»Whoever attacks the freedom of art actually wants to question the democratic freedom of a society.«
A public call for the creation of a programme for persecuted artists


Here you can find information on current calls for applications, the latest news aswell as updates on our projects, events, and initiatives in the field of arts and culture funding. 

Current calls for application: 

Protective stays with host organisations in the regions of origin

About us

The Martin Roth-Initiative, a joint initiative of the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa) and the Goethe-Institut, was founded in response to the global shrinking of  civic spaces. Its aim is to protect artists and cultural actors, whose work is restricted by state or non-state actors, by offering temporary relocation stays and enabling them to continue their work. 

Renowned institutions and personalities from Germany's cultural scene committed in 2017 to take responsibility and support their persecuted colleagues abroad. In a public appeal, they called on politicians to create a programme, that not only offers safety to at-risk artists and cultural actors, but also allows them to continue their critical work in theaters, museums, exhibitions, and festivals. 

In the spirit of these concerns, the Martin Roth-Initiative promotes and supports at-risk artists and cultural actors in cooperation with national and international (cultural) institutions. 

“I hold terms such as freedom, tolerance and solidarity sacred,” said Martin Roth, museum director and cultural scientist (1955–2017), who was a long-standing member of the Goethe-Institut and, at the end of his life, President of the ifa. “Just sitting there, concentrating only on the ‘nice’ topics and unendangered institutions in safe countries, letting events pass us by without any comment: this is no longer possible.” Martin Roth was convinced that art and culture are the indispensable foundation for a society living together in democracy and peace. To strengthen civil society, he regarded discussion, especially with colleagues in repressive regimes, as essential. For Martin Roth, the motto “It’s time to nail our colours to the mast” was a plea for the defence of an open society. 

Our vision is an open society in a peaceful world, where artists and cultural actors can act freely, and civil society actors can engage for democracy and freedom of speech. The Martin Roth-Initiative enables artists and cultural actors to temporarily relocate to Germany or within their respective regions of origin.  Special significance is placed on the cultural scenes and local civil society in the host countries which, during the scholarship period, work with the scholarship holders, provide support and enable their professional development. The Martin Roth-Initiative aims to ensure that, at the end of the funding, a safe return to the country of origin is possible, or that the foundation for the next steps into the society of the host country has been laid. 


Linienstraße 139/140
10115 Berlin, Germany
T +49 (0)30 284491-77
info [at] martin-roth-initiative [dot] de 

IMPORTANT: If you seek to apply for funding, please carefully read the information and instructions here: application process. Please pay particular attention to the information on secure communication!