Curators' Agenda: VIENNA 2019 1

Curators’ Agenda: VIENNA 2019

Residency program for emerging international curators


Application deadline: 3 June, 2019
Duration: 16 September – 31 October 2019
Location: Vienna, Austria


The fifth edition of the program Curators’ Agenda: VIENNA 2019 (C’A) is taking place for six weeks in Vienna from mid-September till the end of October 2019.

C’A is an annual, unique, know-how program for international, emerging curators who are interested in exploring Vienna’s contemporary art scene and deepening their practical and theoretical knowledge on production and realization of exhibitions.

The participants are selected on the basis of an open call, published worldwide three months before the start of the program. The selection is based on the motivation letter and biography of the applicants. The selection committee includes a curator and an artist, both active in the Viennese contemporary art scene, as well as BLOCKFREI’s members.



The program includes the following activities: visits to artists’ studios, museums, off spaces, art collections, meetings with both institutional and free-lance curators, specially designed guided tours through exhibitions in various museums and galleries as well as visiting current programs, which are taking place at that moment (viennacontemporary, Parallel Vienna, Vienna Biennale, curated by).

These activities take place during the first four weeks, three days a week (Mo-Wed). Thursdays are reserved for feedback sessions in order to discuss participants’ needs, to reflect on the previous week together, as well as to have time to concentrate on the preparations for the group exhibition and the upcoming workshop. On Fridays, the weekly theoretical workshops related to the exhibition conceptualisation are taking place.

The program is created with competencies of selected Viennese curators (TBA) and BLOCKFREI’s members.



The final part of the Curators’ Agenda program is a preparation of a mutual group exhibition. Besides the intensive program, which introduces the participants to the Viennese contemporary art scene, a special focus is set on curating a mutual group exhibition. By reflecting on the lessons learned and by drawing upon their own experiences and competencies, participants are given a task to develop their own, personal approach to the contemporary Viennese art scene, create a concept and execute a mutual group exhibition.

The exhibition is organized in partnership with the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Students interested in taking part in the group exhibition, curated by the participants of the C’A program, reply to an open call.

The exhibition will take place at the top floor gallery at Krinzinger Projekte.


Methodology of the exhibition execution:

In 2018 we have introduced a thematic framework for the participating curators. The idea was to provide them with a theme around which they would build their exhibition concept. This specific approach gave favourable results and it was decided to continue in a similar direction for this year’s edition of the Curators’ Agenda program.

Prior to their arrival in Vienna, the selected curators – participants of the Curators’ Agenda: VIENNA 2019, will receive a set of reading materials in a digital format. These selected readings will be connected to the proposed thematic framework in order to prepare the participants for the theoretical workshops. The workshops are meant to provide support and guidance to the curators concerning the process of development and conceptualisation of the (mutual group) exhibition topic. This will be done by discussing the proposed reading material as well as by implementing the curators’ impressions of the Viennese art scene, experienced through the carefully designed weekly program. Furthermore, within the workshops, the curators’ task will be to discuss the students’ artworks among each other and with the mentor and elaborate on the methodology behind the selection of the artworks for the final exhibition. The theoretical workshops will assist the curators in investigating the recommended thematic framework and might also serve as an instigator for the creation of the exhibition concept. Nonetheless, it is up to the curators to create the final exhibition concept through their own conclusions and execute it according to their own perspective.

These theoretical workshops leading to the conceptualization of the exhibition and selection of the artworks fitting the chosen topic will be mentored by Anamarija Batista – a curator, researcher and lecturer who already contributed with her mentorship during previous editions of the Curators’ Agenda.


Artists selection process:

At the beginning of March 2019, we will publish the Open Call at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, which will be distributed to all students through their departments. The open call will last until the end of June. Prior to their arrival to Vienna, the selected curators will be provided with the students’ portfolios and will thus prepare for the presentations of their artworks organised in the first week of the Curators’ Agenda program.
After several weeks of discussing the potential topic of the exhibition and developing its concept in the context of the mentioned workshops, the curators will announce the selected artworks that will be included in the show. Meanwhile, during the selection process, if additional information on artworks is required, the curators will be getting in touch with the art students directly.


C’A thematic framework:

“Intimacy in the era of global connections”

In 2019 the Curators’ Agenda program focuses on the topic of global, digital and other (dis)connections and their implications concerning intimacy.

The political and technological paradigm shift which happened 30 years ago functions as a historical starting point for new ways of thinking, new perspectives and new forms of communicating, travelling, negotiating and trading processes. Interestingly, the fall of the Berlin Wall that signified the beginning of the end of the Cold War, was accompanied by the introduction of new digital technologies and network communication platforms such as the World Wide Web*. The soft tool that enables the world to overcome spatial and time boundaries, to connect, to standardize, to democratize has become a communication, organization and marketing tool.

Since then the world has been thrusting into the innovation and progress, while, at the same time, creating a portal to the earthly pandemonium. Oversaturated with the multi-media imagery, public representations and easily accessible machinery of communication, we found ourselves in the society that is challenging our spaces of intimacy.

Besides the relationships among lovers or friends, the forms of intimacy also consider institutional frameworks, city or trade spaces.  Different forms of dialogues – from social media, publicity platforms to physical spaces – prompt us to question and comment on the notion of intimacy and its existence in today’s society. The guiding research question of this year’s C’A program is whether and how do we reflect on the question of intimacy in times of global connectivity? How is this issue related to the most recent technological developments? And in what way is it influenced by the mentioned socio-political and economic phenomena initiated as of 1989?

* World Wide Web was invented by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989.


C’A as a networking platform:

C’A program is also a platform for cultural exchange and collaboration for both international, emerging curators and the representatives of the Viennese contemporary art community.

Besides an intensive schedule, where new contacts are being made, the participants are also introduced to different artist-in-residence programs such as KulturKontakt Austria, Quartier 21 and das weisse haus, having the chance to get to know the visiting artists.

The C’A program is designed to offer an overview of established as well as emerging players of the Viennese contemporary art scene and to provide the participating curators with a collaborative space for experimentation and innovation in an international setting, parallel to the development of practical skills.


More information about the project’s previous collaborative exhibitions in the framework of the Curators’ Agenda program: 2018201720162015.


Special feature of this year’s edition of the Curators’ Agenda: VIENNA 2019 is that the program will reserve two places for selected emerging curators from Ukraine as a result of the partnership among Ukrainian institute and BLOCKFREI, and in the spirit of the bilateral Year of culture between Ukraine and Austria.

All Ukrainian applicants should apply via Ukrainian Institute.



EXHIBITION – Is This Intimacy? →


Curators’ Agenda: VIENNA 2019