About Framer Framed
Framer Framed is a platform for contemporary art, visual culture, and critical theory & practice. Each year the organisation presents a variety of exhibitions alongside diverse cultural and educational programs at its main location in Amsterdam Oost, as well as its project space Werkplaats Molenwijk in Amsterdam Noord.
With the belief that critical and contextualised programming is best explored with an open door and low threshold, Framer Framed’s public programs are always free of charge and resources are made readily available to emerging and established local and transnational communities, artists, and curators to turn their own ideas into tangible realities.
Framer Framed regularly commissions and co-produces new artworks and publications, organises international projects, and houses a bookshop and open reading space.
History & Mission
Framer Framed began in 2009, at a time when many curators at cultural memory organisations were confronted with comparable questions around their work practice. Specialists from ethnological, cultural history, and contemporary art institutions alike came up against unwanted boundaries of their institutional frameworks, many of which were created in the 19th century and for a long time were seemingly untouchable. It was from this point that Framer Framed’s initial inquiry began: What is the role of museums and cultural institutions in a globalizing society?
Early contributors were – along with current Framer Framed directors Cas Bool and Josien Pieterse – Meta Knol, curator of the Centraal Museum at the time; George Petitjean, then curator of the Museum of Contemporary Aboriginal Art; Wim Manuhutu, who was director of Maluku Museum dedicated to the Moluccas; and Nancy Jouwe, director of PACE Papua Heritage Foundation. These members formed an editorial board, bringing a unique perspective to suggested exhibitions and critical debates. The participating organisations were invited to submit their upcoming exhibitions and running projects for critical public reading sessions (see the Framer Framed video archive for examples).
What started off as an independent initiative to challenge the prevailing discourse of the Dutch cultural sector, has rapidly evolved into the public platform that Framer Framed is today. After opening its physical doors in 2014 at its former location in the Tolhuistuin, Framer Framed continues to be regarded as an innovative force in the arts sector thanks to its inclusive and democratising approach. At its current location in the former Oostergasfabriek on Oranje-Vrijstaatkade, Framer Framed’s generous opening hours combined with its broad public programming contribute to the steady patronage of a diverse audience.
Since the 2018 opening of Werkplaats Molenwijk – a community space, artist residency, and research platform – Framer Framed is deepening its connection with its neighbourhoods while exploring the contemporary relationship of artists to communities. The development of skills has also become central; with a focus on introducing young people to local artists and international themes, Framer Framed offers various educational settings in collaboration with partners in primary, secondary, and higher education. For Framer Framed, community is tied with learning – and education means encouraging curiosity, creativity and critical independent thinking and analysis. Today, at the core of Framer Framed’s approach is the question: Whose story is it, who is speaking or represented (by whom)?
By introducing alternative stories and constructing different conceptions of history and contemporary positioning, Framer Framed specialises in making and providing space. By way of thinking together with the public and practitioners about the ‘framer’ and the ‘framed’, a form of ownership and cultural citizenship continues to emerge.
Open and accessible to all free of charge, Framer Framed’s exhibition, gathering, project, and residency spaces are high-quality, low-stakes meeting points where diverse communities come together to exchange reflections, questions, and artistic practices. Visitors are seen as co-creators and are given the time, support, and facilities to put their own musings to practice. This invitational approach opens avenues of shared ownership, allowing collaborators to engage in and with their own networks, niches, and subcultures.
Network & Partners
Institutions and organisations that have contributed to Framer Framed in the past – from museums to independent and grassroots collectives, universities and research institutions – include Sandberg Insitutuut, Reinwardt Academie, Rietveld Academie, Willem de Kooning Academie, Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde (KITLV), the Research Centre for Material Culture (RCMC), the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA), Goethe-Instituut Niederlande, Hackers & Designers, Institute for Network Cultures (INC), De Zaak Nu, Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra, Casa do Povo São Paolo, Gwangju Biennale Foundation, Picha Lubumbashi, Kunsthalle Mainz, Museum De Lakenhal, Centraal Museum, Tropenmuseum, Museum voor Volkenkunde Leiden, Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem, Van Abbemuseum, Afrika Museum, SCHUNK*, Kosmopolis Utrecht, Kosmopolis Rotterdam, AWAD – Atlantic World and the Dutch, Museum De Paviljoens, Imagine IC, Het Domein, Indisch Herinneringscentrum and many more.
The title Framer Framed is derived from the work by Trinh T. Minh-ha.
Framer Framed is supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (MinOCW), the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts (AfK), Stadsdeel Oost and VriendenLoterij Fonds and a member of De Zaak Nu, Moker and POI (Platform Ontwikkelinstellingen Amsterdam).
The organisation receives pro bono legal advice from De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek.
The website and visual identity of Framer Framed is designed by Van Lennep.