Research Center for Global Studies

Symbols like a cross or telefon which were crocheted to synthetic hair wigs

The Research Center for Global Studies was established as a continuation of the research project »GAM – Global Art and the Museum«. Initiated at the ZKM by Hans Belting and Peter Weibel in 2006, its objective was to investigate the impact of the globalization process on contemporary art practices and production. Whereas in the academic context, global studies investigate primarily political, economic, ecological, and social phenomena, the Research Center at the ZKM focused on global constellations in the area of culture, and above all, in the field of the visual arts.

Promoting Networking and Exchange

The ZKM carried out two workshops in 2010 and 2011 entitled »Global Studies«. These brought together post-doc researchers and doctoral students from German-speaking universities in a cross-genre exchange among disciplines such as art history, cultural studies, and visual culture, or anthropology and ethnology.

The success of these events has strengthened our resolve to further pursue and develop this form of academic exchange. The goal of the developed workshops was to network young scientists and curators as well as intellectuals from different countries and continents for an exchange of experiences in order to explore the cultural practices of the production of visual art in the twenty-first century.


The GAM project began its activities with international conferences in Karlsruhe, workshop platforms in Sao Paulo, New Delhi and Hong Kong in collaboration with the Goethe Institute, which included an international summer academy followed by the two above-mentioned experimental academic seminars (Global Studies). GAM presented its research results in diverse publications and on its continually updated website. An essential part of the basic research was carried out from 2008 to 2011 thanks to the support of the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung. With the support of the Kulturstiftung des Bundes, it was possible to organize the large-scale exhibition »The Global Contemporary. Artworlds After 1989«, in 2011/2012. The Research Center for Global Studies participated in the preparation of the ZKM exhibition »global aCtIVISm«, in 2013.


Following the investigation of global contemporary art in all its facets – from production through to exhibition and circulation in the market – in the future, greater emphasis will be on the interface of art and anthropology in art production, the system of exhibition, and museum policy.

From 2014 on, the Research Center for Global Studies was involved in the conceptualization and realization of the large-scale project GLOBALE at the ZKM (June 2015 – April 2016). In connection with this, the Research Center hosted the international conference »Biennials: Prospect and Perspectives« in cooperation with ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) [German Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations]), in February 2014.