2. Sustainability
  3. Strategy, Policy & Engagement
  4. Engagement
  5. Culture

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When we at Volkswagen support culture and the arts today, then we are taking responsibility for tomorrow.

Volkswagen Cultural Engagement

Because the future is being shaped when creativity unfolds. As a global and socially responsible company, we translate this belief into numerous projects which we strengthen in the frame of long-term partnerships and sustainable collaborations with artists, cultural visionaries and internationally leading institutions. With our help, an even larger audience gets in touch with creative works and ideas. And we firmly support cultural education programmes enabling people to understand the power of art and inspiring them to act creatively.

Volkswagen supports exhibition “Motion. Autos, Art, Architecture” at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

From left to right: L. Hileman, curator Guggenheim Museum Bilbao; I. Galán, CEO Iberdrola; Lord Norman Foster, initiator and curator; H. Diess, CEO Volkswagen Group; J. Vidarte, General Director of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Photo: Philipp Gladsome

Until September 18, 2022 a unique exhibition, curated by the iconic architect Lord Norman Foster, is presented at the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao: “Motion. Autos, Art, Architecture.”

“Motion” sheds an artistic view on the history of the automobile and displays around 40 exceptional cars along with artworks – among others by Andy Warhol, Donald Judd and Giacomo Balla.

In the “Future Gallery” 15 leading universities from all over the world present how mobility might look like in the future: They have developed sketches and models that envision life and forms of mobility in the year 2086 – the 200th birthday of the automobile.

Highlight video: Motion. Autos, Arts, Architectur

“Mobility is still a highly emotional subject. The power of design, of a brand and its identity remain key. Autonomous driving increases the opportunities for benefitting from mobility, for enjoying more comfort, and improved safety in particular. And mobility reduces its negative facets as it becomes more sustainable. The MOTION exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao fuses technological innovation with aesthetics and emotions, and it provides promising and motivating ideas for a future in a rapidly and radically changing world.”

Herbert Diess Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG

“This exhibition celebrates the art of the automobile design and explores its cultural links to art and architecture. It could be a requiem for the age of combustion as it makes a leap into the future with a gallery devoted to the work of fifteen schools of design and architecture, who have been invited to imagine mobility at the end of this century – coincident with the 200th anniversary of the birth of the automobile.”

Lord Norman Foster Curator of the exhibition:

Volkswagen and documenta fifteen: fostering sustainability

Representing the world’s most recognized exhibition for contemporary art, documenta is well on the way to open for the public in 2022 – also thanks for Volkswagen. For the fifth time Volkswagen Group supports this major art exhibition which takes places every five years in Kassel. As a leading partner, the company stands behind the joint approach of documenta and Museum Fridericianium gGmbH in improving the environmental footprint of the international art event.

One key goal is the implementation of e-mobility solutions. Volkswagen is going to provide exhibition visitors wit a fast charger park and is going to support the exhibition team with electric cars and electric cargo-bikes. Volkswagen Art4ALL tickets will offer free access to documenta for 14.000 students. And the Volkswagen plant Kassel will continue its long-lasting support for the exhibition with Volkswagen employees supporting setup and dismantling at the exhibition sites.

Documenta fifteen is going to be curated by the Indonesian artist collective ruangrupa using lumbung, a practice based on collectivity, resource building and sustainable exchange. Between June 18 and September 25, 2022, the exhibition will invite visitors on more than 100 days to experience contemporary artworks from all over the world. Link to video >

‚Volkswagen Art4ALL' as major element of partnership with Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

The reopened Neue Nationalgalerie introduced the 'Volkswagen Art4ALL' event series as a new visitor experience. From December 2021 on, the museum opens its exhibitions and collections for free between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the third Thursday of every month. Representing a key pillar of the event format, visitors will also benefit from free tours, workshops and, on selected dates, art performances, lectures or artist talks.

Similar events have been offered at Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin since April 2018 (between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. one the first Thursday of every month), and at Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg since 2020. The monthly event format was developed as part of the multi-year partnership between Volkswagen and Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin with the mutual commitment to create encounters with culture and the arts for as many people as possible. This approach is perfectly put into practice through 'Volkswagen Art4ALL' as it continuously establishes new relations and discourses with visitors.  

