Akademie der Künste INITIAL 2
Special Grant – New Cooperations

No more applications can be submitted for the INITIAL 2 - New Cooperations Special Grant as the limit of 1,600 applications has been reached.

As part of NEUSTART KULTUR, a Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media programme, the Akademie der Künste is awarding the INITIAL 2 Special Grant – New Cooperations to fund the research and development of artistic projects, which are created in cooperations and collaborations between artists. In addition, the special grant intends to initiate networks between art, education, and civil society and support new artistic practices with social impact.

The grant is awarded for the funding period from 1 July 2022 ‒ 31 December 2022.

One to maximal four artists can submit an application for a cooperative project.

Cooperative projects that meet one or more of the following criteria are expressly preferred. These projects:

  • are developed across all disciplines,
  • examine and try out new forms of artistic practice,
  • are created at the intersections of art and education, whether in artistic research or cultural communication and education,
  • are planned in contexts that affect civil society, for example, in collaboration with public institutions, such as community shelters, socio-cultural centres, and non-profit associations,
  • go beyond typical, well-established cooperation experiences with institutional partners.

Eligible applicants are professional artists who live in Germany and work in the fields of music, performing arts, architecture, visual arts, literature, or film and media art/audio plays. All artists involved in the cooperative project must fulfil requirements recognising their status as professionals.

Not eligible for funding: Any partners involved in the cooperative project, who do not meet the requirements as professional artists living and working in Germany. This restriction also applies to public institutions, socio-cultural centres, associations, natural or legal entities.

Each artist involved in a cooperative project, with a maximum of four participants, will receive a grant in the amount of 9,000 euros.

A specialist jury made up of artists, curators and members of the Akademie der Künste decides how the grants should be allocated.

Decisive criteria for receiving a grant are:

  • A cooperative project with a future-oriented and sustainable concept,
  • the project’s artistic quality, consistency and development potential,
  • and its potential to affect society.

Equal treatment of all genders is inherent to the selection process.

The application can only be submitted online via the application portal initial2.adk.de. The link to the portal will become available on this website as of 1 April 2022, 8 am.
A maximum of 1,600 applications will be accepted in the order of receipt. When this number is reached the application portal will close, at the latest on 30 April 2022 at 11:59 pm.

The application for the cooperative project, prepared in collaboration with all the participating artists, must be submitted by one of the artists involved.

Please note: Simultaneous funding by other federal funds (including other NEUSTART KULTUR programmes), state, or municipal sources and the INITIAL 2 Special Grant is not allowed. This applies to all artists involved in a cooperative project.

For more information, please refer to the FAQ.

FAQ: Questions and Answers about the INITIAL 2 – New Cooperations Special Grant

The goal of the INITIAL 2 – New Cooperations Special Grant is to fund the research and development of artistic works, which are created in cooperations and collaborations between artists. In addition, the special grant intends to initiate networks between art, education, and civil society and support new artistic practices with social impact.

Cooperative projects that meet one or more of the following criteria are expressly preferred. These projects:

  • are developed across all disciplines,
  • examine and try out new forms of artistic practice,
  • are created at the intersections of art and education, whether in artistic research or cultural communication and education,
  • are planned in contexts that affect civil society, for example, in collaboration with public institutions, such as community shelters, socio-cultural centres, and non-profit associations,
  • go beyond typical, well-established cooperation experiences with institutional partners.
  • Eligible applicants are professional artists who live in Germany and work in the fields of music, performing arts, architecture, visual arts, literature, or film and media art/ audio plays.
  • One to (maximal) four artists can submit an application for a cooperative project.
  • All artists involved in the cooperative project must fulfil requirements recognising their status as professionals.
  • Not eligible for funding: Any partners involved in the cooperative project, who do not meet the requirements as professional artists living and working in Germany. This restriction also applies to public institutions, socio-cultural centres, associations, natural or legal entities.

Artists are considered professional if they meet any of the following criteria:

  • They can demonstrate membership in a professional association of artists in one of the fields of art specified above or in the Künstlersozialkasse (artists’ health and social insurance), or
  • They hold a degree from a German university, art academy or from a comparable institution abroad (as specified on the anabin list), or
  • They can demonstrate a professional contemporary artistic practice that has been established for several years.

The grant is targeted to fund the research and development of artistic works, which are created in cooperations and collaborations between artists and other partners. Nevertheless, it is possible to apply as an artist working alone.

Each grant is endowed with 9,000 euros per artist.

Each artist involved in a cooperative project, with a maximum of four participants, will receive a grant in the amount of 9,000 euros.

The duration of the grant (funding period) is from 1 July 2022 ‒ 31 December 2022.

The grants will be awarded to a maximum of 352 artists.

Simultaneous funding by other federal funds (including other NEUSTART KULTUR programmes), state, or municipal sources and the INITIAL 2 Special Grant is not allowed.

