Cultural Office of the City of Dortmund

Picture (Licence/photographer/designer): Maxime Horlaville / unsplash

ART.TRANSFER – two funding programmes for artistic and cultural cooperation with the twin towns

In order to consolidate the goals of international cultural exchange with the twin towns achieved so far, and to strive for future development – especially after the pandemic – the Kulturbüro (Cultural Office of the City of Dortmund) is focusing specifically on two funding modules: “ART.TRANSFER – Work Scholarship” and “ART.TRANSFER – Project Funding”.


Picture (Licence/photographer/designer): Joshua Rawson Harris / unsplash

One of the cornerstones of local authority work outside Germany is represented by town twinning relationships: a structure that has grown historically and promotes cultural exchange, international understanding and economic relations between German and international towns and cities. International cultural work beyond formal town twinning associations has been carried out for years, sometimes decades, by the same activists in Dortmund. Attracting young talent is difficult. This was also the result of the recent discussions held as part of the conference format Tag der Städtepartnerschaften der Auslandsgesellschaft e.V.: for a young generation, the peaceful and friendly meeting of different nations in Europe and internationally is the norm. Here, the focus is aimed less at an ideal value than on the pragmatic aspect of international relations – the individual’s own professionalization and occupational networking. This status quo is also reflected in cultural and artistic exchanges: for example, most professional creatives and artists in Dortmund do not yet associate international town twinning with an offer from which they can benefit.

To transfer the town twinning model into the future also means undergoing a change of perspective. It is also necessary here to deal with the expectations of a new generation in terms of internationality, cultural identity and artistic cooperation, as well as individual profile formation.


Picture (Licence/photographer/designer): Joel Filipe / unsplash

International exchange programmes and research trips enable creatives and artists to establish global networks, find inspiration and reflect on new projects. Contemporary artistic processes become visible and perceptible. Joint exchanges across borders make a decisive contribution to the internationalization of our coexistence and make the diversity of artistic approaches visible.

The basis of international cultural exchange has so far been the principle of reciprocity. This meant that not only was the enrichment of the cultural offers in Dortmund in the foreground, but also the presentation of cultural and artistic impulses and achievements of regional cultural institutions, artists and creatives in an international context.

Two funding areas

A modern programme development has taken place within the framework of two modules: the new additional funding area ART.TRANSFER – Work Scholarship, which focusses on individual artists with innovative project plans , will be applied in addition to the already existing funding area ART.TRANSFER – Project Funding as part of twin town activities.

The aim of the newly designed funding area is to identify individual needs and personal development processes, to promote them precisely and to recognize and support open-ended and innovative work. Thus, artistic work without financial pressure and the transfer of knowledge have top priority in the redesign of the overall programme ART.TRANSFER.

Application and procedure

When is an application possible?

Applications are possible from 13.06.2022 to 10.10.2022 (for projects from March 2023). You can also subscribe to our Newsletter and will then be automatically informed about current deadlines.

What is funded?

Eligibility requirements: ·

  • Collaboration and networking: at least one artist from Dortmund and one cooperation partner from one of Dortmund’s twin towns develop a project and/or carry it out together.
  • A stay in one of Dortmund's twin towns is mandatory for artists from Dortmund.
Eligible expenditure:
  • Assumption of travel expenses (for orientation see Funding guidelines: Travel allowances per twin town) and accommodation (max. up to €130/overnight stay) for artists from Dortmund.
  • Material and production costs for the joint project.
  • Fees are paid per stay for two artists (artist from Dortmund / artist from the twin town). For this purpose, €350 gross / per day per artist will be fixed. The amount of the fee cannot be reduced or increased.
  • In the case of "producing work" additional fee costs may be indicated under material and production costs (e.g. technicians, stage construction, actors, models, set-up/dismantling assistants, assistant directors, graphic designers, photographers).
  • A personal contribution is not required.
  • Acquired or planned third-party funds must be shown.
The stay is possible for a period of up to ten days.
The number of artists (Dortmund/twin town) may vary depending on the concept, but is limited to two artists (Dortmund/twin town) per application with regard to the fee payment. Hotel and travel costs for accompanying persons must be within the existing budget.

Funding guidelines [pdf, 148 kB]

Who receives funding?

Eligible to apply are:

  • Artists and creatives who usually work and live in Dortmund/in one of the twin cities.
  • Artists of all disciplines (see below) and those working on an interdisciplinary basis**.
  • Primarily individual artists

Performing arts
Dance, theatre, action/conceptual art, performance art

Digital arts, new/interactive media
Immersive art, video art, design, (electronic) music, sound design, scenography, virtual (spatial) sculptures, interactive installations

Urban art
Hip hop culture, street art, club culture, interventions in urban space


Music, composing

Art in construction, art in urban space, architecture

Fine arts
Painting, photography, sculpture, drawing/graphics, photography

**Artists working on an interdisciplinary basis are active in more than one discipline.

How is funding provided?

On request, the Kulturbüro (Cultural Office of the City of Dortmund) provides advice both in terms of content and form on the application process. After the formal preliminary examination, an independent jury of experts makes the funding decisions on the applications received on the basis of the present funding guidelines. In its funding decisions, the jury is bound by the amount of funding available for a calendar year,

and funding over two years is not possible. There is no entitlement to funding.

The jury meeting will take place after the application deadline; it discusses applications that are received by the deadline. Please note that the start of the project must not be before March of the following year.

The applicant is always the artist living and working in Dortmund!

The following must be submitted:

The application form:

  • Project description: objectives and measures of the proposed project, taking into account the criteria motivation, quality and professionalism, internationality and sustainability (see funding guidelines)
  • Presentation of all main project participants.
  • Indication of the required fees, travel expenses, costs for accommodation, material and production costs.
  • Indication of further third-party funding, if this is planned or has already been acquired. A personal contribution is not required.


  • Brief CV or work biography – link to the homepage, instead of extensive catalogues
  • Outline of a schedule
  • Brief CV or work biography of the artist from the twin town
  • Letter of intent or written confirmation by email from the artist from the twin town

How are applications submitted?

The applicant is always the artist living and working in Dortmund!

For a complete application, the application form must be completed and signed. In addition, the above-mentioned enclosures must be included.

Submissions by email or post to

Kulturbüro Dortmund (Cultural Office of the City of Dortmund)
Annika Schmermbeck
Kampstr. 6
44137 Dortmund


City of Dortmund – Cultural OfficeAnnika Schmermbeck