The Künstlerhaus Bethanien (KB) is one of the oldest and most respected international cultural centers in the world. The Berlin based center is dedicated to advance contemporary visual arts with an artist-in-residence program providing workspaces and exhibition areas for professional artists. The program aims to encourage a lively dialogue between the large public and artists from different backgrounds and disciplines.

We at Aalto have an arrangement with Künstlerhaus Bethanien. Each year we award two chosen MA students a chance to attend the residency program for six months. Presently the agreement covers years 2014 and 2015 and 4 students. Students for 2016 will be selected this year.

The first selected artist was Tanja Koljonen. She will soon share her experiences at the residence with us. Time and place for the discussion will be announced soon here.  Artist Mikko Rikala is working in the residency at the moment.

We reward the selected students with a grant in order to enable their participation. The grant is used for the residency, especially to cover the following:

1) Health insurance and material costs.
2) Costs of the studio (55 square meters plus basic equipment). The studio is also the place of residence which means an opportunity to dialog with other artists, curators, gallery people etc.
3) Technical assistance by Künstlerhaus Bethanien.
4) The grantee’s project will be presented at the Künstlerhaus. The public will be invited to the exhibition. Künstlerhaus Bethanien will handle the presentation (installation, set up, dismantling, guarding, insurance).


MEET THE CRITICS (2013-2015)

The Meet the Critics course offered constructive criticism for student works. The “critics” included renowned curators, museum directors, lecturers, writers and other art professionals worldwide. They met with a chosen group of MA students (9–10 people) during a few day visit to Helsinki. The course includes a total of 5–6 visits.

The visits consist of an open lecture and meetings face-to-face and in groups. In the group sessions the participants’ works are discussed together with the lecturer and fellow students.

After the first year of the course, the students wished for some of the course material in advance in order to have more time to prepare, especially for the group discussions.

In a nod to the feedback, some lecturers delivered texts and others thinking points in advance. One visitor even prepared an extra assignment for the students. The results and feedback were very promising.

In the academic year of 2014–2015:
Ann-Christin Bertrand – curator, C/O Berlin
Marc Glöde – lecturer (ETH Zürich), independent curator, former curator for the film program at Art Basel, Berlin
Gregory Volk – lecturer (Virginia Common Wealth University), independent curator and art critic for e.g. Art in America, New York
Doris von Drathen – lecturer (École Spéciale d ́Architecture), art historian and writer, Paris
Katja Eydel – artist, writer and teacher (Merz Academy Stuttgart), Berlin

In the academic year of 2013–2014:
Estelle af Malmborg – curator, Kulturhuset, Stockholm
Anda Rottenberg – writer, curator and art critic, Warsaw
Mark Gisbourne – writer, curator, art critic, Berlin
David Elliot – writer, curator, museum director, Berlin
Doris von Drathen – writer, art historian, lecturer and researcher, Paris
Lyle Rexer – writer, lecturer, consultant, The School of Visual Arts, New York