NUI Galway PhD Student Awarded Venice Biennale Fellowship

Ben Gwalchmai
Apr 28 2016 Posted: 09:19 IST

Ben Gwalchmai, a PhD student in Digital Arts and Humanities at NUI Galway, has been awarded a prestigious Venice Biennale Fellowship. The Fellowship, coordinated by The British Council, awards a sponsored grant of £1,600 to cover travel, accommodation and living costs.

Ben, who is originally from Wales, will spend one month in Venice as part of a group of eight individuals responsible for invigilating the British Pavilion each month and taking part in a dedicated research programme.

The 15th Venice Architecture Biennale will run from 28 May-27 November 2016, with a preview taking place on 25-27 May and offers an important opportunity to review and rethink important aspects of architecture. The Biennale is focussed on the resourcefulness and vitality in which architecture responds to the demands of civil society. 

Fellows will undertake site-specific research considering how architecture in Venice responds to periods of occupancy. Under a structured research programme, fellows will devise a research proposal in advance of their travel to Venice, and will be assisted by receiving feedback from British Pavilion exhibition contributors and industry experts.

Ben’s particular focus in ‘Reporting from the Front’ is in line with his PhD at NUI Galway. He will be looking at the historical changes in public space in Venice alongside charting which and how many private homes – in line with the Home Economics exhibition – have become public spaces. Ben said: “It’s an honour to be a British Council Venice Fellow and I look forward to making long-lasting, international connections.”

Dr Justin Tonra, Humanities Director of NUI Galway’s Digital Arts and Humanities PhD Programme, said: “Ben’s receipt of this prestigious British Council Fellowship is fitting reward for his track record of achievement and wide-ranging scholarly and artistic interests, and his research project in Venice closely relates to his PhD topic of utilising open public data to understand and reshape public spaces. The award is a great honour for Ben, and continues the Digital Arts and Humanities PhD Programme’s record of close collaboration with prominent cultural bodies and institutions.”

For further information on the Venice Biennale Fellowship visit For more information on the Digital Arts and Humanities PhD Programme at NUI Galway visit


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