Call for applications: new two-year Summer Academy hosted by the Berne University of the Arts (HKB) and the Zentrum Paul Klee

Call for applications: new two-year Summer Academy hosted by the Berne University of the Arts (HKB) and the Zentrum Paul Klee

Sommerakademie Paul Klee

Niesen, 2016. Courtesy of Hans Rudolf Reust.

January 16, 2017
Call for applications: new two-year Summer Academy hosted by the Berne University of the Arts (HKB) and the Zentrum Paul Klee

Bern University of the Arts
Fellerstrasse 11
CH-3027 Bern

A decade ago, the Berne Summer Academy introduced a landmark educational template that is now being reinvented by the reestablished Summer Academy Paul Klee (PK), beginning in August 2017.

The new Summer Academy Paul Klee, under newly appointed artistic director Tirdad Zolghadr, is a fully funded program offering artists a departure from business as usual, without becoming an exhausting interruption in its own right. It caters to practitioners working at a postgraduate level, whether or not they have an official certificate saying so. Professional experience and intellectual appetite are the main requirements.

Over two summer sessions—August 2017 and August 2018—eight fellows are granted access to the university’s outstanding infrastructure and technical support, and will proceed to collectively author a public event scheduled for April 2019. Although based on the idea of an academy, the aim is to transcend the blueprint of seminars and tutorials, and to focus on group research and cross-professional coalition building.

Back in the 2000s, there were few examples of summer retreats as proposed by the Zentrum Paul Klee. Our new program builds on this pioneering idea, while proposing a more complex blend of theory and praxis, discourse and production. With its atypical timeline and exceptional infrastructure, the PK combines collective inquiry with the perks of production-oriented residencies.

Both in terms of a concrete curatorial theme (see below) and a fundamental working premise, the PK seeks to account for the consequences of Contemporary Art. It traces the impact artists effectively have on the world around them, and works towards possibilities of reclaiming and steering that leverage. As such, it asks how the traction of Contemporary Art, as is, can be used to maximum effect, here and now.

Curatorial framework 2017–19: “Realty”
Realty is the name of the first thematic building block, and a framework for the collectively authored event in Spring 2019. It focuses on the role of Contemporary Art in recent histories of urban development and gentrification. The latter is a stark and grisly example of art’s leverage today, and finding a productive response to gentrification has evolved into something of a holy grail within the field internationally. In order to bypass the melancholia, and avoid theorizing our failures yet again, our references must go beyond the usual scope of Euro-American art and academia. To what extent can we speak of a planetary development? If the term “gentrification” implies a multiplicity of often underestimated factors, what does this mean for possible rules of engagement? In order to address these and other questions, Realty will need to take stock of legal implications as well as artist initiatives, urban regeneration policies, chronospatial mythologies, art and/as architecture, and more.

For more details and contact information please refer to

University infrastructure at the PK Fellows’ disposal:
–state-of-the-art print workshops
–wood, plastics, metal, and textile facilities
–high-tech sound studio
–audiovisual media lab for film, video, and photography
–conservation and restoration facilities
–specialized libraries

Practical pointers
–Three sessions on-site: August 5–25, 2017 / August 4–24, 2018 / April 2019
–Travel, visa expenses, room and board fully covered
–Minimal commitment required: 7–8 weeks over a total of 20 months
–From the very outset, PK Fellows are encouraged to assume co-curatorial responsibility, and co-devise the program
–Alumni of the Summer Academy Zentrum Paul Klee strongly encouraged to apply

–Application file to be submitted digitally by 7am Central European Time on Saturday, February 18
–The application needs to include: (1) brief statement explaining the reasons for applying and/or a proposal as to how you intend to engage with the PK program and facilities (800 words max), (2) documentation of recent work and/or general practice, and (3) CV and brief bio
–Availability for a short interview via Skype on Wednesday, February 22

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Sommerakademie Paul Klee
January 16, 2017

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