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A group of elderly people on a stage, some of them wearing underwear and tights on their heads.
© Ana Lukenda | OLDSCHOOL, Schauspiel Köln

About us

The Centre for Creative Ageing and lnclusive Arts (kubia) supports cultural actors, municipal cultural institutions and facilities in North Rhine-Westphalia in shaping an age-friendly and inclusive cultural landscape with future-oriented concepts and innovative models. To this end, we offer advice, funding, continuing education and training, research and information. kubia is institutionally funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Our mission

The core concern of kubia is the promotion of equal artistic-cultural activity and participation of people with different preconditions and circumstances. Cultural education and artistic activities are an important key to quality of life, social participation and the shaping of social coexistence.

All people have a right to unhindered access to art and culture, artistic-creative activity and lifelong cultural learning. Our mission is to help ensure that all people in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia can realise these rights. Therefore, we support the implementation of accessibility in culture and cultural education as a prerequisite for cultural participation, educational equality, equal opportunities and equal coexistence in the areas of culture, education and social affairs.

kubia is thus also committed to the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Since 2009, the signatory states, which include Germany, have committed themselves to “giving people with disabilities the opportunity to develop and use their creative, artistic and intellectual potential”. This right is also enshrined in the Cultural Code of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.

The population in Germany and many other industrialised nations is getting older and more diverse. In rural areas, the proportion of older people is particularly high, while infrastructural and cultural services there are thinning out more and more. Dealing with the clear regional differences and with a diverse ageing population poses major challenges for cultural policy. For example, all areas of art and culture are affected by the fact that the baby boomers are reaching retirement age.

However, cultural policy measures to deal with the growing number of diverse and older people in the arts and culture must not be oriented solely to the age of the calendar. If this is the case, there is a risk of losing sight of the fact that several intertwined diversity dimensions often make it difficult for many older people to access cultural offerings and cultural education. This is because different exclusion mechanisms often work together and reinforce each other with increasing age.

Among the groups that bear a high risk of exclusion are especially older people

  • with disabilities,
  • with care needs including the growing group of people with dementia
  • with little formal education,
  • who are affected by poverty in old age – among them especially women and people with a migration background.

Physical and cognitive impairments are particularly prevalent in old age: According to the Federal Statistical Office, more than two thirds of disabled people in Germany are over 55 years old. Therefore, one focus of kubia’s work is on people who are affected by increasing limitations in old age.

However, our work also aims to improve the cultural participation and artistic activity of adults with disabilities whose limitations have existed since birth or were acquired at a younger age.

Lowering barriers to access in the cultural field, or even better, preventing them from arising in the first place, is a win-win for everyone and improves participation in cultural life. For people with physical, cognitive, sensory and psychological impairments, the removal of barriers is essential in order to be able to participate in culture.

The Behindertengleichstellungsgesetz (Disability Equality Act – BBG) stipulates in Article 4 that “all designed areas of life […] shall be locatable, accessible and usable for persons with disabilities in the generally customary manner, without particular difficulty and in principle without outside assistance”. For a cultural institution, this means designing both the building and all activities in such a way that they can be visited autonomously by all: From the website to the ticketing, the architecture, the cultural event itself to a visit to the café, both staff and guests should be able to find and use everything autonomously.

Lowering barriers also offers the chance to reach new audiences who previously did not have the opportunity to participate in culture. However, reducing barriers is also relevant for people who are already used to using cultural services and who experience physical, cognitive, sensory and psychological impairments in the course of their lives.

An elderly man in a group of people who all seem to be pointing at the ibk logo (photomontage).

Our history

The Institut für Bildung und Kultur e. V. (Institute for Education and Culture – ibk) as the responsible body for kubia was founded in 1982 as an institution for research and model project development at the Akademie für Kulturelle Bildung (Academy for Cultural Education) in Remscheid. At the end of the 1980s, with funding from the Federal Ministry of Research, the Institute carried out its first model projects on senior cultural work.

From the experience of various project and research projects on cultural education in old age at state, federal and EU level, the competence centre kubia was founded in 2008 with funding from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. After eight years of project funding, kubia has been institutionally funded by the Ministry of Culture of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia since the beginning of 2017. Since 2016, the development of inclusive and diversity-sensitive concepts in culture and cultural education has been another area of work.

Our topics and offers

Topics of kubia are the professionalisation of cultural education practice for older people and people with disabilities, the promotion of intergenerational dialogue, accessibility of arts and culture, arts and culture in care and for people with dementia, the strengthening of cultural engagement as well as the promotion of diversity and cultural participation of older and disabled people of non-German origin.

On these topics we offer advice, funding, continuing education,and knowledge. These offers are aimed at employees of cultural institutions and administrations, artists and all those who work in cultural education, arts education, social work with the elderly, care for the disabled and nursing.

