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Research Residency Fellowship at Steirischer Herbst

Steirischer Herbst is an annual festival for contemporary art, situated in Graz and the province of Styria, Austria. Since 1968 the festival has been setting standards in contemporary art and curating, which it continues to do so to this day. Following the launch of a retrospective website and the restructuring of the festival’s archives, Steirischer Herbst is initiating a fellowship program aimed at established as well as emerging researchers who would like to delve into the festival’s rich history. The newly inaugurated Research Residency Fellowship seeks to make the festival’s archive resources accessible as part of its mission to place the history of Steirischer Herbst in dialogue with contemporary academic work. The fellowship supports and encourages innovative scholarly, creative, and interdisciplinary inquiries into the festival’s practices and history. It supports and encourages new perspectives and readings of its legacy.

Festival archive
The archive includes a press archive, a media archive with over 1,300 media files, a file archive, and a reference library holding over 3,000 publications from the 1960s to the present day. Most files are not digitized and in German.

Fellowship start and duration
Applicants can choose between a three-month fellowship starting July or August and a one-month fellowship starting September or October 2022.

Fellows receive a monthly stipend of € 1,500 as well as a monthly accommodation allowance of up to € 500 for the duration of their fellowship. Travel to and from Graz for the residency is covered as well. Fellows able to commute will receive a monthly commuting compensation instead of the accommodation allowance. The festival works collaboratively with a network of institutions in the city that the fellow is introduced to throughout their stay.

Thematic angle
Due to the festival’s extensive history and its interdisciplinary character, the archive provides insight into a wide range of topics. Research topics could therefore include:

—the cultural politics of postwar Austria
—art and politics in Austria and Eastern Europe from 1960s to today
—art in public space
—the politics of media and technology in art
—the history of contemporary curating in visual arts, performance, and theater.

Applicants must send a research proposal in line with one of the topics listed above or propose a different topic that can be investigated on the basis of the festival’s archives and resources.

A historical overview of the festival is provided here.

Application criteria
The fellowship application is open to all individuals, based in Austria or elsewhere. A knowledge of German is not mandatory but will likely prove advantageous when working with the archival material.

Applicants are asked to submit a short written proposal in English or German of up to 500 characters as well as a more extensive 750-word proposal providing a synopsis of their project. This proposal should explain how research in the archive is beneficial to their work and describe how the festival’s history relates to their scholarly or artistic pursuits. Applicants should include statements about how they envision the research contributing to their work and thoughts about ways it might manifest in future projects.

They should also include a CV with links to publications, relevant websites or digital projects.

Application evaluation
Applications are evaluated based on how clearly the case for research in the archive is made, including how this research will enhance the applicant’s practice. Applicants are encouraged to explore lesser-known facets of the festival’s long history. Research inquiries that pay attention to contemporary art’s embeddedness in broad political and social contexts will be given preference.

Fellowship expectations
Recipients are required to produce a work for publication on the festival’s website. It can take the form of a text, image, audio, or video file (or combination thereof) that gives some introductory insights into their initial findings and/or direction of their research. The outcome and progress of the research will be discussed on a regular basis with the fellowship coordinator and the directorate of the festival.

Recipients are asked to credit the Steirischer Herbst festival in work resulting from the Research Residency Fellowship.

Submission guidelines
Applications should be mailed by May 31, 2022 as a single PDF to Barbara Seyerl (seyerl@steirischerherbst.at) with the subject line “Research Residency Fellowship.” For further information or questions, please also contact Barbara Seyerl.

Applications from people with a personal or family history of migration, especially from people of color, are explicitly welcome.

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