Photography Course
November 23-25, 2017, Venice, Italy
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About the Photography Workshop
NOVEMBER 23-25, 2017
Palazzo Rossini, 4013, Campo Manin, Venice, Italy
This new and progressive course addresses the gap in the field of photography and image training in Venice, while offering students the opportunity to engage in dialogues and interactions with the sparkling environment of Venice and the ever evolving landscape of the Biennale. In this exciting cultural setting, we bring contemporary photography to the conversation.

We provide a program of lectures and workshops that combine theoretical and practical elements to stimulate creativity and deepen understanding of presented work, all while approaching exhibition themes from specific professional perspectives. Our lectures and workshops are designed to be highly informative and comfortably informal.

In this course you will learn:
- Why the photographers presented at the Biennale gained worldwide recognition?
- What does it take to bring your work to their level?
- What professional tips can we learn from their stories?
- How to create relevant work that will interest curators?
- How to pitch your work and get noticed?

Portfolio review: Our accomplished instructors will review your portfolio and provide you with valuable feedback on further development of your project. Whether it is a photographic body of work or curatorial project, consultation on the artist statement, critique of visual and conceptual components, designing your elevator pitch, or a photo book creation from layout to publishing, our portfolio review provides students with invaluable insight and accelerated direction.

Who this class is for: This course is carefully designed for: professionals, photography lovers looking to gain conceptual knowledge and advanced understanding of the medium, artists and art teachers wishing to polish their practice through a critical dialogue with colleagues, and life-long learners who want to find inspiration in one of the world's most exciting art cities. No prior knowledge of studio photography or the history of photography is required.

Created by: European Cultural Academy and Urbanautica Institute
Schedule of Workshop Program
November 23 - 25
Thursday, November 23
09:30 -10:00 Welcome breakfast and introduction
10:00 -11:00 Lecture by Steve Bisson: "Photography: as you are"
11:00 -11:30 Coffee break
11:30 -12:30 Students round table: the nature of photography
12:30 - 13:00 Introduction to Field Trip 1
13:00 -13:30 Coffee break
13:30 -14:30 Portfolio Review. Participants should bring complete or on-going bodies of work which reflect their current artistic research. Portfolios can be presented in print format or digitally.
14:30 -17:00 Field Trip 1: Fondazione Prada
Fondazione Prada: 'The Boat is Leaking, The Captain Lied' (Curators: Udo Kittelmann)
""The Boat is Leaking. The Captain Lied." is a transmedia exhibition project, the result of an ongoing, in-depth exchange between writer and filmmaker Alexander Kluge, artist Thomas Demand, stage and costume designer Anna Viebrock and curator Udo Kittelmann. The exhibition unfolds on three storeys of the 18th century palazzo – the ground floor and the two main ones – and include photographic and film works, as well as spatial settings and loans from private and public collections....

... This visually powerful, multi-layered environment bestows expression and meaning on the everyday and on the worlds of yesterday and today, between apparent normality and catastrophe, in a society divided between lust for life and loss of trust, extreme distress and never-ending hope..."
Friday, November 24
10:00 -11:00 Students round table: exhibiting photography
11:00 -11:30 Coffee break
11:30 -12:00 Introduction to Field Trip 2. Lecture by Polina Shubkina Kharkiv School of Photography, Photography of Perestroyka
12:00 -13:00 Coffee break
13:00 -14:00 Portfolio Review (optional)
14:00 -17:00 Field Trip 2: Ukranian Pavillion, Venice Biennale
"Boris Mikhailov was born in 1938, the same year television broadcasting began in the USSR. He devoted himself to photography around 1967, when his signature superimposition works emerged at the same time color television began broadcasting in Soviet Ukraine. In today's world increasingly populated by 'TV cord cutters', television as cultural analysis still courses through Mikhailov's veins." ― Lilia Kudelia, Assistant Curator at Dallas Contemporary