This restriction does not apply to private grants or if the monthly funding amount of another grant programme is less than 750 euros (50% of the monthly funding amount of the INITIAL 2 Special Grant. In these cases, it is permitted to combine funding from different grants regardless of their timeframes.

Accepting funding from the special grant does not preclude the acceptance of federal funds intended to provide relief from the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic (such as Überbrückungshilfe (temporary financial assistance)) used for other purposes.

If a positive approval notification from another public funding source arrives before a decision has been made on the application of the INITIAL 2 – New Cooperations Special Grant, the application for the INITIAL 2 – New Cooperations Special Grant must be withdrawn immediately. If the INITIAL 2 – New Cooperations Special Grant is approved first, any other applications to other public grant programmes must be withdrawn immediately or may no longer be submitted in cases where the time period overlaps.

Grants are linked to the cooperative projects being supported and all of the participating artists listed on the application. If, after the submission of the application, one or more artists can no longer take part because of exclusionary double funding or for another reason, the funding for the entire cooperative project must be withdrawn.

If it is later established that the regulations on compatibility with other public funding programmes outlined in the funding guidelines have not been followed, the INITIAL 2 – New Cooperations Special Grant must be repaid in full. The submission of false or intentionally incomplete information relevant to the selection of grant recipients can be deemed criminal fraud (Section (§§) 263, 264 StGB) if said information is submitted with the intention of obtaining an illicit pecuniary advantage for the applicant or a third party.

Yes. Grants are linked to the cooperative projects being supported and all of the participating artists listed on the application. If, after the submission of the application, one or more artists can no longer take part because of exclusionary double funding or for another reason, the funding for the entire cooperative project must be withdrawn.

No, each artist can only file one application and/ or be involved in one cooperative project.

Applications, accepted as of 1 April 2022, must be submitted online: initial2.adk.de

The application must be submitted by one of the artists involved in the cooperative project. This main applicant is responsible for submitting the application via the application portal.

During the application process, he or she will be prompted to use email to invite the other artists involved in the cooperative project to participate in the online application. Only after these participants have independently submitted their own details and documents can the main applicant submit the completed application. Further information will be available on the application portal as of 1 April 2022.

An open call for grant applications takes place from 1 April ‒ 30 April 2022. A maximum of 1600 applications will be accepted in the order of receipt. When this number is reached the application portal will close, at the latest on 30 April 2022 at 11:59 pm.

To switch to the application portal’s German web pages, please change the language button on the upper right. Set the language button to EN-GB to English (British) to view in German.

Personal information for each of the artists participating in the cooperative project and the following documents need to be submitted on the application portal:

Only to be filled in by the main applicant (directly in the application portal):

  • The number and names of the artists involved in the cooperative project.
  • The title and a content description of the cooperative project (450 words maximum).
  • An association of the cooperative project with one of the following choices of artistic disciplines: architecture, visual arts, performing arts, film and media art/audio plays, literature, music, interdisciplinary art.
  • A description of how the cooperation is composed (please describe the specific form of the cooperation between the participating artists, as well as any (optional) collaboration with partners; 450 words maximum)

Each of the participating artists involved in the cooperative project needs to submit:

  • A portfolio and/ or documentary/ informational material about previous artistic work (no catalogues)
    Per artist:
    1 PDF file, max. 5 pages, max. file size: 50 MB
    and optionally
    1 audio or video file (mp3, mp4, wav, mov) (max. 10 min) or 1 Vimeo or Youtube link (max. 10 min)
  • An art CV (curriculum vitae),1 file, max. file size: 50 MB (pdf, png, jpg, jepg)
  • Documentation of professional artist status, max 5 files, max. file size: 50 MB (pdf, png, jpg, jepg) (for further information, see FAQ 4.)

The application can be submitted in German and English.

When submitting the application, no confirmation is required for a collaboration planned with partners who are not applying for funding. For instance, those who do not meet the requirements as professional artists living and working in Germany. This also applies to public institutions, socio-cultural centres, associations, natural or legal entities. Please describe the nature of the collaboration in the section about how the cooperation is composed.

A specialist jury made up of artists, curators and members of the Akademie der Künste decides how the grants should be allocated.

Decisive criteria for receiving a grant are:

  • A cooperative project with a future-oriented and sustainable concept,
  • the project’s artistic quality, consistency and development potential,
  • and its potential to affect society.

Equal treatment of all genders is inherent to the selection process.

In mid-June 2022 we will inform you by email whether your application has been accepted or not.

The basis for the authorisation, distribution, and accounting of the funds is a grant approval notification to the artists, which will be sent by mail. The grant will be disbursed in two payments to a German bank account: 7,500 euros in July 2022 and 1,500 euros after the submission of the Interim Report in December 2022. The recipient’s identity must be verified before grant payments can be made. Information on this procedure will be detailed in the approval notification.

Realisation of proposed projects is the desired objective but is not mandatory. This grant may also be used for preparatory work.

