INSTITUTO SUSCH is engaging in research to accentuate priorities for education and decision-making by analysing existing sentiments and preoccupations in the past and present roles of women in arts and science. Research and practice supported by the institute focuses on reviewing the role of education to define the language and position of women, aiming to situate crucial historical and current questions, to produce new forms of teaching and debate around the subject, and to explore how this work can be displayed, shared, implemented and generously developed in future, equal co-existence.
The Women's Centre for Excellence Conceived by Chus Martínez, The Women’s Centre of Excellence is founded by the Art Institute at the FHNW Academy of Art and Design in Basel and Instituto Susch—a joint venture with Grażyna Kulczyk and Art Stations Foundation CH. It is a think tank tasked to assess, develop, and propose new social languages and methods to understand the role of women in the arts, culture, science and technology. It is not about producing a disciplinary exercise on a subject matter that has been extensively studied. Instead, it is about the potential and the usage of visual arts as a matrix to give a new sensorial format to a form of intelligence used for testing our (gender) relations. The project aims to create a manual to support implementing change for the present moment in the curriculum — not as a set of statements, but as a series of daring propositions on what affects our affections. And, therefore, on what makes a difference in challenging our set notions of gender relations. It is a speculative exercise on the future based on the study of the conditions of the female gender.
The Women‘s Library Conceived as an ideal syllabus, fellow researchers at The Women’s Center for Excellence are building a digital library containing seminal historical texts that have been implemented into the curriculum for students at Institut Kunst starting the fall semester 2018. The established reading groups will engage in workshops, at the school in Basel and at Muzeum Susch. Growing continuously, the digital library and the thematic reading lists are intended to be shared with institutional collaborators worldwide.
Series of Symposia The Women’s Center for Excellence initiated a series of symposia 10-12 October 2018 in Basel, with the next edition happening on April 4–5, 2019. The symposia and the podcast series are the public side of this research project aimed to develop teaching tools, materials and ideas to challenge the curricula, but also to create a sphere where to meet, discuss and foster a new imagination of what is still possible in our fields. The first two-day meeting among artists and practitioners aimed to start a process of inquiry into gender, power, language, and artistic practice that will continue in spring with ‘Women in Space’ - referencing the exploratory character of conquering space, the symposium will focus on the role scale plays in positioning women inside the art system. Going through particular examples, presenting concrete cases, but also producing some future scenarios the idea is to give the audience a 360-degree image of the ‘space’ women occupy.
Podcast series Promise No Promises! The first podcasts in the series are based on edited footage from the contributions at the symposia, setting thematic focuses and reaching out to a broad international audience. Growing into a platform, also inviting contributions from other sources, 12 chapters are meanwhile available to the general audience online and have been downloaded more than 25,000 times already. The podcasts as part of the woman’s library are also open-source material for students and researchers as part of the Women’s Library.