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The network was based on collaborative research and publications, joint teaching and research colloquia/symposia at Heidelberg University, potentially supported by short-term visiting scholars from across the world. Our program included annual workshops that envisaged the contribution of invited guest speakers and practising artists conducted in Heidelberg, collaborations with the Heidelberger Kunstverein, and the organization of the Cluster's Summer School 2015 (see below). The said workshops also engaged in proposing panels for the Annual Conference of the Cluster.

The activities of the networks followed three research themes in the project duration:

a. Visual art worlds and historiographies – engaging with visual and material cultures in a transcultural perspective

Sophie Ernst with a Cluster member.

The first research focus asks how global and transnational circulation, various media-contexts and institutional frameworks both constitute as well as challenge local historiographic and scholarly practices. While different cultures have different ways of engaging with art forms and schools and developing artistic and aesthetic concepts, we aim to explore and study the tensions and conflicts that arise between locally grounded aesthetics and globally circulated and marketed ones. 

We co-organized an artist talk by Sophie Ernst on her long-term project HOME at the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (HCTS) together with the Heidelberger Kunstverein on April 18, 2013, in conjunction with the opening of her solo exhibition "Die Erinnerung ist ein idealer Ort". This project investigates the architectural memories of Muslim, Christian and Jewish Arabs living in Palestine and Israel that blur the border between East and West.

We started the collaboration of the network with a kick-off workshop on May 10-11, 2013, held at the HCTS. A reading-based symposium, the event was planned to enable a mutual introduction of individual research projects and decisions regarding further collaboration, foci and activities of the network such as joint teaching, publication and participation in the Annual Conferences.

An excursion to the Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe (ZKM) to view the exhibition "Move on Asia" and meet Prof. Dr. Berhard Serexhe, Chief Curator of the Media Museum, ZKM, took place on July 24, 2013 with the participation of undergraduate and graduate students, as well as post-doctoral researchers.

b. Visual arts, museum practices and display

Participants of our 2nd workshop

Our second focus explores how certain localities, their histories and cultural conventions give rise to broader topographies of display such as temple exhibitions, transnational artists’ networks  or tea gatherings in late medieval through modern Japan, literati gatherings in early modern China or the international 21st century biennale-system. What are the implications of transculturally mobile objects, artists and displays for curatorial practice and what kinds of spectatorial experiences (in various museum settings) do they induce?

First, an internal workshop titled Engaging Photography with Transcultural Perspectives took place on November 21, 2013 at the HCTS wherein members as well as guest scholars attended presented their latest research material on the theme.

On May 9, 2014 we organised the second workshop of the network at the HCTS. This workshop explored more extensively museum practices and problems of display, with a keynote lecture given by art historian and independent curator Annapurna Garimella, who is the Managing Director of Jackfruit Research and Design, Bangalore.

In addition, two joint teaching seminars have taken place on the subjects of ethnography and art, and ethnographic museums respectively.

c. Transculturality in artistic practices, aesthetic discourses and cultural encounters

Summer School 2015 poster with image of video still from Bani Abidi, “The Distance from Here”, 2010, 12:00 min.

The third focus looks into how artists as agents - and their practices - negotiate cultural differences in an entangled art world. We zoom in on the ways local artists create their works and apply and transform different notions of aesthetics, which are also being formed by other agents such as collectors, dealers or curators, and along different global and local circuits of cultural productions. Emphasis is also placed on the foundational relationship of agents and objects, and how it has changed in temporal and spatial respects, re-considered in the light of today’s discussions on globalization. 

We supported projects that involve the close cooperation of Net1 members with this research emphasis in mind. These include the interdisciplinary conference "EurAsian Objects: Art and Material Culture in Global Exchange, 1600-1800" that took place at the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (HCTS) from November 21-23, 2014. We also cooperated with our member Prof. Sarah Fraser (Chair of Chinese Art History at the Institute of East Asian Art History, Heidelberg University) to bring about "In Dialogue with Xu Bing".

Net1 further supported the workshop "Border Crossings: Migration Arts and Arts of Migration", organized by Cathrine Bublatzky and Prof. Christiane Brosius, which marked the 5th meeting of the interdisciplinary working group ‘Art production and art theory in the age of global migration’, affiliated to and supported by Ulmer Verein – Verband für Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften e.V. The event took place on January 14-16, 2016 at the HCTS.

The Cluster's International Summer School 2015 "Walking the Line - Art of Border Zones in Times of Crisis", taking place from July 26 - 31, 2015, was organized by three early research scholars and members of Net 1, namely, Cathrine Bublatzsky, Isabel Ching and Franziska Koch, in collaboration with Christiane Brosius (Chair of Visual and Media Anthropology) and Monica Juneja (Chair of Global Art History) and our network. Net1 members were actively involved in delivering the teaching content, and further collaborated with our member and director the Heidelberger Kunstverein, Susanne Weisz, to integrate the programme of the summer school with that of the Kunstverein.

Significantly, our members helped to develop and support a trans-regional and trans-institutional informal collaborative research association, namely the DFG funded Research Unit FOR1703 “Transcultural Negotiations in the ambits of Art” located at the Free University Berlin, which has led to the formation of an international association of scholars, the Research Network for Transcultural Practices in the Arts and Humanities (RNTP). We cooperated with members of RNTP to bring about their successful kick-off event "Present's disjunctive unity: Constructing and deconstructing histories of contemporary cultural and aesthetic practices", co-organized by Net 1 members Birgit Hopfener and Franziska Koch, on 26-28 November 2015 at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin.

We continued our commitment in joint-teaching, such as the co-taught seminar “Curating Culture? Curating Art? The Venice Biennale in anthropological and art-historical perspectives” that took place in Spring/Summer 2015, wherein students guided by tutors from Net1 also had the chance to visit the 56th Venice Biennale.