Before Claudia Roth moved into politics she was the artistic director of a theater and a manager of the rock band Ton Steine Scherben, which was dedicated to making music about emerging leftist politics in Germany. Roth has since taken her beliefs to parliament, and her new appointment as Germany’s Culture Minister is likely to draw ire from the opposition, according to a report in Artnet News.
The appointment follows elections in September that have brought together a new governing coalition of Social Democrats, Greens, and Liberal Democrats. Roth will be the first Green Party politician to take on the role of Culture Minister.
Currently the Vice President of the Bundestang, Roth has been a prominent figure in the 10 years she’s served as a Green Party member and chairwoman for the Bavarian constituency of Augsburg-Stadt, located outside Munich. Given her standing, Roth’s appointment as the Culture Minister suggests that the position, once somewhat marginal, has become a role of growing importance.
In 2020, the German government showed enormous support for the arts and culture industry. Under the previous Culture Minister, Monika Grütters, the culture budget was raised by $140 million to a total of $2.2 billion. The government also gave $50 billion in aid to the nation’s cultural workers, freelancers, and small businesses, far outpacing aid packages that other governments have offered the arts sector.
In the new coalition agreement, Germany’s ruling parties agreed on a vision for the culture sector: “more alternative, fairer, and more diverse.” Following pandemic funding for small businesses, the plan is to continue supporting independent artists and publicists as the country pivots to support an emerging class of freelancers who are often gaining income from various gigs within and outside of the culture sector. The plan also includes more health insurance funding for self-employed workers in the cultural sector.