programme directors: Barbara Putz-Plecko and Basak Senova
Department of Art and Communication Practices (KKP) at the University of Applied Arts Vienna
the course: “Spectral Encounters” by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Basak Senova
pilot phase partners: University of Applied Arts Vienna and Kamel Lazaar Foundation, Tunis
2020 applicants: Julia Stern, Sophia Bellouhassi, Marwa Manai, and Férielle Doulain
(Younes Ben Slimane attended the programme in the Spring Semester of 2019/2020)
main phase partners: University of Applied Arts Vienna, Konstfack (Stockholm), University of Pretoria, Kamel Lazaar Foundation (Tunis), The Center for the Less Good Idea (Johannesburg), Index (Stockholm), Saastamoinen Foundation (Helsinki), Publics (Helsinki), and SAHA (Istanbul)

The Octopus Programme is a guided research-based educational programme that encourages artistic research and production-based collaborations across academies and art institutions; students and professionals; diverse presentation modes; and processes of research and documentation in different geographies.

While the Octopus Programme functions as a support mechanism for emerging artists, the main objective of the programme is to accumulate experience-based collective and creative output by taking geopolitical, social, ecological, and educational urgencies and diversities into consideration. Correspondingly, the programme intends to develop and point out new critical perspectives and standing points to process artistic research and practices. In this respect, by merging the viewpoints of academic entities and contemporary art institutions along with what they can provide such as mixed facilities and activities, the Octopus Programme would like to develop a progressive methodology by creating its autonomous network.

The Angewandte, VZA7, Vienna // B7L9, Kamel Lazaar Foundation, Tunis

The first chapter of the programme is designed as a two-semester course “Spectral Encounters” (3 credits per semester) that takes place both at the University of Applied Arts (the Angewandte) in Vienna and B7L9, Kamel Lazaar Foundation in Tunis as a pilot application. The language of the course is English.

The course includes peer to peer educational sessions, online and class discussions, research field-trips, and workgroups both in Tunis and Vienna, collaborative production-based workshops, and lectures. The course is led by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Basak Senova, Visiting Professor at Art and Communication Practices, the University of Applied Arts Vienna. The course also incorporates guest lecturers and curated presentations of the students/artists in both cities. The travel expenses are covered by the University of Applied Arts Vienna and Kamel Lazaar Foundation.

The winning applicants were announced as Julia Stern (DAE/TEX), Sophia Bellouhassi (DEX/KKP) from University of Applied Arts Vienna and Marwa Manai and Younes Ben Slimane from Tunis in February 2020. During the summer of 2020, Younes Ben Slimane was successfully accepted to Le Fresnoy—Studio National des Arts Contemporains in France and started his education in the Winter Semester of 2020/2021, therefore, he will only participate to the exhibitions at the main phase. Férielle Doulain was selected and invited as the fourth participant for the second semester.

The first call of the Octopus Programme attracted a high number of well-articulated and competitive applications. After careful evaluation and consideration through applications, followed by interviews with the short-listed applicants conducted by the selection committee —consisting of Barbara Putz-Plecko, Vice-Rector for Research and Diversity, University of Applied Arts Vienna; Basak Senova, Visiting Professor, University of Applied Arts Vienna; Lina Lazaar, Vice President, Kamel Lazaar Foundation; Konrad Strutz, Senior Lecturer, University of Applied Arts Vienna; Moez Mrabet, Kamel Lazaar Foundation; and Rachida Triki, Professor of Philosophy, Tunis University—, the decision to select four applicants to take part at the Octopus Programme in 2020 was reached. And the new participant was invited to the programme as a result of a consecutive selection process, conducted by Lina Lazaar and Basak Senova in October 2020.


 Announcement: 27.11.2019
+  Deadline for the submissions: 10.01.2020, 17:00 (CET)
+  Notification the short-listed applicants: 17.01.2020
+  Interviews with the short-listed applicants: 24.01.2020.  Notification of the selected applicants: 31.01.2020
 Notification of the new applicant: 20.10.2020

The first semester course “Spectral Encounters”: 02.03.2020—30.06.2020
The second semester course “Spectral Encounters II”: 01.10.2020 – 28.02.2021

Other Projects