Open Call: The NCF and Fresh Milk Emerging Directors Residency 2017

The National Cultural Foundation (NCF) and the Fresh Milk Art Platform are pleased to share an open call for the Emerging Directors Residency 2017. Launched for the first time last year, this exciting programme is a paid artist residency for early career theatre directors, which will provide them with an opportunity to conduct much needed research into Caribbean theatre heritage and to explore and create through theatre form and style.

One residency will be offered for one emerging Barbadian director, who will receive a stipend of $1,000.00 BBD. The residency will be based at the Fresh Milk studio in Walkers, St. George, and will run for a 50 hour period which the resident must complete over five weeks, between October 2nd – November 3rd, 2017. The deadline for applications is July 27, 2017.

The selected resident will be mentored over the course of the programme by a noted Caribbean Director and, at the close of the period, will present by way of an intimate, private showcase with their actors and specially invited theatre professionals, aspects of the work they have been exploring.

Rationale:

Residency programmes afford professionals time and space away from the demands of daily work life to carry out much needed professional development, with the emphasis on process rather than necessarily having the pressure of producing a finished body of work. Outside of traditional longer term training, a paid residency allows artists time for contemplative study and exploration. In the Barbadian context, there is much focus on the training of performers, however there are considerably fewer opportunities for those theatre artists with a special interest in directing to hone and develop their skills. Highly skilled, culturally aware and visionary directors are needed, as we move nationally to advance our cultural industries sector, and to enrich the quality of small and large scale staged events, whether drama, music, dance, or indeed multimedia events.

Greater awareness of Barbadian/Caribbean theatre form and style will serve to enhance the ideological and interpretive output of those up and coming directors on the local theatre scene, and equip them to create work that consciously and profoundly engages with Barbadian tradition. ‘Emerging Directors Residency’ offers an opportunity to design and apply staging concepts for ‘alternative spaces’, i.e. the “site-specific”, and otherwise environmental concept. It offers mentorship, access to archival material, and affords time for creativity.

Eligibility:

The ideal candidate should be a trained Barbadian theatre artist, who has directed between 1 and 4 plays.

Duration of Programme:

50 hours to be undertaken between October 2nd – November 3rd, 2017.

*Please note that your application must include a timeline mapping out your use of the set 50 hour period. While access to the Fresh Milk studio may be granted in addition to this timetable which may inform the work, it would be considered as work done outside of the parameters of the residency

Application process:

Prospective candidates can apply with the completed application form (which includes a bio/artist statement, project proposal and detailed timetable outlining the 50-hours of the residency, and can be downloaded here), full CV and portfolio, writing samples from your director’s notebook and 2-3 critical (newspaper, peer or academic) reviews of recent work to the National Cultural Foundation, Theatre Arts Office at the email address lisa-cumberbatch@ncf.bb before midnight on Thursday, July 27th, 2017. They will be interviewed by a panel comprising NCF and Fresh Milk officials.

The successful candidate for the residency will be offered a stipend of $1,000.00 BBD. The mentor will spend 10 hours in total with the resident over each 50 hour residency. The resident will have access to two actors for 15 hours to experiment and/or create work. At the end of the residency period, there will be a short, private showcase where the resident can share aspects of the work they have been contemplating with a small audience of invited theatre professionals.

Expectations:

In addition to the 50 hours spent at Fresh Milk, each resident will be required to keep a weekly blog of text and images documenting their thoughts and processes which will be shared on the Fresh Milk website. At the close of the residency, each resident will also be required to submit a report according to Fresh Milk and the NCF’s guidelines.

FRESH MILK XXI

The Fresh Milk Art Platform is pleased to invite you to FRESH MILK XXI, taking place on Wednesday, June 28, 2017 from 6:00pm – 8:30pm at Fresh Milk, Walkers Dairy, St. George. This event will feature our two international resident artists for the month of June, US-based interdisciplinary artist Nyugen Smith and Bahamian writer Letitia Pratt.

