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Interviews with Participants of Summer School 2015

Aug 10, 2015

This year's summer school titled "Walking the line – Art of border zones in times of crisis" ran from July 26 to 31. Beside the inspiring talks, heated discussions, intellectual but also friendly atmosphere, how was the six-day experience for the 23 young scholars? The Summer School provided them with a platform for ‘give and take’. They came to Heidelberg with their own specialities to offer to the Summer School, and at the end, left with something new. Egyptian artist and researcher Heba, Heidelberg Research Fellow Danijel, art writer Cristina, and researcher on modern architecture Pathmini shared their own "give and take" with us. Academic network, global perspective, intellectual environment, and interdisciplinary exchange are what they benefited the most during the summer school.

Heba Amin – Art Practice and Academic Network

Heba is an Egyptian artist, researcher and currently Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Arts at the American University in Cairo. Amin’s current work focuses on technology, migration and visualized landscapes along migration routes in Africa.

‘I came to the Summer School because I want to elaborate on research materials that I have been working with, as an extension for a research project. Here I’m exposed to the intellectual discourse of the people who are also working on their projects. In this process, ideas and thoughts are better articulated.’

‘I see myself first as an artist, and then an academic. So a perspective of a practicing artist is what I bring with me to the Summer School. It is quite different from the other people’s perspectives here, since they usually talk about artists and art works, in a more theoretical and scholarly way.’

‘Discussions have been fruitful. I feel personally connected to some content, which seem to be unrelated to my own project, such as censorship, trauma and so on. Besides, speakers and participants are from all these different places. These people created this environment of diversity. That means the networking of the Summer School is great.’

‘The Summer School provides me an isolated environment to invest myself fully to the project. I gained new knowledge here, met people that I might potentially work with in the future. These are all what I will take with me from the Summer School.’

Danijel Benjamin Ćubelić – Regional Expertise and Global Perspective

Danijel is Research Fellow at the Department for the Study of Religions at Heidelberg University. He is currently working on his PhD thesis on 'Arab’ and 'Islamic' contemporary art in the context of national branding and neoliberal city marketing in the Gulf states.

‘My experience here is great. During the days we are all kind of in a bubble, where we exclusively deal with certain topics. In this way, everybody can concentrate.’

‘My regional expertise in the Middle East, especially the Gulf region is what I bring to the Summer School. Because I’m focusing on the social role of art, particularly contemporary art, I would love to know more about the dynamics of the contemporary art market. By talking with other participants who are from other places, I got to know more about other art markets around the globe: how the markets are changing and influenced by, for example, government policy.’

‘My expectation for the seminar has been more than met – I learnt from the lecturers, benefited much from knowing more people and their approaches. All these small things that I gained at the Summer School are the most valuable. I will also follow the speakers’ and other participants’ projects and works closely.’

Cristina Sanchez-Kozyreva – Hands-on Experience and Academic Environment

Cristina is an art writer who has been living in Asia for twelve years. She is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Pipeline (2011), an independent, thematic, contemporary art magazine based in Hong Kong.

‘I studied something completely different from art. But with art I always empathize easily. Now I am an art writer. My job requires me to have contact with all sides of art, from artists, art works, galleries, curators, to Public Relations offices, buyers and institutions. The hands-on experience is what I bring to the Summer School, which, I noticed, is also quite appreciated here.’

‘I’m considering doing a PhD here. I would like to enlarge the frame of my work by deepening my understandings in an academic approach. I once read an interview of Prof. Monica Juneja (Global Art Historian), where she talked about one of her research approaches, such as avoiding Eurocentric perspective, which I can also agree with.’

‘The emphasis on interaction at the Summer School is what I like the most. From speakers to participants, everyone is approachable. The open and friendly atmosphere makes discussions inspiring and lively.’

‘After the Summer School, I think I will pay special attention to certain concepts when I write, since the complexity of art-related concepts is well emphasized here.’

Pathmini Ukwattage – Specialized Approach and Interdisciplinary Exchange

Pathmini is currently working on her PhD thesis on modern architecture on the Indian subcontinent after independence in 1947. Her research project takes into account the upcoming of global discourses on climate and regionalism, its networks and ideologies as well as issues concerning the interrelation between architecture, landscape and body.

‘My training in visual and material approach is what I bring with me to the Summer School. I think I’m the only one here with a classical archeological approach. But it is also beneficial for me that the participants here, besides their multi-nationality, are also from very diverse disciplines. Their approaches to understanding and analyzing are different from mine. Discussing with them is always very pleasant and eye-opening for me, which is what I enjoyed very much during these days.’

‘I didn’t have much expectation before coming to the Summer School. Because the arrangement of it is quite standard – lectures in the morning, group discussions and excursions in the afternoon. But what is surprising to me is that the speakers would stay with us, and also participating in further discussion. This is not normal for such event. At this Summer School, not only the speakers stay, but we can also talk with them about topics other than that of their own speeches.’

Additional Infomation

About the Author

Clear Z. Song is a MA student of Transcultural Studies at Heidelberg University. She is currently doing an internship at Press and Public Relations Office.

About the Summer School

The Summer School "Walking the line – Art of border zones in times of crisis" took place in Heidelberg from July 26 to 31. It was organised by Cathrine Bublatzky, Isabel Ching and Franziska Koch, in collaboration with the Chairs of Global Art HistoryProf. Monica Juneja, and Visual and Media Anthropology, Prof. Christiane Brosius, as well as the Research Network "Arts and the Transcultural".


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  • Participants, speakers, and organizers of Summer School 2015