Symposium Failing Art School?

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Symposium: Failing art school? Institutionalization, modularization and resistant artistic research practice

Failing art school video

28.-29. Oktober 2021 (online)

All panels and keynotes will take place online via Zoom.
To join, please register until 27.10.2021 at Maren Mildner,

Thinking artistic research as a practice of instituting oneself and a mode of unlearning, of dealing with uncertainties and risk, how could we at Academy of Media Arts keep this resilience for an artistic studies program? How can we view, practice, and teach artistic research not as an end in itself but as a queer-feminist, and anti-/decolonial practice? If researching within artistic practice means to perform ways of resistance, of lateral perspectives on art and research, and crossings of formalized artistic processes, how can this practice be preserved in highly formalized post-bologna institutions and be steady against a set of established methodologies? In which ways can we facilitate the space for intuitive, affective, unsystematic research, experiments, trial & error? Is there still space for failure in institutionalized, practice based research? How can we avoid creating programs that are determined by the logics of production, of output and the art market? What is the relation between academic institutions and independent platforms? And in which way could curatorial practice create a link between the two?

From 28.-29.10.2021, researchers, academics, curators, and practitioners from different fields will discuss artistic research as a practice of unlearning, of crossing fields and curricula. We're going to work out in which way epistemologies of art and research can be resilient/resistant to modularization and formalization processes. We will contrast experiences with BA, MA, and PhD programs in artistic research, their implementation, institutionalization, and current practice with experiences in more independent institutions or curatorial settings.


Thurs 28.10.2021


Keynote: Irit Rogoff (London)

Introduction by Isabell Lorey (Cologne/Berlin)


Research as anti/decolonial, queer-feminist practice

Trinh T. Minh-ha (Berkeley)

Kathy-Ann Tan (Berlin)

Nana Adusei-Poku (New York/Berlin)

Moderator:  Madhusree Dutta (Cologne)

Fri 29.10.2021


Curatorial practice and free platforms

Maria Hlavajová (Utrecht)

Elke Krasny (Vienna)

Mi You (Kassel)

Moderator: Lilian Haberer (Cologne)


Resistant practices and Bologna

Lisa LeFeuvre (Santa Fé)

Florian Cramer (Rotterdam)

Christina Varvia (Aarhus)

Moderator: Karina Nimmerfall (Cologne/Berlin)


Keynote Trinh T. Minh-ha (Berkeley): "The Twofold Commitment."

Introduction by Sophie Maintigneux (Cologne/Berlin)

Organized by Lilian Haberer & Katrin M. Kämpf, FG Art and Media Studies


All panels and keynotes will take place online via Zoom.
To join, please register until 27.10.2021 at Maren Mildner,


Nana Adusei-Poku

Nana Adusei-Poku is Associate Professor and Luma Curatorial Fellow at the Center for Curatorial Studies and Contemporary Art at Bard College. She was Visiting Professor in Art History of the African Diaspora at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City. She held the position Research Professor for Cultural Diversity (2013-2014 )and then for Visual Cultures 2(015-2017) at the Hogeschool Rotterdam and was Guest Lecturer at the University of the Arts, Zurich (2012-2018). She has been a visiting scholar at the University of Ghana, Legon; the London School of Economics; and Columbia University, New York. Nana also works as curator, writer, and educator. She completed her PhD on post-black art within the Graduate program Gender as category of Knowledge at Humboldt University in Berlin and holds a degree in Media and Communication at Goldsmiths College London. She curated the event Performance of No-thingness at the Academy of Arts Berlin 2018, the exhibition NO HUMANS INVOLVED at the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam.

Florian Cramer

Florian Cramer is a writer, theorist and reader (practice-oriented research professor) in 21st Century Visual Culture/Autonomous Practices at Willem de Kooning Academy, Rotterdam, Netherlands as part of of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences (Hogeschool Rotterdam). He teaches BA and different MA programs of the Piet Zwart Institute (as part of Willem de Kooning Academy). Within this program he is specialized in Autonomoue Practices, a graduation profile. The projects connected are researching new ways and practices of defining and creating autonomy in the arts and other disciplines, as opposed to traditional, and now often problematic, Western paradigms of aesthetic and artistic autonomy. He is co-supervising two research projects funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) called Making Matters: Bridging art, design and technology through Material Practices where he is investigating collective material practices and that break with the split of mind and matter, thinking and making. There, he also supervises PhD-candidates. The other NOW/SIA project is called Autonomy Lab, looking into new meanings of artist/research/activist/interdisciplinary collectives.

Madhusree Dutta

Madhusree Dutta is a filmmaker, author, pedagogue and curator. She has studied Economics at Jadavpur University, Kolkata and Dramatics at National School of Drama, New Delhi. Madhusree Dutta brought art practices, activism and pedagogy together in one platform as early as in 1990 when she curated EXPRESSION, the first feminist arts festival. Her works generally contemplates on gender construction, urban development, public arts and documentary practices. She has received multiple national and international awards for her films. She has joined as the Artistic Director of Akademie der Künste der Welt in Cologne since 2018.

