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).


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 and schedule 2022

  • Module 1: "Inside Arts" (Kassel)
    International Summer University Kassel (Uni Kassel, Germany), June 21 - July 3, 2022
    (Optional Berlin Trip: July 18-20)
  • Module 2: "Curatorship of Contemporary Art"  (Venice)
    Ca' Foscari School for International Education (Ca' Foscari University Venice, Italy), July 4 - 15, 2022

Course contents

Module 1: Inside Arts

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

The documenta is one of the most influential art institutions that exhibits current concerns and developments of Contemporary Art. With a strong focus on documenta fifteen, organized by the Indonesian art collective Ruangrupa, this course will look at the different modes in which Contemporary Art addresses current social, political, and climate issues. Is the lumbung practice proposed by Ruangrupa an alternative to our reckless, accelerated and exploitative (of the people, of the Earth) present?

By visiting documenta fifteen and engaging in talks with members of the curatorial team and researchers at the documenta Institute we will learn about the documenta’s history, why it is of such importance to contemporary art and discuss this year's topics. The participants will develop their own questions in regards to artworks, the exhibitions history, and contemporary art and conduct research in the documenta exhibition and archive. The outcome of this research will be presented and discussed within the group.

The Summer School takes place in close collaboration with the documenta studies at the University of Kassel, the documenta Institute and the Kunsthochschule Kassel. Both documenta´s history and present will be the main topic of discussion, together with the wider relevant curatorial practices, histories and institutions in this field.

“Inside Arts” provides insight in how to curate an exhibition of this dimension – from pre-planning to the management of the documenta, including international marketing. Students will visit the documenta Archive, galleries and museums exhibiting documenta art.

The University of Kassel offers the chance to get involved with the theory and practice of documenta and to learn about its history to any students and graduates interested especially in Fine Arts and Cultural Sciences but also those interested in Economics, Marketing and Management. Participants of this course can expect to acquire essential knowledge about contemporary art, its current discourses and the relevant vocabulary. This course is addressed to students who wish to become familiar with contemporary art and the documenta.

Classes meet daily in the mornings or afternoons. Even though previous knowledge in the selected field of topic can be useful for the completion of the course, the admission is not restricted to students of a similar subject. The university program is combined with several leisure time activities, such as workshops and excursions. Kassel's location in central Germany makes other destinations in Germany and Europe easily reachable within a few hours.

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 out-standing 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 59th 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.

Enrolled students will be provided with free and unlimited access to all exhibition venues of the 59th International Art Exhibition (23 April-27 November 2022), and to all research and educational facilities (libraries, archives, on-line databases) of both Ca’ Foscari and La Biennale. 

Fees and applications


Module 1 "Inside Arts": The cost for the documenta module in Kassel (Germany) is €1340. Fees include all tuition, site visits and tours, public transportation, pick up service on arrival day from Frankfurt/Main airport to Kassel, transfer to Berlin + 3 nights accommodation in Berlin - NB: accommodation in Kassel is not included but a homestay can be requested with advanced notice. 

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.

Students taking both modules will receive a 10% discount on each module: €1230 for module one, and €720 for module two. Please note that the transfer from Kassel to Venice is not included.


Applications for the Summer 2022 edition are now closed.

Following your application we will send you an email to confirm you have been successfully pre-enrolled in your selected programme, and following the application deadline we will contact you with details on how to confirm your enrolment through payment. Applications will be open until April 25th, 2022.

Please read the Summer@SIE application Call for further details and policies, and for an overview of all our Summer programmes. We look forward to having you with us this summer!

Withdrawal policy

Following enrolment confirmation, students can withdraw from the program with reimbursement up until May 31st. The School will deduct €240 from the enrolment fee for administration purposes.


Accommodation is available at two University student residences in Venice's city centre on request. For more information on policies and how to reserve rooms, please contact the residences directly via email specifying you will be a Summer School student at our university.

Camplus Santa Marta

  • €40 shared accommodation in a double room (private bathroom + kitchenette)
  • €60 accommodation in a single room (private bathroom + kitchenette) - subject to availability

Breakfast is included in the fee. The residence also has a fitness room and a laundry room. Contact:

DoveVivo San Giobbe

  • Including breakfast:

    • €47 shared accommodation in a double room (private bathroom)
    • €62 accommodation in a single room (private bathroom)

  • Without breakfast:

    • €42 shared accommodation in a double room (private bathroom)
    • €57 accommodation in a single room (private bathroom)

In order to be guaranteed the reduced rate for Summer School students, students need to book accommodation at DoveVivo within a month before classes start (June 4th). Contact: (please ensure you specify the name of the Summer School)

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 is a Berlin-based art historian and curator. She is interested in curatorial practices as forms of troubling, with a focus on performative and relational aspects. Since 2013 she has been artistic co-director of SAVVY Contemporary in Berlin, where she curates and co-curates exhibition projects, discursive programmes and series. Since 2017 she gives classes in art histories and runs seminars at the Weißensee School of Art in Berlin. In 2017 and 2018 she was Guest Professor at Kunsthochschule für Bildende Künste in Hamburg and Resident Fellow at Helsinki University of the Arts.

