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The documenta archiv to receive an important donation: The internationally unique performance art archive "Die Schwarze Lade / the Black Kit: Archive for Performance, Action and Intermedia Art" to be presented by documenta artist Boris Nieslony

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Goethe-Institut Fellowship at the documenta Institute: Call for Applications

© documenta archiv / Foto: Anja Köhne

Reading room of the documenta archiv

The Goethe-Institut, the documenta archiv and the Kunsthochschule Kassel / University of Kassel are launching their joint fellowship program for international young scientists and researching artists and curators at the documenta Institute. Twice a year, starting in October 2020, one fellowship holder each – preferably from non-European countries or European countries comparatively underrepresented in the art context – will be invited to Kassel for a period of six months to conduct their research in relation to documenta. International fellows will benefit from a wealth of materials on documenta history and on modern and contemporary art stored at the documenta archiv, as well as from the exchange with the teams of the documenta archiv, the documenta Institute under development, the Kunsthochschule Kassel, the University of Kassel and their academic environment. Public events or publications in Kassel and, if possible, preferably also in the fellows' countries of origin, will lend visibility to the fellows' research and perspective.


The Goethe-Institut Fellowship at the documenta Institute enables to examine diverse interdisciplinary and international references to the documenta exhibitions in art and contemporary history and to gain new insights with regards to art production and the networks emerged therefrom. It aims to contribute to further breaking open a Western European/North American dominated art historical canon and to expand it by new perspectives.


The program runs from October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2023; the research stay for the first fellow should, if possible, begin on October 1, 2020 and last until March 31, 2021. The residency will be located in Kassel.


Expected qualifications:

  • Excellent knowledge of modern and contemporary art, keen interest in the research fields indicated in the call for applications;
  • Experience with archival research, proven performance in projects already implemented in the field of scientific, artistic or curatorial research;
  • Knowledge of the German language, at least reading comprehension at B1/B2 level, is desirable (source materials are available mostly in German and untranslated!);
  • Applications from non-European or European countries underrepresented in the art context are especially welcome.


  • The fellowships are endowed with 2,000€ per month. Fellowship holders must take out health insurance at their own expense and provide proof thereof. Travel allowances are envisaged;
  • The Goethe-Institut supports the fellows in applying for visas and other formal travel requirements from the country of origin. The documenta archiv and the documenta Institute in development will support the fellows after their arrival in Germany in dealing with the authorities, finding accommodation, taking out health insurance, etc.;
  • During their researches, fellows are granted complete access to the inventory of the documenta archiv and will be supported in their work by the experienced staff of the documenta archiv and the documenta Institute in development;
  • The Kunsthochschule Kassel/University of Kassel facilitates the connection of the fellows to academic practice in Germany.


Application procedure:

The application in German (or English) must include:

  • short letter of motivation;
  • conclusive concept of the planned research project including a time schedule. A proposal for the implementation of the presentation of results is encouraged;
  • curriculum vitae (with indications of German and other foreign language skills);
  • two recommendations.


Please submit your application in electronic form (PDF) to:

Lena Prents, consultant at the visual arts division at Goethe-Institut; E-Mail: lena.prents(at)goethe.de


The application deadline for the first cycle is September 7. The applicants will be selected by a three-member committee, in which the documenta archiv together with the documenta Institute in development, the Goethe-Institut and the Kunsthochschule Kassel/University of Kassel are each represented by one member.


Due to the corona pandemic there may be postponements in the dates of the first cycle. We kindly ask you for your understanding in this regard.


In case of questions on the Goethe-Institut Fellowship at the documenta Institute and the application procedure please contact:

  • on the scholarship: Lena Prents, consultant at the visual arts division at Goethe-Institut, E-Mail: lena.prents(at)goethe.de
  • on research at the documenta archiv: Martin Groh, head of scientific research at documenta archiv, E-Mail: archiv(at)documenta.de
  • on Kunsthochschule Kassel: Carina Herring, scientific coordinator for TRACES at Kunsthochschule Kassel, Email: carina.herring(at)uni-kassel.de