The Octopus Programme

The Kamel Lazaar Foundation is pleased to announce the organization of a new session of the Octopus Programme in partnership with Die Angewandte, the University of Applied Arts Vienna - The Palestinian Museum, Birzeit - Konstfack, University College of Arts, Crafts, Stockholm - Index, The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation - 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.

Correspondingly, the programme intends to develop and point out new critical perspectives and standing points to process artistic research and practices. In this respect, by merging the viewpoints of academic entities and contemporary art institutions along with what they can provide such as mixed facilities and activities, the Octopus Programme would like to develop a progressive methodology by creating its autonomous network.

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.


The programme was initiated in 2019/2020 by University of Applied Arts Vienna and Kamel Lazaar Foundation with a pilot phase which linked Tunis and Vienna. The main phase is taking place in 2020/2021 and the partners of the main phase of the programme are University of Applied Arts ViennaKamel Lazaar Foundation, Tunis; Konstfack – University College of Arts, Crafts, StockholmIndex – The Swedish Contemporary Art FoundationThe University of PretoriaThe Centre for The Less Good Idea, Johannesburg; the Palestinian Museum, Birzeit; SAHA Association, IstanbulPublics; and Saastamoinen Foundation, Helsinki.

The first chapter of the programme was designed as a two-semester course “Spectral Encounters” (3 credits per semester) that takes place both at the University of Applied Arts (the Angewandte) in Vienna and B7L9, Kamel Lazaar Foundation in Tunis as a pilot application. The language of the course is English. After the completion of the pilot phase in February 2021, the main phase is planned to start in April 2021 during the winter semester of 2021/2022. The first part will be the 10 weeks from the first week of April 2021 to the last week of June 2021, the second part starts  in the first week of October and continues until the last week of February 2022. The presentations, exhibitions, and book launches will continue until the last week of June 2022

In 2019/2020, the course includes peer to peer educational sessions, online and class discussions, research field-trips, and workgroups both in Tunis and Vienna, collaborative production-based workshops, and lectures. The course is led by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Basak Senova, Visiting Professor at Art and Communication Practices, the University of Applied Arts Vienna. The course also incorporates guest lecturers and curated presentations of the students/artists in both cities. The travel expenses are covered by the University of Applied Arts Vienna and Kamel Lazaar Foundation.

For the main phase,10 artists/participants from Europe, the Mediterranean and Africa will be selected and announced until 19th of March 2021. The Open Call for each country will carry its own procedure with the same conditions and the institution/art centre/art space/association from each country will conduct the selection process in collaboration/coordination with Basak Senova from the University of the Applied Arts Vienna. 

7 curators/instructors/coordinators will develop a joint curriculum for 24 weeks (2021/2022). The activities will be spread around among each node. In University of the Applied Arts Vienna, the programme will continue through 2 semester 3 credit (4 hours) Spectral Encounters course, so the participants will get 6 credits from the university and all the participants will receive certificates from the programme.

The curators of the programme and representatives of the partners are Barbara Putz-Plecko and Basak Senova (curator) in ViennaMaria Lanz, Magnus Bärtås, Marti Manen and Anne Klontz (curator) in StockholmLina Lazaar, Karim Sultan in TunisWilliam Kentridge, Phala Ookeditse Phala, and Bronwyn Lace (curator) in JohannesburgInas Yassin (curator) in Birzeit; Çelenk Bafra (curator) in IstanbulJohan Thom in Pretoria and Saastamoinen Foundation and Paul O’Neill (curator) in Helsinki.

Eligibility :

• Oral and written proficiency in English

• To be able to travel abroad twice between June 2021 to June 2022 (5 to 7 days)

The required items below should be submitted as one PDF to at no later than 08.03.2021, 17:00 (CET)Late submissions will not be accepted.

The following information should be included :

• Contact info (phone and email)

• A statement of motivation (150-250 words)

• Maximum two A4 pages project proposal including text and images (should be ongoing research and project which is in progress/incomplete)

• 3 to 5 project samples (portfolio) one A4 page for each project including text and images

• Artist bio (150-250 words) including date and place of birth and educational background

[The size of the submitted PDF should not exceed 6M]. Please note that links embedded in the PDF for video files are accepted, however, WeTransfer link, web link or printed documents are not accepted and/or taken into consideration for the application.

More detailed information about the Octopus Programme can be found on