Science for all: Volkswagen helps phaeno Science Center to launch new communication formats linking scientists and audience

Reaching the public with scientific topics: this goal is set by many modern scientists and research institutions. Launching two new formats, Volkswagen and phaeno, which is among the leading science museums in the world, expand the dialog between experts and audience. There are two program elements to start in 2021: “Meet the Scientist” and “Science Talk” in which young and established scientists representing Lower Saxony’s research landscape exchange ideas with museum visitors.

The collaboration of Volkwagen and phaeno enables many people to learn more about the latest science topics. In order to promote young science talent a Volkswagen fellowship at the phaeno museum was initiated as a first. Volkswagen underlines the commitment to the home of its production facilities by supporting a pioneering regional project and enabling company experts to join the program. Nikolai Ardey, Head of Volkswagen Group Innovation, is going to be one of the panellists at the first “Science Talk” addressing “Autonomous Driving” on December 7.

Volkswagen and „Hamburger Bahnhof“ continue successful „Volkswagen Art4ALL” program

The multi-awarded event program “Volkswagen Art4All” returned to „Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin” in December 2021. Volkswagen’s support enables the museum to provide visitors with free entry and additional experiences between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month. Everyone interested can discover the current exhibitions, guided tours and workshops as well as attend an accompanying artistic programme of performances, artist talks or lectures.

“Volkswagen Art4ALL” is the new key element of the multi-year partnership between Volkswagen and Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin to broaden access to culture and the arts for more people. Supporting forward-looking projects and activities within the fields of the arts and culture across the world, Volkswagen improves not only the visibility of artists and their views but also accessibility to their work for a large variety of people.

Symbolising an entire industrial region: Heidersberger’s photography “Kraftwerk der Volkswagen AG” turns 50

Volkswagen Powerplant, Wolfsburg 1971
Photo: Heinrich Heidersberger

In the 1960s, photographer Heinrich Heidersberger had captured the atmosphere in the Wolfsburg region with its people, places and production sites in a number of outstanding and timeless images. Providing different impressions of the young industrial city of Wolfsburg, his series of black and white photography includes “Kraftwerk der Volkswagen AG” which Heidersberger took in 1971. It has become not only an artistic icon but also plays a key role for Heidersberger’s body of work and for Volkswagen.

Heidersberger’s work is honored with several events and exhibitions on the occasion of a special jubilee: on November 4 in 1971 he took his famous photo “Kraftwerk”. Exactly 50 years later, the Autostadt provided the stage for a panel discussion about the art-historical perspective and the current reflection of the artist’s work. Hosted by Armin Maus, Chairman of Autostadt, Prof. Folke Köbberling, artist and lecturer at the Institute for Architecture-related Art at the Technical University of Braunschweig, Prof. emeritus Dr. Barbara Schellewald from the department of arts at University of Basel, as well as Thomas Schmall, member of the Volkswagen AG Board of Management responsible for Technology and CEO of Volkswagen Group Components, and Dieter Landenberger, Head of Heritage at Volkswagen Communications shared their views under the topic “Utopia or Dystopia – Shifting interpretations of an iconic image”.

Kultursymposium Weimar: Volkswagen actively involved in generational discussions at Kultursymposium Weimar hosted by Goethe-Institut

As a long-standing partner, Volkswagen is also supporting the Goethe-Institute’s international Kultursymposium Weimar with content. With the theme “Generations”, the international panel discussions was held digitally for the first time on 16th and 17th June and was available to all interested parties around the world. Volkswagen sustainability expert Tobias Reuss talked about climate change and solidarity among generations: www.goethe.de/kultursymposium.

For the third time, the Goethe-Institute brought together leading personalities and innovative ideas from around the world to discuss the pressing issues of our society. Voices from culture, science, politics and economics were debating generational issues in many areas of life in the digital edition.

Such as on the “Temperature Rising” panel, where Tobias Reuss, head of the sustainability strategy at the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand, met Indian climate scientist Navroz K. Dubash and Chlöe Swarbrick, a young Member of Parliament from the Green Party, from Auckland, New Zealand.

