Encouraging a wholesome and sustainable practice through critical research

The Critical Academy project rethinks the sector through research, analysis, and dissemination.

Methodology —

The core activities spread over a three-year period guided within a methodology of research, analysis and dissemination, aimed at fostering capacity building in the Visual Arts sector, critically evaluating current practices to identify improvements. Ultimately, it would propose new ways of thinking, proactively preparing the sector for future challenges; it would share the findings and establish new standards.

The activities will encourage a wholesome and sustainable practice through transnational residencies, conferences, talks, lectures, mentorship sessions, research projects and practice-based research divided into yearly cycles. Alongside these core activities, a series of events and published articles will contribute to the dissemination of findings, enriching the conversation.

Research, Analysis, Dissemination

Critical Academy will host a series of practice-based research processes, to analyse and evaluate how Arts and Cultural agents operate across the sector, looking at their current challenges, successes, failures, and critical issues. This research will be carried out through Research Residencies by 20 participants from diverse backgrounds selected from an International Open Call, working in tandem with the partners. Meanwhile, each partner contributes with Research Visits to specific European cities to learn from key organisations. The Research Visits also contribute opening new collaboration paths between Western Balkans and EU member states beyond this project.

The results of this critical revision are presented in Public Seminars at each partner country, opening a transnational discussion around common issues in the sector, and gathering valuable feedback and ideas, and further contributing to the overall research. These Public Seminars also provide educational and networking opportunities to artists, curators, and Arts professionals, with a series of lectures, talks, workshops, mentorships.

Throughout the year, the partners gather relevant information during the Research Visits, Research Residencies, and Public Seminars. This information is centralised online, and then discussed and analysed for 2 days in the Evaluation Report process, by 5 Open Call Participants and the 5 partners.

The month of November is dedicated to core Partners Meetings, communication and dissemination of findings. The partners meet at Paris Photo to reflect on the progress and findings, define adjustments to the programme, and discuss about the coming year. Through the Events Series, Critical Academy presents at Paris Photo a series of public talks, presentations, and private meetings to distribute new ideas and reflections, assisted with commissioned Research Articles made available in key publications prior to the gathering. Capitalising on attendance to this major event, an International Open Call will be launched, aimed at attracting artists and art professionals that can add value to the project though the Research Residencies.

This timeline is the same for 2021 and 2022, except that Paris Photo should be replaced in 2022 for a different Art event to be selected by the partners, also in November, such as Art Düsseldorf, Cologne Fine Art & Design, etc.

Overseeing the project as an external referee, a Scientific Committee will evaluate our performance throughout the first 2 years, identifying weaknesses and strengths, and seeking ways to improve our delivery.

In 2023, the focus is set on dissemination, with a series of Conferences to be hosted in each partner countries, alongside the creation and promotion of a Publication, while Research Articles continue to be distributed through key online and print outlets.

Finally, in November 2023, a Partners Meeting is held at a key event (again, this could be Paris Photo, Art Düsseldorf, Cologne Fine Art & Design or any other the partners decide) to discuss about possible extensions of the project, collaborations in other projects, etc. while the Events Series continues to share new ideas and reflections to the public and specialised audiences.

Benefits —

For Participants

  • Upskilling of participants
  • Expansion of their network beyond their immediate reach
  • Mobility: Increase the capacity to work abroad
  • Self-confidence and empowerment through mentorships
  • Expanding specialised knowledge

For Partners

  • Better understanding of European Arts sector and its challenges
  • Increased transnational collaboration between Western Balkans and EU member states
  • New channels for cultural exchange
  • Acquire informed strategies for sustainability and growth

For General Audiences

  • Enhanced intercultural dialogue
  • Better understanding of the Arts and its role in Europe
  • Increased awareness of Europe’s cultural diversity