What is the toolbox.tanz?

A curated collection of tools and information for freelance dance artists. It is an platform to share knowledge in constant actualization. 

This website is one of the results of the project Digitale Toolbox für Tanzschaffende – Ein ausgangspunkt developed between the team from Quartier am Hafen, 11 resident artists and other experts in 2021. 



The dance residencies in the Atelier 0.10 at Quartier am Hafen started in 2016.

It was part of a non-physical structure created by Michael Maurissens and Douglas Bateman, called ZAIK, it was short for Zentrum für Austausch und Innovation Köln.

But after a couple of years ZAIK gently dissolved, due to lack of funding.

Their formats where either gone or handed over to another group. They were important formats for the independent scene in Cologne, especially for young artists. Andreas Schmitz / Quartier am Hafen decided to keep the Atelier 0.10 as a working space to support the development of the professional dance scene in the city, and so the program got a new title and kept on inviting artists to work there.

Thanks to ZAIK, it was evident that such a shared space was greatly needed and constantly used, so the atelier stayed. A huge gain for the scene alongside a massive thank you to those who make it possible to this date.

But yet, what kind of empty space did ZAIK left? The dance scene needs more than just a physical space to create and perform. A physical space is definitely a must, yet it can be physically there, but empty of intention and therefore be equated to something useless. It is also important to take care of the intangible and dynamic network of people, of ideas, and of questions.


Is an artistic residency only a space with four walls?  What should an artistic residency be?

What it should not be?  What do dance artists need to work?

Here, now, between us.

And of course, the essential follow-up question:  who is responsible for these needs?

The artists?  The spaces? Quartier am Hafen?  Where do we share a responsibility?  

Who is responsible for addressing the problem of precarity?  Who is responsible for adding sustainability to the artistic processes and the artists´ lives? What can we do to shift the shaky work-conditions within the dance field?

All these questions illustrate the purpose of this project. One question brings it to the point:  How could Quartier am Hafen support more artistic biographies and less artistic projects?  They both have different temporalities, and until now the shortest one was being favored. How could the Residency Program at Quartier promote the sustainability in the careers of local dance artists? 

Digital Toolbox for Dance Artists is a collective proposal to deal with these questions.  Artists and other experts collaborated with the team of Quartier am Hafen to build an online collection of resources to promote the structural sustainability of the artistic career for dance artists in Cologne.

The development of the toolbox initiates the reorientation of the residency program in the house. Away from “projectitis” and more focus on artistic biographies.

The Digital Toolbox for Dance Artists is similar to a digital database with questions and possible answers. It serves as inspiration and stimulation for the development of one’s own artistic biography.

It is for everyone in the dance scene to use and update.


11 resident artists and 40 experts in different fields engaged in one-to-one conversations about needs and interests. It was an exchange of experiences. Around 60 meetings took place between March and October 2021. The experts supported the artists in their search. They approached questions about sustainability in the artistic career, and to share strategies to take the next steps towards this.

This group of artists then met to select and formulate the material to be shared on the website. The conversations ranged from very practical day-to-day issues to philosophical questions about the artistic endeavor. Everything is link when it comes to the development of an artistic career. The aim was to point out relevant topics and material mentioned during the conversations. They collected references, links, checklists, workbooks, tips.

Beautiful contradiction

By creating this digital tool, we found ourselves working within a beautiful contradiction. This website could give rise to two misunderstandings. One that using it will solve your artistic life. That is not true. It is an impulse, not an lifeline. Each person is responsible for the well-being of his or her artistic life, but we can and should share our experiences and knowledge to achieve this.

And second, that the exchange through digital media is enough. It is not. The richest part of the process were the live conversations, both the individual and the group talks. The time dedicated to sharing and listening, and the contacts that were established under the excuse of creating this website are the real gain of this project.

We were surprised by the positive response when we were first reaching out. Try it yourself, you might be also surprised. We belong to those who firmly believe that sharing knowledge and resources is beneficial to all of us. No sharp elbows here. They are useless. This project started with a digital medium, an e-mail or a call, but ended up in a several face-to-face conversations and concrete actions to make.

So, we hope that this digital collection of resources exactly that,  the first step to connect with others and to help articulate needs and ideas. It gathers suggestions to keep insisting. Someone out there might help you with that what you are looking for. In an artistic residency, the physical space might be a limited resource, but the knowledge and ideas revolving around it surpass these limits. We just need to find the right tools to share them. This website is one of the ways to do this.

In Cologne, NRW and even at a national and international level, there are many individuals, groups, and institutions who take care of exchange platforms. It possible to connect to them. Just write them an e-mail, visit them, join them, support them. Just talk to them. Reach out.

You can start by finding their contacts on this website. 

Conversation Extract #1

Özlem Alkis (ÖA) and Kattrin Deufert (KD)

People involved

Alessandro de Matteis (Audiovisual documentation & Video)

Amanda Romero Canepa (Resident Artist / Co-Author)

Andreas Schmitz (Supporter / Quartier am Hafen)

Anne-Lene Nöldner (Resident Artist / Co-Author)

Bettina Nampé (Resident Artist / Co-Author)

Bianca Mendonça (Resident Artist / Co-Author)

Constanza Ruiz Campuzano (Resident Artist / Co-Author)

Douglas Bateman (Resident Artist / Co-Author)

Elsa Artmann (Resident Artist / Co-Author)

Greta Salgado Kurdas (Resident Artist / Co-Author)

Jonas Schiffauer (Resident Artist / Co-Author)

Josefine Pfütze / Aus der Reihe (Project Management & Assistance Artistc Direction)

Karoline Strys (Written documentation)

Marje Hirvonen (Resident Artist / Co-Author)

Özlem Alkis (Resident Artist / Co-Author)

Ramin Aryaie (Web Design)

Samuel Duvoisin (Resident Artist / Co-Author)

Seulki Hwang (Assistance Artistic Direction)

Silvia Ehnis Perez Duarte (Concept, Co-Author & Artistic Direction)

Funded by Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media





Special thank you to

Andreas Müller

Paraproximity (Jennifer Döring und Philine Herrlein)

Hippana (Jonas Schiffauer & Team)

ZAIK (Douglas Bateman & Michael Maurissens)


Robin Junicke

Other Experts

Alexa Jünkering

Andreas Müller

Angie Hiesl

Anita Bader

Arthur Köstler


Béla Bisom

Bettina Nampé

Boris Sieverts

Christine Peters

Claus Reichel

Prof. Dr. Nikita Dhawan

Ella Steinmann

Emma Haugh

Enis Turan

Fang Yun Lo

Friedrich Pohl

Heike Schwitalla


Ilona Pászthy

Jared Gradinger

Jenny Beyer

Jenny Patschovsky

Jörg Krauthäuser

Julia Schäfer

Katharina Klapdor-Ben Salem

Kattrin Deufert

Markus Maurer

Mijin Kim

Miriam Michel

Nora Amin

Pascal Gehrke

Rosalind Crisp

Sabina Stücker

Ute Classen

Viviana Escale

Wilma Renfordt


Funded by Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media





Special thank you to

Andreas Müller

Paraproximity (Jennifer Döring und Philine Herrlein)

Hippana (Jonas Schiffauer & Team)

ZAIK (Douglas Bateman & Michael Maurissens)


Robin Junicke