WHW Akademija, final week, Zagreb, October 2022 (photo by Sanja Bistričić)

The program of WHW Akademija 2023 starts in March 2023 and lasts until November 2023. It combines live and digital sessions, starting online in March and April and intensifying in May with a physical summer school that will take place in Zagreb. The program then continues online until the end of October 2023, when the final meeting of participants will take place in Zagreb.

The fifth edition of WHW Akademija is set up as an education model that combines online and physical encounters and explores participatory modes of artistic and knowledge production.

As we are transitioning from the pandemic to an even more severe crisis related to the ongoing wars, rising austerity measures, increasing international recession, and intensifying ecological disaster, WHW Akademija 2023 aims to create an environment for engaged eco-social participatory cultural production. Focused on eco-social and somatic practices, artistic ecologies, care, collectivity, and degrowth, the 2023 program explores methodologies developed by artists and cultural workers to engage with their environments, be that artistic, social, digital, or ecological.

The 2023 program includes twelve participants and two summer school guest participants: Gleb Amankulov, Larissa Araz, Kemil Bekteši, Klara Burić, Katja Crevar, Aria Farajnezhad, Đejmi Hadrović, Hu Yun, Mari Kalabegashvili, Ivana Mirchevska, Jelisaveta Rapaić and Rita Süveges. Summer school guest participants are Pennie Key and Lena Pozdnyakova.

The professorial team for 2023 is: Yael Davids, Adelita Husni-Bey, Miguel A. López, Pablo Martínez, Marina Naprushkina, and WHW. Alongside this professorial team, the public lectures and workshop series Evenings with WHW Akademija brings together further artists, curators, and thinkers, such as farid rakun/ruangrupa, alumni of WHW Akademija, and others, who will present public conversations and lectures.

Through seminars and workshops, the program rethinks and redevelops the structures that hold us—our bodies, communities, and environment. The semi-peripheral position of Zagreb, between north and south, between socialist plan and capitalist extraction, offers an intriguing setting for forging fresh perspectives on eco-social values.

WHW Akademija is realized in partnership with the Kontakt Collection. The collection focuses on experimental and neo-avant-garde art activities in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe from the late 1950s onward. The manifold artistic positions included in the Kontakt Collection will serve as a point of departure and source of inspiration for stimulating the interdisciplinary approach of WHW Akademija, aimed at bridging the divisions between theory and practice.

The 2023 program will be realized in conjunction with the collaborative project Artistic Ecologies, New Compasses, Tools and Alliances, organized in collaboration between WHW (Zagreb), Rijksakademie (Amsterdam), and Neue Nachbarschaft // Moabit (Berlin). Part of the program will be realized in dialogue with the 9th Degrowth Conference and the exhibition People, Planet, Care – It Spells Degrowth.

After starting in March in online mode, the participants of WHW Akademija will later physically gather twice in Zagreb: for the summer school in May 2023, and again in October for the concluding exhibition and presentations.

The program from April to May 2023, culminating with The summer school, will be led by Yael Davids, Pablo Martínez, and Marina Naprushkina. Through a series of bodily and somatic collaborative exercises, seminars, presentations, discussions, workshops, and collective actions, the WHW Akademija summer school will initiate an intense exchange between the participants, the professorial team, and the local setting. The summer school takes place May 16–23, 2023, in Zagreb. During that week, we will host two to four alumni of the Rijksakademie residency program and Moabit Mountain College, who will take part in the summer school program.

From June to October 2023, participants will partake in a “soft residency” format with Adelita Husni-Bey, which will involve mentoring sessions and conclude with an intensive workshop in October 2023 at Gallery Nova, Zagreb. This program will also include a shorter online seminar led by Miguel A. López.

Ana Dević and Ana Kovačić of WHW will provide mentoring support throughout the entire WHW Akademija 2023 program, as well as facilitate the closing event at the Gallery Nova in October 2023.

As in previous years, a series of online public talks and workshops, entitled Evenings with WHW Akademija, will share topics and experiences explored by WHW Akademija with a broader audience. Participants are also invited to actively participate in and shape Evenings with WHW Akademija as part of the program.  

Based on modes of critical reflection, curiosity, and encounters among artists, artworks, arts professionals, scholars, and practitioners in various disciplines, since 2018 WHW Akademija has enacted and established innovative forms of education and collaboration in different formats: workshops, intensives, exhibitions, summer schools, actions in public space, lectures, conversations, practical workshops, podcasts, and performances.