Sept 13, 2021

Call for fellowships »Under Utopia«

digital painting, art design element on a space theme

A praxis in beginning to stop resisting to begin by carrying on as before

»Utopias are stories one is allowed to reside in. Absent of boundaries, structures and law. Always a step ahead of reality. Utopias create blank spaces asking to be occupied. By our wishes, dreams and hopes. Allowing movement in endless directions. Small utopias for a complex everyday. Every one of us becomes important.«


States of crisis are the signature of our times – expanding fatigue and exhaustion symptomatic conditions of our societies. Solutions only appear viable when they happen to be in line with paradigms of perpetuation of wealth and economic growth.
How do we escape the misery of a present that redundantly poses the same questions, that dictates the same ideas and solutions over and over again? Utopias, and this connects them with the arts, offer a much-needed corrective to the present, building new grounds to renegotiate what new social and democratic structures could look like.
As a form of indicator, they expose how individual and collective expectations are constituted regarding ideas around what a successful life on earth means to us. They comprehend our common world as »under construction« – an open and extended space of possibilities, where new realities can be imagined.

»Under Utopia« sees itself as a plea for collective take-off and worldings. A path towards the uncertain, outside the realms of prognosis and predictability. A process, not only creating new imaginaries but fueling our desire to critically inquire our surroundings, searching for meaningful ways to contribute to a better future. Not under exclusion of the public but on a democratic basis, together with any social agent who is affected by the future and has therefore a right to participate in shaping it. Opening up a space to express our wishes, hopes and desires, fundamentally question our modes of existence but also mirror back to us responsibilities we implicitly carry for our shared environment. As a way to connect in unusual ways, cooperatively recalibrating visions and ideas for peaceful coexistence in the here and now. How can we start to walk this journey into the unknown together?


Within the framework of »Under Utopia« three four-month fellowship grants will be awarded for a residency starting November 2021 until the end of February 2022. The call is directed towards artists, activists, and thinkers from all disciplines who locate their practice within the thematic context of the project and who consider a lively exchange with different social actors, institutions and disciplines an integral part of their work. During their stay at Akademie Schloss Solitude fellows will be granted space to freely engage – either experimentally, speculatively, or collaboratively depending on their own artistic, activist or theoretical position – with the question of how we could give things a direction that is orientated around our own wishes and desires rather than the pragmatism dominating current state of affairs. Which actors of other social realms could be possible collaborators with whom this direction could be developed and shared? Which places and spaces could be used to try out this direction in a way that is free of anxiety?


• Individuals of all ages as well as collectives may apply for a fellowship
• Prior to the fellowship there is minimum one-day mandatory orientation as well as a first meeting with the artist-duo Geers/Drescher and Akademie Schloss Solitude
• Good language skills in English or German are beneficial


• The funding period amounts to a maximum of four months
• A monthly stipend of 1,200 euros (plus one-time expenses incurred by the fellowship holder traveling to and from Stuttgart from their primary residence)
• If applicable, a project-related budget
• A combined apartment studio, furnished with electricity, water, and heat free of charge
• For the duration of the residency respective fellows will be mentored by the artist-duo Geers/Drescher and Akademie Schloss Solitude


The application material is submitted online and should include:

• An idea, question, or project outline that deals with the topic »Under Utopia« referencing social agents and environments which you want to develop your project with. These could be business or corporate environments, scientific institutions, as well as social and political organizations (max. 1 Din A4 page)
• A description of your motivation (max. 1 Din A4 page)
• A short biography and informative portfolio or documentation of previous artistic, activist or theoretic work

All documents should be sent in PDF format via e-mail to:

The next fellowships will be awarded for the period of November 1, 2021 to February 28, 2022.

The deadline for applications is October 3, 2021, 24:00 CET/MEZ, midnight CET/MEZ.

The jury, consisting of Maren Geers, Thomas Drescher and Sophie-Charlotte Thieroff (coordinator art, science & business), will choose three suitable candidates from all applications. The final decision of selection will be made after a personal meeting and conversation on the respective project proposal with Maren Geers, Thomas Drescher and Sophie-Charlotte Thieroff. For further inquiries, please contact:

The project is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts Baden- Württemberg.