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Why culture?

Why focus on culture? A personal reflection.

My connection to culture is certainly rooted first and foremost in my own bi-cultural background. As a child of migrants coming from Kazakhstan, I carry two cultures within me - the Russian and the German. Born in a small rural village in the southern part of the country, after our immigration, I grew up in an equally idyllic district town near Karlsruhe in Germany.

This is also where my second connection to culture lies - the small street where I grew up. Situated in a quiet neighbourhood, it was architecturally characterised by apartment buildings inhabited by migrants in particular. My childhood playmates came from Eritrea, Turkey, Italy, Poland and the Kuril Islands (a group of Russian islands near Japan).

Living pluralism, intercultural competences and adaptability are important issues that I have been dealing with since then. Not least in my fashion design bachelor's thesis at Pforzheim University, where I created a fictional being as a persona, a humeleon, as a fusion of human and chameleon, that would cope in pluralistic world through flexibility and easy adaptability.

"Coexistence is not necessarily learning to live together but perhaps learning to live side by side." Raphie Etgar, curator of exhibition coexistence (Museum on the seam)

My third connection to different international cultures came from many trips to countries near and far over the years. Indonesian islands, Mexico, the west coast of the USA, Zanzibar, Israel, the south of France, Italy (and much more) - I have had the privilege of exploring these destinations and their regional cultures and can´t get enough of different traditions, cultural elements and especially crafts. I look forward to going on many more expeditions in the future on behalf of cen.

by Viktoria Heinzel

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