Volkswagen and its sites

Volkswagen takes its social responsibility seriously and supports cultural diversity in numerous projects, particularly at its company sites. The support all follows our aspiration to make culture accessible to as many people as possible and at the same time to strengthen our cultural partners in their work. At art associations, museums or festivals, Volkswagen sides with innovative culture projects that invite visitors to new experiences. One example is Volkswagen Art4ALL, a monthly offering in the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg. On the last Wednesday of every month, Volkswagen allows free entry into the exhibitions and also offers guides, workshops and a special artistic program on a monthly basis.  

Karajan Music Tech Conference: Overcoming the Corona Crisis with creativity and innovation

Matthias Röder at the Karajan Music Tech Conference 2019

The Karajan Music Tech Conference is a cross-industry networking building an interface between music and the latest technology. It usually takes place one day before the opening of the Salzburg Easter Festival. The conference was initiated by Matthias Röder, Managing Director of the Eliette and Herbert von Karajan Institute. For four years, Volkswagen, Matthias Röder and his team have been collaborating to bring together thought leaders from culture, music, architecture, design, science, technology and business, to create new ideas for the future and to drive interdisciplinarity collaboration. In 2020, a Volkswagen Group representative was present again: Peter Wouda, Design Director of Volkswagen Group Innovation, took part in an digital interdisciplinary panel on ecology, mobility and urbanity and discuss with experts from business, art and architecture how cultural and other institutions will manage after the Corona crisis.

Free access to virtual conference stages

On April 3rd, 2020 it was that time of the year again - but this year virtually. When the exit restrictions were tightened and events were cancelled, Röder pulled out all the stops to take the conference completely online and provide free access for everyone. Using the web conferencing tool Zoom, participants can switch between different virtual stages, actively participate in discussions and network via the web-based instant messaging service Slack.  

An e-tractor for Africa at the Guggenheim in New York

Die e-mobility project has been developed by Volkswagen Group Innovation and Volkswagen Group South Africa
Photo Credit: Philipp Gladsome

With sustainable e-mobility, Volkswagen is taking a new path to drive social progress in Africa. A special exhibit was part of an exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

In many rural regions of Africa, harvest productivity is limited because farmers hardly use any machinery. However, this is not necessarily due to the availability of technical equipment, but to access to fuels. But what there is enough of in these regions is sun. The idea of the electric tractor includes decentralized solar panels that can charge the batteries of the tractor but also of other vehicles or machines and at the same time act as antennas for mobile internet or as shade providers. “The idea is about much more than mobility. It is a sharing and community concept,” says Peter Wouda, Design Director of the Volkswagen Group Innovation Center who is part of the development team.

The project study was on display at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York as part of the Countryside, The Future exhibition in 2020/21. Created and curated by Rem Koolhaas and AMO’s director Samir Bantal in partnership with international universities and scientists, the unique non-art exposition addresses urgent environmental, political and socioeconomic issues and allows visitors to understand the radical transformations taking place outside urban areas and the requiring new responses. Volkswagen was the only cooperation partner to contribute an exhibit to the display.

To the home of the American automobile with re:publica

Volkswagen Expert Panel „New Mobility“ (from left) Jamie D. Junior (COO at Warrior on Wheels for Metro Detroit), Falk Bothe (Volkswagen AG), Diana Nucera (Detroit based artist, educator, and mother of the ‘Tech Zine’ genre), Mark de la Vergne (Chief of Mobility Innovation at City of Detroit), Tina Unterländer (Director Innovation at VW Credit, Inc) und Moderatorin Jessica Robinson (#rpDetroit-Co-Kuratorin)
Photo Credit: Philipp Gladsome

Creating Access to mobility, arts, and culture in Detroit and beyond.

“Deutschlandjahr USA” was a collaborative campaign of the Federal Foreign Office and the Goethe-Institute with support ‎from the BDI. As one of Deutschlandjahr USA’s milestone projects – and Germany’s biggest digital conference – the Sequencer Tour by re:publica offered a platform for discussions and exchanges through a series of innovative event formats. Stopping its tour in Detroit, Volkswagen joined as re:publica’s partner to bring German projects to the US and to inspire and create new ideas.
“Access” was the allover motto for the two-day event with a huge variety of panels, workshops, and performances by artists from Detroit, representatives of the city, mobility experts and many more thought-leaders of various fields from the US and Europe. Volkswagen presented the collaboration with Ricardo Simian, who with the support of Volkswagen experts is building ancient 3D printed instruments. Falk Bothe from Volkswagen AG and Tina Unterländer from VW Credit joined the panel, new mobility, as an option for equity and access.
Additionally, Volkswagen invited to the #EarlyAccess roundtable to kick off each conference day with a thought-leader discussion joined by Matthias Röder from the Karajan Institute, Detroit-based artist Tiff Massey, musician Bryce Detroit, Jessica Robinson from Michigan Mobility Insitute, Janine Koch from re:publica, Ricardo Simian from 3D Music Instruments, Falk Bothe from Volkswagen AG, Tina Unterländer from VW Credit and many more. The many different perspectives inspired a vivid discussion on mobility, culture, and social impact.

