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ven 15 apr


Fee: $350 / Prize: Funding

School of Kindness - OPEN CALL

Category: Open Call. School of Kindness is a ‘non-disciplined’ performative, educational and discursive program that takes place yearly in Sofia, Bulgaria, and its surroundings.

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Time & Location

15 apr 2022, 19:00

Fee: $350 / Prize: Funding

About the event

School of Kindness is a ‘non-disciplined’ performative, educational and discursive program that takes place yearly in Sofia, Bulgaria, and its surroundings. School of Kindness is a summer school, a workshop, a residency program and a research platform, bringing together (artistic) practitioners, thinkers and social workers. The program is intended for participants from different social and artistic backgrounds, especially those coming from disadvantaged communities and those who work from experiences of individual or collective trauma. Over the course of two-and-a-half weeks, participants engage in a program of workshops and seminars provided by artists, theorists and activists. School of Kindness focuses on social and cultural narratives of migration and displacement and develops emancipatory tools to confront economic, cultural and political inequality and antagonism in Europe — between the so-called west and non-west — through theoretical and practical-artistic learning. School of Kindness operates in the context of a set of interrelated issues that overwhelmingly permeate daily life in Bulgaria: political transformation and living in the post-socialist state; labour migration; poverty; the rise of nationalism and racism; the environmental crisis; depopulation. The program looks at historical and contemporary forms of conviviality — to take inspiration from what typifies the Balkans as the meeting point between West and East, between Christian and Islamic influences. While the first edition of the School of Kindness (2021) was targeted towards unpacking the multifaceted understanding of ‘kindness,’ the second edition will focus on the notion of (the) ‘barbarian’ (arguably, two sides of the same coin). We understand the concept of the ‘barbarian’ as someone (something) who both doesn’t meet and exceeds dominant social, cultural, or juridical norms. The aim is to delve deeper into issues of inclusion and exclusion, of citizenship and rights, of homeland, heritage and otherness. To even pose the dialectic is to address a ‘clash of civilisations’ of sorts — between west and non-west; between classes; religions; between culture and nature; human and non-human; ownership and debt. Subtitled Mom, Am I Barbarian ?, the second edition of the School of Kindness (literally so) takes the title of the 13th Istanbul Biennial (2013) curated by Fulya Erdemci, who borrowed it from the eponymous book by Turkish poet Lale Müldür. Coming from the Ancient Greek βάρβαρος (‘foreigner/stranger’) ‘barbarian’ was the antonym of ‘citizen’. For her biennial, Erdemci evoked the concept of ‘barbarian’ to ask what it means to be a good citizen today. We will take up on that question, in collaboration with Fulya Erdemci herself, the idea being to emphasise the relevance and urgency of this question today; to revisit the biennale’s address and research and pass on that knowledge. The curriculum for the second edition of the school will explore notions of Turkish (Ottoman) heritage — often referred to as a ‘contested cultural heritage’ — and remains in Bulgaria, including atrocities against Bulgarian Turks (and other minorities) before, throughout and after socialist times; as well as connect with (Bulgarian)-Turkish diaspora in Europe. This will be not the explicit theme of the school but rather a field of attention. The School of Kindness’ curriculum balances cognitive, somatic, and psychic aspects, and, for its 2022 edition, will also contain two case-studies. The case-studies will each identify a context-related issue and participants are invited to work on location. Mentors for the 2022 program include: Mladen Alexiev (Bulgaria), dramaturg, artist, writer; Bayryam Bayryamali (Bulgaria/ UK), Bulgarian-Turkish visual researcher, journalist, art activist; Selin Davasse (Turkey/ Germany), performance-artist and researcher; Fulya Erdemci (Turkey), curator; Ismail Fayed (Egypt), writer; Tania Reytan (Bulgaria), scholar, translator, activist; Urok Shirhan (Iraq/ Netherlands), artist and researcher, and more to be confirmed. The urgency of the school exists in bringing together differences, because we believe that to learn from others — can we say, barbarians? — is the way to really learn. To be kind to the ‘absolute other’ is a challenge. To arrive to kindness is to embrace the one who is, from our point of view, ‘barbarian’.

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