Curatorial Studies

Masterclass: Oceanic Thinking, Hydrofeminism, and Other Liquid Ways of Seeing

with Heidi Ballet


This nomadic masterclass looks at how water has entered exhibition-making in ocean-themed exhibitions or works emphasising water as our connection to the world. As part of a decolonial framing of the world, new narratives of history have developed that include the oceanic territory as a place that influenced global history and our identities through (the slave) trade and war. The connection between water in the landscape and water in our bodies is emphasised in hydrofeminism, a way of thinking that sees humans as part of a large hydraulic environment, as one of many organisms that depend on water for life, connected to the world through cycles of fluids. A challenge could be this: how to develop a new perspective on Antwerp that is not based on land but water?


14-15.10.2022: Phase 1 - Immersion

  • The Rights of Nature with Dorine van Norren, Mihnea Tănăsescu, Klaas Kuitenbrouwer & Aoife Fleming in the framework of Klimaatfestival Antwerpen. What rights does nature have? More and more climate disputes are attracting our attention. Can 'rights of nature' or 'ecological justice' provide an answer? What is the relationship between these visions and what does art enable in all this?
  • Lecture by Heidi Ballet on her curatorial practice
  • Workshop Taco Hidde Bakker at FOMU
  • Screening programme at Extra City Kunstal

The full programme will be shared soon.

Partners: Sint Lucas Antwerpen School of Arts, Extra City, FOMU Antwerpen, Curatorial Studies KASK & Conservatorium/ School of Art

16.10.2022: Phase 2 - Curatorial research
Briefing by Heidi Ballet on the assignment to develop a curatorial proposal related to the cultural-historical significance of water in the port city of Antwerp

16.01.2023: Phase 3 - Feedback session with Heidi Ballet

March-April 2023: Phase 4 - Presentation by CS participants

Supported by Nomadic School of Art

Within the framework of the Nomadic School of Art aimed at developing innovative educational methods, Curatorial Studies translates the masterclass format (often 2-5 consecutive days) into an educational format that runs through the time span of an academic year and is spread over different locations. The aim is to go beyond the mere thematic in favour of more sustainable engagements, embedding concerns with curatorial questions around ecology, decolonisation and intersectional feminism more thoroughly within the programme's DNA.


Heidi Ballet works as a curator at deSingel in Antwerp. She has a research interest in oceans and bodies of water, as well as the philosophical consequences of climate change. She is currently curating the 2021 Beaufort Triennial, a public art triennial along the Belgian coast. Exhibitions that she recently curated include the 2019 Tallinn Photomonth Biennial, the 2017 Lofoten Biennial (LIAF) and the exhibition series Our Ocean, Your Horizon at Jeu de Paume Paris and CAPC Bordeaux (2016). Between 2012 and 2015, Ballet worked as a research curator for After Year Zero at Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, a project that later travelled to the Warsaw Museum of Modern Art and included a publication. Her writing has appeared in Mousse Magazine, Randian and Art Papers. Thematically, I am currently looking at themes related to the climate crisis, particularly the idea of anthropocentrism and the consequences of the changed view on 'man' versus nature. In this, the ongoing effects of the domination of Western thought over other knowledge production. I just started new research on the concept of walking for an exhibition and have a long-term research interest in oceans and by extension all other types of unstable grey zones. Medium-wise, I have a particular interest in public sculpture and video.