Open Call: CONTESTED DESIRES

CONTESTED DESIRES is a transnational project exploring our shared and contested colonial heritage and its influence on contemporary culture.

Project Duration: 14th Feb 2020 – August 2021
Project Fee:  €4,339.98 (per diems, travel and accommodation are covered separately)
Artist Geographies: Caribbean based (Applicants must have proficiency in English)
Art form: Visual arts (including but not limited to: film, digital, sound art, installation)

From the Greeks, to the Romans, the Ottomans to the Venetians, from the seafaring nations of Northern and Western Europe embarking on crusades and trade missions, Europeans have exploited, imposed and foraged cultures and communities to build their Empires.

This legacy presents a complex shared cultural heritage, too often untold, unknown and contested.  A legacy where individuals, communities and nation states have constructed their identities through a mosaic of cultural choices and desires.

CONTESTED DESIRES is a transnational capacity building programme for artists and producers engaging with communities and heritage spaces. With a focus on exchange and learning, the programme will offer unique opportunities for artists and communities to explore our shared heritage through research, workshops, residencies and exhibitions.  Working in the UK, Portugal, Cyprus, Spain, and Barbados CONTESTED DESIRES will dig deep to explore, and reveal the links between our shared colonial history and our cultural identities today – from the diverse perspectives of those working across Europe and in the Caribbean.

At a time of increasing right wing populism, CONTESTED DESIRES aims to challenge the de-stabilising and divisive impact of political landscapes of Europe both on the continent and in places like the Caribbean. The response to the complexities, diversity and expansion of European communities, continues to be met with the power play of fear-mongering, discrimination and exclusion; where its borders become its protectors and its heritage is used as a tool of inclsuion or exclusion.

Through a new and dynamic partnership, CONTESTED DESIRES connects six innovative arts and cultural organisations across the global north and south. Led by D6: Culture in Transit (UK) they include La Bonne (Spain), LAC (Portugal), Xarkis (Cyprus) and Fresh Milk (Barbados). ECCOM (Italy), cultural experts in the field of interdisciplinary practice, will develop a unique capacity building and evaluation strand to the project, in association with the writer and researcher, François Matarasso.

CONTESTED DESIRES is supported by Creative Europe, and as a legacy of the European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018, uses the positive forces of co-operation and co-production to address the ‘authenticity’ and values of the heritage we share.

 

ARTIST BRIEF

CONTESTED DESIRES will engage nine exceptional artists (from the UK, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and the Caribbean) to participate in this ambitious and collaborative project from January 2020 until September 2021. This call is for 1 artist based in the Caribbean (artist can be from any Caribbean country but must be proficient in English).

(For our partners’ calls, please see: D6: Culture in Transit, UK; La Bonne, Spain; LAC, Portugal; and Xarkis, Cyprus)

Please note: CONTESTED DESIRES will also release a future call for a complimentary artist film and video programme, which will be open to artists beyond the geographies of the partners to submit existing works that connect to the themes of CONTESTED DESIRES.

Working closely with producers, cultural experts and communities across a variety of local contexts, the selected Caribbean Artist will have the opportunity to be part of a programme of interrelated activities across several partner countries including research, training, symposia and the production and presentation of new work in site-specific contexts and online.

The selected Caribbean artist will participate in the following activities:

  • X 1 month-long European-based residency in Spain or Portugal (to be decided by the partnership), concluding with an exhibition/ presentation of work in progress. This will be a joint residency alongside two other visiting artists from the partners’ countries.
  • X 3 capacity building workshops in Portugal, Spain and the UK;
  • X 1 digital training lab in the UK;
  • Online presentation including the participation in a digital lab (May 2021, UK);
  • X 1 group residency and final exhibition of work in site-specific settings as part of the Xarkis Festival (Polystipos, Cyprus) in 2021;
  • Evaluation (as directed).

