The 2015 ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture was presented to Athens Biennale from Athens and Visual Culture Research Center from Kiev in Brussels on 31 March 2015.

Athens Biennale co-founders Poka-Yio & Xenia Kalpaktsoglou. Photo ©Spyros Staveris.

Athens Biennale co-founders Poka-Yio & Xenia Kalpaktsoglou. Photo ©Spyros Staveris.

The team of Visual Culture Research Center, Kiev. Photo ©Oleksandr Techynskyi

The team of Visual Culture Research Center, Kiev. Photo ©Oleksandr Techynskyi

From Europe’s most fragile borders, facing unforeseeable futures, Visual Culture Research Center and Athens Biennale courageously show us how culture can be a means of solidarity and common ground that create tangible alternatives to the economic and political conflicts of our time.
— Chris Dercon, Jury member, Director, Tate Modern

Athens Biennale has re-imagined the model of the biennale as a space for cultural debate and grassroots organising in contemporary Greece. It has reinvented the art biennale as a structure that enables new forms of solidarity between local and international cultural communities and wider civic engagement. The most recent biennale in 2013 was organised in the format of an Agora, which in ancient times referred to a gathering space that had overlapping social, business and political uses. The biennale took an innovative collective curatorial approach that breaks radically from a consumer-oriented model of exhibition-making. Faced with severe funding cuts, the Athens Biennale proves the power of self-organisation and building common ground through culture.

The Visual Culture Research Center was founded in the Ukraine capital of Kiev in 2008 as a platform for collaboration between academics, artists and activists. The centre is an interdisciplinary meeting ground for social activism and progressive artistic programming that is making an unprecedented contribution to the shaping of cultural production and debate in Kiev and across the Ukraine and the region. Led by a dynamic and engaged group, the centre succeeds in connecting diverse Ukrainian and international audiences to develop a more complex understanding of how art and critical cultural thinking can equip us with the skills of open-mindedness and a powerful imagination – skills that are so vital to progressive democratic society.

Their commitment to nurturing a vibrant and inclusive environment involves a broader public in cultural participation and underscores the pivotal role that culture plays in the democratic development of Europe’s communities.
— Katherine Watson, Director ECF

Athens Biennale and Visual Culture Research Center have been chosen for the 2015 ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture for their work building on the public sphere, creating sorely needed open space for artistic imagination. 

By choosing to honour these two laureates, ECF is sending a strong signal for the future of independent cultural initiatives in wider Europe that are showing us how transformative culture can be, even in the most challenging political and economic circumstances.

2015 Award Jury


Athens Biennale and Visual Culture Research Center will be presented with the 2015 ECF Princess Margriet Award on 31 March 2015 in Brussels.

An audience of local and international guests from Europe’s political, economic and cultural spheres are invited to attend the presentation and engage in the conversation around the relevance of the laureates’ contribution to Europe’s shared cultural space.

HRH Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands have the intention of attending the ceremony.

Previous Awards

Teodor Celakoski | Teatro Valle Occupato  

Yoel Gamzou | Lia & Dan Perjovschi

Charles Esche | John Akomfrah

Kutluğ Ataman | Šejla Kamerić

Borka Pavićević | Stefan Kaegi

Stuart Hall | Jerôme Bel & Pichet Klunchun

The ECF Library hosts a growing archive dedicated to the ECF Princess Margriet Awards for Culture, including yearly publications, interviews with past laureates, speeches, videos, audio recordings, guidelines for the award, press releases, media coverage, as well as the award guidelines.

Wietske Maas, Curator ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture.