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Alice Boner International Residency Programme© Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan

Call for Applications
Alice Boner International Residency Programme

The Alice Boner International Residency at Varanasi invites applications to stay and work at the Alice Boner Institute (ABI) for eight weeks, to incubate ongoing research or undertake new artwork/or project whilst connecting with the local art and culture scene. The call for 2022 is now closed and shall be re-published in 2023.

About the Programme

The Alice Boner Institute is located at Assi Ghat on the banks of the river Ganga in Varanasi, India. An old house with heritage architecture, this institute was once the home of the Swiss artist and scholar Alice  Boner from 1935 to 1978. Today it offers residencies for writers, artists and scholars who wish to live and work in Varanasi for a length of time.

Dr. Alice Boner (1889-1981) settled in Varanasi, India and came to be known as one of the outstanding scholars and interpreters of Indian sculpture and temple architecture. Her research led her not only to the significant discovery of the principles of composition in Indian sculpture, but also to a search for the meaning of its content. For her pioneering research on Indian art, Alice Boner was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Zürich in 1969 and the Padma Bhushan by the President of India in 1974.
Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan is the cultural institute of the Federal Republic of Germany with a global reach. We promote knowledge of the German language abroad and foster international cultural cooperation. We convey a comprehensive image of Germany by providing information about cultural, social and political life in our nation. Our cultural and educational programmes encourage intercultural dialogue and enable cultural involvement. They strengthen the development of structures in civil society and foster worldwide mobility.

With our network of Goethe-Instituts, Goethe Centres, cultural societies, reading rooms and exam and language learning centres, we have been the first point of contact for many with Germany for almost seventy years. Our long-lasting partnerships with leading institutions and individuals in over ninety countries create enduring trust in Germany. We are partners for all who actively engage with Germany and its culture, working independently and without political ties.
International residencies are residencies for curators, art managers, and researchers from Germany. The Alice Boner International Residency at Varanasi offers the opportunity to live and work at the Alice Boner Institute (ABI) for eight weeks, to incubate ongoing research or undertake new artwork/or project whilst connecting with the local art and culture scene. Varanasi is considered to be one of the oldest cities of the world. It faces massive challenges in the field of waste and water management, traffic and infrastructure. The necessity to modernize is in contrast with the task of the preservation of cultural heritage.

Facilities at ABI

The resident artist will have one floor in the small villa at her/his disposal. The accommodation comprises a bedroom and study with an attached shower and toilet. The rooms are equipped with ceiling fans and air conditioners, shelves for books/clothes, and Wi-Fi. The consumption of alcohol on the premises is not allowed. The language of communication is English and Hindi. Other residents are accommodated on two other floors.

The ground floor also includes the Director’s office and rooms for institute employees (manager, security guards, cook, etc.).

The interior of the Institute can also host intimate exhibitions, while a modest venue on the terrace can be used for short performances and screenings.

Please note: The building is an old construction, therefore the house is not suitable for children or disabled persons (very steep steps). Residents with a history of dust/lung allergies, or asthma should take necessary precautions as air pollution levels are severe.

Application Requirements

You can apply with any art or research project from fields including, but not limited to, visual arts, literature, performing arts, design, cultural heritage, urbanism, and cultural theory. The project should be relevant within the Indian and international contexts, be clear, realistic, and well-planned.
You are not required to finish the project during the residency, but you will have to present the work to the local art community, Alice Boner Institute and Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan.

The format of the presentation is entirely up to you in discussion with the Alice Boner Institute. It can be an artist talk, presentation, performance, etc. The Alice Boner Institute will help you with the organizational task.
You will spend two months at the Alice Boner Institute:
1 September – 31 October 2022
1 November – 31 December 2022
  • Travel cost: return tickets and travel to Varanasi (economy class)
  • Accommodation
  • Health insurance
  • Daily allowance of 26 EUR for the duration of the residency, payable in Rupees on arrival
  • The cost of materials will be covered on a case-by-case basis and will be up to a maximum of 500 EUR per resident
This call for proposals is directed at individuals for whom the engagement with India is central to their creative work, academic research or planned projects.
  • Independent and institutional art managers working with artist-run spaces as well as visual, performing, media, and cross cultural art
  • Independent and institutional art curators
  • Art researchers
  • Artists
  • Other professionals in the sphere of art
Our ideal candidate:
  • Works in the sphere of culture.
  • Has an idea for a project in fields including, but not limited to, visual arts, literature, performing arts, design, cultural heritage, urbanism, and cultural theory.
  • Is 18 or above.
  • Is a German national or has been based in Germany for the last three years.
  • Is fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
  • Is familiar with India and its general overview
  • Please provide the following documents: Application form
  • CV in PDF format (two pages maximum)
  • Portfolio (10 pages maximum)
  • Supporting letter from a university, professional or institution in the field of culture
  • Copy of the first page of your passport
  • Proof of full COVID-vaccination
Applications must be in English only. Applications in other languages cannot be considered.
Your application will go through two stages of assessment. First, your application will be reviewed technically to confirm that it was submitted on time, includes answers to all questions on the application form and has the mandatory attachments.

If it is compliant a jury, constituted by Alice Boner Institute, Goethe-Institut and an independent juror, will choose two residents in total.
  • Motivation
  • Professional relevance
  • Project
  • Sustainability
  • Your application will go through an assessment by the jury. This process will take 4-5 weeks.
  • You will receive the results of the assessment via email.
  • If your application is successful, we will conclude a participation agreement.
  • Between September and December, you will spend two months in Varanasi

Important Dates

  • Application Deadline: 1 June 2022
  • Application Evaluation: 30 June 2022
  • Announcement of Results: 1 July 2022
  • Residency: September - December 2022


All questions related to the Alice Boner International Residency Programme must be addressed to both the following emails: Harsha Vinay directorabiv@gmail.com and Farah Batool  farah.batool@goethe.de.

The subject line of the email must read ‘Alice Boner International Residency Programme.’