Contemporary art and curatorship 
From documenta to the Biennale

In the first venture of its kind, the Summer School in Contemporary Art and Curatorship offers students the chance to gain insight into the management principles of two of the world's most important and influential contemporary art exhibitions the Kassel documenta and La Biennale di Venezia by bringing together the expertise of scholars, artists and curators based in the hosting cities Kassel (Germany), and Venice (Italy).

Programme

The Summer School will offer two distinct but interconnected 2-week modules that together will investigate the history, management principles and strategies of the two art institutions documenta and La Biennale di Venezia. Students have the chance to fully immerse themselves in contemporary art and curatorship for 4 weeks, through lectures and visits of exhibition spaces in Kassel, Berlin and Venice. 

Students can choose to enrol in both modules, or in each module separately, and will be provided with a certificate at the end of each in order to request credit recognition at their home university.

Dates - 2024 edition

  • Module 1: "Inside Arts" (Kassel)
    International Summer University Kassel (Uni Kassel, Germany), June 22 - July 6, 2024

    • Optional Berlin trip: June 22-25, 2024
    • Courses start in Kassel: June 25, 2024

  • Module 2: "Curatorship of Contemporary Art"  (Venice)
    Ca' Foscari School for International Education (Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Italy), July 8 - 19, 2024

Course contents

Module 1: Inside Arts

Location: Uni Kassel, Germany
Credits: 3
Applications: through the ISU Kassel website

The program by the documenta Institut offers insight into the history and theory of curating. We will visit the documenta Archive, art galleries and museums hosting documenta in Kassel. A special (optional) excursion to Berlin is included in the program.

In addition, students can choose to be accommodated at a host family for the time of their stay. Accommodation in a host family can be booked at 290€. 

The documenta is one of the most influential art institutions that exhibits current concerns and developments of Contemporary Art. With a strong focus on exhibition research, a young discipline at the core of the documenta Institut, this course will look at the different modes in which Contemporary Art addresses current social, political, and climate issues. We will learn about the history of the documenta and its importance to Contemporary Art. Moreover, we will discuss how to research exhibitions and curating practices. The participants will develop their own questions regarding artworks, the exhibitions history, and Contemporary Art while conducting research in the documenta Archive. The outcome of this research will be presented and discussed within the group.

More information is available on the ISU Kassel website.

Module 2: Curatorship of Contemporary Art

Location: Venice, Italy
Credits: 6 ECTS

Intended as “large-scale perennial exhibitions of contemporary art”, Biennials have proved to be “the medium through which most contemporary art comes to be known” (Elena Filipovic, Marieke Van Hal, Solveig Øvstebø, The Biennial Reader, 2010). Located in Venice, a city with an outstanding cultural offer and “mother of all Biennials”, the summer school intends to explore the contemporary art system(s) on the basis of an exhibition format which acted as a model for the “Biennialization” of the present-day art world.

The two-week module will provide students with an up-to-date insight into the history and the present activities of the Venice Biennale in the framework of the exhibition and curatorial studies. The programme will alternate in-class learning activities with on-site visits to selected venues of the 60th International Art Exhibition (international exhibition, national pavilions, collateral events) and with visits to historical venues of Fondazione La Biennale di Venezia.

The programme is implemented with targeted training activities on exhibitionary and curatorial practices from five focus areas:

  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • East Asia
  • Latin America
  • Russia, Caucasus and Central Asia
  • Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA region)

For each focus area, a dedicated instructor with expertise in both academic lecturing and curatorial practice will hold in-class seminars and talks with artists and curators from the related areas. The programme will combine individual study and teamwork activities. Assignments will be given upon oral presentations.

Applications, Fees and Arrival Information

Applications

Applications for the Summer School in Contemporary Art and Curatorship are now open.

The 2024 Call for Applications is available on this webpage.

Any information on pre-departure, accommodation and our campus will be made available at the same webpage as above.

Fees

  • Module 1 "Inside Arts": Fees for the first 2 weeks cost €1150*. Fees include the academic seminars (20 contact hours), a German language course (20 contact hours), one workshop, cultural program, health, liability and accident insurance, ticket for public transportation in Kassel and study material.
  • Module 2 "Curatorship of Contemporary Art": Fees for the full 2 weeks cost €800. Programme fees cover all instruction, student administration (including the issue of a final transcript) and orientation. All participants will have access to the University Wifi network in all University buildings (including at the libraries and the cafeterias). A discount of €100 is offered to students coming from our Partner Institutions. More information will be made available on the Call for Applications.

Students taking both modules will receive a 10% discount on each module.

Please note that the transfer from Kassel to Venice is not included.

* If your application is accepted and the University of Kassel receives your participation fee payment before or on April 30, 2024, an “early bird discount” will be granted and the participation fee will be reduced from to €990 for the documenta module.

Venice Faculty

Silvia Burini

Programme Director

Silvia Burini is Professor of History of Contemporary Art, History of Russian Art and Curatorship at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice.

Matteo Bertelè

Executive Director

Matteo Bertelè is Professor of Contemporary Art, History of Russian Art and Curatorship at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice.

