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 II", the Museum für Islamische Kunst wants to counter such exclusionary identity constructions and, instead, contribute to the shaping of inclusive and appreciative identities. Therefore, the project targets different audiences, trying to educate people with and without family connections to the geographic 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, ethics/religious education, history, and politics. The teaching modules will be available for download free of charge. By including Islamic art and cultural heritage into school education, the materials help diversify dominant associations with Islam.
  • We develop digital and analogue workshops für school students and teachers in relation with the teaching materials.
  • We collaborate with educational media outlets and textbook editors in cooperation with Leibniz Institute for Educational Media | Georg Eckert Institute (GEI) 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. We offer workshops for educational media editors, handouts, and consultation services (pilot project) together with GEI.
  • Special exhibition Gurbet Şarkıları – Songs from Foreign Lands. Music and Belonging between Turkey and Germany (1961-2021) on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Labor Recruitment Agreement between Western Germany and Turkey (on display: 12.11.2021-20.02.2022). The special exhibition explores the connections between music, personal biographies, and social-political positionality. It sheds light on the cultural accomplishments and perspectives of first-generation „guest workers“ and subequent generations. 
  • We develop a historical adventure game for youth and adults from 15 years onwards with escape game style riddles. Players of the game travel through Southern Europe, North Africa, West and Central Asia in the 14th century to explore the world of medical knowledge and find a cure for the Emir of Granada. The game will be available for youth leisure facilities and schools free of charge.
  • We develop a toolbox for discussion sessions in youth facilities and schools in cooperation with the project Multaka. The toolbox invites youth and young adults to criticaly engage with the dominant, narrow understanding of migration. Through questions, exercises, quizzes, images, and objects, and mediated by Multaka guides, it fosters a wider and diversity-sensitive understanding of migration and an awareness of transculturality.
  • 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.
  • We develop stories (e.g., of objects, persons, and techniques) departing from the museum’s collection that highlight the normalcy of processes of migration and transcultural entanglement, especially between the Middle East and Europe. Thematic focal points will be science and music, among others. The stories will be implemented in the permanent exhibition as well as in the outreach materials of the museum.
  • The pilot project "Political Education in Museums" at Haus Bastian – Centre for Cultural Edcation: working group "Culture, Politics and Education“ fostering political education in the museum; project days for school students promoting political-cultural education across the collections of different museums; continuing education for disseminators. 
  • Digital webtalk series and publication "Islamist and Racist Attacks – A Topic for School Teaching“ in cooperation with Infodienst Radikalisierungsprävention / bpb, Bildungsstätte Anne FrankLeibniz-Institut für Bildungsmedien | Georg-Eckert-Institut and
  • 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 2022.

Project managers: Miriam Kurz and Stefan Weber
Team: Kathrin Allmann (educational media), Franziska Becker (workshops), Laura Beusmann (stories, teaching materials; assistant to the director), Anja Deller (administration), Zinaida Ebden (social media, press, events), Dr. Deniz Erduman-Calış (Songs from Foreign Lands), Christopher Förch (political education, HBA), Dr. Sarah Fortmann-Hijazi (Multaka & GeZu toolbox), Lars Hecker (administration HBA),Maximilian Heiden (IT), Salma Jreige (Multaka & GeZu toolbox), Annette Rohde (administration), Dr. Leonard Schmieding (political education, HBA), Hilal Sezgin-Just (exit game, Songs from Foreign Lands, Multaka & GeZu toolbox), Dr. Margaret Shortle (stories), Roman Singendonk (educational media, TAMAM ambassadors)
Funding: Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz
Sponsor: Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media
Duration: November 2018 to December 2022