Landscape as place of transformation

Scholarship from the German Environment Agency, Bauhaus Dessau Foundation and Kulturpark e.V. for artists cooperating with scientists and contemporary witnesses

Betonierte Fläche in Bitterfeld-WolfenClick to enlarge
Bitterfeld-Wolfen – place of transformation

The processes of industrialisation, political system change, economic upheaval and ecological consciousness raising have left their mark in Bitterfeld-Wolfen. How can others get a sense of these transformation processes?

Source: Aljoscha Begrich

Bitterfeld-Wolfen in Saxony-Anhalt will host the first ever OSTEN (“the East”) festival in July 2022. The festival brings together contemporary perspectives from the visual arts, theatre and artistic research. The thinking behind the festival is to change the image of eastern Germany through a network of cultural institutions, artists and local stakeholders by taking the particularities of its history, landscape and social structure as the starting point to reflect on issues that have an impact beyond the local environment. The German Environment Agency (UBA) and Bauhaus Dessau Foundation and Kulturpark e.V. are involved in the project and providing a tandem scholarship for three artists who are to develop a project in Bitterfeld together scientists and contemporary witnesses. The third partner is festival organiser Kulturpark e.V. The scholarship will enable artists to spend two months in the region and offers scientists and contemporary witnesses a unique opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary exchange.

Challenges: Eastern Germany, a location of transformation

The festival presents Bitterfeld-Wolfen as an example and experimental field for an artistic exploration of social and ecological transformation. The region exemplifies man's overexploitation of nature over the past 150 years. At the same time, it is an example of the rapid change after reunification as well as of successful ecological restoration. These processes of industrialisation, political system change, economic upheaval and ecological awareness have left their mark - on people as well as on the landscape. How can we experience these enormous transformation processes that have completely changed the biographical, political and ecological landscape? What do they tell us about the future? What designs for the future can be imagined on the basis of this topography?

The tandem scholarship is aimed at artists who seek close cooperation with research assistants at UBA and/or contemporary witnesses on site. Cooperation and advisory services by the tandem partners should be incorporated in project planning.

Tandem partners

Jan Koschorreck and Ina Fettig, two experts from UBA who work in the Environmental Specimen Bank, and Birgitt Heinicke, a former UBA employee who herself comes from Wolfen, will be taking part. The environmental sample bank has been documenting the state of the environment for over 30 years. Year after year, experts sample selected animal and plant species from terrestrial systems, inland waters and oceans. They form the memory of our environment. The samples are stored in a massive archive and cooled to less than -150 degrees Celsius. The historical samples make it possible to travel back in time and make pollutant loads visible (

Ina Fettig studied chemistry and works in the field of environmental monitoring. Modern analytical techniques - such as non-target analytics - are used to detect pollutants in the environment and in samples. Although these measurements allow a broader picture of environmental pollution, they produce a large amount of data, which is very complex to evaluate. Ina Fettig’s central research question therefore focuses on the connection between environmental protection and data analysis and how data can best be presented to the public.

The biologist Jan Koschorreck researches new analytical methods and uses DNA analysis like in forensics. He sees the environmental sample bank as a mirror of the Anthropocene. Social change can be read in the samples of birds, trees, fish and other organisms.

Birgitt Heinicke lives in Bitterfeld-Wolfen. Before the political changes of 1989/90, she worked in the Wolfen film factory as an economist and later joined the staff of the German Environment Agency. As an experienced local, she knows her way around, can establish contact to other contemporary witnesses and thus establish the link between analytical research and landscape.

The scholarship: terms and conditions, application

The scholarship for the artists includes:

  • A monthly work scholarship of €1,800 each for two months; the scholarship will be divided among individual members; in the case of groups each person involved (max. 3) will receive their share
  • An additional €500 (max.) for travel to and from destination
  • Accommodation at Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau for a period of two months from 15.05.2022 to 17.07.2022 (binding residency)
  • Work/studio place in the Bauhaus building
  • Use of library and archives at Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau and staff support for their research
  • Logistical support in Bitterfeld-Wolfen in doing research or setting up installation
  • Funding for materials and production costs of up to €500 per project
  • Presentation of results at the OSTEN festival from 1.-17.7.2022 in Bitterfeld-Wolfen


The deadline for application materials is 21.02.2022, submitted by email only to Tandemstipendium [at] uba [dot] de. The application portfolio (max. 15 MB) must include:

  • CV or outline of artistic career
  • Project outline (max. 6.000 characters) which convincingly illustrates the idea and makes a clear connection to Bitterfeld-Wolfen.
  • A representative selection of the applicant’s work, sketches, etc. and references to publications, websites etc. (max. 10 pages), in German or English.

No remuneration will be granted for the preparation of applications. All applications received will be handled in compliance with data protection laws. Storage of data media occurs only as long as and to the extent that this is necessary for the selection process. Catalogues received will be returned to applicants. There is no right of recourse to the law.

Please address enquiries to:

Fotini Mavromati, Umweltbundesamt, Tel. 0049 (0) 340/2103 2318, email: fotini [dot] mavromati [at] uba [dot] de (for questions concerning award announcement and tandem partners)

Burghard Duhm, Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau, Tel. 0049 (0) 340/6508237, email: duhm [at] bauhaus-dessau [dot] de (for questions concerning award announcement, accommodation/work space)

Ludwig Haugk, Kulturpark e.V., Tel. 0049(0) 173-6327677, email: ludwig [dot] haugk [at] kultur-park [dot] de (for questions concerning OSTEN festival)

Cooperation partners

The German Environment Agency considers the funding of arts-based research/artistic research as its contribution to the development of a culture of sustainability which brings forth new prospects for the lifestyles and attitudes of a society fit for the future.
This aspect was also significant for the historic Bauhaus, which as an interdisciplinary research and experimental workshop explored social and cultural utopias for a modern industrial society and systematically worked on the foundations and relationships of and between science, art and design. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the GDR, the Bauhaus researched the connection between societal, spatial and ecological transformation in the Dessau-Bitterfeld region and played an active role in the reshaping of the region in, among other things, the long-standing projects "Industrial Garden Kingdom" (1989-2000) and IBA Urban Redevelopment Saxony-Anhalt (2002-2010). The aim of the Kulturpark e.V. association, founded in 2020, is to use the example of Bitterfeld-Wolfen and its region to provide fresh impetus for East German cultural landscape, to inspire artists to explore the East beyond its centres and to bring together actors, initiatives and institutions on a thematic level and thus go against the trend of institutional retreat.

Umweltbundesamt Hauptsitz

Wörlitzer Platz 1
06844 Dessau-Roßlau

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