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OPEN CALL: The Living Museum

This OPEN CALL by the History Museum of Bosnia and Hercegovina invites artists, practitioners, art historians and researchers to participate in the ‘Living Museum’ project. This is a joint project with the History Museum of BiH, King’s College London and the University of the Arts London, funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council and Global Challenges Research Fund as a follow on to ‘Art and Reconciliation: Conflict, Culture and Community (www.artreconciliation.org). Our aim is to create innovative ways of researching, responding to and intervening in the museum’s Art Collection from the Yugoslav period which will be presented in the main exhibition space from May to August. The open call is an invitation for artist/curator/researcher(s) to produce art works and curatorial/critical interventions and to consider/use the museum space as an open art studio from July to August.



The History Museum of BiH collects, preserves, researches, presents, and promotes the cultural and historical heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Museum was founded in 1945, and it underwent a series of transformations throughout its history. From its founding in 1945 to 1993, the Museum was focused on the history of anti-fascism in World War II, and on fostering values of the socialist state. It was known as the Museum of People’s Liberation and Museum of BiH Revolution. The Art Collection followed the aims of a socialist museum – it was created to highlight the historical events and aspects of collective narrative such as the national liberation struggle, important battles and personalities, war suffering, the postwar reconstruction, and metaphors of social cohesion. For more information about the Art Collection please visit http://muzej.ba/collections-research/collections/.

After the conflict from 1992-1995 the museum was renamed the History Museum of BiH. Today the Museum works as a platform for dialogue about the past and its relationships to the present. Underpinned by the concept of openness to society, by fostering links with the community, and offering its visitors museum items, stories and space, the museum seeks to open new perspectives in the BiH museology.


This open call is both an OPEN CALL to all artists/art historians/researchers, and a CALL to OPEN up the Museum’s Art Collection, and to OPEN up the question of the Yugoslav/socialist legacy. The open call is conceived as an intervention to re-examine the role of art from the period from 1945 until 1989, and its relevance to the contemporary situation. Participants of the ‘Living Museum’ project are expected to interact with the Museum and Art Collection in a fresh, creative way, to reveal new ways of seeing and showing both the Museum’s holdings and their own work. The Art Collection will be moved from storage in the depot to the central exhibition area – which then will be transformed into a cultural hub/live art studio from May to August. Selected artists/art historians/researchers will work with the museum’s Art Collection, responding to the collection directly by engaging with it through a range of potential interventions which could include innovative artworks, reorganization, written texts, research questions and other related creative processes.

The museum will provide access to the archives, space to work and some materials for making work. We encourage applications from collaborative teams and groups as well as from individuals. The potential expected outcomes of the project could include but are not limited to exhibition materials, catalogue, digitized Art Collection of the History Museum of BIH, virtual exhibitions, new works of art, and performances. The curatorial and artistic proposal(s) will be presented in the exhibition in November 2019. The best proposal(s) will be awarded. The total fund for the open call will be 6.000 Euros. The total number of awards to be made is not fixed and will depend on the nature of the submitted proposal(s). We are encouraging proposals that range in scale and in ambition.

The artist/practitioner/researcher(s) will be required to document the working process itself, which is a significant part of the project, as it reveals the ideas stimulated by the archive, the questions it raises and the conversations it initiates. Thought should be given as to how best to capture this (for example through photography, written text, sketchbooks, recorded conversations). The participants will be asked to provide a brief, weekly overview, for example a blog, or sketchbook pages or notebook pages sharing artwork/written work/thoughts IN PROGRESS, to ensure ongoing communication with members of the project. In addition to this, the participant will participate in workshops and engage with other members of the project, and will potentially produce work for an exhibition related to the collection.

What do we expect?

We invite any curatorial and artistic project proposals that use the Art Collection of the History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a platform of curatorial/artistic (re)-examination.

How to apply?

Proposals of no more than 1000 words plus CV should be submitted by Monday 3 June 2019 to the email address: livingmuseum.hmbih@gmail.com. Proposals must be written in English and should include a budget.

Prospective applicants are invited to visit the collection from 1 May onwards and to contact the Museum on the email above.  We will also hold a workshop/information session on Monday 27 May 2019 at the Museum.

Selected participants will be announced in June. Participants will have the chance to be included in the final project exhibition in the Museum in November 2019.

We are looking forward to your ideas and proposals!