Om Netværket

Nordisk Netværk for Avantgardestudier er et nordisk forskningsnetværk støttet af Nordforsk 2004-2007. Nordisk Netværk for Avantgarde Studier vil styrke og koordinere mindre og spredte nationale forskningsmiljøer, bidrage til at fremme udveksling af viden om forskelle og ligheder mellem de nordiske lande og gøre nordisk avantgardeforskning internationalt synlig. Nordisk Netværk for Avantgardestudier afholder en årlig konference. Netværket danner også ramme for udarbejdelsen af De nordiske avantgarders kulturhistorie i 4 bind og et elektronisk arkiv for dokumenter fra de nordiske avantgarder. Det nordiske forskningsnetværk er en videreudvikling af det danske forskningsnetværk ”Avantgardernes genkomst og aktualitet” støttet af Det humanistiske Forskningsråd 2001-2004. Under forberedelse er et Europæisk Netværk for Avantgarde og Modernisme Studier, EAM, hvis første konference afholdes i Ghent, Belgien, maj 2008.

About the Network

The Nordic Network of Avant-Garde Studies is supported by Nordforsk 2004-2007. The Nordic Network of Avant-Garde Studies aims to support and coordinate small and dispersed national centres of research, help promote the exchange of knowledge about differences and similarities among the avant-garde currents and research in the Nordic countries, and make Nordic avant-garde research visible in a European and international context. The Nordic Network of Avant-Garde Studies has a yearly conference. Within the Network an editorial group is preparing a four-volume Cultural History of the Nordic Avant-Gardes and an electronic archive of documents from the Nordic avant-gardes. The Nordic network is an extension of the Danish research network ”The Return and Actuality of the Avant-Gardes” supported by the Danish Research Council 2001-2004. A European Network of Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies, EAM, is under preparation and will have its first conference in Ghent in May 2008.
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Dear Members of the Nordic Network for Avant-Garde Studies,

The main activity planned for 2008 was the launching of the European Network for Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies (EAM), which is an idea that has been developed within our network and which we have worked to establish for the last 2-3 years. Tania Ørum has been the chair of the European network since 2006, Per Bäckström has been chair of the membership committee since 2006, while Sascha Bru of Ghent University has put an enormous amount of work into organising the first conference in Ghent. The Nordic Network has co-funded the cnference in Ghent.

So it is a great pleasure to report that the first conference of the European Network for Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies 29-31 May 2008 at  Ghent University, Belgium was a great succes. The conference had more that 200 speakers in 7 parallel tracks and around 350 participants from more than 30 countries. Many people came from Eastern, Central , Northern and Southern Europe, as well as from different parts of the USA, and even from New Zealand and Australia. In spite of the number of scholars present, the atmosphere was happy and relaxed, and many people expressed their satisfaction with the conference and the fact that a European organisation dealing with the subject of avant-garde and modernism in Europe had finally been established. There were also several representatives of European universities who announced their wish to organise future conferences.

The conference in 2010 will be in Poznan, Poland. For 2012 we have offers from Kent University, UK; the University of Vienna, and the University of Athens. And for 2014 from Portugal as well. So the EAM has now become a permanent institution, which will hold bi-annual conferences and publish a bi-annual volume of European Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies at the publishing house de Gruyter. The Nordic Network will sponsor copies of the publication which will be offered to members.

The first conference focused on the relation between the avant-garde, modernism and Europe. The key-note speakers were:

- Charles Altieri  (professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley)

- Alain Badiou (philosopher, formerly chair of Philosophy at the École Normale Supérieure)

- Thierry de Duve (professor of modern and contemporary art and aesthetics at the University of Lille III)

- Astradur Eysteinsson  (professor of comparative literature at the University of Iceland, Reykjavik – and representative of the Nordic Network).

- Wolfgang Müller-Funk (cultural studies at the University of Vienna).

- William Marx (professor of comparative literature at the University of Orléans).

- Piotr Piotrowski (professor of modern art history at Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland).


Alain Badieu, unfortunately, was taken ill at the last minute.


As chair of the EAM and representative of the Nordic Network I gave the following address at the conference:


”Mesdames et messieurs

Meine Damen und Herren

Ladies and Gentlemen

I am very happy to see you all here to-day for the first conference of the EAM, the European Network for Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies

Je suis très heureuse de vous voir ici aujourd’hui pour la première conference du Rèseau européen de recherche sur l’avant-garde et le modernisme.

Ich bin sehr froh euch alle hier zu sehen für die erste Konferenz des Europäischen Netzwerk für Forschung zu Avantgarde und Moderne.

On m’a demandé de parler en trois langues en même temps. Mais puisque je n’ai qu’une seule bouche, le plupart sera en anglais. J’espère que vous pourriez quand même tous suivre.

