Cultural Initiatives in North Africa and the Middle East
The Kamel Lazaar Foundation is pleased to announce the organization of a new session of the Octopus Programme in partnership with The Palestinian Museum, Birzeit - Die Angewandte, the University of Applied Arts Vienna - Konstfack, University College of Arts, Crafts, Stockholm - Index, The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation - The University of Pretoria - The Centre for The Less Good Idea, Johannesburg - SAHA Association, Istanbul - Saastamoinen Foundation and Publics, Helsinki.
The Octopus Programme is a guided research-based educational programme that encourages artistic research and production-based collaborations across academies and art institutions; students and professionals; diverse presentation modes; and processes of research and documentation in different geographies. While the Octopus Programme functions as a support mechanism for emerging artists, the main objective of the programme is to accumulate experience-based collective and creative output by taking geopolitical, social, ecological, and educational urgencies and diversities into consideration.
The programme not only intends to bridge and acknowledge social and cultural diversities in the targeted geographical regions—Europe, the Mediterranean, and Africa—but the programme also values and connects the diversities between and/or among :
• socio-political realities and perspectives;
• interdisciplinary approaches;
• academic and nonacademic intellectual models;
• forms of artistic research and practices;
• divergent perspectives on artistic production methodologies;
• individual and community-based approaches;
• top-down and grass-root organisation models;
• accessed and distributed resources and facilities;
• strategies of environmental sustainability;
• artistic challenges and opportunities;
• different funding possibilities;
• institutional and alternative curatorial practices;
• forms of engagement of artists, audiences, institutions;
• forms of innovative and technology-driven mindsets;
• and diverse knowledge production models.
The programme started in 2019/2020 with a pilot phase which linked Vienna and Tunis through University of Applied Arts Vienna and Kamel Lazaar Foundation.
The Structure and the Duration The programme is designed and attached to a two-semester course “Spectral Encounters” (a 3-credit course per semester, presented by the University of Applied Arts Vienna) that takes place simultaneously in different cities with a joint curriculum, designed and prepared by 8 institutions from Europe, The Mediterranean and Africa. The language of the course is English.
The programme includes peer-to-peer educational sessions, talks and tutorials by guest lecturers, online and class discussions, research field trips and work groups, collaborative production-based workshops in Birzeit, Istanbul, Johannesburg, Helsinki, Pretoria, Stockholm, Tunis and Vienna. Futhermore, guest artists and activities will accompany the programme. Led by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Basak Senova, Visiting Professor at Art and Communication Practices, the University of Applied Arts Vienna, the course is run by 7 curators: Anne Klontz, Basak Senova, Bronwyn Lace, Çelenk Bafra, Inas Yassin, Karim Sultan and Paul O’Neill.
An artist from Tunisia and one artist from Palestine will be selected and they will be part of the programme with the other eight artists. The travel and production expenses of these four winning participants will be covered. The selection process will be coordinated by Kamel Lazaar Foundation and the Palestinian Museum in collaboration with Basak Senova from University of Applied Arts Vienna.