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Urban discovery with: Inga Sponheuer

"Art is a place where everything seems possible"

Cultural manager Inga Sponheuer talks about diversity in the cultural landscape and explains why it is important to specifically promote art from off-locations.


Inga Sponheuer



Birthplace / Place of residence:

Bochum / Ruhr area


Cultural manager with a focus on diversity development

How would you describe yourself and your work to an alien?

I would tell the alien that if he/she/* wants to tell and show us something about their own world, that I could organize a place for it and other things that are needed for such an event (I would also explain to the alien what money is). I would tell the alien that I don't only organize this kind of events for aliens but also for people who have something to tell and to show. I would leave out what else I do and tell more later.

What is your drive to create art?

Art is a "place" where everything is possible. A place that lives from the fact that there is diversity. I see a focus of my work in opening up spaces and providing resources that can then be filled and used by artists. I believe that it is time for an upgrade of the cultural landscape of the Ruhr region. Because the Ruhr pulsates, there is still so much that can be told and shown here. It is therefore necessary to make the corresponding resources accessible and open up institutions, to bring arts and perspectives into visibility that have not been adequately represented so far. There is still a lot to do.

What do you love most in the Ruhr region in general?

The Ruhr is never told to the end, because it is constantly changing and developing - it is loud and quiet at the same time, but always rather loud. I find that absolutely exciting and also unique.

Three places in the Ruhr region that you definitely show visitors:

Westpark around the Jahrhunderthalle at blue hour, Korte Klippe in Essen also at blue hour (it´s my favourite time of day) and some event or festival taking place at the time of the visit...

What makes the arts and culture scene here so special?

The density and narrowness. And yet there is still an incredible amount of space here, which I appreciate very much. But I would rather speak of scenes, and that's exactly the point: there are an incredible number of artists who live here and often make/show their art in off areas. There are also many young artists living here who make art that mainly corresponds to the cultural interests of younger addressees. These artists should urgently be promoted more - why urgently? Because it is often outstanding art and these artists should be motivated to stay in the Ruhr region and not move away, as many do, and because this is about nothing more and nothing less than the future of the cultural landscape of our metropolis.

In which places can you feel the metropolis of the arts here?

In quite a few places. Often you have to know the actors well to find out about events that are taking place at some off-site locations. In the Ruhr region, we are of course equipped with special places through the cultural use of former industrial wastelands. At the same time, it is important to remember that these places are often decentralised, difficult to reach and not infrequently disconnected from the everyday life of many Ruhr district residents. Therefore, in addition to promoting these special places, it is equally important to continue to create more central places where different artistic interests and perspectives are represented. Further opening up cultural institutions to actors from the independent scene is certainly one way of doing this.

Where/when did you have your best cultural experience?

Hui, difficult to say... I love to structure creative chaos, I had many nice experiences doing that in the past. Speaking from the role of the recipient, I would highlight various moments at art festivals such as Beatplantation or the youth art project EUROPEFICTION, or a Krump-Battle in Bochum or a visit to a Cirque Pardi performance or, a little while ago, the BundeskunstHALL OF FAME! at the Bundeskunsthalle.

Where do you like to go out to eat & drink?

I love eating at the Zodiac in Essen or at the Kartoffel-Lord in Dortmund, and when it comes to cosy wine evenings, I love the Badalona in Bochum, for example.

The best parties are in the...

... definitely in the Ruhr area. I've spent quite a lot of my life in the club Hotel Shanghai.

If the Ruhr area was a song, this is how it would sound:

A beatbox song that constantly changes style and beat and still makes sense.

What's your next project?

It's the summer break at the moment so quite a few projects have just been brought to an end. In September we'll be starting again with an interdisciplinary project that links three institutions from Bochum.