Fellows

Whitney Stark

Announcing the Post-Academic BAK 2019/2020 Fellows

BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht is proud to announce its BAK 2019/2020 Fellows, ten outstanding practitioners in the arts, theory, and social action from the Netherlands and abroad. These fellows have been selected for their advanced artistic and other expressive practices, interdisciplinary excellence, critical insight, and collaborative strategies from approximately 200 applicants. The BAK 2019/2020 Fellows have the opportunity to work on their own research trajectories as well as engage in collaborative learning and exchange in the coming year.

BAK 2019/2020 Fellows include writer, educator, and performer Mijke van der Drift (Amsterdam and London); anthropologist and curator Mitchell Esajas (Amsterdam); curator and critic Katia Krupennikova (Amsterdam); independent media producer Diana McCarty (Berlin); artist, architect, and researcher David Muñoz Alcántara (Helsinki); filmmaker and writer Oleksiy Radynski (Kyiv); researcher, curator, editor, and artist Reem Shilleh (Brussels and Ramallah); visual artist Urok Shirhan (Rotterdam and London); performance, installation, and movement artist and educator Joy Mariama Smith (The Hague); and curator Grant Watson (London).

Since 2017, BAK conducts a post-academic Fellowship Program with, at its center, research on reframing and rethinking conditions of the contemporary through politically driven art-making and inquiry. The ten-month Fellowship Program offers ten research positions per year (September–June) to Netherlands- and internationally-based practitioners at the intersection of art, theory, and social action. BAK Fellow research trajectories speak to conditions, politics, and genealogies of contemporary global migration; ecologies, ecological crisis, and naturecultures; the potentials and dangers of technology in struggles for justice and transformative politics; and thinking and enacting institutions differently. They also have specific affinity to BAK’s current trajectory Propositions for Non-Fascist Living (2017–ongoing), which engages aesthetico-political experimentation to address the urgencies of the present. The Fellowship Program develops talent and critical practice, and fosters artistic and theoretical inquiry in concert with the public projects of BAK, advancing the notion of art as a public sphere and a political space.

BAK Fellowships are low-residential. BAK Fellows regularly gather at BAK for Fellows Intensives with visiting artists, scholars, and other cultural practitioners, as well as public programming, visits, and collaborations with various organizations in the Netherlands and beyond. Thanks to collaborations with HKU University of the Arts and Utrecht University, both in Utrecht, in particular, the Fellows broaden their research practices through exchanges with students and other cultural practitioners in their respective fields. BAK Fellows are chosen via an open application process by a selection committee, with one position reserved for an outstanding practitioner otherwise unable to participate who is invited to apply. Curator of the BAK 2020 Fellowship Program is Whitney Stark.

more from Whitney Stark

  • First Strand of the Fellows Have a Hybrid Intensive

    The first strand of the BAK 2020 Fellows meet in a hybrid on/offline second Intensive. The Fellows work on timelines that explore political and personal histories, ways of working together, imaginings and practices for shared leadership, collaboration, and developing strategies and tactics for building lasting, genuine relations with BAK as a public institution and a […]

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  • First Fellows Intensive of the BAK 2020 Fellowship Program

    In September the Netherlands-based stream of the BAK 2020 Fellows gather at BAK, with social distance, to begin their work together. Through mapping exercises, establishing collective protocols (or something close to it), spending time with the BAK team, and sharing well-ventilated space, a sense of what is to come in the Fellowship has emerged. This […]

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  • Announcing the Post-Academic BAK 2020 Fellows

    Above: BAK 2019/2020 Fellows Mijke van der Drift and Joy Mariama Smith convene a semi-public program as part of their research, 12 February 2020, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, photo: Tom Janssen BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht is proud to announce our BAK 2020 Fellows. The following fifteen outstanding practitioners in arts, theory, […]

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  • Propositions #12: Waves Breaking Walls, Futures in Movement

    BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, proudly invites you to Propositions #12: Waves Breaking Walls, Futures in Movement, a culmination of the BAK 2019/2020 Fellowship Program. In the course of the past year, the Fellows individually and collectively developed their research engaging with the pressing issues of the contemporary in concert with BAK’s research focus, Propositions for Non-Fascist […]

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  • Gathering in these Times: Extension, Intensives, Culmination in September

    Due to the many effects of the pandemic, the Fellowship Program has shifted significantly. With fatigue, urgencies, the traps of digitalization, travel restrictions, expanding global inequalities, calls for actions, the massive changes generally and looming dangers, the Fellowship Program cannot continue in the form it once was. In addition to meeting online and searching for […]

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  • Fellows Intensive Joins Propositions #9: Deserting from the Culture Wars

    The BAK 2019/2020 Fellows gathered in Utrecht for the second time in November. Along with mapping ideas and sharing research, they joining programming and trainings for BAK’s Propositions #9: Deserting from the Culture Wars, co-convened with writer and curator Sven Lütticken as a temporary spin-off from Trainings for the Not-Yet and the ninth iteration of BAK’s long-term […]

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  • BAK 2019/2020 Fellows Gather for the First Fellows Intensive!

