The Language of Art and Music:
"An International Symposium on the Potential for Artistic Expression to Cross Cultural Barriers and the Relationship between Art, Culture, and International Relations"

(Berlin, 17th - 20th February 2011, Held Parallel to the Berlin International Film Festival)

Watch Conference speaker amb. Andras Simonyi (Former Hungarian Ambassador and ICD Advisory Board Member) in the Stephen Colbert Report Show
Amb. Dr. Cynthia Schneider looks at two international "American Idol" style shows in Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates and explores the effect they are having on local societies.
"The Language of Art and Music" is an international symposium taking place in Berlin from 17th 20th February 2011 to explore the potential for art and music to provide a neutral platform for cultural exchange. Artists and practitioners from the fields of film, performance art, literature, and music, will share their perspectives alongside renowned academics and leading figures from international politics, diplomacy, civil society, and the private sector.

The use of culture and art to promote dialogue and understanding is a field that, though the subject of much scholarly attention, has had little impact on the behaviour and activities of national governments and other stakeholders in international relations. Moreover, whilst there is a widespread agreement of the value of culture and art in raising awareness of cultural differences, there is less understanding of the potential for culture and art to offer a neutral platform for mutual cultural exchange, to transform cultural differences and unite people through emotions. "The Language of Art and Music" will work to bridge the gap between theory and practice by bringing together artists with academic experts from the field and key figures in international relations to discuss the importance of these artistic disciplines.

In addition to the exploring the theory of cultural and artistic exchange, "The Language of Art and Music" will provide an opportunity for in-depth analysis of relevant case studies from across the world. By including both empirical and theoretical analyses, and by hosting an interdisciplinary panel of speakers from across the world, the program will provide a thorough and innovative examination of the language of art and music.

Music as Cultural Diplomacy:
Rock and its Role in the Disintegration of the Soviet Block (more)
Cold War Diplomacy: A Tribute to the Jazz Ambassadors (more)

Certificate of Attendance

All conference participants will be awarded an official certificate of attendance upon completion of the program, which will provide details of the speakers who took part and the topics discussed. Each certificate will be signed by two members of the ICD's Advisory Board (The ICD Advisory Board list can be found (here).

Conference Speakers

The speakers during the symposium will include renowned academics, key figures from international politics and diplomacy, award-winning artists, leading civil society practitioners, and other experts from cinema, music, performance art, and visual arts. Nominees from the 61st Berlin international film festival, "The Berlinale", will also feature.

Conference Participants

The conference is open to applications from young professionals, scholars and students, civil society practitioners, journalists, and other key stakeholders from cinema, music, performance art, visual arts, and literature. The audience will be drawn from across the world. If you would like to reserve a position please click on the Apply button below:

Program Agenda

The Strength of Song: Live Concert by Marcia Barrett (Wednesday, 26th May, 20:00)
The symposium will explore the theory behind art and music as cultural bridges, exploring in particular their universal nature. Academic experts will consider how we interpret and experience these cultural forms, and how these experiences can be compared across national boundaries. The conference will also look at a diverse range of case studies from across the world, featuring cinema, music and art. Artists, film directors, musicians, politicians, diplomats, and practitioners will offer their perspectives on these initiatives and the impact they have had at the local, national, and global levels.

The following issues will be mentioned and explored:
  • Cultural Diplomacy during the Cold War and Cultural policy-making in the 21st Century (Focus: Actors, initiatives, goals, and analysis of best practices)
  • The use of culture and communication in national foreign policies (Focus: case studies from US, UK, and Germany)
  • Re-defining culture (Focus: Moving beyond the traditional distinctions of “high” and “low” culture)
  • The role of artistic and cultural expression in providing a platform for strengthening intercultural relations at the regional, national, and local levels
  • New Trends and tendencies in cultural expression (Focus: Contemporary and experimental arts)
  • Art and political activism (Focus: Free speech, protest art, Graffiti, and artistic controversy)
  • National identity and cultural expression (Focus: The influence of art and culture on domestic politics.
  • Art and Cultural Diplomacy (Focus: Does the promotion of art internationally generate soft power?)
  • The relationships between artists, global politics and society and the potential of the arts to be a diplomatic tool (Focus: Artists as both informal and formal ambassadors)
  • Artistic expression as a means of social engagement and education (Focus: community work with young people, integration of minority communities)
  • Culture, art and the visibility of discrimination (Focus: racism, ageism, gender)
  • Sports as Cultural Diplomacy (Focus: The use of sporting initiatives to promote peace and development
  • National brands and cultural identity (Focus: The role of art and culture in reflecting and expressing national identities
  • Cultural imperialism? The rise of International film industries and their impact on national brands, tourism, and economic relations (Focus: Bollywood, Nollywood, Hollywood)
  • The Arts and climate change (Focus: Raising awareness of the environment through artistic expression)
  • Modern day museums in the 21st century and beyond (Focus: Collective memory and the importance of cultural and artistic reflection)
  • The role of state-supported cultural institutions in promoting culture and values abroad
  • State-sponsorship of the creative industries (Focus: Examining the economic and moral justifications for government support)

Sustainable Network

Conference participants will become part of a growing international network of people from across the world with different fields of interest and levels of experience, who share a commitment to intercultural exchange. Participants will be able to remain in touch with each other through the ICD Online Network.