 

TIMELINE of activities for the participating Caribbean artist

Each artist must be available to participate in and commit to all activities listed. The selected Caribbean artist will participate in one joint residency in Portugal and a Micro Residency in Barbados, and a final joint residency with all artists in Cyprus. Please identify at application stage if you are not able to participate in any of these activities.

January 2020 CONTESTED DESIRES Artists announced
February 2020 Capacity building workshop 1 hosted by LAC (Lagos, Portugal).

Theme: Cultural Genealogies

An exploration of the genealogies of cultural heritage and their value in contemporary culture – How do we identify and map these connections from the perspective of those working across Europe and in the Caribbean? Are they valued? Who owns this heritage? How is this impacting societal change and intercultural dialogue on both sides of the Atlantic?

February – March 2020 Joint residency 1 for three artists (including the Caribbean Artist), hosted by LAC (Lagos, Portugal).
March – April 2020 Joint iterative exhibition by three resident artists, hosted by LAC (Lagos, Portugal).
June 2020 Capacity building workshop 2 hosted by D6: Culture in Transit (North East England).

Theme: Statecraft

An exploration of the construct of the nation state the workshop will consider: How do we navigate statecraft? How do we tell our histories and stories that  represent inextricable connections globally? How and why do value systems change?

September 2020 Joint residency 2 for three artists, hosted by D6: Culture in Transit

(North East England).

November 2020 Capacity building workshop 3 hosted by La Bonne (Barcelona, Spain).

Theme: Gender equality in Cultural Heritage

An exploration of gender equality issues considering issues such as access, participation and representation of women in the heritage narratives; the role of women as artists, and women in the cultural labour market.

February 2021 Joint residency 3 for three artists, hosted by La Bonne (Barcelona, Spain
March – April 2021 Joint iterative exhibition by three resident artists, hosted by La Bonne (Barcelona, Spain).
March 2021 Micro residency for Caribbean artist ONLY hosted by Fresh Milk (Barbados).
May – June 2021 Joint iterative exhibition by three resident artists, hosted by D6: Culture in Transit (North East England)
May 2021 Digital training lab for all artists and producers, hosted by D6: Culture in Transit (North East England).
August 2021 Group residency for all artists and final exhibition of work in site-specific settings as part of the Xarkis Festival (Polystipos, Cyprus). And launch of all artists’ digital works online.

 

ARTIST FEE

The total fee for the work described in the brief is €4,339.98 for which the artist is expected to participate fully in the programme. In addition to the artist fee, CONTESTED DESIRES will cover travel, accommodation and a daily per diem/catering for subsistence for international travel. Payment will be made according to an agreed schedule and on receipt of invoices.

The selected Caribbean artist will be provided a contract and will be managed by Fresh Milk. All copyrights for the work produced will remain with the artist. 

Please note:

There is a limited and finite transportation budget for the shipping of artworks. Selected artists will be asked to consider the mobility of their work.

 

HOW TO APPLY

CONTESTED DESIRES will be developed in response to the context of each place. Therefore, we are not looking for artists to submit fixed ideas or resolved project proposals in their application.

To apply, please complete an application form (available to download here) and send to freshmilkbarbados@gmail.com. Your application should be a single PDF or Word Document no larger than 15MB and must include:

  • Contact details
  • An artist statement (250 words maximum)
  • An outline of how you would like to approach the themes of CONTESTED DESIRES (350 words maximum)
  • A brief CV (2 sides of A4 maximum)
  • Up to 3 examples of relevant previous projects that demonstrate the quality of your practice and relevance to the selection criteria (below). For each project, please submit up to 2 images (or a URL for video/sound work) and a maximum 150 word description

Application opens:  WEDNESDAY 16th OCTOBER 2019
Application closes:  MONDAY 18th NOVEMBER 2019, MIDNIGHT AST
Shortlisted applicants will be notified by: WEDNESDAY 27th NOVEMBER 2019
Selected applicants will be notified by: TUESDAY 10th DECEMBER 2019

All selection decisions are final.