Saturday, November 25
10:00 -13:00 Guided walkscape at Biennale Arsenale with focus on a group of pre-selected artists
13:00 -13:30 Coffee break
13:30 - 14:30 Visit to Belgian Pavillion - Dirk Braekman show
16:00 -18:00 Students round table: feedback session. We offer the participants to view photography as an invitation to have a conversation. Each student will share a slide presentation of their work with the group and course moderators, followed by a led discussion and group critique. We provide an opportunity to discuss your work in a friendly professional environment, and to broaden your experience through the engagement with other cultures, ideas, and arguments.
Belgian Pavillon (Dirk Braekman Show)
Flemish Minister Sven Gatz has commissioned Dirk Braeckman to represent Belgium at the 57th international art exhibition La Biennale di Venezia. For his solo exhibition in the Belgian pavilion, Dirk Braeckman will present exclusively new works. In his enigmatic photographs, Dirk Braeckman (1958) creates a closed, isolated world which combines tactility and texture, distance and intimacy. His monumental works tell us nothing; yet they suggest entire stories. Braeckman reflects on the photographic image and challenges the illusions of the medium. In his creative process, the artist experiments with textures and materials.
Conceived by the two leading European institutions — European Cultural Academy and Urbanautica Institution— this interdisciplinary project is comprised of three thematic sessions including lectures, field trips, and portfolio reviews.
European Cultural Academy
European Cultural Academy is an educational initiative of the European Cultural Centre in Venice. Founded in 2002, ECC offers 15 years of experience in art, architecture and photography:
4 exhibition palaces in Venice, Italy
250,000+ annual visitors
200 creative participants from 38 countries annually
11 National Pavilions and official VeniceBiennale exhibitions
65,000+ Friends of the Foundation
24 universities as participants and partners
Urbanautica Institute
With 10 years experience Urbanautica is a research institute and publisher working mainly in the field of photography and visual arts.
Its team collaborates worldwide with leading cultural organizations as much as with artists and image makers on studies, exhibitions, books, and educational activities.

Urbanautica Institute is also famous for its Journal and for supporting local community-based projects.
Prof.Steve Bisson
Founder of Urbanautica Institute
Steve Bisson is an Italo-Belgian art educator and curator, and is the founder of Urbanautica Institute. In 2016 he was invited to curate a photography exhibition for the Italian Pavilion of the Architecture Biennale in Venice.
His vast international experience includes exhibitions, festivals direction, jurying of various awards and competitions, and the writing of essays and reviews for books and magazines.
Currently a faculty member for the MA/MFA in Photography and Image-Making at Paris College of Art, he has collaborated with several cultural institutions and universities: FotoDepartment (Russia), FAAP - Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado (Brazil), Centro Universitário Belas Artes (Brazil),, Fondazione Benetton Studi e Ricerche (Italy), IUAV - Istituto Universitario Architettura Venezia (Italy), IED - European Design Institute (Italy), Domus Academy (Italy), Università Ca' Foscari (Italy), etc. Bisson is the Chief Operating Officer of Filmessay, a production company of festivals about films on art and architecture.
Polina Shubkina
Photographer and editor of the Urbanautica magazine
Polina Shubkina (MFA Photography, SCAD) is a Russian-Romanian photographer and editor of the Urbanautica magazine. Shubkina focuses on interviewing documentary and fine art photographers, art educators, scientists, and philosophers. Between 2011 and 2017 Shubkina showcased her work in solo and group exhibitions in the USA, Hong Kong, France, Romania, and Russia. During the past seven years of her artistic research, Shubkina been dealing with the visual exploration of psychological states and associations ("Insomnia," "Color Studies," "Delirium Tremens") and making various attempts to clarify the "mystery of Russian soul" for the sake of building a missing self-identity.
Being born in the USSR during "Perestroika," Shubkina was growing up in the uncertainty of what it means to be Russian. This concept initiated her to create a fictional documentary series "Russian Dream," documentary "HK Top Models," it sidetracked into the "Vietnam 1973" project, and finally, lead to the current documentary research on the fifth wave of Russian immigration.
What does my course fee include?
The course fee includes the following:

  • Classes and tuition
  • Study files / materials
  • Tickets to all museums and the Venice Biennale venues during the program
  • European Cultural Centre catalogue 2017
  • Coffee breaks and lunches
  • Goodie bag with a map of Venice, notebook and pen
  • Personalised graduation certificate
Will I receive a graduation certificate?
Yes, students will be awarded a European Cultural Academy/Urbanautica Certificate of course completion.
N.B. ECA is a non-credit, non-degree professional program. University students can receive credits if their university has a partnership with ECA.
What is the refund policy?
The full tuition fee will be refunded in the event that the course is cancelled no later than one week before the start date.
What should I bring with me?
You will receive all the necessary materials for the course. If you would like us to review your portfolio or give feedback on your projects, please bring the necessary print or digital materials with you.
Accommodation is not included. Please refer to our General FAQ for more information about the hotels, hostels and rentals. We recommend to stay close to the Rialto bridge area.
How can I pay for the course?
You can pay by Paypal or bank transfer. Contact us at for the payment details. You can also pay cash at the beginning of the course. You will always receive an invoice from us.
Advance your knowledge of photography & your role within it:
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