Centre for Nordic Otherwise

︎︎︎ Copenhagen, DK



Knocking on doors and making warm connections Applying for arts and culture funding to launch the Centre


The Centre for Nordic Otherwise offers a week-long artist development curriculum.1 The research-based course is designed for critical artists to turn inwards to explore the workings of their own practice. Artists may apply to participate via our open call which is announced twice per year. 

︎︎︎Artist members of the New Museum x NEW INC participate in a workshop in 2017, Matter–Mind Studio co-founded by Lillian Tong, Myriam Diatta, Colleen Doyle  |  New York City, US

Contemporary cultural institutions in western Nordic countries have increasingly been representing a growing diversity of works by young artists who immerse themselves in critical and racialized perspectives. However, processes specifically to develop the critical artist and the criticality of their work are limited. Nordic Otherwise contributes to filling the gap by running bi-annual cohorts of four Nordic-based critical artists.
        To do so, we offer a course that focuses on three areas: theory, practice, and the everyday. Emerging artists of color engage deeply with theoretical texts as part of their art practice. For example, American Artist (US) engages with Fred Moten’s book, In The Break: The Aesthetics Of The Black Radical Tradition; Dina El Kaisy Friemuth (DK) works with Ariella Asha Azoulay’s book, Potential History: Unlearning Imperialism. For the artist who contends with the socio-political condition, thinking, making, and being are engaged simultaneously. Each mutually influences the others at once. Nordic Otherwise seeks to develop strategies capable of supporting these critical processes.


The curriculum is focused on the relationship between the artist’s materials, the critical theoretical texts they read, and their everyday politicized experience of being in the world. As an artist, what can you expect? Through the use of abstraction, you will be able to map how making, thinking, and being have mutually influenced each other in your past work. With open guidance, you will be using the theoretical texts and mediums with which you are already fluent (clay, code, sound, etc.). Seen collectively, we can share with each other the inner workings of what we do to deepen and develop langauge for what we find. The process includes settling into each other and the space, care practices, priming exercises, mapping, reading your map, and creating soft assessment criteria. 


Over the period of one week, a cohort of four Nordic-based BIPoC artists gather to engage in the curriculum. Each year, two cohorts are hosted on site at the Centre for Nordic Otherwise in Copenhagen. Travel costs to Copenhagen are covered by Nordic Otherwise. Artists are provided with a stipend, meals, and accomodation. 

Participants ‘maps’ produced from a session conducted at conference hosted by Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design (US).
︎︎︎‘Maps’ built by participants from a session conducted at conference hosted by Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design (US); Matter–Mind Studio co-founded by Lillian Tong, Colleen Doyle, Myriam Diatta  |   Providence, US

︎︎︎‘Maps’ produced from doctoral research, Thinking Form: Bringing Together the Everyday and Black Ontoepistemologies, Myriam D. Diatta, 2022; Monash University  |  Melbourne, Australia

“One of those moments is that a moment of protest becomes a curricular object. ...So the curricular object that Black Studies became, as a repertoire of critical inquiry mean that my generation of [B]lack scholars and creative intellectuals had to create a field of fields of study and practice those fields at the same time, not always with happy results. In fact, the opening years of Black Studies creation and practice on many mainstram campuses. (...Do I need to name one or two?) That those years were often characterized by backlash, insults, hostility, and ... we are, nevertheless, not entirely clear of danger even today.” —From a speech by Hortense Spillers turned into a 2020 essay titled “A Moment of Protest Becomes a Curricular Object” published in A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society.

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