Call for applications – International Museum Fellowship, Kunsthalle Bremen, Germany

Deadline: 8 February 2016

As a part of the programme ‘International Museum Fellowship’, the Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Culture Foundation) is funding an 18-month Fellowship at the Kunsthalle Bremen scheduled to commence on 1 April 2016. The Fellowship shall be devoted to the research and the development of an exhibition for the project ‘The Blind Spot: Global Trade, Patronage and Collecting History in the Colonial Period in the Kunsthalle Bremen’.

The Kunsthalle Bremen is one of Germany’s most important art galleries. It continues to be operated by the Kunstverein in Bremen (Bremen Art Association), which was founded in 1823 by a small group of citizens of Bremen. The foundation of the Kunstverein took place in an era of rapidly expanding intercontinental trade relations, economic imperialism and colonial expansion, in which the city of Bremen was an active participant. The founders and leading supporters of the Kunstverein included numerous internationally active merchants, who contributed to the formation of the Kunsthalle’s collection through donations. They further supported various expansions of the Kunsthalle. The dark side of these charitable activities has barely been researched to date.

The museum is searching for a curator or emerging scholar with the task of independently re-examining the history and the collection of the Kunstverein in Bremen – within the context of colonialism and in comparison with major German, European and American museums. The research and the development of an exhibition project are to concentrate on two primary aspects:

1) a productive analysis of institutional collecting history, civic patronage and the formation of taste in the context of the history of trade and colonialism in Bremen and Germany, by means of a critical, Postcolonial approach;

2) a critical examination of the art collected and exhibited by the Kunstverein and Kunsthalle Bremen, shedding light on the reception of ‘primitive art’ in the context of early modernism, also using iconographic motifs and collection history to document traces of the interaction with non-European cultures.

In an international symposium, an exhibition and an accompanying catalogue, a debate about intercultural work in museums is to be initiated and, beyond this, perspectives are to be developed for the Kunsthalle Bremen’s future collection strategy and presentation. Reflection on the colonial legacy is thus to provide a stimulus for a creative encounter with the effects of globalisation and migration today and to raise new questions about cultural difference and identity.

The fellowship is intended for outstanding emerging scholars and curators from the fields of art history, cultural studies, history or comparable areas who primarily live and work outside of Germany – within Europe or, particularly, outside of Europe.

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