ifa is one of Germany’s leading institutions for fostering international artistic exchange. It operates internationally as an intermediary organisation. Some fifty exhibitions around the world provide a showcase for German visual art. Two galleries offer space for international perspectives and creative exchanges. In addition, ifa funds art and artists' contacts.

ifa creates networks and platforms to strengthen intercultural dialogue. It serves to support peacekeeping efforts, the promotion of democracy, the achievement of human rights and cooperative partnerships. As an independent intermediary organisation, ifa follows German foreign cultural and educational policy guidelines and pursues pluralistic and non-partisan cultural work abroad.

Elke aus dem Moore, ifa – Institute for International Cultural Relations
I am delighted that ifa will continue the series of international conferences "Biennials in Dialogue" with our partners GI, UoC and CNZ in Christchurch. "Curating under pressure" is the sixth edition of a series of discussions in the context of international biennial culture since the year 2000. Previous conferences in this series focused on the perspectives of directors and organizers of biennials; later editions have asked curators, researchers, and artists to raise new questions. In Christchurch we will widen the discourse to the perspective of the audience, activists and cultural producers. We will raise questions about the role of art in extreme situations – whether caused by natural disasters, political pressure or oppressive regimes. I'm excited about the conference which offers a divers access to the city through city-walks and cultural programs and to the topics through the panels, world-cafés, conversations and roundtables. The preparations with our partners already promise an inspiring and enriching experience in New Zealand.


The Goethe-Institut is the Federal Republic of Germany’s cultural institute, active worldwide. We promote the study of German abroad and encourage international cultural exchange. In times of new global challenges, the work of the Goethe-Institut aims at deeper understanding between cultures and at strengthening Germany’s reputation in the world. Presently, there are 159 Goethe-Instituts in 98 countries, out of which 12 are in Germany.

Leonhard Emmerling, Goethe-Institut
At the heart of the Goethe-Institut's mission lies the belief that the free debate about arts in all its forms can strengthen civil societies, that societies can change through culture. We share this hope and belief with many others, among them artists and curators who do work and set up exhibitions with the intention to point at pressing issues in contemporary political and social life. In Christchurch, we will look carefully and self-critically at what art can achieve in circumstances of disaster, of distress and political pressure. Does it contribute to the well-being of a society, is art an appropriate tool to change society? In "Curating Under Pressure", the audience will play a huge part as it will be activists, artistic groups and the citizens of Christchurch who will answer these questions. It will be a "symposium in dialogue" between the audience and curators and artists, and I am absolutely thrilled that the University of Canterbury and Creative New Zealand so unconditionally embraced the idea, ifa and Goethe-Institut had proposed almost two year ago. And I am looking forward to discussing and debating with all of them in the coming days.

Creative New Zealand
Creative New Zealand is a Crown entity governed by the Arts Council. We encourage, promote and support New Zealand arts to benefit all New Zealanders through funding, capability building, our international programme and advocacy. Creative New Zealand upholds the right to artistic freedom and promotes a New Zealand identity in the arts.

The principles we follow include recognising and upholding the cultural diversity of the people of New Zealand, the role in the arts of Mãori as tangata whenua, the arts of the Pacific Islands’ peoples of New Zealand and participation, access, excellence, innovation, professionalism and advocacy.

University of Canterburry

Established in 1882 Ilam School of Fine Arts is one of the longest standing art schools in New Zealand and one of the oldest in the English speaking world. Recently rated in the QS top 100 University Art and Design departments in the world, Ilam has produced some of New Zealand’s most highly regarded and acclaimed artists and designers. As part of the Humanities and Creative Arts department at the University of Canterbury, Ilam continues to generate dynamic graduates who are critically engaged and who can apply their knowledge in a discipline specific studio programme.

Tim Veling: Canterbury Provincial Chambers, Durham Street, Christchurch.
Tim Veling: Canterbury Provincial Chambers, Durham Street, Christchurch.
From the series Adaptation, 2011–2012. C-type print, 1500 x 1200mm.