The main applicant/ grant holder is obliged to document the cooperative project made possible by the grant by submitting an Interim Report and later a Final Report.
Please note that failure to submit the Interim Report and the Final Report, or incomplete submissions, will result in grant holders having to repay the grant in full.

The Interim Report is used to show how the cooperation project has evolved, which steps have already been taken and what prospects are emerging as a result of the cooperation.

The Interim Report, written in German or English, must be submitted online in the period from 10 October ‒ 1 November 2022: initial2.adk.de. The main applicant will receive renewed access to the portal for this purpose. Further information will be sent by email.

At the completion of the grant period an Interim Report in German or English must be submitted for each approved application. The Interim Report can be part of the Final Report.

The Final Report outlines how the grant was used to carry out the research and development of artistic, cooperative projects in the making. Completion of the project is not required. No proof must be provided about the specific use of funds.

The Final Report must be submitted online by 15 January 2023: initial2.adk.de. At the end of the grant period, the main applicant will receive renewed access to the portal for this purpose. Further information will be sent by email.

The funding source must be indicated in all grant-related publications/releases by including the Akademie der Künste and NEUSTART KULTUR logos alongside the following formulation:

“Supported by the Akademie der Künste with funding from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media as part of the NEUSTART KULTUR programme.”

Logos available for download are provided on this website.

No, you are not required to include any documentation of lost freelance income, bank statements, budgetary calculations, etc., with your application.

Because this is a grant, we are refraining from requesting supporting financial documentation and ask only that recipients submit the Interim Report and the Final Report described above, in which a proper use of the funding can be shown.

It is within the rights of the Akademie der Künste to verify the use of the funds if the Akademie suspects they are being used for something other than their intended purpose and to reclaim the funds partially or in full if such misuse is determined (§ 49 Abs. 3 S. 1 Nr. 1 VwVfG). The same applies for failure to submit the Interim Report and the Final Report.

Yes, the grant is open to anyone who meets the specifications outlined above. Further information on the subject SGB II and Grundsicherung (basic income allowance) can be found on the Bundesagentur für Arbeit (Federal Employment Agency) website.

It is generally permitted to apply for the grant while receiving unemployment benefits in the category Arbeitslosengeld I. Importantly, however, work on your project must not compromise your availability to the workforce. Furthermore, you are not permitted to generate earnings from your project and/ or if you do, you must inform the Job Centre assigned to you. Please direct any questions about the combination of the grant with unemployment benefits to your supervisor at the employment agency.

No, applications for additional funding are not permitted under any circumstances.

No, the grants are not deducted from basic income allowances. Further information regarding basic income allowances can be found on the Bundesagentur für Arbeit (Federal Employment Agency) website.

The grants are not intended to secure the applicant’s livelihood. They serve a higher purpose. Grant holders are expected to outline how the funding was used in an Interim Report and Final Report.

The grant will be revoked if the application included intentionally false information and the grant was therefore wrongfully awarded. The grant may also be revoked if the applicant’s main residence moves outside Germany before 31 December 2022, or if the Interim Report and the Final Report are not submitted by their deadlines. In these cases, the funding must immediately be repaid in full.

Anyone who intentionally or recklessly submits false or incomplete information to receive public funds (subsidies) earmarked for a specific purpose, or who intentionally or recklessly refrains from making changes to this information, commits subsidy fraud. Please be advised that providing wrong or incomplete information affecting funding decisions for the selection of grant recipients can amount to fraud and may be punishable as such under Sections (§§) 263, 264 of the German Penal Code (StGB) insofar as these statements were made with the intention of gaining an unlawful financial advantage for the applicant or a third party.

Payments from a non-taxable artist’s grant under Section (§) 3 no. 11 of German Income Tax Law (EStG) are to be listed on line 15 of the EÜR income tax return attachment. The expenses covered by the grant are to be detailed on the respective business expense lines according to the nature of the expenses.
Because this income is non-taxable and the associated expenses cannot be deducted, income from the grant must additionally be listed on line 92, and the expenses covered by it on line 95. This will adjust your income for tax purposes.

Please note that the INITIAL 2 Special Grant is non-taxable. Please direct any further tax-related questions to your local Finanzamt (finance office).

We reserve the right to verify that the funds have been used appropriately. Unless you receive further correspondence from us within six months after submitting your Final Report, the period of your grant coverage is considered complete.

Still have questions?
Please direct any further questions to initial2@adk.de.

Logos for Download

The funding source must be indicated in all grant-related publications/releases by including the Akademie der Künste and NEUSTART KULTUR logos alongside the following formulation:

"Supported by the Akademie der Künste, Berlin, with funding from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media as part of the NEUSTART KULTUR programme."

Logo Akademie der Künste eps file
Logo Akademie der Künste jpg file

Logo Neustart Kultur eps file
Logo Neustart Kultur jpg file


For the correct use of the logo files, the following information is available:

Akademie Logo Variants and Usage (PDF)