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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Fellows Mitchell Esajas, Grant Watson, and Reem Shilleh, along with BAK, were preparing to co-convene a Fellows Intensive beginning 23 March, 2020. With lockdowns starting in Europe just a week before, the plans became impossible in their imagined forms and the Fellows were unable to gather at BAK, visit The Black Archives in Amsterdam, do […]

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As part of the BAK Fellowship Program, BAK Fellows do workshops, curate screenings, and have discussions with MA students of the Utrecht Graduate School of Visual Art and Design HKU, Utrecht, one of BAK’s main collaborators and partners. Fellows co-convene a session on their research and critically engage with the students in their own practices […]

Three Generations of BAK Fellows Present at Propositions #10: Instituting Otherwise

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

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Take a Risk and Explore: The Visualisation of the Dutch Cleaners’ Movement

Excerpt from the article: On a summer’s day in 2011 a large group of workers gathered at the entrance of the headquarters of the Federation of the Dutch Trade Unions (FNV) in Amsterdam. The workers, all FNV members, were there to show their dissatisfaction with the negotiations for a new general pension agreement. It had […]

Cinema Olanda at The Black Archives

On 26 November 2017, one day after the opening of the exhibition Black and Revolutionary: The Story of Hermina and Otto Huiswoud, the Amsterdam premiere of Cinema Olanda (2017) took place at Vereniging Ons Suriname and The Black Archives. The film has been part of the installation Cinema Olanda, made by the artist Wendelien van Oldenborgh […]

Consent, Logic, and Loss: Fellows Intensive

In February, the BAK 2019/2020 Fellows come together for another Fellows Intensive. This week experiments with various communication practices being researched by Joy Mariama Smith and Mijke van der Drift, the BAK Fellows who co-convene this intensive along with BAK, and Curator of the BAK 2019/2020 Fellowship Program Whitney Stark and focuses on  consent, and […]

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: […]

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.

Fellows in Propositions for Non-Fascist Living: Tentative and Urgent

BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht and MIT Press, Cambridge, MA and London present Propositions for Non-Fascist Living: Tentative and Urgent, the first reader in BAK’s BASICS series.      Print this page BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht and MIT Press, Cambridge, MA and London present Propositions for Non-Fascist Living: Tentative and Urgent, edited by Maria […]

Fellows at Le Guess Who?

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Is Data the New Gas?

“In 2017, The Economist famously claimed that “data is the new oil.” At the time, Wendy Chun’s response to this statement was: “Big data is the new COAL. The result: global social change. Intensely energized and unstable clouds.”12 Still, both coal and oil are likely to decline as energy sources. Another question worth asking, then, is: what […]

Collective Dictionary: Xenia with Elena Isayev

Elena Isayev is a historian and professor at University of Exeter uses the ancient Mediterranean to explore migration, belonging, displacement and spatial perception. Her research is based on the intersection of Hospitality and Asylum, Potency of Displaced Agency, Common and Public Space. Her interdisciplinary and inter-practice approach has led to collective learning and research beyond the […]

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 […]

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.

Latitude On Air – Unsettling Power Relations

BAK 2019/2020 Fellow Diana McCarty works with Goethe-Institut and her project reboot.fm, both Berlin, to co-create a multi-day long experimental radio program Latitude On Air – Unsettling Power Relations (2020), and exploring ideas of locality, being together, and social justice and legacies of colonialism. As part of the program, co-Fellow David Muñoz Alcántara is commissioned […]

Objects of Love and Desire

Patricia Kaersenhout has a solo show, Objects of Love and Desire, at Wilfried Lentz Gallery, Rotterdam from 6 February–24 March 2019. Objects of Love and Desire shows Kaersenhout’s newest banner works showing black women scholars, journalists, poets, and activists of Caribbean decent in action as heroic figures, in the style of historic Chinese propaganda posters. […]

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 […]

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.

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Practicing Tactical Solidarities: A Roundtable on Mutual Aid, Emergency, and Continuous Care

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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.

The Emotional Body

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. Kaersenhout performs The Emotional Body (2018) for the Fellows, as well as guests from HKU University of the Arts, […]

Thiago de Paula Souza Co-Curates Frestas

BAK 2018/2019 Fellow Thiago de Paula Souza has been chosen to co-curate Frestas, Triennial of Arts, São Paulo in 2020. Co-Fellow Haseeb Ahmed shows at the exhibition.

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 […]

All Good Things Must Begin: A Conversation Between Audre Lorde and Octavia E. Butler

“All Good Things Must Begin: A conversation between Audre Lorde and Octavia E. Butler” took place at SBC Gallery of Contemporary Art, Montreal, as a space for reading, writing, screening, reflection, and conversation on intersectional feminism, modernist architecture, and science fiction, and forms part of Sepake Angiama’s BAK Fellowship research Her Imaginary. https://www.sbcgallery.ca/sepake-angiama

How to Assemble Now (BAK Public Studies)

BAK 2017/2018 Fellow Isshaq Al-Barbary and 2019/2020 Fellow Joy Mariama Smith are among the contributors to BAK’s Public Studies Program How to Assemble Now, taking place In August and September 2020.   Read more about the program here.

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.

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Training by Yasmine Eid-Sabbagh and Hamada al-Joumah: An Investigation into Collective Work Processes for Self-Determination

BAK 2018/2019 Fellow Yasmine Eid-Sabbagh and community activist Hamada al-Joumah convene the sixteenth training as part of the Trainings for the Not-Yet, An Investigation into Collective Work Processes for Self-Determination, from 27 November to 1 December 2019. The training focuses on discussions, collective readings, presentations, and exercises for developing a resource box for collective working and […]

“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 […]

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. 

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 […]

Sepake Angiama Curator of 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial

BAK 2017/2018 Fellow Sepake Angiama co-curates the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial …And Other Such Stories.  As part of the program, Fellow 2017/2018 BAK Fellows Ola Hassanain’s work was part of the exhibition. From the curators’ statement: “Titled …and other such stories, the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial is rooted in close readings of the spatial realities of its […]

Seminar with Andrea Phillips

As part of a session convened by 2017/2018 BAK Fellow Otobong Nkanga, educator and political organizer in the arts Andrea Phillips gave a seminar on her current research focus: reorienting contemporary art’s ecology toward producing more emancipatory forms of sharing—not simply about spatial sharing and inclusivity, but also at the level of wage labor.   […]

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.

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

BAK 2019/2020 Fellow Oleksiy Radynski’s film Landslide (2016) premieres online 26 August 2020 as part of the screening series From Matter to Data: Ecology of Infrastructures, 29 July–9 September 2020, Museum of Modern Art, New York. This series presents a selection of 15 films and video works available in three part. Radynski’s film is part of […]

Rehearsing in Public with the BAK Fellows

On Wednesday 12 February 2020, BAK 2019/2020 Fellows Mijke van der drift and Joy Mariama Smith, along with BAK, co-convene a participatory panel. Along with artist Ahmed El Gendy and poet and activist Nat Raha, they rehearse in public experimental and collective practices that they are trying out in their research. The participatory panel aims to […]