    The BAK 2019/2020 Fellows gathered at BAK in Utrecht for their first of seven Fellows Intensives together. Throughout the week, the Fellows presented their work, motivations, and research; learned about BAK, Utrecht, and each other; ate meals together; planned activities; found unlikely and motivating places of connection; imagined possibilities; shared references, pieces, and publications; met […]

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  • Ending the Post-Academic BAK 2018/2019 Fellowship

    In June 2019, the post-academic BAK 2018/2019 Fellowship comes to a close. After ten months of intensive thinking, imagining, enacting, practicing, troubling, discussing, laughing, sometimes even crying, the Fellows continue on their work in differing forms. Throughout our time together, the Fellows and their research have influenced and transformed each other’s as well as BAK. […]

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BAK 2018/2019 Fellows do workshops with MaHKU students

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Jota Mombaça: Visionary Fiction, Activist Writing, and Critical Practices

BAK 2018/2019 Fellows Thiago de Paula Souza and Mick Wilson, along with BAK, co-convene the April 2019 Fellows Intensive focusing on conceptions of violence. Along with screenings, presentations, and discussions curated and conducted by these Fellows, artists, writer, and performer Jota Mombaça joins the Fellows to lead them through collective reading exercises, collaborative writing processes, […]

Civilization at the Crossroad: Co-Curated by Lukáš Likavčan

Lukáš Likavčan and Pavel Sterec curate Civilization at the Crossroad: Engineers of Scientific-Technical Revolution at FUTURA gallery, Prague (4 December 2018–17 February 2019), reflecting on research done by philosopher Radovan Richta and his team in the 1960s and “a new Czechoslovakian socialism.” In addition to historical documents and media, the exhibition includes works by artists: […]

Shela Sheikh: Colonialism, Cultivation, and Nonhuman Witnessing

As part of the Fellowship weekly intensive in November 2017, Fellow Luigi Coppola convenes a number of discussions including a seminar with lecturer and researcher Shela Sheikh on 24 November 2017 to talk about colonialism, cultivation and nonhuman witnessing and resistance to the colonial mode of organizing, appropriating and extracting value. In the afternoon session […]

A Conversation on: The Power of Doing Nothing

BAK 2019/2020 Fellow Joy Mariama Smith and BAK 2017/2018 BAK Fellow Quinsy Gario join Framer Framed for A Conversation on: The Power of Doing Nothing (2020), a radio program discussing productivity, refusal, and the racialized inequalities of rest. 

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner Too?

BAK Fellow Patricia Kaersenhout, artist, activist and womanist, created Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner Too?  a solo exhibition as a social monument, alongside a growing community of collaborators. The opening takes a place at De Appel on 4 October, 2019.

Yara Sharif: Architecture of Resistance

As part of a session convened and moderated by 2017/2018 BAK Fellow Ola Hassanain, Yara Sharif gave a seminar (via Skype), discussing, in particular her text  “Cultivating spatial possibilities in Palestine: searching for sub/urban bridges in Beit Iksa, Jerusalem” (by Nasser Golzari and Yara Sharif); and more generally unpacking alternative means to re-read and redraw […]

Lukáš Likavčan Presents Fellowship Research at Sonic Acts

BAK 2018/2019 Fellow Lukáš Likavčan presents his new book Introduction to Comparative Planetology (2019, read an excerpt at Strelka Press here) at Sonic Acts Festival, Amsterdam, 2020. Research and writing for the book was done during Likavčan’s Fellowship.  Listen to his Sonic Acts podcast here and watch his presentation here.

The Wind Egg

From 15 September 2018–6 January 2019 BAK Fellow Haseeb Ahmed has had a solo show IN SITU: Haseeb Ahmed – The Wind Egg as part of the In Situ series at M HKA, Antwerp. For millennia ancient Egyptian, Aran, Indian, European, and Chinese cultures have conceptualized the wind egg, suggesting that the wind can fertilize […]

The Ether and Radio Alhara: Ella Finer, Hazem Jamjoum, and Reem Shadid

Fellow Urok Shirhan convenes a session with BAK, centering her research on audio forms,”collective listening, acoustic commons, and… what the shift from the eye to the ear could hold for us.” Over two days and a few digital sessions, Fellows heard talks about historic uses of radio, listened to sound pieces alone together, and experimented […]

Ola Hassanain Awarded Paulo Cunha e Silva Art Prize and Shows at Two International Architecture Exhibitions

BAK 2017/2018 Fellow Ola Hassanain was awarded a 2019/2020 Paulo Cunha e Silva Art Prize, and has work in the Sharjah Architecture Triennial Rights of Future Generations (2019–2020) and Chicago Architecture Biennial …And Other Such Stories (2019–2020) curated by Fellow BAK 2017/2018 Fellow Sepake Angiama. Congratulations to Ola on the opportunities!