During his residency at Fresh Milk, Nyugen has been spending time with people who live and work in Barbados, walking the streets of Bridgetown and performing investigative actions on the grounds of Fresh Milk which include video and photo-based projects. Nyugen will engage visitors with a new performance which considers his research on sites charged with memory, synthesizing his experience and findings with his interests in African cosmology.

After this performance, Letitia will give a reading of some of her previous work and the new pieces which have developed during this residency. Letitia’s research and poems in Barbados have been investigating and questioning the ways in which misogyny manifests in the Bahamas and throughout Caribbean, exploring commonalities and differences through Caribbean history and folklore with emphasis on the tale of the ‘Hag Woman’.

The evening will close with an artist talk and Q&A session with Nyugen about both his work in Barbados and his wider practice.

This event is free and open to the public. For directions to Fresh Milk, visit the ‘About Page‘ of our website.

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About Nyugen Smith:

Nyugen Smith (Photo credit: Janice Marin)

Drawing heavily on his West Indian heritage, Nyugen Smith is committed to raising the consciousness of past and present political struggles through his practice which consists of sculpture, installation, video and performance. He is influenced by the conflation of African cultural practices and the residue of European colonial rule in the region. Responding to the legacy of this particular environment, Nyugen’s work considers imperialist practices of oppression, violence and ideological misnomers. While exposing audiences to concealed narratives that distort reality, he destabilizes constructed frameworks from which this conversation is often held.

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 About Letitia Pratt:

Letitia Pratt

Letitia Pratt recently obtained her Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature from the College of the Bahamas. An avid reader of fantastic fiction, most of her writing navigates the existence of black (feminine) bodies within that genre and draws heavily on stories within Bahamian folklore. Her themes often explore the function of art and literature within the Bahamas, and her most recent published work, ‘A Scene (of Two Lovers Contemplating Suicide)‘ discusses the concept of liminality within artwork, and how it’s the ability to occupy multiple spaces creates an active exchange of ideologies.

Letitia Pratt’s Residency – Second Blog Post

Bahamian writer Letitia Pratt shares her second blog post about her Fresh Milk residency. Continuing her research into Caribbean folklore, particularly the tale of the ‘Hag Woman’, Letitia is beginning to find a voice for the character she’s exploring, as well as drawing connections between folklore and trauma in the region – a thought fleshed out during a visit with acclaimed Barbadian author Karen Lord. Read more below:

This week went by as quickly as it came as I further explored my project. I found myself deep in search for the Hag Woman’s voice. The words were coming, yes, but trickling slowly. This character is taking her time forming herself, and I am letting her take all the time she needs! I spent most of my days at the studio, sketching her out in my mind. She forms like a cloud, and I reach for her, but she disappears between the cracks of my fingers. Needless to say, this project is taking quite a while to materialize.

As I continued working, I contemplated the effects of trauma on my protagonist. Last week I thought about the silencing of feminine experiences under the patriarchy and I thought I’d make it a goal this week to tap into the communal trauma that this fosters. The Hag Woman, while tapping into the powers of her femininity, is responding to this trauma.

These thoughts were inspired by my sit down with Karen Lord (who was gracious enough to do so and learn me some things) who offered an interesting perspective on folklore and trauma. Trauma inspires folklore, and while some draws from spiritual roots, they are responses of a community to explain a shared traumatic experience. What this conversation prompted me to think of is what trauma could inspire a story about a lady who strips her skin at night and terrorizes the town.

I am still developing this idea and by no means is this project complete. Currently, it is not only responding to the traumatic silencing women face because of the patriarchy, but it is also growing in the direction of responding to the specific type of misogyny that black women endure because of their own blackness. This is a community of people that experiences a particular type of misogynistic violence on the basis of their skin. Consequently, I want my protagonist to embrace the power of her skin: instead of “running away” from it, she uses it as a tool to absorb her power (sunlight) so that she can transform into a glorious ball of fire during the nighttime.

