Auszeichnung
künstlerischer Projekträume
und -initiativen
Ashley started out as a self-funded project. This allowed presenting art in a self-determined way, especially by working artists not part of the commercial art market but also those flying under the radar of larger public institutions. Of course, this model also brought up the question of sustainability. In the last few years, with rising rents and spaces closing down, this question has become more and more pressing for everyone on the free scene. Winning the project space prize in 2018 was a pivotal moment for Ashley, particularly because beyond recognizing the work done by independently-run spaces, the prize money could be spread over several years to keep our program running. However, a prize also follows the logic of exceptionality which puts a lot of pressure on project spaces to ‘perform’. Hence, the structural funding program by the Senate significantly changed the conditions of our work because by ­confronting us with the administrative work inherent in public funding, we evolved our own internal structure to accommodate longer-term planning while still maintaining the flexibility needed to track the subtle changes in the art communities around us. Before this program, going from project to project rather than planning two years ahead, it was difficult to apply for project funding due to the fact that application deadlines are often one year in advance and therefore difficult to meet if you are not a publicly-funded institution or commercial project with the resources to plan several months or even a year ahead. So this program does help a lot to allow project spaces to stake a claim on public art funding. At the same time, with the structural funding approved on a two-year basis, it remains unclear how this mode of operating will last a few years, or even one year into the future.The engagement and support from the Network has been vitally important to our growth and sustainability, and also our learning and understanding of the ­wider Berlin art scene beyond our micro-communities. For one thing, we have learned so much about the plurality of spaces and creative ­discourses in Berlin. But the open discussion that the Network allows with the Berlin Senate and one another has been really important in order to understand our needs as unique nodes in the artistic landscape of Berlin, and creative mutual goals for the sustainability and vitality of the community as a whole.… Still nowadays, the more and more international “g-local” Berliner independent cultural scene has been able to grow, interconnect, and continue to establish strategies to be a political protagonist of this long debate, also representing an impressive cultural resource to profit from.