The art curatorial fellowship programme is a Schwarz Foundation initiative aiming to bring together young professionals from different fields of science and art. Participants acquire professional experience by actively working together with internationally acclaimed art curators. In the inspiring ambiance of a historic and cultural area of high geographic importance fellows work at a freshhold between West and East.
Fellows meet, interact and develop ideas and references to an extensive community which includes not only tourists and guests but also refugees.
The fellows actively participate in the curating and production of the Art Space Pythagorion exhibition under the curator's guidance. The production of complementary side-events, such as opening activities, lectures, workshops, educational programmes for children and screenings also fall in their line of work. Some events will already have been organised by the Foundation; however, there is always room for brainstorming, and suggestions to contribute are encouraged.
Fellows will actively interact with the curator and artists and will develop exhibition-related projects. Research and development of parallel activities to contribute to the impact of the exhibition is encouraged (e.g. screenings, guided tours, lectures, activities for schools). There should also be a creative exchange between the Fellows and artists while both groups co-exist on the island. Fellows will be provided an extensive briefing on the exhibition concept, curatorial practices adopted and the artists' intentions, to enable them to develop an exhibition guided tour template to be approved by the curator. Techniques to encourage audience engagement and interactive practices are strongly recommended.
There will be a busy agenda of events, and Fellows are expected to support Press Office's communication with the local community. Undoubtedly, the Fellows' support to the Press Office will be indispensable. A lot of effort should be put into developing a confident engagement with the local community, conducting in-situ research and critically engaging with the Art Space and its environment. Hence, motivation, resources and support should be on ample supply.
A sincere and productive communication between Fellows and the curator is expected. To this effect, early communication, including a clear overview of the project's main goals and an outline of the exhibition, is highly advised. This can serve as a confident introduction that will trigger a professional approach and lead to direct action.
Fellows' duties, furthermore, include the daily operation of the Art Space venue. They will also be responsible for updating the Art Space's social-media
profile as well as for producing formal printed material related to their experiences and activities. Extensive guest-support duties, including promptly responding to enquiries by phone and in person, are taken for granted.
In previous years, fellow curators also organised and run a series of educational events and activities involving local young audiences and focusing on the key concepts that run through each respective show. Young participants were introduced to these topics through experiential activities. Children were
encouraged to actively participate and develop initiative. Upon workshop completion, Fellows produce evaluation and documentation reports. It would be very useful to develop a smaller exhibition guide, specially designed for children. A simple guided tour template tailored to children's needs will be very useful. Caution must be exercised when introducing any delicate subjects to the children.
It would be interesting to create an activity to serve as an observational case study. For instance, a film on an exhibition-related topic that evokes a specific emotion could be screened to different groups of participants. The screening for each group will have a variable altered (e.g. sound, mise-en-scène, lighting). A hypothesis will be outlined and data be collected regarding the different audiences' reactions. Conclusions will be drawn and formally presented. Such practices raise numerous ethical questions and require careful consideration. The project could be documented using various media, and an exciting film could be produced.
Another programme enthusiastically received by the local community was a series of open-air film screenings. There is an extremely interesting transnational and diasporic filmography. An open-air film screening always feels – and is – celebratory! And, what could be better than to document the fellows' celebratory experience on the island of Samos? This cumulative portrait could form the basis for a new curatorial project: a publication to accompany the exhibition, entirely designed and produced by the Fellows themselves. In the past, the Curatorial Fellowship programme ran in a supportive and networking role parallel to each year's exhibition. We are convinced that this year's exhibition, along with its enriching side-event programme, will be a powerful source of inspiration for the Fellows' team, encouraging everyone to provide cultural services of the highest order, not only in terms of the amount of professional effort involved, but also in terms of making a meaningful contribution to this year's show and its exciting themes.