Winners of the 2013 Catalyst Award

Photo by Máté Nyusztay (1)-2
Photo by Máté Nyusztay

On 9 February 2014 the Catalyst Award winners in two categories were announced in the presence of about two hundred participants at the Trafó House of Contemporary Arts in Budapest: Gallery8 Roma Contemporary Art Space was awarded in the Motor Category, while, in the Art Category, The Missing Classmate was chosen as the best socially engaged project. The Award was founded by to honour contemporary art projects, which have a certain cultural impact.

Gallery8 Roma Contemporary Art Space is located on Mátyás Square, in the heart of Budapest’s 8th District, the dominantly Roma-inhabited area of the capital. Their gallery is an intercultural space in the true sense of the word, where experimentations, creativity, collaboration, and exchange of ideas between the Roma and the non-Roma can take place, resulting in new artworks and solutions in the spirit of a peaceful future co-existence.

The Missing Classmate Social Theatre Program was established in 2012 by sociologists (Anblokk, Parforum), drama teachers (Káva), and amateur Roma actors, and has thus far been presented on 16 occasions to high school classes. This theatre is not really a theatre. Rather, it is an artistic intervention that utilizes the forms of sociological research and participatory theatre towards common thinking, and seeks to create a shared space of alternative thinking. The program focuses on a single theme: the incongruities of the Hungarian educational system and its mechanisms of selection that sustain and reinforce social inequalities.

With the Catalyst Award 2013, announced this year for the fourth time, endeavor to look at what tools and possibilities are available for art to intervene into the social fabric. The course towards selecting the awardee is a self-reflective analysis, in which the participants examine these very possibilities of art.

The Catalyst Award project this year encompassed a more open process than in the previous years, as the audience also played a crucial role. Within an open forum, everyone was invited to debate and delineate a set of criteria, with which the awardees could be selected. The award ceremony was different from previous years, as the jury decided live on the spot, which was preceded by the nominees’ introduction and an open debate.

Katalizátor díj átadás, Trafó

Photo by Zsuzsanna Kozma

The award ceremony was concluded with a performance by German artists Stephan Dillemuth, Maxi Baumgartner, Mirja Reuter, and Florian Gass, which had been prepared within the framework, and with the participants of, the Free School for Art Theory and Practice workshop, held at the open office.

Further photos of the event can be seen at’s Facebook page.