilal Sezgin-Just (youth projects, Turkish program), Dr. Margaret Shortle (Migration Stories), Roman Singendonk (educational media)
Funding: Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz
Sponsor: Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien (BKM))
Duration: November 2018 to December 2021