Vienna’s Intercultural and Community Culture Scene

Objectives and Research Questions

The population of European metropolises and cities is getting more and more diverse. European cities are dealing differently with the challenge of diversity. However, intercultural and community culture facilities and activities are in a prime position to help bridging the gaps between different parts of the population.

In general, cultural facilities are defined as venues such as theatres, cinemas, galleries, exhibition spaces, music venues, and multi-purpose locations. In the given context, we can distinguish between two types of cultural facilities: Intercultural facilities  or centres serve the purposes of intercultural dialogue and cultural exchange. Venues of community culture (or minority culture) conduce to the artistic and cultural self-representation and to the empowerment of specific ethnic groups. The boundaries between intercultural and community culture facilities and activities are sometimes blurred.

The basic aim of the research project is to compile the first inventory of Vienna’s intercultural and community culture scene. In the following, the possible positive contributions of intercultural and community culture activities to various aspects of urban life will be analysed (see research question 3) and recommendations for a specific cultural policy be given.

In the course of the project, the following research questions will be investigated:

  1.  What are the basic characteristics of Vienna’s intercultural and community culture scene?

  2. What are the differences between intercultural and community culture activities in Vienna?

  3. In which ways can intercultural and community culture activities contribute to intercultural dialogue, participation, inclusion, the mutual understanding among different people, a stimulating and peaceful cohabitation, the amelioration of cultural and other infrastructures, a reduction of social and spatial imbalances and to a positive development of peripheral areas?

  4. What can cultural policy do to support intercultural and community culture activities?

  5. What can be learned from the intercultural and community culture  activities in other metropolises like Berlin, London, and Paris?

The application of the following methods will help to generate the project’s foreseen output:

  1. Document analysis,

  2. Field research (inter alia Robert Ezra Parks’ “nosing around”),

  3. Participant observation and

  4. In-depth interviews with managers of cultural facilities, artists, experts in the field of culture and political representatives.



  • Scientific Forum Cultures of a Postmigrant Society, Include! Talking and Acting Back From the Margins. Theater im Zentrum and Volkstheater, Vienna, 30 to 31 October 2017 (together with Petja Dimitrova, Aslı Kıslal, Birgit Peter and Ivana Pilić).

  • Workshop: An der Peripherie oder im Zentrum? Über Räume für postmigrantische künstlerische und kulturelle Praxen in Wien. Scientific Forum Cultures of a Postmigrant Society, Include! Theater im Zentrum, Vienna, 31 October 2017 (together with Dilan Sengül).

  • International Workshop Intercultural Dialogue and New Cultural Facilities as Catalysers for a Positive Urban Development? Kulturraum Neruda, Vienna, 3 to 4 June 2019.


  • Rohn, W. (2020): Vienna, an Intercultural and Community Culture City? In: Proceedings of the International Scientific Conference Geobalcanica 2020: 327–335.

  • Rohn, W. (forthcoming): The Intercultural and Community Culture Scenes of London and Vienna. International Scientific Conference Geobalcanica 2021.

ISR Project team

Dr. Walter Rohn
Head of Project


2019 to 2022