Among the last curated and co-curated projects outside SAVVY Contemporary: For the Phoenix to Find Its Form in Us. On Restitution, Reparations, and Rehabilitation; Insectopia by Robert Gabris (Villa Romana, Florence, Italy); Latitude on Air: Unsettling Power Relations (radio festival with Goethe-Institut and; 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 specialized in contemporary Asian art, who currently lives and works between Beijing and Milan. In the last twenty years, Manuela has been active as a curator, critic, and coordinator in the field of gallery and museum exhibitions as well as public art projects in China and abroad.

As a curator, she has worked with various institutions, including La Biennale di Venezia, The Israel Museum (Jerusalem), CAFAM 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), The Italian Ministry of Culture (Rome), The 2019 Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (Shenzhen), Galleria Continua (Beijing), Galleria Massimo De Carlo (Hong Kong), Capsule Shanghai (Shanghai). Her essays and interviews appear in numerous magazines worldwide, such as “Arte e Critica”, “Art Asia Pacific”, “Flash Art International”, “Frieze”,, as well as in exhibition catalogues and monographs.

Sara Mondini

Sara Mondini is art historian of South Asian and Islamic worlds. She is actually adjunct professor at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and at FIT-Fashion Institute of Technology at Milan Politecnico, where she teaches Art and Civilization of the Islamic World and East Asian Art and Civilization.

She has conducted extensive research on Indian and Islamic art and architecture in India, Middle-East and North Africa, that have led to the publication of several articles. She is particularly interested in the role of visual cultures in the MENASA region, in their role in the process of identity building and political propaganda, in their perception and in the underpinning of historical, social and religious contexts. She has collaborated with the “Biennale Sessions” programme in organizing visits and lectures at the Venice Biennale and with Treccani on the Encyclopedia of Contemporary Art as scientific advisor for the thematic areas ‘South Asian art’ and ‘Art from the Arab world, Iran and Turkey’.

Camilla Querin

Camilla Querin is a PhD candidate in the Department of the History of Art at the University of California, Riverside (UCR). Her research, both academic and curatorial, focuses on the intersection of visual arts and politics across the Americas, from the independence movements of the nineteenth century to activist art today. At UCR she was awarded a Curatorial Fellowship and curated an exhibition at the California Museum of Photography: Exile: The Land of Non-Belonging (2019).

She has worked with the curatorial teams of the Getty Research Institute (Los Angeles); El Museo del Barrio and the International Center of Photography (New York). 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”. She has obtained several awards including the University of California’s President’s Dissertation-Year Fellowship (2021-22) and the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award in the Department of Art History (2019-20).

Maria Redaelli

Maria Redaelli is a PhD candidate in Art History at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and at the State Institute for Art Studies in Moscow. Her research project is focused on the development of New Media Art in Russia. At Ca’ Foscari she is the head of the scientific secretariat at the Centre for Studies in Russian Art (CSAR) and a member of CART – Contemporary Arts Research Team.

She worked for the multimedia installations realized for the exhibitions “Russian Revolution. Art from Diaghilev to Abstraction. 1898 – 1922” (Gorizia, 2017-2018) and “Gely Korzhev. Back to Venice” (Venice, 2019). Starting from 2015 she has assisted the team of CYLAND Media Art Lab at the exhibitions held at Ca’ Foscari in the framework of the last Art Biennials. In 2019 she was assistant curator of the “12 Cyfest. ID. Art: Tech Exhibition”. 

Alexandra Timonina

Alexandra Timonina is a PhD candidate in Art history at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. Her research project locates Russian modernism in the context of exhibition studies and was supported by a three-year scholarship from the Museum of Russian Impressionism in Moscow.

At Ca’ Foscari, she is a member of the scientific secretariat at the Centre for Studies in Russian Art (CSAR) and the Contemporary Arts Research Team (CART). She previously worked in public programmes at La Biennale di Venezia co-developing workshops and seminars for a broad range of audiences in four different languages. Before that she assisted in launching and collaborated with a leading international private art gallery in Venice. She attended lectures at École du Louvre and completed her internships at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice and Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow. 



Last update: 24/11/2022