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WÜRTH Chair of Cultural Production

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The WÜRTH Chair of Cultural Production contributes to the following fields:

  • Sociology of arts and culture
  • Cultural policy and cultural management
  • Artistic research and empirical aesthetics.

The following paragraphs layout some research and teaching topics:

Why are classical concerts often so tedious?
Unfortunately, concert planners rarely ask this question. The chair analyses concerts through their dramaturgical, aesthetic, performative, social and economic parameters, and seeks to develop ways to reinvigorate the concert in a contemporary way. “You have to change the concert to preserve it” – that is our premise. The chair inaugurates the “concert studies” research field (parallel to “museum studies”) contributing to a perspective on concerts as cultural artifacts in theory and practice.

“Did you ever have an ‘art feeling’?”
Is it the artwork itself, or its arrangement and display that produces an impact on the beholder? What role does the knowledge of the visitor and her status as an expert play in understanding an artwork? And, how does the behavior of the audience impact art reception on an individual level? Worldwide, the chair is first in transferring empirical aesthetics to the field of cultural production, mapping out uncharted territory in the sociology of arts and culture.

Can you “manage” culture?
When cultural organizations are tasked with the production of aesthetic experiences and the critical reflection of cultural values – what capacities does one require to work in, and shape such organizations? How do we generate critique, utopia, distinction and inclusion? How do we make this tangible in and through our work? What is the difference between cultural and for-profit organizations? If profit is not the principle criteria – how do we decide about what to decide? Cultural management has to take a more rigorous approach to such questions (rather than reverting to the regular “how-to” management literature) for it to meet the complex challenges we face in producing aesthetic experiences.

The roles of cultural managers and policy makers
How do practices of cultural managers, policy makers, curators and festival organizers influence cultural production concretely? What role model, self-understanding and blind spots do actors have in cultural management? How do they contribute to the arts and the society? What values and belief system are they following?
Last but not least, thinking about professionalizing in the field of arts management one might ask: How do we define professionalism within a field that is driven by its intrinsic logic, which is not based on ideas of optimization, standardization or reproducibility but rather more on non-deterministic, singular and aesthetic processes?

Cultural policy research?
With over 60 opera houses, around 130 philharmonic orchestras, 4,000 art museums, libraries, schools of art and music, Germany spends more public money on the arts than any other country in the world. Given such expenditures, it is rather surprising that cultural policy research to date, takes place within a very narrow context. So far cultural policy has been rather developing normatively inspired future concepts than observing current cultural policies. Why is this the case? What actors and motivations shape the field of cultural policy through the promotion of certain policy discourses? How does this effect the landscape of cultural production?

Language and terms condition our thinking. Thinking the “new”(and inversely, new thought) requires the development of an expanded lexicon.
Terms and expressions developed and woven into discussion by the chair include: “concert studies”, “performance culture”, “aesthetics of enterprises”, “artification” and “arts research”. These aim to pose new questions and establish new research territories.

The Chair Holder

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Martin Tröndle was manager of the first Biennale Bern and chief consultant for music and musical theatre at the Ministry for Science and Culture, Lower-Saxony. From 2004-2008, he was a lecturer at the study program design | art & innovation at the Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst, Basel. Since 2007, he is the leader of the Swiss National Research Project eMotion – mapping museum experience. From 2009-2014, he was a junior professor for Kulturbetriebslehre und Kunstforschung at Zeppelin University. In September 2014, he was appointed professor of the WÜRTH Chair of Cultural Production.

Moreover, since 2004, he is a permanent lecturer at the Center for Cultural Management, University of Basel. Since 2008, he is artistic director of Concerto21 - Sommerakademie für Aufführungskultur und Musikmanagement, sponsored by the Alfred Toepfer Foundation.

As fellow of the excellency program of the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft he was a visiting scholar at the following institutions: School of Art Institute Chicago, HEC Montréal, MIT Cambridge, OSU, NYU, University of Warwick as well as Goldsmiths College London.

International grants and awards

  • Alexander Baumgarten Award “for outstanding contributions to the field of empirical aesthetics”, International Association of Empirical Aesthetics, New York, 2014.
  • Awarded "Key Research Paper“ for the article “Is this Art? An experimental study on visitors’ judgment of contemporary art”, Journal Sociology Research, 2014.
  • Awarded “best publication” for the article “A Museum for the Twenty-First Century: The Influence of Sociality on Art Reception in Museum Space”, Museum Management and Curatorship, 2012.
  • Awarded “best scientific online publication” for the article “The Entanglement of Arts and Sciences: On the Transaction Costs of Transdisciplinary Research Settings”, SURFfoundation, 2011.

Moreover, his work has attracted high attention in the media, in outlets such as DIE ZEIT, FAZ, Süddeutsche Zeitung, New York Times, El País, Neue Zürcher Zeitung and many more, see

Current research projects comprise

  • concert studies,
  • cultural policy research, empirically based policy development,
  • organization theory of arts organizations,
  • visitor research as well as
  • artistic research.
Tröndle, Martin Prof Dr


Tröndle, Martin Prof Dr
Phone:+49 7541 6009-1313
Fax:+49 7541 6009-1179
Room:FAB 3 | 1.37


Hahn, Heidi
Decentral Office for Academic Teaching
Phone:+49 7541 6009-1302
Room:FAB 3 | 1.52

Weining, Christian
Project Member „Experimental Concert Research (ECR)“
WÜRTH Chair of Cultural Production
Phone:+ 49 7541 6009-1314