 

ABOUT Fresh Milk

Mission:

Fresh Milk supports excellence in the visual arts through residencies and programmes that provide Caribbean artists with opportunities for development and foster a thriving art community

Vision:

To nurture, empower and connect Caribbean artists, raise regional awareness about contemporary arts and provide global opportunities for growth, excellence and success.

The idea for Fresh Milk developed over years of conversations around the need for artistic engagement among artists in Barbados, to strengthen regional and diasporic links and shape new relationships globally. The platform was established in 2011 as a social practice experiment to counter the nearly 100% attrition rate of BFA students at Barbados Community College, the only institution on the island offering a BFA programme.

The Fresh Milk studio is located on a working dairy farm; the name ‘Fresh Milk’ also references the idea of nurturing, as the platform is committed to the healthy growth of contemporary arts & culture in the region. By offering a safe space for people to innovate, gather, and create, Fresh Milk moves against the Caribbean’s traumatic history as a platform of excellence and diversity. Operating out of a former seventeenth-century sugar plantation, Fresh Milk aims to shift the kind of activity that happens in this historically loaded site by fostering an open, critical environment.

Fresh Milk spans creative disciplines, generations, and linguistic territories in the Caribbean by functioning as a “cultural lab,” a dynamic space for artists through local, regional, and international programming including: residencies, lectures, screenings, workshops, conferences, exhibitions, projects, etc. We aspire to be a sustainable organization contributing to a healthy cultural ecosystem.

 

SELECTION CRITERIA

Artists will be selected on the following criteria:

  • Response to the brief;
  • Quality of visual arts practice;
  • Experience/ approach of engaging innovatively with local communities through collaborative/ participatory methods;
  • Interest in the role of contemporary visual arts in heritage contexts, with particular reference to the themes of the programme.

We welcome applications from artists with experience of presenting work both within and outside traditional gallery settings, and who are able to navigate multi-partnered projects in an open and collaborative way.

English is the primary language across the CONTESTED DESIRES programme. However, artists must be able to demonstrate ways of communicating effectively with speakers of other languages as part of the development, production and presentation of CONTESTED DESIRES.

 

FURTHER INFORMATION

Please contact Annalee Davis, Founding Director or Katherine Kennedy, Communications & Operations Manager / freshmilkbarbados@gmail.com

Open Call: Artist Residency at Le Centre d’Art, Haiti

Fresh Milk is pleased to announce an exciting partnership with fellow arts organization Le Centre d’Art, Haiti, who have invited us to be part of a residency exchange programme between Haiti and the wider Caribbean to create opportunities for women arts practitioners, supported by UNESCO’s International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFDC).

This segment of the programme invites women artists from Barbados or its diaspora to apply for a fully funded, one month residency at Le Centre d’Art in Haiti from October 14th – November 14th, 2019. The deadline for submissions is August 16th, 2019.

A subsequent call for women, Haitian artists to attend a one month residency with us at Fresh Milk, Barbados will be released at a later date.

See the current, full open call below, or download the PDF guidelines and application form here.

About Le Centre d’Art

Le Centre d’Art in Port-au-Prince is an institution that works towards promoting artistic creations by Haitian practitioners on the basis of preserved heritage values. Since its creation in 1944, this atypical space with multiple missions has been at the heart of societal and artistic evolutions. As the major protagonist in the reconfiguration of the fine arts realm in Haiti, Le  Centre d’Art has been paving the way for several schools and artistic movements.

Over the years, well-known Haitian artists have been revealed internationally, including Philomé Obin, Hector Hyppolite, George Liautaud, Antonio Joseph, Rigaud Benoit, Robert St Brice, Jasmin Joseph, and Préfète Duffaut.

Le Centre d’Art was the starting point for a wealth of visual creativity–upholding a considerable legacy that is today part of private and public collections, in Haiti and abroad. The establishment is apolitical, non-profit, and has gained public recognition since 1947. The governance is composed of a board of directors, an international scientific council and an executive team

Despite the destruction of the infrastructure during the earthquake of 2010, Le Centre d’Art managed to save more than 5000 works and 3000 archive files, which are today preserved and valued. Since the reopening in 2014, Le Centre d’Art has once again become an essential part of Haitian culture.

