Bundesvereinigung Soziokultureller Zentren e.V. (BSZ) is a network of 14 "Landesarbeitsgemeinschaften" (regional working groups) representing the interests of the 470 German cultural centres through the political and public authorities at the federal level.
The history of most German cultural centers, founded in the seventies, is a story about the use and ownership of abandoned and disused factories, train stations, barns, old houses and buildings in cities.
24 million visitors a year in the cultural centres
The current socio-cultural centers play an important role in the cultural life of Germany. Throughout the year they offer an extensive program of events in their cultural communities, contributing to the promotion of artistic production in the fields of theater, music, literature, film and visual arts allowing an important part of the society to participate in cultural and political life. The cultural centers are flexible and creative platforms, even in these times of economic tightening measures. The approximately 470 cultural centers provide a wide range of possibilities as well as efficient economic structures.
The integration of different age groups, social classes and nationalities, supports the development of political and social work. As well as understanding that policy decisions are the basis for the self-conception of cultural institutions, many centers welcome the active and responsible participation of its members.
One of the most important objectives of the "Bundesvereinigung" is the recognition of cultural work as a strong component of cultural life in Germany. The federal network ensures information, education, sharing and support. A wide range of publications as well as cultural policy and administration promote dialogue on the cultural scene.
- Offering members a contact point and working support in Berlin;
- Publishing the members' magazine "Soziokultur" (quarterly);
- Publishing monthly newsletters with information about politics and federal governance;
- Managing the registration of federal statistics (since 1992) and processing numerical data;
- Participating in the elaboration of laws with impact on cultural centres, i.e. GEMA - Society copyright);
- Other publishing activities (studies);
- Providing advice and support in negotiations and political conflicts;
- Organising meetings and conferences on political and cultural topics, i.e."Elements of the Future" (2004) and "How do you deal with different cultures?" (2006)
The "Bundesvereinigung" is a member of Culture Action Europe (CAE).
The "Bundesvereinigung" is also a member of the broader "Deutscher Kulturrat" (German Culture Council), is represented in the "Rat für Soziokultur" (Social Council for socio-culture) and in federal stuctures, such as the "Fonds Soziokultur e. V." (Sociocultural Fund).
The German Government Commissioner for Culture and Media (BKM) also supports special activities of the "Bundesvereinigung". In 2011 the "Bundesvereinigung" created the annual "Tag der Soziokultur" (Day of the social culture), as well as an annual national day showing the diversity of the cultural work.