deviant practice 2018-19

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 2016–17

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  
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 his PhD (Unicamp, BR, and exchange at University of Arts of Helsinki, FI), Moreschi conducted emancipated experiences at historical museums in South America and Europe. Work in collections of São Paulo Museum Contemporary Art, Colombia National Museum and CA2M.

Evelien Scheltinga
Evelien Scheltinga is a curator and researcher, recently graduated her curatorial masters and her masters in contemporary art (cum laude) both in Amsterdam. Scheltinga took part in the research for the exhibition The Stedelijk in wartime and had a curatorial traineeship at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven. Besides her work for Studio Jonas Staal, she is part of a research group based in Morocco, focussing on different museum models.

Ana Gonzalez
Ana S Gonzalez Rueda is a PhD Candidate at the University of St Andrews and an independent curator. Her research addresses the inherent educational relations of the exhibition space and the contribution of radical pedagogies to curatorial practice. She holds an MA in Curating Contemporary Art, University of Essex (2012).

Michelle de Wit
Michelle de Wit completed the research master Arts and Culture: Art Studies at the University of Amsterdam in 2017. Her research revolves around the intersection between photography, ideology, propaganda, and cultural memory. She previously presented her research-in-progress during the international conference Dictators and Degenerates: Modernism, Fascism, and the Pursuit of Culture at Dublin University College. She is currently working on a PhD proposal.

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.’ He continues to work as a film poster designer, designing artwork for independent and art-house films for the UK and international markets. 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 a sculptor and writer and researches queer theory and feminist epistemology. For the second time, they are chosen to be a research fellow at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven. They will try to initiate The Department of Sexual Revolution Studies.

Mikiki is a performance and video artist and a health activist for the queer community, Acadian / Mi'kmaq and Irish descent from Newfoundland, Canada. Their work is exhibited in artist-led centers, public galleries, performance festivals and on self-produced interventions in and outside of Canada. Their identity as an artist is influenced by and inherently linked to their history in work as an information officer for sexual health care and as a harm reduction worker. Mikiki's creative themes often focus on negotiations on safe (er) sex, identity construction, attitudes around drug use, revealing sexual identity and health status, community building through sharing skills, testimonials 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, living in San Francisco and Toronto. Her work is studio-based, directional and personal third potential and third-party design. 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 met Shamina Chherawala and Craft on Demand: The New Politics of the Handmade with Nicole Burisch. She is assistant professor at 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 de Karabinos
Michael Karabinos is an archival theorist based in Amsterdam. He received his PhD from Leiden University in 2015. Combining questions on the nature of archives with their role in the decolonization of Southeast Asia, he has had work published in Bijdragen tot de land- taal- en volkenkundeInformation & Culture, and The Journal of Contemporary Archival Science, among others, and is co-editor of the book Colonial Legacy in Southeast Asia: The Dutch Archives. He is a former visiting fellow at Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) and previously served as the director of the National Geographic Map Collection in Washington, DC (USA).

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 Center). 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. 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.