Its mission is to support artists and their creations, and to conserve and disseminate Haitian visual arts. It is a resource space for artists, art students, art lovers, collectors and researchers alike.

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Residencies Scope

Le Centre d’Art is setting up a synergy project for artistic creation and artistic analysis in the Caribbean, thanks in particular to UNESCO’s International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFDC). Titled Implementation of a Network for the Creation and Dissemination of Caribbean Art, the project aims to create a link between Haiti and Caribbean places of creation, and to promote the practices of Caribbean artists, especially women, to strengthen the Haitian cultural sector. For two years, artistic residencies will be set up, and will end with an exhibition and a widely distributed publication.

Theme

“The ability of humans to participate intelligently in the evolution of their own system is dependent on their ability to perceive the whole” – Immanuel Wallerstein

Toussaint L’Ouverture, Jean Price Mars, Aimé Césaire, Marcus Garvey, Frantz Fanon, Derek Walcott – long is the list of illustrious men who have shaped the Caribbean as we know it today. What about Caribbean women? University theses on the role of women are rising but they are not written for the general public. Art has the power to make accessible fundamental values and principles, which are too often convoluted. This project aims at highlighting the role of women in the construction of the Caribbean.

About the Residency

For this segment of the residency programme, Le Centre d’Art will host one Barbadian artist for one month in Haiti from October 14th to November 14th, 2019.

Le Centre d’Art will fully bear the costs of residency. The artist will be provided with a workspace, tools and supplies and housing. In addition, the artist will receive per diem to cover all food and transportation expenses throughout the residency. The ticket and the visa will also be covered by Le Centre d’Art.

Moreover, the team of Le Centre d’Art will facilitate access to public and private art collections and cultural activities. The artist will visit artists’ studios, and will give a class on a specific art technique at Le Centre d‘Art.

Le Centre d’Art is located in the heart of the Haitian capital, Port-auPrince. The artist will be housed in a neighbourhood close to Le Centre d’Art and will be able to work within the institution.

Terms of Application

Residency in Haiti, October 14th–November 14th, 2019

This call for applications to attend a residency at Le Centre d’Art in Haiti is now opened to any woman artist from Barbados or the diaspora.

The call concerns exclusively the field of visual arts (any medium). The artist may practice multiple forms of artistic production.

The submitted file must include the following documents in a single PDF document:

• The completed application form (download the document here);
• The Artist’s Curriculum Vitae, including elements describing the artist’s training, her professional career, her experiences, the history of her public exhibitions and shows in galleries (2 pages maximum);
• The residency project related to the theme (2 pages maximum)
• A selection of visuals of the artist’s works (10 works visuals maximum). The visuals must be in color and captioned to legibly specify the dimensions, materials and technique used. For videographers, a page with links to videos accompanied by a brief summary for each one.

Electronic files and any other request should be sent by email to contact@lecentredart.org and Cc judithmichel@lecentredart.org before August 16th, 2019 midnight (GMT).

Selection Committee

The decision is to be made by a selection committee composed of a member of the Board of Le Centre d’Art, a member of the executive team and a representative of Fresh Milk.

Criteria

Special attention to be paid to:

• mastery of the techniques used and the quality of execution
• the aesthetic and technical interest of the artist’s practice
• the coherence of the artist’s proposal with the theme as well as the depth of the readings and interpretations of concepts
• the originality of the works

FRESH MILK XXII Photographs

Fresh Milk is pleased to share images from FRESH MILK XXII: Residency Readings, hosted on Friday, July 5th, 2019.