This project will take a little more time than I imagined to complete itself (I came here with a plan, I promise) but fortunately, I have the brilliant company of Katherine and Annalee to discuss these ideas with. Even more fortunate is that I have the solitude of the studio, where my thoughts have all the time in the world.

Open Call: The Fresh Milk ArtBoard

The Fresh Milk Art Platform, Barbados, shares a regional open call for Caribbean visual artists to submit digital pieces for consideration to be displayed on our Fresh Milk ArtBoard. In an effort to generate interest in work by contemporary artists and share it with the public, Fresh Milk uses the ArtBoard as a ‘public gallery’, as it is located by a busy road on the outskirts of the active dairy farm that houses our studio. The successful applicant will receive a fee of $1,000.00 BBD ($500 USD) for their work.

Requirements:

  • Artists must be citizens of the Caribbean
  • Artwork must be sent as a digital file (JPG, PNG, PDF, TIF or PSD)
  • Artwork must be very high resolution, and able to be printed clearly at the size 89” x 89”
  • The work, a statement about the proposed work (no more than 350 words) and a bio (no more than 250 words) should be sent to freshmilkbarbados@gmail.com. This can also be done via WeTransfer or Dropbox
  • Please keep in mind that the Fresh Milk logo and signage for the ArtBoard will be incorporated along the left side of the 89” x 89” design, as seen in previous Fresh Milk ArtBoard editions

The deadline for submission of works is July 21, 2017. The selected piece will be on display from August, 2017, which coincides both with Fresh Milk’s 6th Anniversary as well as the hosting of the regional festival CARIFESTA XIII in Barbados, and will be on display for a minimum of 6 months.

 

Letitia Pratt’s Residency – First Blog Post

Bahamian writer Letitia Pratt shares her first blog post about her Fresh Milk residency. Letitia speaks of feeling a particular, loaded spiritual energy in Barbados, which she is responding to in her work while also conducting research around Caribbean myths and folklore, finding that she is being influenced in unexpected ways. Read more below:

This Fresh Milk Residency that I was awarded is truly an invaluable opportunity, and I am immensely grateful to be here. When I received the acceptance letter, I knew its weight would be something that haunted me if I decided to let this residency slip through my fingers. So I prepared to make this trip, driven by the…feeling that this June, this residency is where I am supposed to be.

As I landed in Barbados late Sunday afternoon, I was immediately overwhelmed by the spiritual energy of this place. It was bright and rushed over me like rain water. I came here intending to write poems of a woman and her lover, but I am letting the piece run away with the aura of this island. I let it go freely, allowing the words to find themselves on their own, and soon, my protagonist began to show herself to me.

The poetic narrative that I am writing centers around a Hag Woman (or the Ole-Higue, the Soucouyant, the Loogaroo) that my grandmother told me stories of just to frighten me as a child. Prior to my arrival here, my research on this character focused primarily on what the legend meant to Bahamian women in particular. However, as she found her words, the character began to reflect the feminine resistance to the silencing that patriarchal religions (read: Christianity) have enforced on African women over centuries of colonization. I began researching the religious origins of her story and discovered that the Hag character is a woman who holds great spiritual power. It is appropriate, then, that I write of this woman in a place that is enveloped in great spiritual energy.

The misogyny reflected in the relationship between the woman and her lover, then, intensifies if one considers the religious (read: Christian) demonization of the feminine. The Hag Woman’s reputation reflects the effort of the patriarchy to proclaim that non-Christian feminine religious symbols and people (i.e. cats, witches) are inherently evil. Presently, I am still researching the religious role of the Hag character in African religion, and every so often, Katherine or Annalee would silently place a book on Caribbean myths and religions beside me as I am lost in thought about the Hag Woman and her words.

Katherine and Annalee have been so helpful and accommodating during my welcome here that I hardly realized that the week went by. I am thankful for their support and really admire the artistic community that they have created here at Fresh Milk. Hopefully, the wisdom that I gain here from them both, the other artists, and the spirits of this place will be reflected in the piece as I write.