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Deviant Practice 2018-2019

Publicatie Deviant Practice 2018-2019

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Contributions by: Jessica de Abreu, Nick Aikens, Sam Ashby, Anthea Black, John Byrne, Ana S González Rueda, Michael Karabinos, Mikiki, Bruno Moreschi, Gabriel Pereira, Evelien Scheltinga, Eimear Walshe and Michelle de Wit

Research grants 2018-19: Deviant practice

We understand deviance as veering off the entrenched path. For the modern art museum such as Van Abbemuseum these paths emerged from the west’s understanding of itself and by inference its relationship to others. Deviance therefore necessarily involves challenging long-held institutional, racial, geo- and bio-political assumptions. We understand the prefix "de" in deviance in relation to notions of demodernising, decolonising, deprivileging or decentralising—key strategies we hope to continue to explore. We also understand deviance as an opportunity to reflect on the manner in which we approach our own practices and protocols: questioning past suppositions, hierarchies and modes of working might be one way to institute deviance. At the same time, deviance should also concern itself with how we find paths through the present and towards the future

The focus is on two research tools: Archives and Constituencies.

The archive:  The Van Abbemuseum understands the archive as encompassing the collection of art works, the library’s collection and the museum’s paper archives. Within the museum it plays a central role in the formation, categorization and preservation of histories. As such, it is a contested site and needs to be continually interrogated. We are seeking proposals that challenge the role, status and use of the archive and the narratives it can produce.

Public groups (constituencies): We feel that today, more than ever, a museum cannot define its subjects. It needs to understand them and form joint positions with them. We wish to further our understanding of how to work with and through constituencies both locally and internationally. We are seeking proposals that address the museum’s ongoing engagement with its existing constituent groups with whom we will connect you, as well as with new groups.

Researchers will be given open access to the museum archives and networks to be negotiated on an individual basis. They are expected to present an internal seminar for museum colleagues at the start of their research and a public paper for publication within the Van Abbe and/or L’Internationale digital platforms in early 2019.

Within the context of the Van Abbemuseum's Deviant Practice research program, a number of research grants have been awarded to artists, archivists, writers and curators:

Deviant practice 2016–2017

Descriptions of previous research projects can be viewed here. These researchers have presented their projects at the Van Abbemuseum on September 21. The one day symposium "Deviant Researching" was part of the three day event Demodernising the Collection: Opening Weekend.


The research programme Deviant Practice 2018–19 programme is sponsored by Mondriaan Fund.

Bruno Moreschi  
Bruno Moreschi (São Paulo, Brasil, 1982) is a researcher and visual artist with projects that approach the system of visual arts itself, specially its physical and virtual spaces of legitimization, and focus on decoding the field, revealing its hidden procedures. For your PhD (Unicamp, BR, and exchange at University of Arts of Helsinki, FI), Moreschi conducted emancipated experiences at historical museums in South America and Europe. Artworks in collections and projects in São Paulo Museum Contemporary Art, 33rd São Paulo Biennial, Colombia National Museum and CA2M. Visit Bruno Moreschi's website here (

Evelien Scheltinga
Evelien Scheltinga is a curator and researcher. She took part in the research for the exhibition The Stedelijk in wartime at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (2015) and had a curatorial traineeship at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven. She is part of a research group based in Morocco, focussing on different museum models. She worked with Jonas Staal on various projects and exhibitions. Currently she is assistant curator at the Van Abbemuseum.

Ana S Gonzalez Rueda
Ana S Gonzalez Rueda is an independent curator. She holds a PhD in Museum and Gallery Studies from the University of St Andrews and an MA in Curating Contemporary Art from the University of Essex. Her doctoral dissertation is titled “Inherent Pedagogies: Critical Approaches to Exhibition Making in the 2000s”.

Michelle de Wit
Michelle de Wit completed the research master Arts and Culture: Art Studies at the University of Amsterdam in 2017. Here project for the Deviant Programme is a continuation of her MA thesis, in which she focused on the presentation of Alexandr Rodchenko’s Gulag photomontages for the journal USSR in Construction in Dutch museums today. Michelle currently works as a freelance researcher, with a specific focus on art and politics.

Sam Ashby
Sam Ashby is a British artist, graphic designer, and publisher. Since 2010 he has collaborated with writers, academics, and artists on his publication Little Joe, ‘a magazine about queers and cinema, mostly.’ His first film, The Colour of His Hair (2017) premiered at International Film Festival Rotterdam 2017 and won the Best Documentary prize at London Short Film Festival 2018. 

Eimear Walshe
Eimear Walshe is an artist and writer, working between Ireland and the Netherlands. They are two-time Research Fellow at the Van Abbemuseum, where the endeavor to extend academic study in Queer Theory and Feminist Epistemology to the production of sculpture, publishing, performances, lectures, and country music.