Online Education at MoMA

Depositphotos/ racorn

Experiencing and understanding art is no longer a question of the location. This visionary objective is turned into reality through MoMA’s innovative online course programme. As a pioneer among international museums, MoMA makes its resources available for art lovers from all areas in the world. The courses also propose new approaches how to integrate art into educational activities with children and teenagers. With help of Volkswagen Group of America, the range of online courses has been significantly expanded since 2011 and complemented by a series of free courses. During this time, over 300,000 people worldwide have taken advantage of the online education programme. Additionally, the Volkswagen Group of America has enabled the production of an online course in Mandarin, providing Chinese-speaking users with easier access to the educational programme.

MoMA Partnership (more information)

VW Sunday Session MoMA PS 1

Performance: ATM Presents DEN$E, performers name: Bubblesz
Photograph: Aliza Sena

In search of new discoveries. VW Sunday Sessions at MoMA PS1 offer forward-thinking opportunities to discover art directly and in new contexts. In these annual events which have been taking place between October and April for five years, creative pioneers present a diverse range of art forms and encourage their audience to engage in direct dialogue about artistic and social topics. Volkswagen Group of America has been a dedicated partner of the VW Sunday Sessions since the programme was launched. Through the multifunctional 'VW Dome' in the courtyard of MoMA PS1, also made possible by the company, the museum could extend its event space and consequently its ground-breaking programme for different age groups.

MoMA Partnership (more information)

Exploring award winning art

View of the Exhibition

In September 2019, US-based conceptual artist Barbara Kruger received the Goslar Kaiserring, one of the most important international awards for contemporary and modern art. The German city of Goslar honoured her ongoing creative proclamation of social challenges which is also being reflected in the award winner exhibition. Representing the annual highlight at the Mönchehaus Museum in Goslar and supported by Volkswagen for the fifth time, this year’s show features Kruger’s work from the 1990s until today and will be open until January 2020. Visitors are invited to explore Kruger’s signature collages combining striking images and thoughtful text elements to address political and social subjects. Her art draws attention to various facets of stereotypes, prejudices and inequity and in her exhibitions the artist raises questions and encourages people to seek answers. Volkswagen’s partnership with the Mönchehaus Museum Goslar is a significant element of the corporate commitment to promote culture and the arts making the company an important driver for strengthening cultural diversity around Volkswagen production facilities.

"Art x Tech" Symposium in Beijing

Music meets the future. As founder and host of the "Art x Tech" Symposium in Beijing, in September 2018, Volkswagen Group China is initiated an innovative exchange between art, science and technology. Representatives from the Eliette & Herbert von Karajan Institute and researchers from the Future Center of Volkswagen Group China invited musicians such as the world-famous violinist Daniel Hope and digital experts to discuss how the perception of art and culture are impacted by the growing digitization of all aspects of living and what role artificial intelligence will play in the development of new art forms. Real-life scenarios illustrating how music and autonomous driving could be combined in future vehicles will also be presented. These concepts are the result of the first workshop with musicians and technology experts, initiated by Volkswagen, which took place in Berlin, in spring 2018. The symposium in Beijing ties in with the workshop and will continue the conversation, but also drawing on Asian aspects. Furthermore, the symposium will lead to the debut of the renowned classical music series "Yellow Lounge", featuring six events across Asia for the first time. Connecting club culture, classical music and electronic music with each other, the "Yellow Lounge" series founded by Deutsche Grammophon has generated a new experience of classical music in various places across the world. These next concerts that are supported through Volkswagen will now give the Asian audience a chance at a new way of listening.

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