Man hat mir erfordert auf drei Sprachen zu sprechen. Ich habe aber nur einen Mund, und es dauert zu lange alles dreimal zu sagen - deshalb werde ich meistens auf English sprechen. I hoffe daß Ihr trotzdem verstehen könnt.

This grand occasion has sprung from very modest roots: In 2001 I and two colleagues started a Danish Network for Avant-Garde Studies funded by the Danish Research Council (2001-2003). Almost from the start, this research network was joined by scholars from the other Nordic contries. In the meantime Dietrich Scheunemann had established his research project on the European avant-garde at the University of Edinburgh, and I was invited to their first European conference in Edinburgh in 2002, where among others I met the Dutch Dada-scholar Hubert van den Berg, who promptly came to a research seminar in Denmark and has since then been a member of the Danish Network for Avant-Garde Studies. In Edinburgh I also had the good luck to meet the Belgian scholar Sascha Bru and we discovered that we shared not only our Russian ancestors, but also an interest in the European avant-garde. Sascha Bru invited me and other Nordic speakers to a conference in Ghent. And when the Danish Network of Avant-Garde Studies became a Nordic Network of Avant-Garde Studies, funded by the Nordic Research Council (2004-2010), we invited Sascha to come to the Nordic conference in Stockholm.

It was at this conference in Stockholm in 2005 that we made the first plans to create a European Network for Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies. And since then we have been working towards this end.

We were aware that many similar projects and networks existed in various parts of Europe:

- There was a conference on Europe in France some years ago,  organised by Em. Rubio and his colleagues. There is a network on modernist cities connecting Strasbourg-Basel-Freiburg and other universitites. Various exhibitions, initiatives, and conferences in and on the Centre of Europe have made a welcome effort to reconstruct the lively interrelations of the Central European avant-garde and modernism, later obstructed by the second World War and the Iron Curtain. One very visible result of this was the great exhibition in Los Angeles and Berlin in 2002 on Central European Avant-Gardes 1910-1930 organised by Timothy Benson and Eva Forgacs and documented in the sourcebook Between Worlds (2002). And numerous conferences, seminars and research exchanges have been going on between Dutch, German, Nordic and Baltic scholars. Conferences on Dada have been held in England. There is also at least one ongoing research project on the little magazines which have been so important to both modernism and the avant-gardes, led by Andrew Thacker and Peter Brooker. The Carl Einstein scholars around Klaus Kiefer et al. have always had an eye open for European connections, etc. There was even a research project on modernism in another Danish university.

These are just a few examples of the many and varied research activities in the field of European Modernism and Avant-Garde Studies going on in many different countries in Europe. And when Sascha Bru and I went to the Modernist Studies Association’s conference in Long Beach last year in order to promote this years inaugural conference of the EAM, we were approached by both European and American scholars interested in joining.

We hope that all these activities will find a permanent forum in the EAM.

Nous ésperons que toutes les activités et tous les chercheurs déjà engagés dans le domaine de l’avantgarde et du modernisme trouveront une plateforme de rencontre et de discussion permanente à l’EAM.

Wir hoffen daß die vielen verschiedenen Forschungsaktiviteten im Bereich der Europäischen Avant-Garde und Modernismus ein permanentes  interdisziplinäres Forum im EAM finden werden.

This inaugaral conference of the EAM focuses on the European currents of modernism and the avant-garde. And it seems appropriate that an organisation dealing with this subject should have sprung, not from one central organising force, but from many decentrered activities.

This corresponds to the classic ways of organising modernist and avant-garde networks within the arts. These networks have often gathered in the metropoles of Europe, especially in the first half of the 20th century, but they have invariably had members from every corner of the continent (as well as other continents), and their journals, cooperation and events have often been pioneered from the outskirts of Europe.

Indeed, it can be seen as a characteristic of Europe itself that it is a continent of many voices, languages and opinions.

We hope that the EAM will unite all the manyfold activities, and that by joining all the decentrered initiatives together we will gain force and create an organisation that will have a long and useful life.

The inaugural conference of the EAM has come about thanks to the tireless work and creative energy of Sascha Bru. We owe a great debt of gratitude to the University of Ghent, which has generously let us have the conference here in this lovely city, and which has allowed Sacha Bru the time necessary for organising a huge and groundbreaking event like this, which will surely be remembered as the start of an important reaearch institution.

Many people have helped bring about this conference. But without Sascha Bru none of this would have happened.

I hope you will all join me in expressing our thanks to Sascha Bru and his crew of organisers and to the University of Ghent.

Veuillez exprimer avec moi notre gratitude à Sascha Bru et son équipe d’organisateurs et à l’Université de Gand.

Bitte lassen uns unsere Dank an Sascha Bru und seine Gruppe von Veranstalter und an Universität Ghent ausdrücken.”

For more detailed information about the conference in Ghent and future conferences, publications etc. see

I would like to take this opportunity to wish the members of the Nordic Network for Avant-Garde Studies a pleasant summer.


Tania Ørum