Call for applications

Bibliothèque Kandinsky Summer University 2016

MNAM/CCI, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
Deadline: 20 March 2016

Bibliothèque Kandinsky Summer University 2016

Brion Gysin, William S. Burroughs, Untitled (p. 180) (circa 1965), tirage argentique, tapuscrit, lithographie et collage typographique sur papier, 22.23 x 17.15 cm. Acquis avec le soutien de Hiro Yamagata Foundation. Brion Gysin © Avec l'aimable autorisation de la Galerie de France ; William Burroughs © Droits réservé ; Image ©Los Angeles County Museum LACMA

The Bibliothèque Kandinsky’s Summer University is a Musée National d’Art Moderne/Centre Pompidou research program installed on the very premises of the museum. It focuses on modern and contemporary art primary sources: archives, documentary materials (both written and visual), interviews, records as well as new forms of artistic appropriation and documentary production.

Interdisciplinary in format, the Summer University brings together young researchers: historians, art historians, anthropologists, sociologists, artists, critics and curators which share a collective reflection with art professionals and various scholars around source materials. It will be held in the museum’s space all around a conference table acting at the same time as an exhibition device displaying documents. The space will be invested with facsimiles, reproductions and archival material presented during the working sessions. Several writing and translation workshops as well as reading sessions will rhythm the 10-days program. The editorial production of this material will be assembled under the format of a journal – ‘Journal de l’Université d’été de la Bibliothèque Kandinsky’- both as a critical anthology registering the debates during the sessions and as a graphic experimental production.

In all their heterogeneity, the political, theoretical and aesthetical scopes embedded in the counter-culture phenomena place themselves under the urgency of reinventing new modes of creation, behaviour and life.

In extension to the Beat Generation exhibition hosted by the Centre Pompidou starting with June 2016, the Bibliothèque Kandinsky Summer University, from 23 June – 2 July 2016, reactivates the discussion around the multiplicity of countercultural expressions and around the intellectual hubs that have generated them. Beatniks, Angry Young Men, Situationnist and Provos, alternative practices and underground scenes, the Summer University will be the place to investigate under new light a generation placed under the sign of dissent.

Recent explorations in cultural studies and new perspectives shed by interpretations applied to the ‘global sixties’ and ‘hippie modernisms’ convey the historiographical complexity of the subject. Denoting a polyphonic character, without the comfort of made-up taxonomies, the counter-cultural phenomenon raises new forms of analysis, anchored in micro-histories, in contextual biographical writing and languages and material culture of the everyday. What kind of documentary practices and methods can be applied then to a shifting object, constantly escaping conventional regimes of historicity? What kind of narrative and experiential rendering can be imagined for the counter-cultural ‘stories’?

Material culture and the understanding of its technical modes of existence can offer a viable pathway. We will be addressing the different ways imagination and technical inventiveness fashion artistic practice, going from self-management situations in the era of bricolage, assemblage and do-it-yourself to creative communities and collective consciousness. We will also interrogate one of the counter-cultural persistent ambivalences towards technology, caught up in-between the opposition against the technocratic power and the future of a society of information, between mystical attraction and cybernetic prospective.

The Bibliothèque Kandinsky Summer University 2016 edition will give the opportunity to put sources ‘at work’ and to bring together young researchers, curators and artists around documentary material – for some part largely unseen. It invites researchers from all horizons to bring up their source material and to put it into debate, through historical creative and inventive writing.

Primary sources at work but all power to the imagination!

The thematic topics that we open to participation focus around:

– alternative modes of life, community ideals, collective work, transnational networks of the counter-culture, alternative production and distribution practices, exceptional biographies;

– experimental technologies and modes of creation (visual, sound, text), ‘bad genres’, intermedia, analogue techniques, cut-ups;

– political actions and events, student movements, territories of dissent, borders of the marginal, underground economies, derivative products;

– imaginary geographies, urban derives, ecstatic wanderings, places of journey and cartographies of escape. A prolongation of these expanded geographies will take place via visits and urban excursions on the Parisian scene.

« Pour exorciser l’esprit de la catastrophe » (in Jean-Jacques Lebel’s words), the 10-days debates and collective work will be gathered and documented by the third issue of the « Journal de l’Université d’été de la Bibliothèque Kandinsky ». Experimental visual production and documentary extension in its own, reactivating the practice of the fanzine, the Journal will bring together graphic designers and the participants of the Summer University themselves and will be conceived during collective writing sessions.


The Bibliothèque Kandinsky’s Summer University is intended for young historians, art historians, anthropologists, sociologists, curators, graphic designers and artists at large.

Post-graduate students (PhD candidates, PhDs, post-doctoral researchers), artists and curators who wish to take part in the Summer University are invited to submit a proposal, as well as a CV, which should clearly assess the candidate’s language proficiency. In order to apply is important to have a good command in both English and French.

The proposal, which should be composed of circa 4,500 characters/700 words, may be written either in English or in French. It should be submitted in the form of a PDF document and should include the applicant’s name, postal and electronic addresses, as well as the country the candidate belongs to, and the institution the candidate is affiliated with.

Candidates are expected to bring along a selection of sources used in their research.

The proposal dossier will be sent to: by March, the 20th.

The proposals will be evaluated by a scientific committee, in charge of drawing up the final Summer University program. The Committee will retain 25 projects.

All applicants, whether selected or not, will be personally contacted before March, 27th 2016.

A participation of € 100 will be required from each participant, who will be provided with tuition. The participation will cover transportation on site and eventual institutional entries. Accommodation can be offered under special conditions yet to be determined.

If requested, the Centre Pompidou will be able to issue any required certificate in order to apply for scholarship or funding from foundations, museums, universities or research institutes.


Didier Schulmann, chief curator, Bibliothèque Kandinsky, MNAM/Centre Pompidou

Philippe-Alain Michaud, chief curator, MNAM/Centre Pompidou

Mica Gherghescu, art historian, Bibliothèque Kandinsky, MNAM/Centre Pompidou

Enrico Camporesi, conservation attaché, MNAM/Centre Pompidou

For any inquiry, please write to :

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Tel : +33 (0)1 44 78 46 65


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