Open Call: 5th Edition of the Exercising Modernity Academy - Instytut Pileckiego

19.07.2024 () 23:59

Open Call: 5th Edition of the Exercising Modernity Academy

Open Call: 5th Edition of the Exercising Modernity Academy

The fifth edition of the Exercising Modernity Academy, entitled Geographies of modernity – communities, discourses and ruptures // Geografie nowoczesności – wspólnoty, narracje i pęknięcia, will be devoted to issues related to the shaping of societies under conditions of constantly changing national frontiers. Central and Eastern Europe experienced border shifts, forced migrations and significant transformations of the populations of the individual countries during the 20th century. Some were the result of wars and conflicts, others of social experiments based on ideological concepts aimed at creating a particular type of society. Where the population remained multi-ethnic at least in part, efforts were made to blur differences via the organization and controlling of social life. The effects of these actions and processes can be seen in the mental maps of the region that persist to this day, phantom borders and sentimental fantasies of lost “small homelands.” We revisit these issues in the reality of the ongoing war triggered by Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which has forced many people to leave their homes and migrate to Western Europe either on a temporary or more permanent basis.

During the 19th and 20th centuries, many Central and Eastern European states – such as Poland, Ukraine, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, as well as Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – experienced modernization in the form of industrial development, urbanization, infrastructure expansion and social and political reform. The processes at the turn of the 20th century were often linked to the struggle for sovereignty and the strengthening of national identity, which was particularly important for countries that were striving for independence. Modernization and the associated rise in living standards often went hand in hand with increased nationalism and the affirmation of national culture and history, as well as attempts to produce national styles in architecture and art. The modern vision of the new society was inclusive and empowering for some, while exclusionary for others and their traditions and culture. At the end of the 20th century, modernization processes were in turn linked to the fall of the Iron Curtain and transitions to capitalist economies.

Contemporary modernization processes, such as European integration and globalization, also influence the formation of new understandings of community and new models of identification across the continent, including in Central and Eastern Europe. Our aim is to look at what preceded these processes and how 20th-century experiences can influence contemporary identity transformations.

During the next edition of the Exercising Modernity Academy, we also want to ask questions about the role culture and art played in these continuous processes of identity formation. To what extent was architecture, literature, painting, theater or film an instrument of change, and to what extent was it a symbolic signpost for aspirations? Can one see the scars in the space testifying to phantom boundaries? How is unwanted heritage sometimes incorporated and ingrained into the narratives of the communities it serves? What are the strategies for incorporating it without risking triggering conflicts and evoking traumatic memories? What are the consequences and social costs of forced modernization according to a particular narrative or political agenda, or is it actually a step toward modernity becoming the realization of dreams for prosperity and peace?

This year’s Academy, where we will encourage broader reflection on these issues through lectures, seminars and workshops, will be held in Berlin from 17–22 September 2024, with a program focused on topics divided into three thematic blocks.

- Free participation in the Exercising Modernity Academy 2024 with renowned and experienced researchers and creators.
- Partial reimbursement of travel expenses in the amount of:
- up to 120 EUR for participants traveling from Poland and Germany;
- up to 300 EUR for participants traveling from Israel;
- up to 200 EUR for participants traveling from Ukraine or Belarus.
- Free accommodation in Berlin for those from outside Berlin.
- Partial meals (breakfast and lunch).
- Interesting accompanying program.
- Graduates of the Academy will be able to submit a research or artistic project created or developed during the Academy to a special scholarship program dedicated to issues of modernity in the 20th century and organized by the Pilecki Institute in Berlin. You can read about the previous edition of the scholarships in the Scholarships tab:

Candidates are invited to send their applications in English via email to: until 11:59 p.m. on 19 July 2024. Please include “Academy 2024” in the subject line of the email.

More information