25 April 2016
by Debbie Leane
The Venice Fellowships programme is a unique opportunity for students to spend a month in Venice during the world’s most important architecture festival. As part of the programme, fellows share their time between invigilation of the British Pavilion exhibition, and independent study and research. Individual research projects are guided by the focus of the Biennale and the exhibition, and contribute to a cumulative piece of research, forming part of the British Council’s Venice archive.
Working in partnership with architecture schools and arts and architecture organisations throughout the UK and beyond, the programme supports around 50 fellows to embark on a one-month fellowship at the Venice Biennale. Candidates are selected through a competitive application and interview process, and successful fellows are supported with a grant to cover their travel, accommodation and living costs, which is part funded by participating institutions and the British Council.
The programme offers participating institutions the chance to become active participants in the Biennale and contribute to the British Pavilion’s overall research project by sending some of their brightest students or most motivated volunteers to Venice to embark on a unique personal and creative experience. All institutional partners are also actively encouraged to adopt the Biennale themes as part of their academic programme and have the chance to use the British Pavilion for seminars and workshops when taking student tours to Venice.
Fellows will have the chance to spend a month in Venice during a major international festival, with dedicated time to conduct independent research in and around Venice. The stewarding role comes with a high level of responsibility and offers a range of different roles, providing a breadth of experience and the chance to engage with a wide range of people.
To prepare fellows for their time in Venice, the British Council coordinates an induction day. As well as receiving practical advice, fellows receive an intensive introduction to the exhibition as well as an opportunity to meet the curators and attend a wider programme including discussions, tours and workshops. The induction day is an important chance for fellows to meet as a group prior to their travel to Venice, and build relationships with peers across borders and institutions. Fellows receive support and advice from the British Council team including information on key reading and resources.
Venice Biennale 2016
In its second edition as a six-month festival, the Venice Architecture Biennale continues to be viewed as a global research project. In line with the Biennale’s growing commitment to education, the British Council has created a dedicated UK programme aimed at promoting discussion and debate sparked by the exhibition, helping to enrich the Biennale as an active exhibition and making it a reference point for universities and their programmes.
The 2016 Biennale curator, Alejandro Aravena, has called on national pavilions to reflect on the theme Reporting from the Front, proposing an opportunity to look at how architecture responds to changing social and environmental conditions and how the practice and production of architecture can provide solutions to both global and local challenges. The British Pavilion exhibition, Home Economics, focuses on the home as the frontline of architecture and uses increments of time to present five new models for living.
The British Council’s 2016 Venice Fellowships programme is centred on this unique curatorial and design approach and focuses its attention on researching temporal occupation to understand how the city is occupied and how it can better serve its inhabitants and users. This unusual way of viewing and experiencing architecture offers a new outlook on issues of public and private space, and domestic and institutional design. Fellows select one of several core themes which are investigated through site-specific and archival research focused either on the Biennale or within Venice itself.
This year we have extended this opportunity to recent graduates and creative professionals, providing continuing professional development to those in the early stages of their career. We are delighted to be working with RIBA as our institutional partner for the Venice research project.
Participating institutions in the 2016 Venice Fellowships programme include:
- Arts University Bournemouth
- The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London
- Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London
- The Leeds School of Architecture, Leeds Beckett University
- Manchester School of Architecture
- The Cass, London Metropolitan University
- Kent School of Architecture, University of Kent
For further information and enquires about future Venice Fellowship opportunities, please contact Debbie Leane, Programme Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more about the Venice Fellowships Programme 2014 here.