STATE Festival Major Supporter: Bayer Kultur

We are fortunate to receive major funding from Bayer Kultur, one of Germany's biggest supporters of developing German cultural talent.

Thomas Helfrich, Leiter Bayer Kultur © Behrendt und Rausch

Thomas Helfrich, Leiter Bayer Kultur © Behrendt und Rausch

Since 1908, when they sought to increase cultural access for their workforce in Leverkusen by building a Concert Hall and Theatre, Bayer have developed their support of cultural outreach programs, and cultural talent, into a separate, and prodigious, support body – Bayer Kultur, which sponsors some 120 events a year across many artforms, and is a major sponsor and partner in STATE Festival 2016.

Initially, they focussed on traditional music and theatre offerings, but now assist projects across the fields of music, visual art, theatre and dance. Youth education programs are also an important part of Bayer Kultur’s modus operandi, providing students at various Design and Art schools across Germany support and also the opportunity to exhibit their work. Thomas Helfrich, Head of Bayer Kultur, believes that the link between education and culture should be “unconditionally entwined, so that, socially, they function together.”

A major part of their work is the stARTacademy, a development program for talented young artists. Started in 2009, stARTacademy has supported some notable successes including ECHO Prizewinner, the jazz pianist and singer Olivia Trummer and chamber music group Signum Quartett. The idea is not only to provide foundational funding, but to accompany young performers and artists through their career development. Helfrich speaks of “cultural mentoring”, and across 2016 and 2017, Bayer Kultur are redeveloping their support programs to offer early-to-mid career support for their artists, including developing and artists’ network, and workshops on practical business issues like searching for management and legal support, to ensure the healthiest possible career path from their artists’ formative stages into their creative maturity.

This is where Bayer Kultur shows its willingness to take longer-term risks on new creativity. An unconventional science communication project like STATE Festival aims to be multimodal, collaborative, grassroots and accessible, to develop and showcase the innovative young people and ideas that will eventually filter up into more mainstream academic and industrial communities, and to engage the public openly and collaboratively in the ideas that will shape their world to come.

Where other more traditional funding sources seek fairly traditional outcomes, Bayer Kultur was supportive of our desire to create a new cultural space in Germany where science and art could feed each other freely, and of our rather radical presentation style – the immersive playfulness of the best techno festivals with the intellectual heft of serious science conferences. Fusion Festival meets Falling Walls, perhaps?

Deriving its new name from the Platonic ideal of the academy as a kind of "society for scientific and artistic research", stARTacademy exemplifies the belief, as STATE Festival does, that the term "research" shows exactly what kind of work is involved, and what kind of work Bayer Kultur prefers to support and develop: an exchange, and the joint discovery of, and expansion of, cultural horizons. In Bayer Kultur’s mission to accompany creative and talented young people, they are supporting us in our mission to bring art to science, and science to the people.

Apart from STATE Festival, check out a few more of Bayer Kultur’s talented prodigies here:

Tamar Beraia - Website:   

Tobias Feldmann - Website:   

Bundesjugendballett - Website:

Sam WBlog