Mária Hlavajová

Mária Hlavajová is an art historian, curator and artistic director of BAK, basis voor actuele kunst in Utrecht. She was research and artistic director of FORMER WEST (2008–16), which she initiated and developed as an internationally collaborative research, education, publication, and exhibition project. Hlavajová has instigated and organized numerous projects at BAK and beyond, including the series Propositions for Non-Fascist Living, Future Vocabularies, and New World Academy (with artist Jonas Staal, 2013–2016) among many other international research projects. Hlavajová is also co-founder of the tranzit network, a foundation that supports exchange and contemporary art practices in Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia. Hlavajová organized the Roma Pavilion Call the Witness (2011) in the context of the 54th Venice Biennale and curated the Dutch Pavilion titled Citizens and Subjects at the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007).

Lisa Le Feuvre

Lisa Le Feuvre is a curator, writer, and editor. She is inaugural Executive Director of Holt/ Smithson Foundation, an artist-endowed foundation dedicated to the creative legacies of artists Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson. Collaborating with artists, writers, thinkers, and institutions, the Foundation stewards a significant collection, realizes exhibitions, publishes books, initiates artist commissions, programs educational events, and encourages research from its headquarters in New Mexico. Between 2010 and 2017, Le Feuvre was Head of Sculpture Studies at the Henry Moore Institute, a part of the Henry Moore Foundation. Directing the research component of the largest artist foundation in Europe, she led a program of education, research, publications and exhibitions. Le Feuvre served on the 2018 Turner Prize Selection Committee and the 2019 Arnaldo Pomodoro Sculpture Prize; on the selection panel for the 2015 British Pavilion at the Venice Biennial; and on the jury for the first Hepworth Sculpture Prize in 2016. Le Feuvre has curated numerous exhibitions, her writing has been published extensively, and she has spoken at universities and museums across the world.

Trinh T. Minh-ha

Trinh T. Minh-ha is a filmmaker, writer, composer and Professor of the Graduate School in the departments of Rhetoric and of Gender & Women’s Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Her work includes twelve books, eight feature-length films which have been honored in numerous retrospectives around the world and four large-scale collaborative installations. She was the recipient of many awards, including the including 2016-2019 UCB & Mellon Foundation Toban Faculty Fellowship, the Wild Dreamer Lifetime Achievement Award at the Subversive Festival, Zagreb, Croatia, 2014; the Lifetime Achievement Award from Women's Caucus for Art, 2012; the Critics Choice Book Award of the American Educational Studies Association (AESA) for the book Elsewhere Within Here, 2012; and the2006 Trailblazers Award at MIPDoc (International Documentary Film Event) in Cannes, France. Her films her films have been honored in some fifty eight retrospectives around the world. They were exhibited at the international contemporary art exhibition such as Documenta 11 (2002) and have shown widely in art and film Biennales and Triennales. Her books, articles and essays have also been translated in numerous languages across East Asian and European countries.

Sophie Maintigneux

Sophie Maintigneux has worked as a cinematographer since 1984 and has made over 70 documentary and feature films. She was cinematographer on Eric Rohmer’s feature films “Quatre aventures de Reinette et Mirabelle” and “Summer”, which received the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1986. She has received several awards for her camera work, including The Price of the German Film Critics for the “Best Camera” in 1990, the Femina Award at the FilmFestival Max Ophüls Preis (2001), the camera award at DOK Leipzig (2002), the German camera award in the documentary film category (2003, 2009) and the price of honor of the German Camera Price (2021). From 2006 to 2011 Sophie was co-head of the camera department at the German Film and Television Academy Berlin (dffb). Since 2011 Sophie Maintigneux is professor of the camera/image composition at KHM. Recent cinematography for the cinema debut film by Tama Tobias-Macht and Johanna Sunder-Plassmann “draußen” permiered at Berlinale (2018) and Frauenfilmfestival Dortmund | Cologne. Collaborations with Eric Rohmer, Jean-Luc Godard, Michael Klier, Jan Schütte, Aysun Bademsoy, Doris Metz, Judith Kennel, Erica von Möller, Maria Teresa Camoglio, Annika Larsson, Michael Radford among others.

Karina Nimmerfall

Karina Nimmerfall is a professor for Interdisciplinary artistic and Media Art Practice and Theory at the Department of Humanities at University of Cologne and a visual artist whose projects address our multi-layered contemporary environment: architecture and its physical form, systems of representation found within mediated imagery and the archive, as well as the imaginary space of cultural, ideological and political ideas. She studied Visual Arts at the Hochschule für bildende Künste in Hamburg and Art History at the University of Vienna. Her work investigates different constructions of reality, temporality and history, by interweaving both sculptural installation and language with various forms of photographic, computer-generated or moving imagery. Her work is shown worldwide. Karina is a recipient of the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen and Halbach-Foundation Contemporary German Photography Grant (2018). She was awarded several fellowships, such as at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris and the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in Los Angeles and had Residencies at the Valand Academy, University of Gothenburg (2012) and in the Graduate Studies Program at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena (2010-11).