Aliens, Spacetime, Storytelling, and Infrastructure: December Fellows Intensive

In December 2019 the BAK 2019/2020 Fellows gather for their third Fellows Intensive, co-convened by Fellows Oleksiy Radynski, David Muñoz Alcántara, and Diana McCarty along with BAK. Synthesizing and pushing their own and each other’s individual research trajectories, in December the Fellows visit local institutions like IMPAKT, Casco Art Institute, and Universiteitsmuseum; create and participate […]

Fear, Communciation, and Jung: Faranak Mirjalili, Omar Mismar, and Imogen Stidworthy

Emerging from her research trajectory, BAK 2019/2020 Fellow Katia Krupennikova convenes a series of online sessions and independent screenings for the Fellows Intensive. Joined by Jungian Analyst Faranak Mirjalili, and artists Omar Mismar and Imogen Stidworthy, the Fellows discussed Jungian concepts of the Shadow and Personal Unconsciousness, forms of voicing and communicating across difference, and […]

Vereniging Ons Suriname: 100 Years of Emancipation and Struggle at the Black Archives

The exhibition Vereniging Ons Suriname: 100 years of Emancipation and Struggle (2019–2020), celebrating Vereniging Ons Suriname‘s 100th anniversary, at The Black Archives, Amsterdam is co-curated by BAK 2018-2019 Fellow Jessica de Abreu, 2019/2020 Fellow Mitchell Esajas along with colleagues at The Black Archives. It showcases the often hidden histories of Surinamese activism and anti-racist work in the Netherlands. The exhibition features research conducted during the Fellowship as well as art works by 2018/2019 co-Fellow Patricia Kaersenhout, depicting revolutionary women of color, including de Abreu.

“Art After Culture: Exile”

BAK 2017/2018 Fellows Charl Landvreugd and Jeanne van Heeswijk present at e-flux journal‘s “Art After Culture: Exile” on Saturday 29 January 2019, Witte de With, Rotterdam, the first iteration of e-flux’s conference series Art After Culture?. From the conference descrption: In this climate, artists and art practitioners are suddenly faced with a politics that goes […]

Andre Reeder and Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Fellows Intensive

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Fellows at Le Guess Who?

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Online Screening of Oleksiy Radynski’s Landslide and Interview with Grant Watson

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Arun Saldanha: Reontologising Race and the Post-Colonial Body

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BAK Fellow Shay Raviv at DoorVanVoor

BAK 2020 Fellow Shay Raviv represents De Voorkamer at DoorVanVoor Excursion # 3: On the road in Utrecht!, Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, 25 September 2020. De Voorkamer is an inclusive meeting space in which the talents of status holders, people living in asylum seekers’ centers, and other local communities are encouraged, and a space that BAK […]

Diana McCarty in Deserting from the Culture Wars

BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht and MIT Press, Cambridge, MA and London present Deserting from the Culture Wars, the second reader in BAK’s BASICS series, edited by Maria Hlavajova and Sven Lütticken. Deserting from the Culture Wars reflects upon and intervenes in our current moment of ever-more polarizing ideological combat, often seen as the return of […]

War and Cinema

BAK 2019/2020 Fellow Oleksiy Radynski curates a War and Cinema, an art film program on e-flux that explores differing uses of moving image media and war.

False Heroes Must Be Forgotten: Rotunda Magazine conversation with Thiago de Paula Souza

Carolina Martínez speaks with BAK 2018/2019 Fellow Thiago de Paula Souza about his role as a curator of the 10th Berlin Biennale for Rotunda Magazine. From the article: Last month finished the latest Berlin Biennale, developed under the curatorial concept “We don’t need another hero”, where the concepts of power that we drag from imperialism […]

Sepake Angiama Curator of 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial

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Evolutionary Populations: Seeds of a World Waiting to Germinate

With the outbreak of civil war in Syria in 2011, agronomist and phyto-geneticist, Salvatore Ceccarelli was forced to end his 25-year research period in Syria where he had been working with local farmers experimenting with a revolutionary agricultural method that develops participatory plant breeding, a type of breeding done in collaboration with farmers to breed […]

Propositions for Non-Fascist Living: Tentative and Urgent Published!

BAK has published the first publication in a series on our research trajectory Propositions for Non-Fascist Living (2017–ongoing), Propositions for Non-Fascist Living: Tentative and Urgent (MIT Press, 2019). Moving from critique to propositions, the project attempts to articulate and inhabit methods of de-individualized living and to practice ways in which multiplicity and difference establish relations […]

To Dig A Hole That Collapses Again

A survey exhibition of Otobong Nkanga’s works is presented for the first time in the US. The exhibition titled To Dig A Hole That Collapses Again opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Chicago from 31 March–9 September 2018.

