Discover the eleven candidates selected for ‘A Fair New Idea?!’ about working internationally

(c) Francis Vanhee

With A Fair New Idea?! Flanders Arts Institute is looking for ideas that contribute to a strong, fair and sustainable arts field.
The second theme in the A Fair New Idea?! series of calls for proposals by Flanders Arts Institute was “working sustainably internationally”. With this second call, we were looking for people with ideas on how to improve certain aspects of international arts practices, and who were willing to work on new models or proposals as members of an international working group.

Shared interests

In response to this call we received more than 30 applications from around the world. Applications came from independent artists and curators, grassroots organisations, networks and collectives, as well as large and small institutions.

The range of interests expressed was broad, however two ‘clusters’ of shared topics of interest became clear:

  1. One such cluster is about finding a new balance between the need to work internationally in the arts field, and the need to care for the planet, people, and for deepened, stronger and more meaningful relations in the artistic ecosystem.
  2. A second cluster focused on efforts to mitigate the unequal distribution of opportunities and resources for working internationally between and within countries and regions.

The quality of the proposals sent in was very high. The jury for this call – Sachli Gholamalizad, Antony Hudek, Aurélie Nyirabikali Lierman, Charlotte Vandevyver, Elli Vassalou and Mathilde Villeneuve – did not set out to select “the best” candidates.

Rather, they worked as ‘matchmakers’, connecting people according to their interests, the budding ideas they expressed, and their openness to have these ideas further shaped and transformed by a working group.

In addition, the jury looked for balance: a mix of larger, smaller and individual applicants, geographic diversity, as well as complementarity in skills and expertise brought to the table. In the end, eleven contributions were selected. 

All applications – also those that did not make the selection – are public on our A Fair New Idea?-web platform. This way we want to make it easier for people with shared interests to find each other and connect. As with every call within A Fair New Idea?!, Flanders Arts Institute will also contact some of the non-selected applicants to see if there are other ways in which we can support them or give them more visibility.

And now?

The selected candidates met on 29 April to see how they would approach the elaboration of the two concrete themes, the ideas and the working groups. They will be guided throughout the process by facilitator Rana Yazaji. We will keep you posted on about the further course of the process.

The 11 selected candidates

Sarah De Ganck (ART HAPPENS), Ghent (Belgium)

ART HAPPENS – an international management agency for dance, theatre, performances and crossover projects -explores a new business model based on slowing down for human and ecological reasons, going deeper for artistic and social reasons, and ensuring that an artist is visible in a meaningful way in the international field. Check entry.

Xolani Mdawe, Pretoria (South-Africa)

Musicians Xolani Mdawe and Kuhlekonke Manxila explore a better balance between the ecological footprint in live music (travel, material and waste during concerts), the social aspects and educational aspects of live and the economic logic of digital sales via live music. Check entry.

Benjamin Verdonck (Toneelhuis), Antwerp (Belgium)

What can be learned from an exercise in becoming smaller, not having to be everywhere, even if it (again) can be done? All objections that Benjamin Verdonck faces along the way are part of the project. There is no one way (‘the future is a lot of small things’) and the exploration of praxis does not end in ‘this is how it should be’ but rather wants to explore, in dialogue with others and other practices. Bekijk bijdrage.

Kris Nelson (LIFT), London International Festival of Theatre (UK)

LIFT launched a pilot project CONCEPT TOURING COMMISSIONS , an online residency, cash commission and mentorship from April-June 2021. A cohort of artists will develop international projects with low or no travel. Alongside this, LIFT and the group are investigating the ethos around this type of creation including ideas around exchange/appropriation, South/North dynamics, right of mobility, authorship for commissioning and touring theatre and live art concepts. Check entry.

Yasen Vasilev (Radar Sofia / Drama Pact), Sofia (Bulgaria)

The local artist-run residency Radar – for playwrights, performance makers and artists at risk – aims long-term involvement and slow-pace production, and is looking into possibilities of redistribution of some of the public funding they receive from wealthier countries to artists coming from less fortunate places. Check entry.

Pieternel Vermoortel, Netwerk Aalst (Belgium) & Anna Manubens (MAINTENANT) (Spain)

MAINTENANT network – Netwerk Aalst (BE), Grazer Kunstverein (AT), ar/ge Kunst and B-A-U (IT) – sustains international collaboration by updating the institutional software in order to be response-able, able to host, show and handle content and users differently, in the form of concrete cases and prototyping. Check entry.

Abhishek Thapar, Amsterdam (Netherlands)

Abhishek Thapar (born in India) reflects on the right to travel which is dependent on visa processes and the passport one accidentally gets at birth, by a knowledge base of privilege, and by developing alternate perspectives, raptures, utopian/dystopian proposals for a more inclusive world. Check entry.

Alexia Alexandropoulou (TASAWAR Curatorial studios), Tunis (Tunesia)

TASAWAR is an emerging curatorial collective from different arts disciplines and countries (North Africa and Europe) sharing diverse types of knowledge, believes in the transformative force of international collectives in times of crisis. They provoke inventive ways of collaborating and seek to create something meaningful that can contribute to the MENA region’s art scene, but also internationally. In their common curatorial practice they embrace the logic of DIWO (do-it-with-others) and they try to avoid any kind of hierarchies, by promoting trust and understanding between their members. Check entry.

Loïc Marszalek, Brussels (Belgium)

Arts Manager Loïc Marszalek proposes to map and index creative co-working spaces at each main train junction over Europe on a website that artists could use when traveling by train from one place to another (imagine someone from Brussels, travelling to Thessaloniki and stopping to live and work for a few days in Graz and share an office with people travelling from Milan to Warsaw) which creates a better understanding of our territories, foster local economy while lowering the impact of plane travel. Check entry.

Alberto García del Castillo, Brussels (Belgium)

Observing the strongly dissimilar average and/or minimum income in different European regions, Alberto García del Castillo aims to interrogate how budgets of collaborative international arts projects in Europe are designed. How can projects take into consideration and aim to repair the differing revenue scales that international collaborators can access aside from the context of a collaboration? How can we mutually aid each other, not from a charitable mindset, but from the desire to participate in horizontal conversations and exchanges? Check entry.

Áine O’Brien (Beyond the Now), London (UK)

Seven international organisations explore in Beyond the now physical and digital platforms for international collaboration in Socially Engaged Practice, that re-imagine cross-border solidarity, creative exchange, inclusion and racial and social justice. Check entry.