Mikiki is a performance and video artist and queer community health activist of Acadian/Mi’kmaq and Irish descent from Newfoundland, Canada. They later moved to Calgary to work as the Director of TRUCK Gallery. Their work has been presented throughout Canada and internationally in self-produced interventions, artist-run centres and public galleries. Their identity as an artist is intrinsically linked to their history of work as a sexual health educator and harm reduction worker. Mikiki’s creative themes often address safety, attitudes about drug use and responsibility, disclosure of sexual identity and health status, community building through skills sharing, testimonial and story­telling. Mikiki has worked as a sexuality counselor in public schools, a bathhouse attendant, a Drag Queen Karaoke hostess, a health and welfare worker for gay men, a Harm Reduction Street Outreach worker and an HIV tester. Mikiki currently lives in Toronto.

Anthea Black
Anthea Black is a Canadian artist, writer, and cultural worker based in San Francisco and Toronto. Her studio work addresses feminist and queer history, collaboration, materiality and labour, takes the form of print, artist publishing and performance. She has exhibited in Canada, the US, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway. Black is co-editor of Handbook: Supporting Queer and Trans Students in Art and Design Education with Shamina Chherawala and The New Politics of the Handmade: Art, Craft, Design with Nicole Burisch and co-publisher of The HIV Howler: Transmitting Art and Activism with Jessica Whitbread. She is an assistant professor in Printmedia and Graduate Fine Arts at the California College of the Arts.

Jessica de Abreu
Jessica de Abreu (1989) graduated from the department of Social and Cultural Anthropology and Culture, Organization and Management at VU University Amsterdam. Her passionate commitment to the field of African Diaspora, led to researches on upward social mobility in New York, Amsterdam, and London. Her recent research on Organizational Anthropology focused on social entrepreneurship in Black British communities from post- and decolonial perspectives. She is a board member of New Urban Collective and co-founder of The Black Archives, which is one of the first historical archives in the Netherlands that focuses on Black Dutch history, and beyond.

Michael Karabinos
Michael Karabinos is an archivist and archival theorist based in Amsterdam. He teaches Archival Studies at the University of Amsterdam and has been a research fellow at the van Abbemuseum since 2016. Karabinos received his PhD from Leiden University and was a visiting fellow at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Combining questions on the nature of archives with their role in the decolonization of Southeast Asia, his work has been published in Displaced Archives (Routledge Publishing, 2017), Information & Culture, and Bijdragen tot de taal-, land- en volkenkunde, among others.  He is co-editor of the book Colonial Legacy in Southeast Asia: The Dutch Archives.

John Byrne 
John Byrne is a Reader in The Uses of Art at Liverpool John Moores University where he is also the Director of The Uses of Art Lab (which forms part of Liverpool School of Art and Design’s Art Labs Research Centre). From 2008 Byrne worked closely with the Van Abbemuseum on the development of  ‘The Autonomy Project’ and, in 2013, Byrne managed and coordinated Liverpool John Moores University’s participation in the L’Internationale project ‘The Uses of Art: The Legacy of 1848 and 1989’. In September 2015 Byrne took on the role of coordinator for the L’Internationale ‘Constituencies’ Research Strand and was lead editor on the resulting L’Internationale publication ‘The Constituent Museum: Constellations of Knowledge, Politics and Mediation’ which was completed in April 2018. In July 2015 Byrne also became a Narrator/Curator of the L’Internationale ‘Glossary of Common Knowledge’ and, together with Zdenka Badovinca (Director of Moderna Galerija), co-curated a ‘Constituencies’ Glossary of Common Knowledge Seminar that was held in Liverpool at Liverpool John Moores University’s School of Art and Design in 2016. As well as this, Byrne has been an active member of The Association of Arte Útil (AAU) since 2013 when he collaborated with The AAU, Grizedale Arts and Tate Liverpool to install and run a temporary ‘Office of Useful Art’ during Tate Liverpool’s ‘Art Turning Left’ show in 2013/2014. Since then Byrne has also coordinated a series of pop up Offices of Useful Art at Liverpool School of Art and Design, The Granby 4 Streets area of Toxteth in Liverpool, and at the Florrie Institute in Liverpool. More recently, Byrne has been collaborating with the Whitworth Gallery, Manchester, on developing work around John Ruskin and the forthcoming Office of Useful Art which will open at Whitworth in the fall of 2019. Via the Uses of Art Lab, Byrne is committed to growing and developing the Association of Arte Útil network as a worldwide constituency of artists, designers, activists, and makers who wish to explore ways in which we can use as art as a ground-up tool for imagining ourselves otherwise.