Introduction to Comparative Planetology

BAK 2018/2019 Fellow Lukáš Likavčan’s publication  Introduction to Comparative Planetology (2019, Strelka Press) is the culmination of long term research, including his research as a BAK Fellow. The book-essay, according to  Likavčan, “presents an intertwined analysis of visual cultures of imagining the Earth and geopolitics of climate emergency. It compares different “figures” of the planet […]

Mad About Study, a Training with Joy Mariama Smith

BAK 2019/2020 Fellow Joy Mariama Smith leads a training as part of Trainings for the Not-Yet (14 September 2019–12 January 2020), an exhibition as a series of trainings, in October 2019 at BAK. The training addresses collective reading and writing, conversations, somatics, movement research, karaoke, and more, culminating in a dance party and public intervention. […]

BAK Fellows in MaHKU Graduation Show: If Not Now

Several generations of Fellows are involved in this year’s MaHKU, Utrecht, graduation show If Not Now, taking place at BAK from 30 September–11 October 2020. One BAK 2020 Fellowship position has been awarded to the Mutual Support Platform (MSP), a space for conversations and actions by/between/for students, alumni, and teachers of the MAFA HKU, Utrecht. […]

March BAK 2018/2019 Fellows Intensive with activists, artists, and theorists in Barcelona

BAK 2018/2019 Fellows Yasmine Eid-Sabbagh and Jeanne van Heeswijk co-convened the March Fellows Intensive with critic, writer, and curator Ethel Baraona Pohl in Barcelona. The Intensive focused on, among other things, collective practices and facilitation, housing movements, artistic action, and neighborhood initiatives. The Fellows had the privilege of getting to speak in depth with members of La Borda, Calàbria 66, Can Batlló, La Ciutat Invisible, La Col, Coòpolis, De Veí a Veí, Espai en Blanc and Marina Garcés, Fil a l’agulla, La Lleialtat Santsenca, and La PAH.

Closing Dinner for Trainings For The Not-Yet, with Jeanne van Heeswijk and Bakudapan

On 22 December 2019,  Trainings for the Not-Yet (14 September 2019–12 January 2020), the exhibition as a series of trainings co-convened by artist and BAK 2018/2019 Fellow Jeanne Van Heeswijk and BAK, ends with a communal meal, cooked by the Bakudapan Food Study Group! with the Basic Activist Kitchen.  The communal meal, convened around sharing food […]

Isshaq Al-Barbary, Ola Hassanain, Jeanne van Heeswijk, and Charl Landvreugd join Urban Front for Training “Urban Practices and the Future of the City”

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Naomie Pieter: The Body in Black Women’s Activism

BAK 2018/2019 Fellows Jessica de Abreu and Patricia Kaersenhout, along with BAK, convene the January 2019 Fellows Intensive, focusing on the body as an archive, as a form of resistance, and the colonial legacies embodied today. Activist and artist Naomie Pieter leads the Fellows in a workshop on the use of the body as a […]

Archiving, Refusal and Mujaawarah: Fellows Intensive

BAK 2019/2020 Fellow Reem Shilleh brings 2018/2019 Fellow Yasmine Eid-Sabbagh to speak with the Fellows on their shared experiences archiving. As Shilleh writes: Based on our respective experiences with collecting, archiving — on Palestine and in Burj al-Shamali camp in Lebanon — and refusing to doing both, our conversations around editing led us to questions […]

Mijke van der Drift at Love Spells & Rituals for Another World

BAK 2019/2020 Fellow Mijke van der Drift presents her research The Logic of Loss in Bonding in the talk “Realisitcally Impossible: The Magic of Social Change” at the virtual conference Love Spells & Rituals for Another World. As Love Spells explains:  Engaging with queer, feminist and decolonial approaches and drawing on developments in cultural studies […]

Roet in het Eten Book Launch

As part of Propositions #2: Assemblism, Quinsy Gario presents his new book Roet in het Eten [Spanner in the Works],an anthology of newspaper columns, opinion articles, blog posts on among other things anti-racism, white supremacy and Dutch media landscape written between 2011–2017 and published mainly on the eponymous online platform Roet in het Eten.  

Mention for May you live in interesting times

BAK Fellow Otobong Nkanga was honored with the Special Mention Award, for her work May you live in interesting times, 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, 2019.

Charl Landvreugd Named Head of Research & Curatorial Practice at Stedelijk Museum

Congratulations to BAK 2018/2019 Fellow Charl Landvreugd on his new position as Head of Research & Curatorial Practice at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam! We know that he will do important, critical, and motivating work.