Engaging with the art of curating
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TASAWAR Curatorial Studios is a postgraduate study program, initiated and hosted by Goethe-Institut Tunesien in Tunis. Since 2021, TASAWAR is expanding as a regional project thanks to the support of Goethe-Institut Marokko in Rabat, Goethe-Institut Jordanien in Amman and Goethe-Institut Saudi Arabien in Riyadh.

The one-year program is tailored to artists, curators, art mediators, and cultural producers, researchers, and writers on art who wish to integrate curatorial frameworks and activities into their practice. The curriculum seeks to support the development of curatorial practice through a combination of individual and collective experiences, both within the program and through engagement with external partners.

TASAWAR is a program that welcomes participants who are self-directed, intrinsically motivated, and able to navigate within an open learning environment. Participants are expected to act and participate in the learning community from a position of autonomy. The program aims to coach curatorial positions rooted in the pre-existing expertise of the participants.

Online / Onsite

The international program englobes both online and onsite activities. Biweekly online workshops, called “studios”, are at the core of the program. They are embedded in a variety of off- and online co-working units as well as in a series of practice projects.

The program

TASAWAR Curatorial Studios encompasses lectures, discussions, and trainings with local and international experts on curatorial action. Through the studios, participants engage with a curriculum that focuses on transmitting key competencies for content- and concept-driven exhibition-making, as well as skills in art mediation and audience development. The curriculum also aims to help participants develop competencies in analysis, debate, and critique of contemporary art exhibition practices.

The research

Integrated into the program is a collective research project on contemporary art in North Africa and Southwest Asia (SWANA). They are enmeshed in a program of activities such as studio visits, exhibition projects, networking events, and informal gatherings as in a coffee place or around a shared meal.

The practice fields

The program is built up around three collective practice projects and an optional individual or team project. The main practice modules are an exhibition program with an adjunct program of debate and mediation, a conference, and a publication.

The website

The entire process of the program is mirrored on the TASAWAR website which functions as an interactive meeting place. The online learning platform comprises the profiles of the program’s trainers and participants, lists the schedules and related tasks for each studio, shares program-specific references, hosts a directory of upcoming and past curatorial projects, and links to the program’s social media channels.

The learning environment

Jointly, the participants explore the regional art scene, discuss the conditions of contemporary art on the African continent and Southwest Asia while exploring best-practice projects worldwide.

The language

Due to the international orientation of the study program, English is its main language.

The tasks and tools

Over the course of the study year, participants must conduct and document interviews, develop exhibition concepts, write curatorial statements, prepare lectures and experiment with art mediation. The program also includes essential project management tools from creating spreadsheets for budget planning to communication and website design.

The workload

TASAWAR fellows are required to dedicate a minimum of 12 hours/week on research, study, and experimentation to the program. During the practice projects, the workload will rise to 40 hours/week.

The costs

The entire TASAWAR Program comes as a grant, participants are required to cover the costs for infrastructure (computer/internet), travel, and stay for the practice projects on their own. Any kind of independent funding application by TASAWAR participants will be supported by the TASAWAR team.

The development of the program

The internationally active curator, writer, and academic teacher, Bettina Pelz developed the concept and the program of TASAWAR. For more than 20 years, she is working worldwide on curatorial projects, since 2014 she has been working successfully in Tunisia. Her curatorial practice has a strong focus on art-in-context projects, a quality that has shaped the program’s concept. In the hands of Emily Sarsam from the Goethe-Institut Tunesien, the idea turned into a program. Since 2020, Salma Kossemtini is the program’s coordinator. She cares for the flow of information, organizes the co-working sessions, and cares for the well-being of the TASAWAR fellows.