Catharsis and Kairos – cultural diplomacy in (post-) corona times in conversation with Dr Waltraud Dennhardt-Herzog, Director of the Austrian Cultural Forum in London
Herzlich Willkommen, Servus und Grüß Gott.
In 2021 we celebrate 65 years of Austrian Culture on Rutland Gate.
How are we going to embrace the art, culture and networking after the pandemic is over?
How will we integrate the UN-sustainable development goals into our cultural work?
What do we offer and how can we build bridges between culture and languages?
In search for a dialogue in the process of releasing, and thereby creating, new ways of culture and art after the pandemic.
What did we learn from 2020 and why the Austrian Cultural Forum is a great place to meet.
Speaker: Waltraud Dennhardt-Herzog Director:
Dr Waltraud Dennhardt-Herzog is an Austrian Diplomat with a strong interest in cultural diplomacy. She has served in Luxemburg, Bonn, Stockholm, New York and Vienna and is currently the Director of the Austrian Cultural Forum in London. She holds a PHD in political sciences from the University of Salzburg and a diploma from the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna. She got a scholarship for Science Po in Paris and did research on “Rétif de la Bretonne” for her thesis. Prior to entering the foreign service she worked as a consultant assistant in Ghana and helped build up an educational programme for saw millers – to avoid the mass destruction of the virgin forests.
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When the Austrian Institute (as it was then called) opened in London in 1956, the idea of cultural diplomacy was new, exotic, but high on the agenda of a country still struggling to establish its identity in the modern world after a turbulent and traumatic past.
The collective achievement of its citizens in the arts and sciences was, in a sense, definitive as a first point of contact between Austria and the wider world. And so it was that the Austrian Government bought 28 Rutland Gate as a British base for cultural and intellectual cooperation, forming part of an international network of similar Institutes throughout Europe and America.
The Foreign Ministry took over in the 1970s, and since then there has been a gradual shift in objectives, finally signalled by the change of name to Austrian Cultural Forum in 2001. An ‘institute’, it was thought, suggested a place of formal study and behavioural codes. A ‘forum’ on the other hand, suggested a place of debate: a relaxed environment where minds meet and ideas flow.
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