Writers-in-residence – inaugural recipient of the Colleen Lewis Research/Writing Residency, Barbadian artist Kia Redman; participant in our international residency programme, Bahamian writer Ethan Knowles; and the 2019 ‘My Time’ Local Resident, Barbadian writer Ark Ramsay – each shared the outcomes of their residencies, giving readings of their work and engaging with the audience about their experiences over the last few weeks.

All photos by Dondré Trotman.

Ark Ramsay’s Fresh Milk Residency – Week 4 Blog Post

Ark Ramsay shares a blog post about their fourth and final week as writer-in-residence at Fresh Milk.  With the official residency coming to an end, the question that is asked both internally and externally looms: what is the value of this experience? Ark thinks about the tangible and intangible responses to this question, recognising that residencies are in many ways immeasurable. They allow for the sowing of seeds that bear fruit in multiple, sometimes unforseeable ways over prolonged periods of time, and give creators the too-often denied permission to deeply and unapologetically invest in their practice. Read more below:

Photo by Dondré Trotman

I am terrible at goodbyes.

I preempt the pain of separation by inducing small shocks–inoculating myself against the final disruption–so that what arrives is already marrow-sucked.

I grow nostalgic for things that have not yet ended. It’s a feeling similar to déjà vu, in that I become a passenger in my body–aware of the artifice–trying to hold onto things–knowing them to be transient. I think, I will miss this; outcome being, I do miss this.

I have never walked on stilts, but my mind is well-trained at balancing conflicting mechanisms. It tight-ropes between trying to soften the now, and trying to seal it off in amber.

This was my last week here at Fresh Milk. I did not want it to be subsumed by my familiar patterns.

I slowed down at this farm.

I spent hours sitting amongst the quiet caucus of trees that I had no formal names for.

I contemplated, watched myself in my contemplation, and eventually (growing tired of the intruding me) learned to trust in silence again. There is a deep and penetrating silence (even with the lowing of cows, and the sometimes-intrusion of mahogany pods on a corrugated iron roof) which I had missed entirely while living in Shanghai. It is the kind of silence that May Sarton claims (writing in “Journal of a Solitude”), will force one to confront the starved face at the window–starved cat, starved person–simply put: in the silence are the questions you are running from.

I wanted so badly to push forward this week. To write ceaselessly. To unearth new. To shore up old. But there was a raggedness–the bucket of myself was overflowing with Bathsheba swampies–toppling each other in their quest to be rid of me. Uninspired, tired, I wrote. I wrote what was functional and necessary. I wrote because the ‘job’ of writing must persist even if the muses are late–or never arrive at all. Because you have to go through many roughnesses to reach the roughness that matters–the thousand words that delivers up one usable paragraph. Writing too carefully, I have learnt (am learning), feeds only the overbearing perfectionist–not the nascent manuscript.

And when that was done I retreated fully to silence. I stayed at the farm until the sun set, and the unresolved work of cows was put to bed. I stayed until the St. George noise had backgrounded to a hum, and even the mahogany pods were reticent to fall. I stayed until I could not even remember what it was like to sit in my apartment in Shanghai and hear the forever-din of city life. This resolved the raggedness.

Another form of quiet came to us this week in little Roo. A three-legged rescue puppy with a penchant for nuzzling into the softest parts of someone, and sleeping.

He took up the entire day–not in his need for me–but in my curative need for him. I was reminded of a Joy Williams quote, from one of her strange short stories, “Shepherd”: many things that human words have harmed are restored again by the silence of animals.

That ‘harm’ is always soiled up in our attempts to collate worth, value, the immediate return on investment of all things. For a writer this equates to: page count, characters built, scenarios polished, contacts made, submissions finalized.

What is the payout on a month in the bush?

Why should an organization be structured to support (what sometimes looks), like an artist’s retreat (read: vacation)?

What. Is. The. Value.

I can only recount my own process. What I, in my ruminations, consider to be returns.

