Cultural events in winter – pilot experiments

“Linie 1” is a musical revue staged at Uckermärkische Bühnen, a theatre in Schwedt, and the first event to be examined as part of the project. (Source: Uckermärkische Bühnen in Schwedt / Sandra Zabelt)

Neuruppin/Potsdam, 9 September 2021

Music and dance, theatre and cabaret – wherever possible, events took place outdoors this summer. But the cold season is imminent and the question is whether artistic and cultural performances can move indoors again. The Harding Center for Risk Literacy (Potsdam) and the Brandenburg Medical School are going to make a scientific analysis of the problems involved in collaboration with the Brandenburg Ministry of Science, Research and Cultural Affairs. Selected events will be monitored to see whether the chosen strategies to contain infection risks are successful.

The Ministry of Science and Cultural Affairs in agreement with the Health Ministry has authorized several events as trial projects in the upcoming autumn and winter season despite rising incidence rates. Organizers pursue a variety of concepts to contain risks of infection. On ten evenings between 11 September 2021 and 8 January 2022, researchers from the Harding Center for Risk Literacy and the Brandenburg Medical School Theodor Fontane (MHB) are going to accompany events in Schwedt/Oder, Potsdam, Cottbus and Brandenburg an der Havel and check the effectiveness of measures adopted.

Prof. Dr. Michael Hauptmann heads the MHB Institute of Biostatistics and Registry Research. He describes the “hard door” concept, an approach with stringent access restrictions, which will be tested at four events: “It involves double testing of all guests independent of their immunization status. Our team statistically analyses the incidence-related risk involved in various kinds of access restriction and tries to determine a ratio of risk, access restriction and hygiene measures which visitors are willing to accept.” Clues are expected about the scalability of door concepts even with rising incidence rates and breakthrough infections, and about risk tolerances and hygiene measures which render events feasible. Findings will help to make evidence-based recommendations for future security concepts. Another project already implemented in other federal states explores events at full capacity but with admission only for recovered, fully vaccinated or negatively tested individuals. Risks of infection in this context, however, are still unclear, particularly in view of rising incidence rates. The pilot project is therefore intended to check visitor behaviour at six events, assess the role of testing and evaluate the efficiency of ventilation.

According to Dr. Felix Rebitschek, head researcher at the Harding Center, the experiment serves to find out how cultural events can be organized in the cold season under pandemic conditions. It is not yet clear which impact the findings from the model project will have on Corona regulations for the State of Brandenburg.

Minister Dr. Manja Schüle points to the emotional effect of cultural life events this summer as long-awaited shared activities after months of lockdown. She is grateful to the institutions involved in the research project. The arts and culture sector, so the Minister, needs long-term prospects and a future, and our society needs arts and culture.
The Ministry provides funding of approximately € 40,000 for the project which starts with the premiere of the musical revue “Linie 1” at the theatre Uckermärkische Bühnen Schwedt on Saturday. The research focus will be on visitor behaviour, the role of testing and the efficiency of ventilation in event venues. Further locations in the project context: Staatstheater Cottbus, Nikolaisaal Potsdam and ‘Haus der Offiziere‘, a cultural facility for youngsters in Brandenburg an der Havel.

Harding Center for Risk Literacy

The Harding Center for Risk Literacy changed its affiliation from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development (Berlin) to the Brandenburg Faculty of Health Sciences in Potsdam in 2020. It stands for information, generally intelligible processing of data and facts and the development of analogous and digital tools to facilitate informed and efficient health and consumer-related decision-making. The team at the Center conducts studies, expert surveys and public opinion polls. They also organize further and advanced training for physicians,

journalists and consumer advisors who have a special responsibility to correctly interpret risks and convey their expert knowledge to patients and the general public in a comprehensible manner.

Brandenburg Medical School Theodor Fontane

The Brandenburg Medical School Theodor Fontane, one of the member universities of the Brandenburg Faculty of Health Sciences, is a state-accredited university under the sponsorship of municipal authorities and independent nonprofit organizations. With four university clinics (Immanuel Klinikum Bernau Herzzentrum Brandenburg, Immanuel Klinik Rüdersdorf, Ruppiner Kliniken and Städtisches Klinikum Brandenburg) and currently a total of more than 35 cooperating hospitals and over 150 teaching practices, the MHB stands for practice-oriented and science-based teaching concepts and the integration of research, student instruction and patient care in the State of Brandenburg and beyond.

Brandenburg Faculty of Health Sciences

The Brandenburg Faculty of Health Sciences is a joint institution of the University of Potsdam, the Brandenburg Medical School Theodor Fontane and the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg and was established in 2018. It constitutes the core of the Brandenburg Health Campus. The new faculty aims to develop new formats of medical and nursing care provision and to establish innovative study programmes. Collaboration with other universities and research institutions is expected to improve medical care in the State of Brandenburg.

Dr. Felix G. Rebitschek
Head Research Scientist and CEO, Harding Center for Risk Literacy

Media contact
Antje Horn-Conrad
University of Potsdam
Press and public relations division
Phone: +49 331 977-1474