Anadolu Kültür was founded as a not-for-profit cultural institution in 2002 when individuals from various fields of the art world, the business world and civil society came together to support the production and sharing of culture and art in cities across Turkey and abroad. Anadolu Kültür continues its activities with the belief that cultural and artistic exchange will help develop mutual understanding and dialogue and overcome regional differences and prejudices, and that a broader cultural life will elicit a discussion of concepts such as citizenship, identity and belonging.
Anadolu Kültür’s vision is the dream of a society that has managed to shed its prejudices, that finds nourishment and enrichment through differences and where cultural diversity is not perceived as a source of conflict but wealth. Anadolu Kültür aims to build bridges between different ethnic, religious and regional groups by sharing culture and art, supporting regional initiatives, emphasizing cultural diversity and cultural rights and consolidating interregional collaboration.
In line with its vision and mission, Anadolu Kültür carries out work in the following areas in various cities* of Turkey:
1- Arts and Cultural Dialogue in Anatolia
Within the scope of this area of work, we organize events such as exhibitions, film screenings, performances, concerts, public talks and art workshops; and also long-term culture and art projects with intercultural, inter-institutional and interdisciplinary collaborations.
We help events in the fields of film, contemporary art, performance arts, music and literature produced in Istanbul travel to Anatolian cities; and culture and art products of Anatolian cities to travel to other cities across Anatolia. In line with demands from the cities, and with priority given to participation and local collaboration, we develop projects with the aim of contributing to the revival of cultural life. In order to facilitate and support communication between artists, cultural and educational institutions, civil society institutions and local actors, we carry out cultural exchange programs that will enable the meeting and convergence of different cities. Within the scope of this objective, we support collaborative film and photography activities with young people, writing and drawing workshops with children, local civil society organizations, and collaborative projects aimed at women and young people, with the aim of bringing people from different parts of Turkey together.
2- Cultural Diversity and Human Rights
In this area of work, we aim to support artistic production that departs from the cultural diversity and wealth of diverse groups that have lived for thousands of years on Anatolian soil in order to keep our cultural heritage alive and increase its visibility. Photography exhibitions that emphasize the multicultural structure of cities, performances and activities that reflect Armenian cultural heritage, screenings and debates supporting Kurdish cinema and bilingual children’s books are some of our projects in this field.
Cultural diversity and cultural rights form the focus of this field of work; nevertheless, as part of this program, we also carry out work that treats and publicizes the issue of human rights as a whole. In addition to screenings of films about human rights, exhibitions on the theme of human rights and projects on and about prisons, Anadolu Kültür also becomes the place where various rights-based initiatives blossom... Work about prisons that began at Anadolu Kültür in 2004 were transformed into a separate institution in 2006 entitled Association for Civil Society in the Penal System. In a similar process, the ‘Capacity Building for the Effective Participation of Civil Society towards the Solution of the Kurdish Issue’ project that begun by conferences and a web site organized for the documentation of severe human rights violations, and the sharing of international examples in the field of legal struggle and defence was transformed in November 2011 into an association entitled the Truth Justice and Memory Studies Center.
3- Cultural Collaboration with Europe
In this area of work, we aim to develop and expand collaboration between artists, cultural activists and civil society institutions in Turkey and Europe. In accordance with this objective, we carry out projects that support collaborative projects between cities in Europe and Turkey in a diverse spectrum of fields including performance, art workshops with children, literature research, contemporary art exhibitions and projects on cultural heritage. These projects also include collaboratively produced magazines, theatre plays, photography workshops and many others.
With our work in this area we aim to support artists, culture and art institutions and activists working in various cities of Turkey to find out more about different countries and cities, share their experiences and meet and develop collaborations with institutions abroad that carry out similar work.
4- Arts and Cultural Dialogue with Armenia
The cultural and artistic collaboration inaugurated in 2005 with civil society institutions, academic institutions and independent artists from Armenia has continued since. Within the framework of collaborative work aiming to consolidate neighbourhood relations between the two countries and develop reciprocal understanding and sharing, different communities living in the same geographical sphere come into contact and build bridges. People from different social segments and various professional and age groups from Turkey and Armenia find the opportunity to meet each other and see and experience each other’s daily life.
We aim to contribute to the development of inter-communal dialogue with concerts, exhibitions, film and literature events and art workshops organized in both countries. Steps towards the rapprochement of the two societies are taken with these projects that include the social life, common history, culture and art in Turkey and Armenia.
In addition to the projects it has carried out in various cities, Anadolu Kültür has also supported the foundation of three culture and art centers. Diyarbakır Arts Center (DSM), founded simultaneously with Anadolu Kültür in 2002, and DEPO, founded in Istanbul in 2009, continue their activities today. The Kars Arts Center, founded in 2005 in collaboration with the Municipality of Kars, was closed in the aftermath of the March 2009 elections following a decision by the Municipality of Kars.
1- DSM – Diyarbakır Arts Center (2002)
Founded in 2002 as the first step taken by, and the Diyarbakır branch of Anadolu Kültür, DSM aims to support the production and sharing of art outside large cities and develop culture and art projects with regional artists.
2- DEPO (2009)
Founded by Anadolu Kültür in 2009, DEPO is a cultural center and platform for debate that aims to support collaboration between artists, artists’ collectives, civil society institutions and cultural institutions from Turkey, the Southern Caucasus, the Middle East and Balkan countries.
* Cities in which Anadolu Kültür has carried out activities since 2002 within the scope of various projects, activities and research:
Adana | Afyon | Ankara | Antakya | Antalya | Artvin | Bartın | Batman | Bursa | Çanakkale | Diyarbakır | Edirne | Erzurum | Eskişehir | Gaziantep | Hakkari | Istanbul | İzmir | Kars | Kayseri | Konya | Kütahya | Malatya | Mardin | Mersin | Muğla | Muş | Nevşehir | Samsun | Şanlıurfa | Tekirdağ | Trabzon | Tunceli | Şırnak | Van