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Scholarships, workshops, competitions

The Anna Polke Foundation is pleased to announce the availability of two scholarships of €5,000 each. Supported research projects include those by scholars in the field of art history or related disciplines that re-evaluate aspects of Sigmar Polke’s oeuvre from a relevant contemporary perspective. We invite proposals that explicitly and concretely explore Polke’s multi-faceted body of work. In addition, we encourage proposals that do not focus exclusively on Polke’s oeuvre, but rather actively include it as one of several artistic positions within the discourse of the chosen research question. We particularly welcome applications from emerging scholars, including students and recent graduates.

Focus on Photography
This year‘s call is specifically aimed at scholars whose research focuses on Sigmar Polke’s experimental approach to photography. We invite project proposals from art historians as well as photographers or photo restorers with relevant experience working with analogue photographic materials. Projects may focus directly on Polke’s photographic oeuvre or take a broader view of his expansive interpretation of photography. Applicants are encouraged to use Polke’s diverse photographic practice as a theoretical framework for exploring their own artistic or theoretical research questions.

The diversity of Sigmar Polke’s photographic oeuvre lies in his playful experimentation with various substances, material supports and the ensuing chemical reactions. From passport photos to small-format slides, from large-format prints to metre-long accordions, Polke’s aesthetic exploration of photography throughout his work underscores its central role as a medium for artistic thought and as a conduit for transformation within the artist’s broader body of work. This aspect is evident not only in the various formats of his photographic output, but also in the materiality of the images themselves. Shimmering streaks on photographic paper bear witness to his experimentation, which also extends to the image level, where double and multiple exposures, blends and spontaneous camera techniques create a dense picture of overlapping contexts and forms. Throughout his career, Polke also incorporated collage-like and performative elements into his photographic practice, opening up new avenues for further research and investigation.

Applications with research proposals relating to Sigmar Polke’s photographic practice are therefore strongly encouraged. Research questions with a material-specific and work-inherent argumentative perspective – and thus also an engagement with the associated artistic viewpoint – are particularly welcome. Depending on the research interest, selected researchers can be granted access to the Foundation’s archives for their specific projects. The Foundation will also assist in establishing contact with collections that hold photographic works by Sigmar Polke, as appropriate to the research topic.

Two scholarships will be awarded, each worth € 5,000. The division of the funding amount can be flexibly set up depending on the qualification as well as the living situation of the applicant and the nature of the project proposal. Applicants are therefore requested to submit, in addition to their work plan, a list of the desired use of funds (cost calculation). Approved funds must be used in 2024. The selection of the funded projects is made by an expert commission.

Further information on the Anna Polke Foundation and the research projects funded to date can be found here:

The results of the funded research project are to be presented by the scholars within a public presentation – as a lecture, discussion or in a comparable format. Furthermore, a publication of the research findings would be desirable. The Anna Polke Foundation is interested in publishing the results of the funded projects in its own publication series. However, there is no claim to publication.

The application deadline ends on April, 22, 2024.

To apply, please submit the following documents in German or English:
- CV

- Completed form (Download PDF)
- Project outline (about 1,000-2,000 words)
- Work schedule, cost calculation (where appropriate)

If you submit your documents in German, we also ask you to submit an English abstract (max. 200 words) of your proposal.

Please send your applications digitally and as PDF-files to:

If you have any questions, please contact Sophia Stang (+49 221 29438 633).


Köln, Deutschland