The Schering Stiftung was founded in Berlin in 2002. After Schering AG was sold to Bayer in 2006, the foundation became an independent entity and one of the most forward thinking cultural funds in Germany focusing on creative projects with a scientific methodology or that create a dialogue with scientific concepts. With the appointment of Dr. Katja Naie, an advocate of citizen science, as the new Program Director, Science, in 2015, this position has been further strengthened.
Schering Stiftung’s philosophical emphasis on “the dialogue between science and society” made them a logical place for STATE Festival to seek support, and we are fortunate to have Schering Stiftung as a partner and supporter of the STATE Festival 2016.
Curatorially, Schering Stiftung has developed a keen reputation for supporting contemporary international art practice by artists working at the nexus of science and art, where their practice is research-based, and capable of stimulating interdisciplinary debate. They’ve shown projects from artists like Berlin’s Jenny Brockmann who melds chemistry with music and dance, and young Belgian sound artist Jeroen Vandesande whose recent work researches and experiments with sonic feedback phenomena.
Schering Stiftung also took a hard look at current science industry pressures and practices and, in 2006, developed their Young Leaders in Science program which seeks to support upcoming early- to-mid career life- and natural sciences researchers to develop the communication, leadership and practical managerial skills required to handle the budgetary and personnel challenges of research project management.
Their foundational aims neatly and directly overlap the founding ideas behind STATE Festival – to create a broad and rigorous engagement between the public, science and art. STATE chooses to do this in a way that is both intellectual and more playful than usual in science, by stimulating wonder. Generating community enthusiasm for science through cultural outreach and innovative science communication practices is a core value STATE shares with Schering Stiftung.
Crossing boundaries through interdisciplinary projects enlivens the scientific and cultural debate, makes elbow room for innovative ideas that would suffocate in more rigid environments, and “provides creative inspiration to society.” Adhering to the original virtues of scientific work – curiosity, questioning, testing, failing, reevaluation – the basic properties of sound research technique - seems radical in a time where researchers must also be grant writers, politicians and market experts.
To encourage a left-field science communication project like STATE Festival shows faith in the idea that science is as innately fascinating as it is important, and in the science community’s ability to engage openly with the general public. To exchange knowledge and enrich institutional science with the work of radical thinkers and pioneers is the way in which our collective creativity and ingenuity will help us save ourselves as a species.