Visual Seminar. Resident Fellows Program 1: Sofia as a Sight

Published by ICA-Sofia

Book cover
Book cover Design: Kiril Prashkov
title: Visual Seminar. Resident Fellows Program 1: Sofia as a Sight
year: 2004
editor(s): Maria Vassileva
place: Sofia
publisher: Institute of Contemporary Art - Sofia
language: bulgarian, english
author(s): Alexander KiossevLuchezar BoyadjievIvaylo DitchevLjudmila DimovaMilla Mineva
design: Kiril Prashkov
related projects: Visual Seminar, Institute of Contemporary Art, Centre for Advanced Study Sofia
copyright: Institute of Contemporary Art, Centre for Advanced Study Sofia, the authors
supported by: This project takes place in the framework of relations. relations is a project initiated by the German Federal Cultural Foundation. The project of Luchezar Boyadjiev is supported by foundation Otvoreno Obshestvo Sofia

Excerpt from the introductory text from Alexander Kiossev:

The Resident Fellows Program of the Visual Seminar offers an opportunity for visual artists, designers, photographers, theoreticians and critics of art to develop a particular project for a period of 6 months. The program provides a stipend and a variety of needed technical equipment.

In this way the program attempts to synthesize two different tasks. The first task is related to the tradition of the centers for advanced studies in Europe and the world to invite for a given academic year several established writers, artists or musicians (sometimes these are theater people, journalists, etc.) jointly with their own research fellows. These receive short-term, usually three-month, fellowships, attend the academic research seminars but within this kind of program they are not expected to work on a specific project. Their presence in the academic community however, normally turns out to be extremely beneficial for these people have highly original ways of thinking and come up with startling ideas, that could have a heuristic effect on the scientific debate. Thus, the research team becomes an intellectual community while the artists themselves, outside of benefiting from the discussions, are in touch with the really innovative ideas in the life of science.

The second task is related to the conviction of the members of the Visual Seminar that the contemporary artists are also in a position to develop socially relevant projects (as is the Visual Seminar itself) as well as that an artwork or an artistic project could be incorporated within a collective conceptual framework. Thus, the Resident Fellows Program is the focus of the attempt to build up an intellectual community between artists and academic researchers with the ambition that both while working together mutually enrich their projects. This is reflected in the selection principle. The Resident Fellows module of the Visual Seminar must select 8 fellows in two years (two each six months) and at least 25% of these should be academic researchers of the contemporary visual culture. The remaining 75% are representatives of all creative professions that have affinity to the social and visual problems of the city of Sofia, to the contemporary visual arts, to architecture and urban studies, to design, photography and other of the arts that deal with visual themes, etc.

An 8-member committee selected the first two Resident Fellows of the Visual Seminar in April 2003. These are the artist Luchezar Boyadjiev and the young researcher Milla Mineva who works in the field of visual sociology and cultural studies (with the projects Hot City Visual and The Balkans as Touristic Sights). Their participation in the research meetings of the NEXUS project (the largest project of the Center for Advanced Study Sofia that supported 28 post-doctoral fellows in 3 years), as well as the participation of the NEXUS members during the presentations of the Boyadjiev and Mineva projects demonstrated that the scheme of this Resident Fellows Program is very encouraging.

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