Elena Agudio

Elena Agudio (PhD) is art historian and curator. Between 2013 and 2022 she has been artistic co-director of SAVVY Contemporary – The Laboratory of Form-Ideas. She also writes and teaches, currently being theory lecturer at the Master Degree in Spatial Strategies at the Weißensee School of Art in Berlin. In 2017 and 2018 she was Guestprofessor at HFBK in Hamburg and Resident Fellow at Helsinki University of the Arts. The principal concerns of her practice are: migration and diasporic belonging, decanonisation, feminisms, ecological and planetary habitability, and the creation of sustainable infrastructures for and with vulnerable communities. Since December 2022 she is the new director of Villa Romana in Florence.

Among the last curated and co-curated projects: Latitude on Air: Unsettling Power Relations (radio festival with Goethe-Institut and reboot.fm); Exlamating Still! On the Noise of Images (Rencontres de Bamako – African Biennale of Photography); SAVVY FUNK. An iteration of Every Time A Ear di Soun — a documenta 14 Radio Program (SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin, in collaboration with Documenta 14 and Deutschlandfunk).

Manuela Lietti

Manuela Lietti is an independent art critic and curator specializing in contemporary Asian art who lives and works between Beijing and Milan. Since 2003, she has been active as a curator, critic, and coordinator of gallery and museum exhibitions, as well as public art projects in China and abroad.

Manuela is the curator of the 2024 programme of Capsule Venice, the Venetian branch of Capsule Shanghai. 

As a curator, she has worked with various institutions, including La Biennale di Venezia (Venice), the Israel Museum (Jerusalem), CAFA Art Museum (Beijing), Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin), the 2010 Carrara Sculpture Biennale (Carrara), the Chinese Ministry of Culture (Beijing), Three Shadows Photography Art Centre (Beijing), Galleria Continua (Beijing), Galleria Massimo De Carlo (Hong Kong), Cassina Projects (Milan), the 2019 Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism /Architecture (Shenzhen). Her texts have appeared in numerous publications such as Arte e Critica, Artribune, Exibart, AAP, Flash Art International, Frieze, Artforum. For Skira she has curated Zhang Ruyi’s monograph.

Sara Mondini

Sara Mondini is an art historian specialised in the artistic productions - both ancient and modern - of South Asia, Middle East and North Africa, and Assistant Professor of Art and Architecture of West and South Asia in the Department of Languages and Cultures at Ghent University. She is currently the Principal Investigator leading the five-year project The Mosques of Kerala: Artistic Vocabularies in the Identity-Building of Muslim Communities (2023-2028), funded by the FWO with an Odysseus Type II grant.

Before joining Ghent University, Dr. Mondini collaborated as Adjunct Professor with various universities: Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, (2009-2023), the FIT-Fashion Institute of Technology of New York at Milan Politecnico, Milan, (2016-2023), the University of Urbino “Carlo Bo” in Italy (2022-2023), and the University of Granada in Spain (2010-2013), where she taught courses on South Asian Visual Culture and Islamic Art and Architecture.

Camilla Querin

Camilla Querin is Assistant Professor of Art History at Ohio Wesleyan University. She specializes in modern and contemporary art with a focus on Brazil. Her research, both academic and curatorial, focuses on the intersection of visual arts with politics across the Americas, from the independence movements of the nineteenth century in Latin America to Latinx activist art in the U.S. today.  

She has curated exhibitions and worked in museums in New York and Los Angeles, and earned her doctorate in Art History at the University of California, Riverside, where she was UCR's inaugural Fellow at the California Museum of Photography. She holds a master’s degree in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and Museum Studies from New York University, and a master’s degree in Economics and Management in Arts, Culture, Media and Entertainment from Bocconi University. Her writings have appeared in “Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture”, “Modos: Revista de História da Arte”, and the “Eaton Journal of Archival Research in Science Fiction".

Maria Redaelli

Maria Redaelli is a post-doc research fellow at the Department of Philosophy and Cultural Heritage at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, where in 2022 she obtained a Ph.D. in History of the Arts with a thesis on New Media Art in Russia. At the same university, she acts as coordinator of the scientific secretariat of the Centre for Studies in Russian Art (CSAR). At the CSAR Centre, she co-managed various conferences, talks, and educational programmes. 

Since 2015 she has been assistant at CYLAND Media Art Lab for the exhibitions held at Ca’ Foscari in the framework of the Art Biennials. In 2019 she was assistant curator of the “12 Cyfest. ID. Art: Tech Exhibition” and in 2024 she is playing the same role for “CYFEST 15: Vulnerability”.

She co-curated the exhibition “Cercando il cuore” (Venice, 2023) and worked as assistant curator for the exhibition of Sergey Kischenko “Hortus Conclusus. Memoria Biodiversità Migrazione” (Venice, 2023) and for the exhibition “Uzbekistan: l’Avanguardia nel deserto” (Venice - Florence, 2024).

Contacts

Email:  summerschool.international@unive.it 

Last update: 29/02/2024