Call: Exercising Modernity at Pilecki-Institut Berlin
Deadline: 15 August 2022
Call for entries
No entry fee
Deadline for a call: 15.08.2022
Exercising Modernity Academy
is a project for intellectual and artistic exchange,
focused on describing the Polish share in modern heritage in a new,
interdisciplinary way as well as in an international context. The project aims to
highlight modern ideas in a broader sense by tracing modernization practices in
Europe and beyond, as well as by following the establishment of modern societies
and modern states. Nevertheless, we pay special attention to culture, and more
specifically to architecture, which we consider a unique field of various
intersecting perspectives, ambitions, concerns and hopes relevant in the
formation of the 20th century world.
The fourth edition of the Exercising Modernity Academy will be devoted to Eastern
Europe and its historical and contemporary methods of understanding. We want
to reflect on the concepts of East and West, have a closer look at the
incoherencies between political, geographical, and cultural borders of Europe in
the 20th and 21st centuries. We will examine the issue of the role of culture and
architecture in shaping the societies, cities and states in this region of the world.
Our ambition is to create a field for reflection on the common experience of the
20th century’s modernization movements of the states and peoples of Eastern
Europe from the ideological foundations of modernity and its successful
representations in art and architecture, through the difficult experience of
totalitarianism and its legacy, to contemporary narratives and self-reflections.
Finally, our goal is to sketch a broader and comprehensive perspective on what
Eastern Europe is and how we can better understand the events, changes and
processes that have shaped the world in recent times.
The Academy will take place in Berlin in October 2022, during which we will
encourage a broader reflection on these issues through lectures, seminars and
The program of the Exercising Modernity Academy 2022 will be focused on four
Section I. Modernity(/-ies) / Modernism(-s)
The first thematic section of this year’s Academy will be devoted to the multi-
layered relationship between what is modernity understood as a set of practices,
forms, ideas and struggles of individuals and societies. Attention will also be paid
to the relation between modernity and the foundations of modernism manifested
in architecture or urban planning, i.e. a relation based as much on compatibility
as on inconsistencies between the cultural theory of modernity and its practice.
The different dynamics characterising 20th-century aspirations to modernity will
be discussed, taking into account the cultural, social, or political specificities of
these transformations in selected countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Looking
at the architecture of such cities as Gdynia or Kharkiv, or considering the oeuvre of
Eastern European architects developing their careers in Tel Aviv or Beirut, it is not
difficult to get the impression that Eastern Europe was also an extremely fertile
ground for attempts to practice modernity. So fertile, in fact, that within a short
time these ideas became part of official development plans, setting an
unprecedented, but also peculiar pace of transformation in various centres of the
region. Eventually, the grains of modernist assumptions were adopted both in
countries striving to realise the utopia of socialism and those oriented towards
capitalism, but in both cases this was connected with a kind of revolution in the
perception of the role of architecture, which became an important field for the
implementation of these plans. Finally, the last highly significant element of this
thematic section is the experience of the individual in all these processes. As is so
often the case in the systemic development of far-reaching, complex plans,
individuals disappear from sight. Therefore, has modernity brought us closer to
fulfil utopian assumptions or has it become a source of suffering?
Section II . Between totalitarianisms
In the second thematic block we will direct the attention of the participants to a
range of issues connected with the experience of two totalitarianisms, which
happened to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The oppressive systems
– both Nazism and Communism – had a significant impact on the life of European
societies for many decades. They also gave rise to many ethical dilemmas: what
choice did the individual have to preserve their identity and survive at the same
time? Is it possible to regain trust after decades of manipulation? How – during
and after the Second World War – were narratives about the past, present and
future produced? How does the legacy of both totalitarianisms shape the present
of our cities, the surrounding infrastructure and landscape, and Central and
Eastern European collective memory?
With these questions and issues in mind, our aim will be also to look at selected
cities in Central and Eastern Europe as a kind of palimpsest, where successive
layers overlap, sometimes deliberately attempting to falsify the original, covering
up selected elements, and sometimes completing it and building it in –
sometimes significantly – empty places.
Section III. World in motion – defining East and West
This block will focus on the ways of defining Central and Eastern Europe and the
(in)coherences inherent in these definitions with respect to political, geographical
and cultural borders. We will look at how, over the past century and in recent
years, the imagined and experienced divisions between ‘East’ and ‘West’ have
been shaped and how they have manifested themselves in common spaces,
including architecture or the spatial organisation of cities, towns, suburbs or
villages. We will consider the political conditions of the (re)production of the
boundaries and imaginaries associated with the East. We will also examine how
the East can be understood in the context of the architectural legacy of socialist
modernism, and to what extent modernism developed under socialism differs
from modernism formed under capitalist system. We will try to outline the
conceptual framework and to trace its evolution, also in the context of
contemporary events, which force us to reflect anew on the – physical and
imaginary – borders.
Section IV. Deconstruction/Reconstruction
Public space of many cities, towns and villages in Central and Eastern Europe is
still marked by numerous sculptural, architectural or urban elements, which are
material traces of foreign domination and presence of totalitarian systems in
these territories. A particular group of such places and objects are monuments,
erected in order to perpetuate the propaganda narrative, free of historical
distortions and manipulations. Another category of this – sometimes perceived as
dissonant – heritage is formed by various types of architecture: from the
architecture of oppression and extermination, such as former labour and
concentration camps, through residential and administrative buildings erected for
the occupation authorities, to huge blocks of flats or even entire city districts,
creating residential spaces in line with the dominant ideology. Some of them,
apart from the symbolic layer, also have their still important utilitarian, as well as
aesthetic or cognitive function, which makes any decisions concerning the further
fate of this type of legacy arouse conflicting emotions.
