News, Open Calls

Helsinki International Curatorial Programme 2022 Open Call: 11 October to 14 November 2021

Every year, the Helsinki International Curatorial Programme (HICP) offers one-month residencies in Helsinki for contemporary art curators. The programme in 2022 is co-organised by Frame Contemporary Art Finland and HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme in collaboration with Kunsthalle Kohta and Kunsthalle Seinäjoki.

Suomenlinna island. Image: Tomasz Szrama

The HICP curators-in-residence will live and work at HIAP’s international residency centre on the island of Suomenlinna, a 15-minute ferry ride away from the centre of Helsinki. HIAP offers the resident curators a combined workspace and accommodation. Frame provides them with a working grant (39 euros per residency day) and a travel allowance from and to the curator’s place of residence.

Both organisations provide the curator fellows with individualised assistance and networking support tailored to their project or research. The HICP curators have access to the international residency community and programme of events at HIAP, while Frame provides contacts with extensive networks of artists and art professionals based in Finland.

For this year’s open call, Frame and HIAP are collaborating with Kunsthalle Kohta and Kunsthalle Seinäjoki to offer two curators the possibility of collaborating on an exhibition, or another form of presentation of the curatorial research conducted during their residency. Residencies are organised in September and November 2022. Projects with the partners are produced later during 2023 and 2024.

The aims of the programme:

  • To allow internationally active, professional curators the chance to connect with the Finnish contemporary art field and plan projects (exhibitions, public events, publications, or others) in collaboration with artists and partner organisations operating in Finland.
  • To support curatorial research in its diverse and emergent forms.

Kunsthalle Kohta

Kohta is a privately initiated kunsthalle, founded by artists Magdalena Åberg, Martti Aiha, Thomas Nyqvist, Nina Roos and Hans Rosenström in 2016. We have been open to the public, always free of charge, since November 2017, in an industrial building in the Slaughterhouse Area of the Helsinki Wholesale Market.

Curator and writer Anders Kreuger functions as Kohta’s director and curator. He is also a member of the Kohta Council, the kunsthalle’s decision-making body, together with the founding artists and the filmmaker and academic Richard Misek.

Kohta is a hybrid in three dimensions. We are a privately initiated institution working for the public good, and we are artist-run but offer a curated programme, which is that of a kunsthalle, although we also sell works from our exhibitions.

Our mission is to feature artistic thinking in its many forms by organising solo or group exhibitions with artists of different generations, genders and parts of the world, working in the various fields of contemporary artistic expression. The programme is designed by the Kohta Council and typically consists of 5 exhibitions a year.

For more information and documentation of our programming, please refer to our website www.kohta.fi.

Kohta is an artist-oriented institution that seeks to strengthen the international connectivity of the Finnish contemporary art scene. We wish to collaborate with curators who have a pronounced interest in working with artists and exhibitions. We wish these collaborations to benefit artists from Finland in tangible and conceptually clear ways. One such tangible goal is to help accomplished artists from Finland connect to international exhibition circuits, production facilities, and discourses in meaningful ways.

Collaborations with curators participating in the exchange are subject to individual agreement. Depending on their interests and capacities, and ours, this could include exhibitions at Kohta and/or interesting venues abroad, to be realised from 2023 onwards, as well as public events at Kohta and support for curatorial research in Finland. At this stage, we are looking for applicants to come to Helsinki and start a conversation with us and artists from here that may inform our future planning (and fundraising efforts), rather than applications to make an exhibition at Kohta.

Installation view of the exhibition First International Festival of Manuports at Kunsthalle Kohta, August–October 2021. Murals by Pavel Mikushev (Republic of Komi, Russian Federation). Photo: Jussi Tiainen

Kunsthalle Seinäjoki

Kunsthalle Seinäjoki is located on the Western coast of Finland in a town with 64,000 inhabitants. The programme includes exhibitions, public art, and a diverse array of other activities. We opened our first exhibitions in the renovated spaces of the Kalevan Navetta Art & Culture Centre in March 2020.

New developments of contemporary art, the unique exhibition spaces, and urgent questions arising from the surrounding countryside and the urban-rural interface, act as a broader context for the curatorial practices at Kunsthalle Seinäjoki. The interests stem from both the present-day and historical aspects of the building and the surrounding area, while asking what the countryside means for the future, locally and globally. Approaches towards issues or ways to engage with the context may arise from aesthetic, social, cultural, ecological or other modes of inquiry.

The aim of collaborating with the HICP curatorial programme is to find a curator whose own practice and interests can respond to the programme of Kunsthalle Seinäjoki. The curator also needs to have good spatial thinking and interest in working with non-conventional exhibition spaces.

The HICP residency period in November 2022 includes a research visit to Seinäjoki, located about 3 hours by train from Helsinki.

Kunsthalle Seinäjoki hopes that the collaboration, which will begin through HICP, will lead to a research project and eventually produce a new exhibition at Vintti space in 2024. A preliminary agreement for possible exhibition cooperation will be made at the end of the HICP residency period.

If an agreement is reached, the exhibition cooperation includes: an interim visit to Seinäjoki in 2023, fees for the curator and the artists of the exhibition, a reasonable production budget that can be used for the material costs of works or installation, production, construction, marketing and public programme of the exhibition. The role of the curator is to create the exhibition concept, select and communicate with the artists, stay in dialogue with the Kunsthalle team and spatially design the exhibition. The budget and division of labour will be agreed upon in more detail via a separate exhibition agreement.More information on Kunsthalle Seinäjoki, the programme outline, and the Vintti space: https://www.seinajoentaidehalli.fi/en/about-us/#taiteilijalle

Bita Razavi, The Dog Days Will be Over Soon at Kunsthalle Seinäjoki. Photo: Jenni Latva

Application Information

In their application form, the applicants shall state which residency partnership they prefer (either Kunsthalle Kohta or Seinäjoki Kunsthalle). If you are interested in applying for both, please make two separate applications.    

The selections will be made by a jury of local artists and art professionals, including representatives of Frame, HIAP, Kunsthalle Kohta, and Kunsthalle Seinäjoki. The selected fellows will be notified by the end of December 2021.

Please note that because we are expecting a large number of applicants, we will unfortunately not be able to give feedback about individual applications.

The application period starts Monday, October 11, 2021, and the deadline for the applications is Sunday, November 14, 2021 (11:59 pm, GMT +2)

Selection Criteria

The applicant should have at least 2–3 years of professional experience in curating (relevant, formal education is not obligatory but can be considered as an advantage), either within an institutional context or independently.

Application Guidelines

To apply, please submit your application via the online application form.

Your application must contain the following:

  • Your short bio and a short statement about your curatorial interests, supported by visuals (preferably) and other material documenting your previous activities (URL links)
  • Motivation letter for the residency, where you should clearly state if you are interested in collaborating with Kunsthalle Kohta or Kunsthalle Seinäjoki

Applications or supporting material sent by e-mail without using the online application form will not be taken into consideration

Please note the following guidelines regarding additional material supporting your application:

  • It is advised that all the supporting material is stored online and can be downloaded via the use of hyperlinks, which are mentioned in the application. Please make sure that the links do not expire before you have received the decision of the Jury.
  • All image/video/sound samples should be stored and shared online. It is advised to use platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo, etc so that downloading isn’t required to access the material.