About Engage

Engage is the lead advocacy and training network for gallery education.

We support arts educators, organisations and artists to work together with communities in dynamic, open exchanges that give everyone the opportunity to learn and benefit from the arts.

Join now

engage 37: Time and Place: Hosting and commissioning artists

Case Study: What Weight - Residency

Giulia Damiani & Theodore Ereira-Guyer
Artist & Writer Duo

Giulia Damiani and Theodore Ereira-Guyer discuss how their organisation Arts and Culture Project was invited for a residency in Bucharest from August to October 2015. As an artist and writer duo, they set up talks, exhibitions in prominent spaces in the city: ALERT Studio (Romanian Artists’ Union), Modulab and the National Centre Of Dance.

Click here to download a PDF version of this case study.

Cite this article

Giulia Damiani, Theodore Ereira-Guyer
Case Study: What Weight - Residency
engage 37: Time and Place: Hosting and commissioning artists
Editor: Barbara Dougan
Spring 2016
Published by engage, London

Our organisation Arts and Culture Project was invited for a residency in Bucharest over the months of August to October 2015. This was to be hosted by the nomadic intellectual project ODD, which in the last year has emerged at the forefront of the Romanian art scene. As an artist and writer duo, we set up talks, exhibitions in prominent spaces in the city: ALERT Studio (Romanian Artists’ Union), Modulab and the National Centre Of Dance.

On the Project
What Weight was the title chosen for the residency, which entailed a collaboration between the visual and written world. The objective was to carry out an exploration of the notion of ‘weight’ within the Romanian context.

In December 2014 we started to exchange ideas with ODD and structured a plan to involve local artists and institutions. In June 2015 we were awarded funding from the organisation GAI and the Italian Ministry of Arts and Culture to transform the work of the residency in a publication and exhibition, entitled Pinching the Earth, This Measuring Touch.

The aim of the residency was to show how, devoid of preconceived histories, ‘weight’ allows for innovative thinking in multifarious disciplines, from performance, to printmaking, philosophy, cultural studies, video making and more. In building up towards the final exhibition, workshops and exchange with local artists, audiences, intellectuals and professionals were essential to respond to this specific environment. 


Image from workshop, Peripheral Feminisms with ODD theory at National Centre of Dance

 - To make work on the subject that would trigger participation and reactions in the local community
 - To collaborate in and reflect on the environment by producing an enduring study

We wrote a proposal including a schedule of the events to open up the project and recruit contributors. In the first stage we developed individual fieldwork, choosing the themes that were more suited to the context. This was carried out through meetings with the director of ODD, local curators and frequent planning by the artist and writer.

In the second stage we were able both to engage with different areas of the country and organise workshops which explored the relation between ‘weight’ and the contributors. As part of the programme ODD theory, talks were given with other international artists from Israel, South Africa and France and were hosted by Modulab and the National Centre of Dance. The audience was made up of local artists, cultural practitioners as well as students and recent graduates from Universitatea Na ional de Arte. This led to discussions and comparisons of what it means to be a creative worker in Bucharest and other places in the world.


Previous three images: Brasov, Magura/Mosorel and Romania/Bulgaria border

In the last two weeks we focused on the production of the book and exhibition; ODD acted as editor and provider of contacts with local printers. The book was created not as a reflection on the exhibition but something that could exist independently and beyond the show.


Image from final exhibition, Pinching the Earth, This Measuring Touch at ALERT Studio

Intended Objectives
 - To carry out a period of exploration in innovative ways
 - To research and dialogue with the local community in Bucharest, devising a project that would take into account both our intentions and other people’s input
 - To create workshops to facilitate international integration
 - To develop contributors’ knowledge and skills

Intended Outcomes
 - To produce a publication that would gather voices and information from the residency
 - To hold an exhibition in one of the main galleries in Bucharest, ALERT STUDIO
 - To produce artworks and texts that could travel elsewhere


Previous two images: Final publication, Pinching the Earth, This Measuring Touch

Actual Outcomes
All the expectations were fulfilled; also, we managed to bring the publication to the Kiosk Independent Publishers fair in London last October. Furthermore, the project succeeded in developing the artist collective’s skills in designing books and promote work.

Actual Outputs
Together with the book, exhibition and workshops, we conducted interviews with artists and galleries to get a clearer understanding of the Romanian art scene. To promote the talks, publication and exhibition, merchandise and small manifestos were produced, which helped the public to connect with the content of the resi- dency. This wasn’t included in the initial budget but greatly affected the diffusion of the project.


Previous two images: Final exhibition, Pinching the Earth, This Measuring Touch at ALERT Studio

 - To cope with a new environment whose institutions and methods are new to the residents
 - To be able to understand during the second stage what kind of collaboration the local community was hoping for
 - We wanted to launch the book during the opening of the exhibition; this meant to work on several issues at the same time, working to a tight schedule
 - We wanted to keep the project as open-ended as possible, engaging in many different conversations which made it more difficult to decide which aspects were best to concentrate on


Image: Artist talks in garden of Modulab

Lessons Learned
 - There is an interest and a demand for an international dialogue to widen the conversation on the arts as much as possible.
 - Bucharest allowed us to see an emerging art scene without the forces of major art institutions and the omnipresence of a world wide commercial art scene.
 - To be ready to plan further for unseen events; from our experience things move quickly in Bucharest. Organisations can change, and support from funding and premises can quickly be altered.
 - Prioritise! The overlap of deadlines and living abroad was challenging; it is always wise to edit down the list of the many possible inputs and desired outcomes.


engage 37

engage 37: Time and Place: Hosting and commissioning artists

Not a member? Join engage here

Print this page

Order this issue as hard copy
from lulu.com

View issue contents page

View all journals

See our FAQs here

Send us your feedback: complete our survey

  • Home
    Terms and Conditions
    Cookie Policy
    Contact Us
  • Engage, the National Association for Gallery Education, is a charitable company limited by guarantee
  • Charity number: 1087471
    Company number: 4194208
    OSCR no. SC039719
  • Registered office:
    Rich Mix, 35 - 47 Bethnal Green Road,
    London E1 6LA
Arts Council EnglandCreative Scotland
Arts Council of Wales