Starting from the reflection on the role of aesthetics in politics, we would like to
take a broader look at the issue of constructing forms of commemoration as an
element in creating common identity (national, ethnic, political, etc.). We would
like to question to what extent this kind of legacy constitutes a troublesome legacy
today and what commemorative strategies, translated into architectural
realisations or spatial policy, can be found in various countries of the former
Through these topics, we will be guided by experts representing different
perspectives and disciplines from all over the Europe.
Locations and dates
The Exercising Modernity Academy 2022 will take place on 17.10–23.10.2022 in
Participants will be selected in an open call procedure, with a maximum of 18
people from Germany, Israel, and Poland (selected candidates should be a
permanent resident of one of the aforementioned countries – citizenship is not
required. Refugees from Belarus or Ukraine are most welcome).
Our offer includes
● Participation in the lectures and seminars of the Exercising Academy 2022
● partial reimbursement of travel costs:
– for participants coming from Poland and Germany: up to 90.00 EUR gross;
– for participants coming from Israel: up to 180.00 EUR gross;
● expenses for accommodation in Berlin covered in full;
● free participation in lectures, seminars and workshops held by experienced
and acclaimed scholars and artists;
● for those who complete the course – the possibility of submitting their own
research or artistic project, elaborated or expanded on during classes, for a
special scholarship program organized by the Pilecki-Institut Berlin and
devoted to the issue of modernity in the 20th century (details will be
announced during the Academy).
● After the Academy 2022, the participants will have an opportunity to apply
for Exercising Modernity scholarships for research and/or artistic projects.
(About the previous scholarship edition:
● This call for proposals is directed at individuals.
● The Exercising Modernity Academy 2022 is open to researchers specializing
in the humanities or cultural heritage, curators, architects, and artists who
shall come from or reside in Israel, Germany or Poland.
● Admission to the Academy requires good working knowledge of the English
● Candidates shall be aged 18 or above.
Candidates are invited to submit their applications by e-mail to the address:
email@example.com by 15.08.2022 (8:00 p.m. CET). Please write
“Academy 2022” as the subject of the e-mail.
A complete application should include
1. Scans of signed forms:
– declaration concerning the controller of personal data – attachment no. 1,
– declaration concerning the provision of consent to the processing of personal
data and personal image data – attachment no. 2.
2. CV in PDF format (two pages maximum) and/or portfolio (max 50 MB);
3. Description of your artistic/academic/professional interest – related to the main
theme of the Exercising Modernity Academy 2022 (up to 2,500 characters incl.
4. The organizers reserve the right to contact the selected candidate(s) for
additional online interviews.
● Application documents will be accepted only in English;
● Successful candidates undertake to attend the stationary sessions in
October 2022 (depending on COVID-19 restrictions);
● Courses, lectures and workshops will be held in English;
● Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact:
● The results of the recruitment procedure will be announced by the end of
August 2022, and the list of selected participants will be published:
– on the website of the Pilecki-Institut Berlin: http://www.pileckiinstitut.de
– on the Exercising Modernity project website:
– on the Adam Mickiewicz Institute website: www.iam.pl www.culture.pl
● The organizers are not under any obligation to substantiate the decisions of
the enrolment committee. No appeal procedure has been provided for.
● For candidates selected to participate in the project, the present document
will constitute an attachment to the agreement concluded between any
such candidate and the Pilecki-Institut Berlin.
Adam Mickiewicz Institute
The Liebling Haus – White City Centre
DECLARATION CONCERNING THE CONTROLLER OF PERSONAL DATA
I hereby declare that I have been informed that the controller of the personal data
processed in connection with the competition is the Witold Pilecki Institute of Solidarity and
Valor with its seat in Warsaw at Foksal Street 17, 00-372 Warsaw. The controller of personal
data may be contacted under the following address: Instytut Solidarności i Męstwa im.
Witolda Pileckiego, ul. Foksal 17, 00-372 Warszawa, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org;
1. personal data shall be processed for the period necessary to perform the tasks
connected with the present competition, and stored for the period specified in the
internal instruction of the Witold Pilecki Institute of Solidarity and Valor;
2. personal data shall be processed for the purpose of assessing applications to the
competition, and in the event that a scholarship is awarded – for the purposes of
publishing announcements on the Public Information Bureau (Biuro Informacji
Publicznej) website, handling financial and accounting issues, and also in order to
determine the existence of, pursue, or organize a defense against claims.
Furthermore, personal data shall be processed as part of reporting, in connection
with information addressed to scientific circles, and also for archival purposes;
3. the submission of personal data is a statutory requirement and one indispensable
for the attainment of the objectives referred to under Point 2;
4. the recipient of personal data may be an entity duly instructed to act by the
controller of personal data, such as an entity providing IT services;
5. the person whom the data concern shall be entitled to access his/her personal
data, and also to request their correction or deletion. The submission of a request
for the deletion of data shall be tantamount to resignation from the competition
procedure conducted by the Witold Pilecki Institute of Solidarity and Valor;
6. the person whom the data concern shall be entitled to lodge a complaint with the
President of the (Polish) Personal Data Protection Office in the event that the said
person shall consider that processing infringes the provisions of the general
regulation on the protection of data; personal data shall not be utilized in
automated decision-making systems, and specifically not for the purposes of
place, date legible signature
Exercising Modernity Programme Coordinator
Pariser Platz 4a, 10117 Berlin