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Zurich University for the Arts

Call for applications: Research Academy on Performative Interventions

Performative Interventions

A choreographer is standing on Istanbul’s Taksim Square, alone. A diverse choir together with a seemingly out-of-control Anglican preacher squatting a New York bank’s foyer. A square dance in the middle of Tel Aviv’s traffic. A fake company spokesman appearing on BBC promising billions to compensate the victims of a deadly chemical accident. A fax machine distributing protest leaflets through a window in Istanbul. Effigies of politicians carried through the streets of Manila. Pantomimes stopping cars in Bogotá. A big Black Lives Matter mural on a street leading to the White House in Washington D.C. Drawings sent out of Ukraine, day by day…

Artistic interventions have become an avid part of political activism all over the world. They stand for an understanding of an art that is not autonomous and does not happen outside of the social realities it is embedded in.

This year’s Research Academy invites artists and researchers that use art as a means to intervene into the surrounding reality, to interrupt and to challenge our societies and at the same time create imaginaries for a different world.  Through investigation the art of “pre-enacting” which introduces a political fact into the public realm, exercising choreographies of resistance and protest, and understanding forms of compassion and care, we will map and mark the ways in which a choreographed performative act can crack or change our understanding of the public sphere as we know it. 

This year’s Research academy puts its focus on the ways in which participants can develop and expand their set of skills and tools into new arenas of thought and practice/movement. We will explore events and actions, initiated by artists whose works of art are discourse- specific and can only happen at a particular place and at a particular point in time. Actions that are governed by a specific constellation of social trauma and political ambition. We will examine the different possibilities of moving as a group in public space, experimenting with notions such as conflict, the political body and the embodiment of politics.  Together we will learn how theatre, dance, and performance reveal their very potential to actively engage with and suggest a trajectory to a society.

- if you are at a point of your artistic career where you want to question strategies of performative interventions…

- if you have a specific project that you want to elaborate in more depth…

- if you have a research idea, a research question or a research project that connects to this year`s topic…  

...please apply.


General information

The RESEARCH ACADEMY invites applications from artists, practitioners, and theorists working in the field of theatre and performance to be part of this annual international research-lab based at Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). We aim to develop artistic practices and foster research through the strong interaction between fellows, faculty members, the artistic community, and the general public. The RESEARCH ACADEMY seeks to explore artistic strategies of contemporary performance practices in order to ask how they speak back to the cultural and economic environment, the political landscape, and social values.



The RESEARCH ACADEMY will be directed by an expert faculty consisting of

Florian Malzacher

is an independent performing arts curator, dramaturge and writer. He was artistic director of impulse theater festival in Cologne, Dusseldorf and Mulheim/Ruhr (2013-2017), co-curator of the multidisciplinary arts festival Steirischer Herbst in Graz/Austria (2006-2012) and curatorial advisor of the Ruhrtriennale (2018-20).
Among his current projects is the discoursive program “The Art of Assembly” (since 2021) and “Training for the Future” (together with Jonas Staal, since 2018).

Florian Malzacher has worked as a freelance dramaturge at theatres like Burgtheater Vienna or Mousonturm Frankfurt with artists like Rimini Protokoll, Lola Arias, Mariano Pensotti, Tania Bruguera and regularly with Nature Theater of Oklahoma.

2021 he was a guest professor at the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies in Gießen. He taught and/or lectured among others at universities and academies in Amsterdam, Berlin, Chicago, Frankfurt, Vienna, Oslo, Stockholm, Taipei and Zurich and was a member of the advisory board of dasarts - master of theatre, Amsterdam (2009-2014). He was series editor of “performing urgency” published by Alexander Verlag Berlin & Live art Development Agency, London (2014-2017) and is a co-editor of the book series “Postdramatisches Theater in Portraits” (Alexander Verlag, since 2019).

His latest books include “ancompany&Co.: The & of History” (Hg., Alexander Verlag Berlin, 2021) and  “Gesellschaftsspiele. Politisches Theater heute” (Alexander Verlag Berlin, 2020).

Florian Malzacher lives in Berlin.


Dana Yahalomi/Public Movement (Israel)

Dana Yahalomi (Tel Aviv) is the director of Public Movement (co-founded with Omer Krieger), a performative research body that investigates and stages political actions in public spaces. It studies and creates public choreographies, forms of social order, overt and covert rituals. For the last 16 years, Public Movement has explored the regulations, policies, and formations of identity that govern the dynamics of public life and public space.

In 2015 the group’s solo exhibition, National Collection, took place at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and in the same year the book Solution 263: Double Agent , written by Alhena Katsof and Dana Yahalomi, was published by Sternberg Press. Public Movement won the Essential Art Prize (2021), the Rosenblum Prize for the Performing Arts (2017), and was shortlisted for the Future Generation Art Prize at the Pinchuk Art Center, Kiev, (2014). The group performed in MAXXI, National Museum of 21st Century Art, Rome; the Asian Art Biennial, Taipei; Steirischer Herbst Festival, Graz; Berlin Biennial; New Museum Triennial, New York; Performa, New York; Impuls Festival, Dusseldorf; Gothenburg Biennial; VanAbbemuseum, Eindhoven; Zacheta National Gallery, Warsaw; Santarcangelo Festival; Baltic Circle Festival, Helsinki; and the Theater Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin. Public Movement was founded in December 2006 by Dana Yahalomi and Omer Krieger. Yahalomi became the sole director of the group in 2011.


HOW to apply?

Conditions of Participation

Applications are invited from artists, practitioners, and theorists working in the field of theatre and performance art. Places will be offered to 12 candidates. RESEARCH ACADEMY candidates are expected to demonstrate work of a high quality and a profound interest in the subject. They must also provide evidence of their ability to work with different approaches combining practice and theory on a joint research topic.


Application Procedure

  1. The deadline for application is May 22, 2022.
  2. The RA jury (see below) will select 12 candidates from the applications received.
  3. Applicants will be informed of the jury's decisions by June. The jury is not required to give reasons for its decisions. The jury's decisions are final and there is no recourse for appeal.



Applications must contain

  • a one-page motivation letter including a half-page reflection on « Performative Interventions » or a short video
  • a CV providing details of the applicant's professional career and achievements to date (max. 2 pages)

Applications must be concise, written in English or German. Please submit them to:


Travel, Accommodation, and Other Expenses

Successful candidates from outside Switzerland will each be awarded a grant of CHF 500.-

No other expenses will be covered. Research Academy fellows will be required to make their own travel and accommodation arrangements. They must ensure that they will be able to attend the entire six-day workshop.

Due to the covid 19 pandemic the organizers cannot guarantee the event to take place in co-presence, but a digital alternative will be offered, if it proves necessary, and participants will be informed in time to be able to plan their travels accordingly.



The jury consists of the faculty members and two further experts of the field:

Florian Malzacher, Dana Yahalomi, Christina Zimmermann, Gunter Lösel


Information & Contact

You will find more information on past Research Academies here:






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