Call for fellows: Testing Grounds by Het Nieuwe Instituut

Call for fellows: Testing Grounds by Het Nieuwe Instituut

Through this open call, Het Nieuwe Instituut offers a space for such testing grounds and sites for action-based forms of research.

Since its foundation in 2013, Het Nieuwe Instituut has carried out and supported research in architecture, design and digital culture. Exhibitions, lectures, archival investigations and publications have served as outputs of research, but more importantly as active platforms for its development. Initiated by former Head of Research Marina Otero Verzier, Het Nieuwe Instituut’s Fellowship Programme has a fundamental role in these platforms. Intended as a means of supporting and learning from a variety of research initiatives and methodologies, the fellowship is ultimately an opportunity to rehearse other modes of thinking and doing. The Research department proposes Testing Grounds as the focus for the 2022 open call.

In line with the fellowship programme’s ongoing ambition to rehearse other modes of thinking and doing, the focus of this year’s call for fellows is on supporting research practices as testing grounds. Approaching these testing grounds as action spaces and networks of relations allows us to find research causes, try out methodologies and develop tools. This year’s theme does not focus on ‘testing grounds’ as the content of research only, but as ways of doing research.

Grounds are often seen as stable entities, but they can also be malleable and muddy – mobile ecologies of being. Although grounds are imagined as holding bodies, feeding them and ‘grounding’ them, they do not do this equally. Grounds have been a space for inequality for both human and more-than-human life. How can we rehabilitate those grounds? Where does the potential lie to nurture and heal them? Within this open call, ‘grounds’ become metaphors for ‘issue spaces’, communities for grounding or belonging, and the grounds of debate.  

Aside from the field or ‘ground’ to test ideas, speaking to innovation and laboratory narratives, testing grounds also connote military or colonial enterprises, in which ‘the ground’ and ‘the abroad’ are seen as sites for probing oppressive models of being. How can we reimagine the testing ground as a non-extractive, anti-colonial, intersectional, more-than-human, feminist ground for doing otherwise? Testing grounds not for exclusionary and sanitised research, but for collective actions that provide foundations for rehearsing radically healing models of co-creation that include all life.  

Through this open call, Het Nieuwe Instituut offers a space for such testing grounds and sites for action-based forms of research: investigating new materials, exploring other ways of working and collaborating, initiating alternative policy models, regenerating new institutions, retooling archives and forms of heritage, while moving our attention to the messy methodologies and dynamic processes that occur while making change happen.  

The testing grounds the open call refers to can go beyond the institutional and fellowship grounds of Het Nieuwe Instituut. This open call also asks for the consideration of other sites, forms of collaboration, ecologies, cosmologies and cosmograms.

About the Research Fellowships 
Het Nieuwe Instituut offers two Research Fellowship positions for six months (from October 2022 to March 2023). Each of these positions includes a maximum budget of 20,000 euros. Stipends may be subject to a withholding tax.

There is no age limit for applicants. Individuals and collectives from all places of residence are invited to apply. Neither a curriculum vitae nor letters of recommendation are requested. The fellowships are open to all degree levels in all disciplines (design, architecture and digital culture). Equal priority will be given to those without a degree or institutional affiliation who can also demonstrate a high level of creativity, critical thought and other potential in their respective fields.

Fellows have daily access to the facilities of Het Nieuwe Instituut, including the library, archives, exhibitions, workspaces and presentation spaces. Other resources may be available in concert with other departments of Het Nieuwe Instituut as well as its ongoing institutional partnerships.

Visit their website for more information about the call for fellows. The deadline for application is August 10, 2022.

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