Research Awards 2020, Winners!

Willem de Kooning Academy
Wed 9 Dec

About Research Awards

The WdKA Research Award was established by the Willem de Kooning Foundation in 2015 to emphasize the central role of art and design research within the newly introduced curriculum. The Willem de Kooning Research Awards are no prizes for just theses or research documents but for projects merging theory and practice where art or design work is a vital part of the research. Research Award ceremony for both Bachelor and Master graduates took place on December 9th.


And the winners are:


Bachelor Research Awards

First Prize: Stella Shi


As the winner of the first prize, the jury picked Stella Shi (Commercial Practices, minor Data Design, major Graphic Design) for her project Formation of a New Order: Story of Pass_Permit. Her research is focused on a small piece of paper that now regulates daily life in China and exists in countless makeshift forms and variations, the residential pass-permit. Read more.


Second Prize: Sarafina van Ast


The second prize goes to Sarafina van Ast (Social Practices, minor RASL, major Fine Art) for their project [24:30]. Sarafina’s research amounts to a proposal for writing in non-binary ways. It is based upon thorough and informed readings of relevant literature and theory in the field, including postcolonial feminism and queer theory. Read more.


Third Prize: Lot Bordeaux

The third prize of the WdKA Research Award goes to Lot Bordeaux (Social Practices, minor Cultural Diversity, major Illustration) for You Don’t Have to Be Afraid (Only Alert), her graduation project about aging and women in their fifties. This is an urgent and relevant subject matter, done as research where Lot acted from an embodied position. Read more.


Read the full jury report here.

Master Research Award

Christine Ayo (Master of Arts in Fine Art)


The jury was very impressed with Christine’s graduation project, called ‘Ikoce’. Ikoce is a research project tracing and questioning the archival capacity of unofficial bodies in passing or preserving intangible cultural heritage. And while doing so, navigating how such  ephemeral forms of knowledge can nourish a contemporary artistic practice.

They observed that Christine is essentially crafting a new language for thinking through the research concern, culminating in a fascinating theory-fictional work that merges reality and virtuality.

The jury did have several critical questions concerning the narrator of the work, in terms of what their voice means for the research project. Christine however was able to reflect on the position of her voice as the artist and the role the narrator plays within her film. Conclusively, the jury was unanimously in agreement that the way that Christine relates all these different topics makes it a fleshed out research project. The usage of several different modes of writing, bodies and images becomes a relevant mode of practice, which leads to a certain feeling of urgency. Read more.


Read the full jury report here.