The Foundation

The Sommerakademie im Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern (SAK) is a private institution founded by the Cantonal Bank of Berne Berner BEKB│BCBE (Berner Kantonalbank AG) in the year 2005. It is unaffiliated with any specific educational system and defines its raison d’ être as offering the opportunity to a group of international participants, artists, curators and writers, to experience the rare situation of sharing time and space together in order to concentrate on fundamental questions and ideas challenging their profession and to sketch viable and relevant practice. The SAK takes place each year in August during ten days in a kind of laboratory situation, and in the atmosphere of experimentation. 

The activities of the SAK are an integral part of the basic general concept of the Zentrum Paul Klee. The SAK represents the Cantonal Bank of Berne`s BEKB│BCBE (Berner Kantonalbank AG) commitment to training.

Artists, curators and critics under the age of 35 with a degree or an equivalent qualification are eligible to apply. About 150 Nominators from around the world, each of whom enjoys particular renown in their specialised field, Alumni, a selection of former Speakers and former Guest Curators can nominate one candidate every year. Independent applications are also highly welcome. The close connection of the applicant’s work to the yearly theme is a decisive criterion for the selection of participants. A jury then chooses twelve Fellows of all the candidates.

The Director of the Sommerakademie and the Board of Experts appoint a new Guest Curator every year to develop a theme, which is of great significance for each edition of the Sommerakademie. The Guest Curator selects then a number of Speakers and is present during the academy. 

The international Speakers enrich the academy programme with lectures and workshops, and participate in the public events such as lectures, guided tours and workshop discussions. The programme aims to make Berne a central attraction for international artistic and cultural life. The careful preparation during the year is vital to the ability to make new contacts and to remain at the heart of the contemporary arts scene. 

A publication and the website with the results and contributions to the yearly theme ensure the sustainability of the Sommerakademie.