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Vernetzung – eine Überlebensstrategie

Vernetzung – eine Überlebensstrategie

FIFTITU%, the networking center for women in art and culture in
Upper Austria, has now been in existence for 10 years. Why a
Networking center for women and what components of networking
is needed remain questions that need to be answered again and again.

Networking - a survival technique was the title of an article in the Job&Career section of the Süddeutsche Zeitung¹ in April 2008. Networking is one of those strategies in the so-called labor market that has become increasingly important and indispensable and is intended to help people survive in everyday working life: Personal relationships, rope teams that help to "pull you up", but also catch, carry and support you in difficult situations. Ten years ago, committed women in the KUPF (Kulturplattform Oberösterreich) also racked their brains about what this could look like in the cultural sector and for women - back in 1998, when women were rare in management positions (they still are today, but things are improving, improving...). Back then, when FIFTITU% was founded and took over the agendas of the Networking Agency for Women in Art and Culture for Upper Austria.

Roughly speaking, the term network is a term for all those people who support us and on whom we can rely. In this sense, networking does not mean using relationships to outdo competitors, but rather exchanging (experiences), discussion, information, solidarity and fun - even with different personal, ethnicized, classed, sexually oriented, national, regional, ... Positioning. Networking means sharing resources, building up suitable (power) structures and communication channels that make us capable of (political) action and turn us into shapers and co-responsibles in our real everyday lives. This is why supported networking is also an essential point of the "Common Demands of Women Creators of Culture in Austria" of October 16, 2006: "Networking activities of women creators of culture are to be proactively promoted by the public sector. The creation of networks is necessary in order to make gender symmetry a reality. Networking gives women's cultural policy work the necessary weight and enables empowerment and exchange. There is a need for a strong nationwide representation of the interests of women working in the arts and culture, which must be publicly funded."² The nationwide networking meetings of women in the arts and culture in Austria have created a basis for an Austria-wide network with the aim of mutual exchange and joint action. This network must be maintained and further developed.

The networking center for women in art and culture in Upper Austria, which was established by FIFTITU% and cultural activists in Linz, is trying to create a place that makes the above possible. For FIFTITU%, networking, service and information work, cultural policy work, artistic work, further education offers, public relations work, archives and much more overlap and intertwine at this location In line with the feasibility study platz nehmen! by Andrea Mayer-Edoloeyi, which initiated the aforementioned reorientation in 2001, being a networking center for women in art and culture means:
  • Partisanship for women with the aim of gender symmetry. Women thought in all facets, formats and forms in terms of queer and anti-racist strategies, because a) not all women are the same and b) the images and content of what can be understood as a woman (man) are changing. This is a good thing, and FIFTITU% must continue to question, think and work on this. Not only FIFTITU%.
  • an open, democratic understanding of art and culture with room for experimentation that places the shaping of individual living environments at the center of the debate. This is because the cultural field has always been and continues to be a field of experimentation and projection for general social developments.
  • Regional and local characteristics are seen as an opportunity for further discursive development. Where I live - I come from deepest Western Styria - it will be different to stage something like the Forum Interkulturalität³'s "Freakshow" than here in Linz in the Rothen Krebsen. A Rother Krebs would have to go there first... or even better, a networking center with the aforementioned and following aspirations and goals.The resolute rejection of right-wing extremism, racism, hetero/sexism, nationalism and authoritarian tendencies. These are mechanisms of exclusion from which the cultural field is not immune, as general social developments have the same effect in this field. Due to the role model and projection character of the term "culture", these can be reinforced but also changed. These mechanisms of exclusion are often not easy to identify and we are dependent on recurring reflection and discussion, which FIFTITU% must engage in. Let's let the critics assimilate FIFTITU%.
  • Enable the active participation of all those affected in all areas of the networking center's work. The conditions are not the same for everyone, and we must bear this in mind if we want everyone involved to benefit and participate.

FIFTITU% tries to achieve, consider and implement all of this. As an information, advice and support center, FIFTITU% produces a comprehensive monthly newsletter packed with calls for entries and prizes, events, jobs and many other opportunities to get involved and participate. In consultations, personal concerns about cultural-political and artistic projects are discussed, specific information is passed on and support and contacts are provided. The comprehensive database is repeatedly queried and requested during research. Women are sought and found.

What do women want? What helps women? What are women?
Themes that are repeatedly brought to FIFTITU%, that arise in the work of FIFTITU% and are dealt with and worked on in public events (conferences, workshops, artistic interventions, discussions, film evenings, etc.) reflect the principles and debates in, with and around FIFTITU%.

What are women - this is now also one of the topics that FIFTITU% has learned to ask and think about, who is a woman and who is excluded by this term, what does it look like in relation to trans*inter*queer, to anti-racist politics? To push for change in order to leave no room for unambiguity, because unambiguity produces hegemony! Perhaps one day the networking center will be called FIFTITU% - queer*feminist networking center in art and culture, in which everyone, beyond identity politics, can come together and come together, the hetero/sexist, heteronormative, racist, classist,... De-/privilege axes and want to fight for egalitarian social structures in art and culture and beyond? We will see in which direction FIFTITU% will develop and until then: FIFTITU% - networking center for women in art and culture in Upper Austria, which creates and demands places of encounter, support, togetherness, discussion, participation and reflection and actually already now not only for women! Come by, take a look, take part!

This text is based on the text "Networking - a survival strategy" by Roswitha Kröll in the publication "Ten years of FIFTITU%" published by FIFTITU% and was revised by Sabrina Kern, Iris Aue, Gerlinde Schmierer and Roswitha Kröll.

¹Cf. [13.5.2009]
² [5/13/2009]
pERVERS & KWIR/R AND HYBRID BODIES are two projects juried by the Kupf Innovation Fund 07 and financed by the province of Upper Austria. For the conclusion of the two projects, they have joined forces for the brilliant FREAK SHOW, which will take place on June 19 in Linz at Rothen Krebs. [13.5.2009]
⁴ Cf. Andrea Mayer-Edoloeyi: platz nehmen! - Study by the Networking Center for Women in Art and Culture, FIFTITU%, Linz, 2001, p.41

FIFTITU% - Networking Center for Women in Art and Culture in Upper Austria
Harrachstrasse 28,
A-4020 Linz

Opening hours:
Monday to Thursday:
10.00 - 13.30 hours
and additionally
Thursday afternoon:
15.00 - 18.30 hours