NEUSTART KULTUR (A NEW START FOR CULTURE) special programme - Profile: Soziokultur (Profile: Socioculture)

“Profil: Soziokultur” is a new funding initiative worth up to 20 million euros, launched by the Fonds Soziokultur within the scope of the Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien (BKM, Federal Commissioner for Culture and Media)’s NEUSTART KULTUR (A NEW START FOR CULTURE) rescue and future programme. A single call for projects scheduled to be realised in 2022 will take place from 1 August 2021 to 30 September 2021. The pandemic has thrown up numerous questions regarding offerings, programmes, staff, cooperation partners, platforms, target groups and financing for all cultural operators. “Profil: Soziokultur” is a response to these questions.

Funding will be granted for development processes and the organisational development of independent, non-profit coordinators and institutions in the sociocultural and cultural field. Process projects should serve to stabilise structures for cultural inclusion and participation, even in uncertain times and on the basis of clear profiles and financing and networking strategies. When doing so, local issues and a wide range of sociocultural conditions should be taken into consideration and, ideally, freelance creative artists integrated within the scope of their role as experts on sociocultural practices and structures.

The objective is to use the experience gained during the pandemic to assist independent coordinators of socioculture, cultural education and media cultural work with the handling of development processes aimed at facilitating their mid-term stabilisation and structural anchoring in their locales. Funding applications can be made for individual projects or group projects with up to three cooperation partners.


What do we fund? Processes not projects!

Applications for funding may be made for projects relating to the applicant’s own development and building on issues facing the applicant. These projects should contribute to

  • Raising the applicant’s profile and potential for socially relevant, participatory cultural work

  • Taking up socially pressing questions and tasks and clarifying their significance/requirements for organisation, offerings, staff and target groups

  • Identifying resources and possible synergy effects with other institutions/ partners, such as rooms, venues, material, ideas, concepts, equipment, finances, staff, administration, etc.

  • Increasing visibility and ensuring the functioning of communications and the exchange of experiences with local or regional stakeholders; public authorities and cooperation partners

  • The development of financing and employment models, where applicable in collaboration with cooperation partners and/or public authorities

Cooperation with public coordinators, in particular with cultural administrative bodies or independent collectives/ initiatives, is explicitly desired, with a view to strengthening local ties.


Who can make an application?
  • Independent, non-profit legal entities, i.e. registered associations under German law (e.V.); non-profit limited liability companies under German law (gGmbH), non-profit private corporate enterprises under German law (gUG) and non-profit foundations which are at least two years old (set up in 2020 or earlier) and originate from the fields of cultural work, socioculture, cultural education or media cultural work in Germany

  • Cooperative alliances of up to three coordinators/ partners where the main applicant is a non-profit legal entity (at least 2 years old, see above). Cooperative partners are welcome to be (newer) independent initiatives/task forces or GmbH/GbR companies. Main applicants and cooperative partners cannot be individual natural persons or public or church institutions


Application period

01.08.2021 to 30.09.2021 via the application portal.


Implementation period

The projects/ processes should be implemented from February to December 2022.


Funding amount
  • At least EUR 5 000 up to EUR 30 000 / Max. 80% of the total sum

  • At least EUR 5 000 for cooperative projects with two partners up to EUR 40 000 / Max. 80% of the total sum

  • At least EUR 5 000 for cooperative projects with three partners up to EUR 50 000 / Max. 80% of the total sum


Information events

The Fonds Soziokultur organises regular information events regarding the funding programme. Click here to register.


Further FAQs - Click to open the drop-down menu

Who is NOT eligible to apply?
Public and church institutions; public corporations; individual natural persons; initiatives/collectives without a legal entity; public limited companies under German law (GmbH); partnerships under German law (GbR); German stock companies (AG) and limited partnerships under German law (KG) are not eligible to apply.

What do we NOT fund?

  • Artistic and cultural projects and productions
  • Preparatory and research work for projects
  • Scholarships, festivals or regular programme offerings

WHAT must be included in the COSTS and FINANCIAL PLAN?

  • The cost plan should present the total project costs, i.e. not just the costs which are the subject of your application to the Fonds Soziokultur
  • The costs and financial plan may only include calculations regarding costs/ income for which there will be a subsequent verifiable flow of money

HOW can CO-FINANCING be provided?
Co-financing (at least 20% of the total budget) can be provided from own capital; income and/or third-party financing. Third-party financing means all funding/project grants received from private or public institutions (e.g. foundations, banks, regional governments, local authorities, etc.). Private donations, membership subscriptions and, for example, sales revenues should be included as own capital or own cash sums.