Elke Krasny

Elke Krasny is a cultural theorist, urban researcher, curator, and author. She is a Professor for Art and Education and Head of the Department of Education in the Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Krasny received her Ph.D. from the University of Reading. Her scholarship, academic writings, curatorial work, and international lectures address questions of care at the present historical conjuncture with a focus on emancipatory and transformative practices in art, curating, architecture and urbanism. The 2019 exhibition and edited volume Critical Care. Architecture and Urbanism for a Broken Planet, curated and edited together with Angelika Fitz, was published by MIT Press and introduces a care perspective in architecture addressing the anthropocenic conditions of the global present. Her 2020 essay ‘In-Sorge-Bleiben. Care-Feminismus für einen infizierten Planeten‘ develops a care-ethical perspective for pandemic times.

Isabell Lorey

Isabell Lorey studied political science, philosophy and African and European ethnology at Goethe University Frankfurt and her thesis in 1996 was the first monograph on the US American political philosopher Judith Butler, one of the most significant theorists in queer studies. The pertinent book that evolved from her thesis, Immer Ärger mit dem Subjekt, which was long out of print, has just been republished, with a new foreword, by transversal texts, at the same time as the publication in Argentina of a Spanish translation by La Cebra. In 2009 Isabell Lorey habilitated at the University of Vienna with a study on society formation and the consolidation of rule, which was published by Diaphanes in 2011 as Figuren des Immunen. Lorey is probably most well known for her book Die Regierung der Prekären, which has since been translated into five languages, and for which Judith Butler wrote the foreword. In it Lorey deals with the insecurity that is spreading through society, social uncertainty in the neo-liberal context, the associated gender politics but also the possibilities for change.

Lorey has served long stints as assistant and visiting professor at Berlin University of the Arts and Humboldt University of Berlin, as well as teaching at the universities of Basel, Vienna and Kassel. She also has extensive experience as a television journalist, as well as her excellent network and prominence in the international art world.

Irit Rogoff

Irit Rogoff works between academic teaching, theoretical writing, curatorial projects and organizing public study at the intersection of contemporary art, critical theory, and emergent political manifestations. She is a professor of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths University of London, where she heads the PhD in the Curatorial/Knowledge program and the MA in the Global Arts program. She is one of the initiators of the transdisciplinary field of Visual Culture and founder of the department at Goldsmiths. Her initiatives to establish this new field are led by a belief that we must work beyond bodies of inherited disciplinary knowledge and find motivation for knowledge production in the current conditions we are living out. Her practice deals also with geography, globalization, and contemporary participatory practices in the expanded field of art. Her current work focuses on new practices of knowledge production and their impacts on modes of research, under the title The Way We Work Now. Together with colleagues she formed the freethought collective in 2011 and they are co-curating The Bergen Assembly in 2016. In her 1997 essay “Studying Visual Culture” she articulated some of the substantive and methodological strands of this new field. In a series of ensuing texts Rogoff further expanded concerns in the field into participatory practices and the emergence of the curatorial as events of knowledge. Further work on counter Cartographies and globalization.

Kathy-Ann Tan 

Kathy-Ann Tan is a Berlin-based curator, writer and independent scholar of the visual arts and performance, postcolonial and decolonial theory, critical diversity studies and gender/queer studies. She was Fonte-Foundation Visiting Professor at Humboldt-University (2016) and at the John F. Kennedy Institute at Freie University Berlin, as well as at FAU in Erlangen Nuremberg, at the Department of English and American Studies. Kathy-Ann Tan received her Habilitation and PhD in North American Literatures and Cultures Curator at the University of Tübingen. She is interested in alternative models of art dissemination, exhibition-making and institution-building that are attuned to issues of social- and transformative justice. As a former full-time academic, she has extensive experience in teaching, research, publishing and public speaking. Kathy-Ann also teaches courses at the Node Center for Curatorial Studies, and recently completed an MA Curatorial Practice at University of Bergen, Norway.

Mi You

Mi You is a curator, researcher, and was part of the academic staff at Academy of Media Arts Cologne till 2021, where she lectured on arts and media theory with a social-political, transhistorical and transcultural perspective. Currently she works as a Visiting Professor for Art and Economy at the University of Kassel. She is one of the curators of the 13th Shanghai Biennale (2020–21) and has worked as curator of programs at the Asian Culture Center in Gwangju, South Korea, at Ulaanbaatar International Media Art Festival, Mongolia (2016), at Shenzhen/Hong Kong Bi-City Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism, at Istanbul Design Biennale, Lisbon Triennale and Athens Biennale, among many others. With Binna Choi, she is co-steering a research/curatorial project Unmapping Eurasia (2018-–021). Her academic interests are in media theory and performance philosophy, science and technology studies, as well as new and historical materialism.

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