Open Call: M HKA / Van Abbemuseum Research Fellowship - Part of Our Many Europes programme

Babi Badalov, I am Euromental (detail), 2015, mixed media installation, variable dimensions. Collection M HKA, Antwerp / Collection Flemish Community

Open Call: M HKA / Van Abbemuseum Research Fellowship Part of Our Many Europes programme

M HKA - Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp and Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, are pleased to announce a Research Fellowship for an artist, curator, writer or thinker. The research grant will facilitate a period of research for up to twelve months, leading to manifestations of the research in two projects presented by M HKA and Van Abbemuseum respectively in 2021: Rewinding Internationalism: The 1990s and Today (Van Abbemuseum) and Eurasia: A Landscape of Mutability (M HKA). Both exhibitions take place within the context of the four-year programme Our Many Europes, by the museum confederation L’Internationale.

Ambitious project

We are looking for a speculative, ambitious research project that can speak across and between the frameworks of the two exhibitions. Researchers are welcome - though not required - to look to the archives, collections or local context of M HKA and the Van Abbemuseum as starting points for the research. We are looking for a research project that offers dialogical perspectives to analyse, question and form methodologies for exploring these designated research areas.

Research areas and methodologies

We invite proposals that address the following research areas and methodologies:

  • Critical engagement with the constructs of internationalism, transnationalism, globalisation and Eurasia.
  • A focus on microhistories, rather than master narratives that serve to illuminate the concepts, histories and visions explored in the research.
  • Projects that consider or use the site of the exhibition to mobilise the research.
  • Speculative thinking / practice in relation to the transhistorical, multipolarity and mutability.
  • Cultural networks of exchange (historical, current or futuristic) that facilitate the exploration of the terms above.

About Eurasia: A Landscape of Mutability

Eurasia is a space where historical and futuristic visions coexist, interact and mutate. From the ancient world to the cultural horizons to come, Eurasia has hosted the free-flow of exchange, and possesses as much capacity as ever for transnational thinking and cultural transformation. Inspired by the artistic imagination of artists, the exhibition Eurasia: A Landscape of Mutability (M HKA, 6 June – 19 September 2021) seeks to map innovative practices and exchanges that reflect the plurality of cultures and conceptions of Eurasia, with all its innovations and frictions. It will consider Eurasia as a landscape of mutability. Eurasia will explore the transformation and growing multipolarity of the supercontinent, asking: How has Eurasia inspired artists historically? What spaces for speculation does it offer? What new networks of exchange and mutability can be established? And what creative friction can be found at its parameters? We will look at Eurasia as a cultural and geo-political space in the making. With methodology embodying content, Eurasia will be an exhibition of mutability.

About Rewinding Internationalism: The 1990s and Today 

Rewinding Internationalism: The 1990s and Today (Van Abbemuseum, December 2021 - April 2022) engages with and critically considers the construct of internationalism from the perspectives of the 1990s and the present. Beginning from the premise that the 1990s saw internationalism subsumed by globalisation and - within the field of art - a move to broaden non-western geographies (through western perspectives and formats), the exhibition will turn close attention to micro histories rather than the major political and cultural narratives of the decade. The title echoes writer and theorist Ariella Aïsha Azoulay’s call to ‘learn to rewind’, understanding that any engagement with a specific moment in time (such as the 1990s), necessitates addressing the relationship and inter-connections with different historical moments, as well as ‘unlearning’ sedimented constructs. Rewinding Internationalism, therefore is a prompt to unravel internationalism from multiple perspectives and histories – and to speculate on what we might want from it today.


About the grant

Should they wish, researchers will be given open access to the museums’ 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 (either in person or online). Research proposals should identify and account for potential restrictions to the project caused by COVID-19. We similarly encourage imaginative, critical ways of working from / through distance. The research (as artistic project or curatorial proposal) will form part of the exhibitions Eurasia and Rewinding Internationalism. The grant consists of €10.000 research fee + a maximum of €5.000 production budget. Limited presentation budgets will be discussed separately with M HKA and the Van Abbemuseum.


Proposals should be sent to researchfellowship [ at ] by December 6, 2020.


Please send proposals in PDF format, including:
- Research outline (maximum 1000 words. It is not necessary at this stage to describe in detail how a project might be presented in exhibition form.)
- Biography (maximum 500 words including of relevant research experience)
Images may be embedded in the PDF but should not be sent as separate files.
Files should be labelled: L’I RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP_YOURNAME.

Reviewed by

The proposals will be reviewed by:
Nick Aikens, research curator, Van Abbemuseum.
Nav Haq, associate director, M HKA.
Joanna Zielinska, senior curator, M HKA.

About L’Internationale

This M HKA / Van Abbemuseum Research fellowship is part of a project of L’Internationale. L'Internationale is a confederation of seven modern and contemporary art institutions which proposes a space for art within a non-hierarchical and decentralised internationalism, based on the values of difference and horizontal exchange among a constellation of cultural agents, locally rooted and globally connected. It brings together seven major European art institutions: Moderna galerija (MG+MSUM, Ljubljana, Slovenia); Museo Reina Sofía (Madrid, Spain); MACBA, Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (Spain); Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen (M HKA, Antwerp, Belgium); Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej w Warszawie (Warsaw, Poland), SALT (Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey) and Van Abbemuseum (VAM, Eindhoven, the Netherlands), and its partners are HDK-Valand Academy (Gothenburg, Sweden) and the National College of Art and Design (NCAD, Dublin, Ireland).

About Our Many Europes

Our Many Europes is a four-year programme (2018–22) comprising exhibitions, public programming, heritage exchange and institutional experimentation across the L’Internationale confederation. The programme takes the 1990s as a starting point when our current Europe was born. It aims to think speculatively about the role of culture as a driving force in showing who and how we are in the world. This program is co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.