Cultural Geragogical Research

kubia works at the interface between science and practice: we are well connected in both fields and mediate between them. We represent an interdisciplinary perspective and see ourselves as a link between different research fields such as gerontology, cultural education, cultural, social and health sciences, each of which has its own perspective on cultural work with older people. We observe international trends and participate in international professional discourse.

kubia conducts its own research in cultural geragogy and regularly publishes articles with its own research results in books and journals. We are also active in scientific advisory boards.

Our Staff

On our team page you will get to know the people who work for kubia and learn who is responsible for what.

Our network

To represent our concerns, we work in various professional organisations, associations and committees. Our goal is to network cultural actors in North Rhine-Westphalia and to support the transfer of experience and knowledge. kubia is also well networked internationally and works with numerous partners abroad.

kubia is a member or partner of:

The Kulturrat NRW e. V. is a state-wide independent association of over eighty organisations in the sections of music, dance, theatre, film/media, literature, visual arts and interdisciplinary culture/socio-culture. The aim of the Kulturrat NRW is to represent the interests of cultural workers in North Rhine-Westphalia. kubia belongs to the section “Interdisciplinary Arts and Socioculture”. kubia director Almuth Fricke is the section spokesperson and a member of the Kulturrats board. kubia is involved in the working group for cultural education and is a member of the Diversity Round Table.

Kulturrat NRW


The German National Association of Senior Citizens’ Organisations (Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft der ­Seniorenorganisationen e. V. – BAGSO) represents the interests of the older generations in Germany and advocates for active, self-determined and healthy ageing in social security.

BAGSO – Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft der Seniorenorganisationen e. V.

The Netzwerk Forschung Kulturelle Bildung (Research Network Culture and Education) links the field of research on cultural education and promotes collegial and interdisciplinary exchange. kubia is represented in the cluster “Cultural Education and Age”.

Netzwerk Forschung Kulturelle Bildung

Amateo is the European network for active participation in cultural activities. Around 60 national and regional umbrella associations and organisations from over 20 European countries participate in the network. kubia director Almuth Fricke has been on the Amateo board since 2019.

Amateo – European Network for Active Participation in Cultural Activities

The Fachverband Kunst- und Kulturgeragogik e. V. (Association for Art and Cultural Geragogy) represents the interests of graduates, lecturers and leaders of the qualifications in Art and Cultural Geragogy.

Fachverband Kunst- und Kulturgeragogik

The Netzwerk Demenz und Kulturelle Teilhabe NRW (Dementia and Cultural Participation Network North Rhine-Westphalia) is an association of the Regionalbüros Alter, Pflege und Demenz NRW (Regional Offices for Ageing, Care and Dementia Rhine-Westphalia) with cultural institutions and cultural practitioners who provide artistic and cultural services for people with dementia and their relatives in North Rhine-Westphalia. It is jointly coordinated by the Regional Offices for Ageing, Care and Dementia and kubia.

Network Dementia and Cultural Participation NRW

The Arbeitskreis Geragogik (Geragogy Working Group) of the German Society for Gerontology and Geriatrics is an interdisciplinary forum for all those who are active in science and/or practice in the various fields of geragogy. Dr. Miriam Haller represents kubia in the working group.

Arbeitskreis Geragogik

Die Wissensplattform Kulturelle Bildung Online richtet sich an eine Fachöffentlichkeit aus Wissenschaft und Praxis der Kulturellen Bildung. Mit über 750 Fachartikeln von 600 Autor*innen zu kulturpädagogischen Themen, künstlerischen Praxen, theoretischen Grundlagen und Forschung ist kubi-online eine Online-Bibliothek, die stetig wächst und monatlich rund 30.000 Zugriffe verzeichnet. kubia-Leiterin Almuth Fricke ist als Expertin für das Thema Kulturgeragogik Mitglied des Fachbeirats.

Kulturelle Bildung Online

Our Neighbourhood in the Seekabelhaus

The jfc Medienzentrum e. V. (jfc Media Centre) is a specialist centre for children’s and youth media work in Cologne and North Rhine-Westphalia. founded in 1976 as the Jugend-Film-Club (Youth Film Club –jfc), the jfc Medienzentrum offers educational campaigns, advice, qualification and services at the intersection of media, culture and education. In many offers, children, young people and families are directly addressed. In addition, the association networks professionals from the social, educational and cultural sectors who actively use media.

jfc Medienzentrum

The Kölner Institut für Kulturarbeit und Weiterbildung (Cologne Institute for Cultural Work and Continuing Education) is a non-profit educational organisation that offers professional-qualification further education, workshops, training and counselling for creative professionals.

Kölner Institut für Kulturarbeit und Weiterbildung

The Bundesverband Theaterpädagogik e. V. (Federal Association for Theatre Education – BuT) represents theatre education as a specialist discipline in cultural and vocational education in Germany.

Bundesverband Theaterpädagogik

Any questions?

kubia director Almuth Fricke or our public relations officer Christoph Brammertz will be happy to answer any questions you may have about our work.


Portrait photo of Almuth Fricke in a yellow blouse against a turquoise background

Almuth Fricke


Portrait of Christoph Brammertz in yellow sweater against blue background

Christoph Brammertz