Call for proposals – Research programme: Deviant Practice, Van Abbemuseum, The Netherlands

Application deadline: May 20, 2016

The Van Abbemuseum is seeking proposals from artists, curators and writers as part of the museum’s new research programme: Deviant Practice, which will launch in summer 2016. Researchers will be awarded a grant of up to 10,000 EUR for a mutually agreed period of work in and with the museum. The focus of this first call for proposals is on two research tools: Archives and Constituencies.

The research programme of the Van Abbe will explore Deviant Practice
Deviance can be understood as veering away from the entrenched path. For the modern art museum these paths emerged from the West’s understanding of itself and by inference its relationship to others. An exploration of deviant practice necessarily involves undoing long-held institutional, racial, geo and bio political formations. We therefore understand the prefix « de » (« off ») in deviance in relation to notions of demodernising, decolonising, deprivelleging or deneoliberalising—key strategies we are inviting researchers to explore. Questioning past suppositions, hierarchies and modes of working might be one way to institute deviance. But deviance must also concern itself with modes of thinking and practicing for the future.

The Van Abbe is seeking proposals that draw on two research tools:
–Archives: The Van Abbe understands the archive as encompassing the collection of art works, the library’s collection and the museum’s paper archives. Archives are what defines a museum. It is, for better or worse, the heritage we hold. If deviant practice holds within it the need to challenge, consider and undo entrenched paths, the archive would appear to offer the means with which to do that. We are, therefore, seeking proposals that interrogate the role and use of the archive.
–Constituencies: Today more than ever, the museum cannot define its subjects. It needs to understand them and form positions with them. Understanding how to work with and through different constituencies therefore seems vital when thinking about how to institute deviant practice. Yet it also has implications for how the museum works with its archives and building. By identifying it as a research tool we hope to allow the possibility to explore different means and methods to work with constituencies.

About the grant
Researchers will be expected to present an internal seminar for museum colleagues at the start of their research and a public paper for publication within the Van Abbe and/or L’Internationale digital platforms in summer 2017.

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