WHAT costs are eligible for funding?

  • Costs incurred for fees
  • Proportional sum of personnel costs for permanent members of staff
    • A breakdown must be provided of the number of hours which staff will work on the project or it must be stated whether the scope of employment contracts will be increased for the duration of the project
    • The applicant must state in their application whether they are receiving institutional funding for these staff members. Where personnel costs are already (partially) financed via mainstream funding, such funding must be stated on the income list as third-party funding, including the comment “Mainstream funding”
  • Lump sums for voluntary work (if they are actually paid out)
  • Material costs such as
    • Rent for premises, technical equipment, etc.
    • Travel and/or accommodation expenses (German Travel Costs Act)
    • Purchase of small items (purchase price less than EUR 800 net per single purchase)
  • Costs for accessibility, such as sign language interpreters, translation, transport services, helpers, etc.
  • Gema performers’ fees, KSK artists’ social insurance, other charges Fees

What costs are NOT eligible for funding?

  • Investment expenditure such as building work to facilitate increased accessibility
  • (Building) Measures associated with hygiene concepts
  • Lump sums for office or administrative expenditure cannot be accepted. All expenditure must be subsequently documented via individual receipts (all postage, purchase of printer cartridges, telephone bill, etc.).
  • Lump sums for travel costs cannot be accepted. Travel costs must be reimbursed as per the provisions of the German Federal Travel Costs Act (Bundesreisekostengesetz).
  • Costs for which there will be no subsequent flow of money (voluntary work, fee waiver, free use of premises or technical equipment)
  • Should the applicant have their own premises which will be used for the project, then they cannot assert any claim for possible loss of income which would have been earned by renting out these premises.

WHY make an application as a cooperative?
The following examples can also be applied to individual applicants. Cooperative projects with up to three partners offer the opportunity to directly respond to common issues from the perspective, and with the strength, of many stakeholders. Goals of a partnership which is on as equal a footing as possible could be:

  • To develop existing strengths to create a new programme element or decentralised portfolio of offerings
  • To test new forms of cooperation within the scope of smaller joint pilot activities as well as also to carry out cross-disciplinary artistic work with a social aspiration
  • To better coordinate resources such as staff, rooms, channels, platforms and financing to achieve improved structures
  • To learn together and/or to provide each other with advice
  • To provide smaller initiatives with development platforms and to integrate these platforms into the initiatives’ work as critical friends
  • To develop a communal overall concept for socioculture
  • To develop joint strategies for political communications
  • To raise the cooperative’s profile on the ground

HOW does the selection process work?
All funding applications for development/ change processes will be evaluated within the scope of nationwide comparison by a diversely staffed board of trustees (no ‘first come, first served’ principle!). The selection conference will take place in January 2022. Following this, all applicants will be informed of the outcome by email.

WHAT criteria do the jury take into consideration for their selection decisions?

  • Does the project plausibly address important issues which are fundamentally relevant for the institution / coordinator and their work and stabilisation?
  • In other words, is there a recognisable openness to change processes which are more than must superficial?
  • Does the application provide a detailed presentation of the resources, partners and planned procedures which are required for efficient implementation?
  • Do the planned activities and the budget match? Is the budget thorough, realisable and well planned?
  • Is the idea convincing and does it engage with the formulated challenges in a new way?
  • Are the teams integrated into development and raising of the profile?
  • Does the application identify the planned added value for the local and regional cultural landscape?

Is an early project begin possible?
In exceptional cases an application can be submitted to begin measures early without this impacting funding (e.g. so that fee agreements can be signed; premises can be rented; travel bookings can be made, etc.). Applications for approval of the early beginning of measures can be made informally, stating the reasons for the application; the specific activities and the relevant date(s). Approval of an early begin will not be given if this should take place prior to the board of trustees’ meetings to allocate grants.


Accompanying programme - Re:Vision X

Diversity, social cohesion, globality, digitality and sustainability are issues which impact all of society. Within the scope of an additional accompanying programme, the Fonds Soziokultur invites coordinators / institutions who have been awarded grants to take part in a variety of formats relating to these meta-topics. The aim is to provide participants, with opportunities to network and exchange experiences with, and obtain advice from, each other and international experts when implementing their processes.

The following events are planned:

  • One-off individual consultations with an expert (90 mins),
  • A one-off workshop to get to know other coordinators from your field (2 hours), and
  • Other networking offerings.

