A cultural development plan for the federal state of Hessen

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Hessen I Image: unsplash/Nadim Merrekh


The challenges for culture and cultural politics are numerous. They include declining resources (e.g. due to budget consolidation), increasing infrastructural demands (e.g. digitalisation, accessibility), demographic change and rising pressure for legitimacy in the context of an increasingly diverse society. At the same time, culture is increasingly taking on functions that lie outside its core tasks, such as revitalising and interlinking the society, education, tourism and other tasks of urban and regional development. Stronger networking with other areas of social life increases the complexity of cultural political issues. Cultural development planning is a strategic instrument for facing the complexity and positioning for the future.


The State of Hesse has decided to strengthen and further develop its diverse cultural landscape with the "Hessen Cultural Master Plan". To this end, cultural actors and interested citizens, together with the Hessian Ministry of Science and the Arts (HMWK), have developed and elaborated ideas for the further development of Hessen's future cultural policy in a large-scale participation process.

actori supported and accompanied the ambitious project in various ways, especially regarding project strategy, conception and implementation of participatory formats as well as in the preparation of the final document.
First, a kick-off event was held for the interested public to inform them about the process and the possibilities to participate in the master plan. In a two-day workshop, 60-70 experts delved into central aspects and goals of the Master Plan. In working groups, an initial mental "map" for the Master Plan for Culture was drawn up and its main topics more clearly outlined. This "workshop" was followed by a series of specialist working sessions (virtually, due to the pandemic) in which 15-20 experts each dealt with fields of action and measures in the focal themes. The central question here was: How can the cultural policy of the state of Hesse become active to promote the goals developed previously? actori accompanied these workshops with professional expertise, took over the securing of results and developed first text proposals for the chapters of the "Masterplan Kultur" from the resulting material. After a series of public events in northern, central and southern Hesse and a phase of text work in the HMWK, a second workshop phase began in spring/summer 2022. Here, actori was responsible for the conception, organisation, implementation, and processing of the workshops, in which between 10 and 20 experts respectively, together with representatives of the HMWK, once again critically examined the focal topics and discussed the previously drafted texts in depth. The participatory process was concluded with an online participation process. Here, the HMWK called on cultural actors and all those interested in culture to contribute ideas and opinions once more to the Masterplan Kultur. actori was entrusted with the evaluation of the participation results.


"Perspectives for a cultural policy for everyone."

Angela Dorn, Minister of Art and Culture

The Master Plan is the result of a comprehensive participation process with numerous cultural actors, experts and citizens. It is the first cultural development plan of a state that decidedly bundles the challenges of the Corona pandemic and the current questions of cultural policy. Implementation began immediately after publication: In the Hessian double budget for the years 2023 and 2024, an additional 6.7 million euros are available to initiate the first projects from the master plan. These include, for example, 1.2 million Euros to strengthen the music schools and 1.6 million Euros for the digitalisation of cultural assets.

Added Value

  • Implementation of a comprehensive participation process with numerous cultural actors, experts and citizens.
  • First cultural development planning of a state that decidedly bundles the challenges of the Corona pandemic and current issues of cultural policy.
  • actori combines expertise from many years of consulting in the field of culture with methodological competence in involving diverse groups. This forms an important foundation for successful participation.
  • The "Master Plan for Culture" describes the guiding principles of Hessian cultural policy and, in addition to fields of action, also concrete solutions. With the government declaration of 14.02.2023, the implementation started right away.
  • Funds were immediately made available for the implementation of the "Master Plan for Culture": In Hesse's 2023/24 double budget, an additional 6.7 million euros have been earmarked for implementation.

Source: Government declaration (Hessian State Parliament).


The project was implemented by Frank Schellenberg, Managing Director, Marietta Schönberg, Project Management, Dr. Nora Pähler vor der Holte, Project Management, Dr. Sebastian Lücke, Consultant.

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