Sommerakademie Paul Klee (SPK) is inviting applications for the 16-month programme hosted by the Bern Academy of the Arts (HKB). The programme is aimed at practitioners working at a postgraduate level, and encourages practitioners from various disciplines in culture, education or activism. Practical experience of being part of artistic and activist groups and an openness to engage in a process of sharing and learning from fellow practitioners is a necessary requirement of this call.
Up to eight residents are invited to join the Sommerakademie Paul Klee (SPK) programme, curated by cultural worker Andrea Thal, and beginning on 12 August 2023. Over the course of 2023 & 2024, the SPK features public lectures, closed-door seminars, and access to state-of-the-art infrastructure and technical support at the Bern Academy of the Arts (HKB) – as well as teaching opportunities at the HKB. Pro Helvetia supports successful candidates from the regions of its liaison offices around the world. Our office will support one successful applicant from either Southern, Central, East or West Africa.
EXCERPT FROM THE CURATORIAL FRAMEWORK FOR 2023/24: Finding our feet
What ways of being with others, in work or otherwise, are practised in situations of crisis and conflict or come out of anti-racist, non-binary or queer feminist groups, historically and in the present? What questions and demands do they pose to the economic, aesthetic and institutional structures around us? How do we negotiate the need to decentre the individual and remain attentive to multi-layered positionalities and aware of forms of exclusion or discrimination? How can we be more careful with our resources and give more space to pleasure, experimentation and mutual support?
The 2023/24 cycle of the SPK wishes to bring together a group of residents who have experience in working with others in modes of crisis or struggle in cultural, activist or education contexts. To find our feet means to grow more confident in a new or shifting situation, to grow familiar with the ground we are standing on and from where we act. Finding our feet will dedicate time to detailed research of methodologies and economies of collective working practices, the reflection and awareness tools that grow out of groups whose practices imagine different forms of relating to each other, as well as artistic and experimental ways of making art together. Based on the awareness that such practices are always highly specific to their contexts, the programme hopes to build its field of resonance together with the residents and based on their questions. In light of this, the programme proposes a loose structure with room for decisions to be taken in the group and is able to accommodate shifts in its focus and direction.
Andrea Thal brings to the SPK extensive experience of curating, teaching and publishing, in which she combines an international perspective with the local context. Her engagement with social and political issues is frequently situated within a collaborative practice. From 2007 until 2014 she ran Les Complices, a self-organised space in Zurich. In 2011, she curated Chewing the Scenery, part of the Swiss participation in the 45th Venice Biennale. She has been an active member of Another Roadmap Africa Cluster (ARAC) since its foundation in 2015. Since 2014, Andrea Thal has been the artistic director of Contemporary Image Collective in Cairo, Egypt.
Past Sommerakademie Paul Klee residents
Malawian artist Ella Elidas Banda of Ozhope Collective was selected by the jury to take part in the 2021/22 edition of SPK under the direction of Dora García exploring the curatorial framework “Position voice mundo: The urgent need for feminization.”
Johannesburg-based artist and educator Dorothee Kreutzfeldt was selected by the jury to take part in the 2019/20 edition of SPK which explored “STATECRAFT” as a curatorial framework.
Image: Ahmed Hany, from the series I see you in my memory, 2020, showing overlayed images of printing sessions during Temporary Gathering and Cairo street scenes.