Further details will be announced soon.


To see the press release on the funding programme, click here (only available in German).

Do you still have questions? If so, please do not hesitate to contact us or why not simply sign up for one of our information events!


Interim review - NEUSTART KULTUR special programme

Using funds made available within the scope of the Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien (Federal Commissioner for Culture and Media)’s NEUSTART KULTUR (A NEW START FOR CULTURE) rescue and future programme and distributed via five calls for grant applications over a seven-month period, the Fonds Soziokultur e.V. has been able to award funding totalling 11 million euros to 561 participative culture projects selected from among 1556 project applications.

Calls for grant applications 08/2021 - 03/2021

AUFTAKT (LAUNCH) - Open-topic call for grant applications

Grants were available for projects requiring urgent support in order to realise their goals with planned teams. These included, for example, projects which were already planned, however were stuck “on hold” due to lack of funding or to the pandemic. The objective was to allow teams which were already planned, in particular freelancers, to begin their work quickly.

* Application options: 15 August 2020 - 15 September 2020
* Project period: 31 October 2020 - 30 September 2021
* 224 projects were awarded grants


Ta1: Netzwerke + Neue Schnittstellen (Networks + New Interfaces)

Sociocultural work is successful when it takes place within the scope of changing cooperations and unusual networks. The pandemic has clearly demonstrated the strengths and weaknesses in our own and also in related fields. Grants were available for project coordinators who were testing forms of cooperation, also of an unusual nature, in actual projects, working in cooperation with, for example, one or more public coordinators and/or institutions from other fields, such as social issues, education, urban planning, digitality, etc.

* Application options: 1 - 31 October 2020
* Project period: December 2020 - 30 September 2021
* 80 projects were awarded grants


Ta2: Young Experts + Ko-Produktion (Young Experts + Co-Production)

Children and adolescents are experts when it comes to their own issues, identifying other (crisis) challenges than adults. Within the scope of T2 projects were sought in which children and adolescents not only participated but also co-designed, provided advice and produced work. In this context, cultural education was not understood as a communication project but rather as a co-production. Projects ranged from art projects to sociocultural “consulting advice” provided by children and aimed at allowing them to share in the shaping of the corresponding institution. Public visibility was particularly relevant in this regard.

* Application options: 1 - 30 November 2020
* Project period: Mid-January 2021 - 30 September 2021
* 65 projects were awarded grants


Ta3: Diversität + Inklusion + Vielfalt (Diversity + Inclusion + Variety)

How can we implement the catchword “diversity” in our own institutions or practice, and make it come to life? Who is not (yet) an actor and why not? Which exemplary areas of our own work can, respectively should, change with regard to staff, participants and communications channels with the public? T3 searched for projects which identified gaps and blanks in social diversity within our own work in the context of the elements “Offerings”, “Staff” or “Communications” and changed this situation step by step.

* Application options: 4 - 31 January 2021
* Project period: Mid-March 2021 - 30 September 2021
* 111 projects were awarded grants


Ta4: Digitalität + Soziokultur (Digitality and socioculture)

What is the significance of digitisation for sociocultural work? The call for applications looked for meaningful use of digitality, for example to raise the visibility of diversity; for co-designing; for the new art of ‘storytelling’; to achieve the right mix of real and digital using new formats; to allow others to participate and for an unusual aesthetic.

* Application options: 1 - 31 March 2021
* Project period: Mid-March 2021 - 31 December 2021
* 81 projects were awarded grants

Press release Ta1 call for grant applications (only aviable in German)
Press release Ta1 grant awards (only aviable in German)

Press release Ta2 call for grant applications (only aviable in German)
Press release Ta2 grant awards (only aviable in German)

Press release Ta3 call for grant applications (only aviable in German)
Press release Ta3 grant awards (only aviable in German)

Press release Ta4 call for grant applications (only aviable in German)
Press release Ta4 grant awards (only aviable in German)

Re:Vision - Online accompanying programme for project coordinators

The Fonds Soziokultur provided project coordinators who were awarded grants the option to participate in the accompanying “Re:Vision” series of bilingual workshops parallel to their project work. The programme included international networking, joint reflection and the cooperative transfer of knowledge. Within the scope of 8 series comprising a total of 40 episodes, some 310 representatives of projects awarded grants came together to discuss topics with each other and with 20 international experts from four different continents.

For a summary of the conclusions reached within the scope of the accompanying programme, click here (only available in German).