What a residency does (I have found out), is provide this buffer against the anxiety of production. It cuts into the noise of ‘value’, and demands that one return to the font of all things–tend the garden–not force (an unforcible) germination process. I have a friend who talks about her work by saying: it’s still cooking. And I imagine a fragrant Caribbean one-pot, full of plantains, beans and everything else in the fridge–but it’s not ready. It needs time. The insights into my work, discovered here, may take two years to prove themselves useful. A story I began writing when I was nineteen needed the addition of the Bardo Thodol (Tibetan Book of the Dead) to reach full coherency–something I only came to see when I was listening to an audio version of that text at four a.m. in Shanghai. What is given now cannot always be used now. But all things are banked, and returned to.

Without time, nothing is given.

Without a buffer against the anxiety of production. The treadmill of value. Nothing valuable is made.

At the risk of overpowering this blog post with quotations, indulge me one last time:

Yet, how do you relax without the safety net of organizations and people who understand that the process of art runs contra to the process of production (as in product; as in consumer)?

What I want to do in these final days is be an active participant in the unfolding. I do not want to sorrow an ending that has not yet ended (though this is inevitable for me). I do not want to contest the value of a thing that I know to have imbued my work with indelible value. I want simply to be here. In the silence. In the nurturing.

The thing about this writing life that I am coming to understand, is that what it takes from you–it also rewards you with.

In time.

Thank you, and goodnight

Ethan Knowles’ Fresh Milk Residency – Week 4 Blog Post

Bahamian writer Ethan Knowles shares his final blog post about his Fresh Milk residency. Written a week after his return to the Bahamas, Ethan looks back on his month in Barbados, particularly the building crescendo of his last few days which culminated in the event FRESH MILK XXII: Residency Readings on his last night. A visit to the East Coast was the catalyst he needed to solidify his ideas for the short story he presented at the event, adding a twist to the interpretations and expectations of the frequently asked, loaded question islanders get – what is it like to live here? Read more below:

East Coast antics

It’s been a week since I left Barbados. Since I’ve sat under a zinc roof, surrounded by good souls and the slow billowing serenade of idle cows.  It’s been a week since four weeks of reading, writing and fish cake crawling. It’s been a week, and what a few weeks it’s been.

Week four came right after the Barbados Pride parade, an endlessly inspiring event that brought water to my eyes and liquified my thighs. I walked and wined and smiled and sung and all the while felt welcomed in space I had only known a few weeks. What struck me especially about the parade (my first of the kind) was, frankly, how well it all worked out. It brought together people from separate walks on the same walk: a walk through Bridgetown meant to bring together what, for so long in our region, has not been allowed to be.

Love in all its forms filtered through the streets of Barbados and for making it happen leading organizer RoAnn Mohammed of Equals Barbados must be applauded.

In the days that followed, the whole cohort got to work preparing for FRESH MILK XXII: Residency Readings. Kia, Ark and I gathered our wits and began crafting a range of stories to read and perform on what would be my last night on the island. All the while I began to wonder. Who would my story follow? What would happen? And how would it all intersect with my month of study? These questions hovered around my head like hummingbirds as I went through the week in search of the right words and who would say them.

In the meantime, the whole Fresh Milk team had the opportunity to tour the wonderful work-in-progress multi-use creative ecosystem that is Union Collaborative, an ongoing project spearheaded by designer Israel Mapp. The soon-to-be urban hub for arts and design sat two stories high on a city block in Bridgetown, and hidden away at its core was a beautiful sunbaked courtyard. After moving around its eccentric rooms, we made our way over to Norman Centre to chat with Kraig Yearwood about his forthcoming exhibition “Retro-Future Landscapes” and eventually share a vegan meal with a side of mafia stories.

East Coast antics

Later in the week I took a trip to the east coast.

It felt like the edge of the world. Long sweeping breaks of surf faded away at the foot of steep slopes and a haze like held breath hung around the edges. It was mythic, haunting even.

It was just what I needed.

And with that I began to write My First Vacation, a story which draws from Isaac Babel’s My First Fee but reads unmistakably Caribbean. It deals with topics of class, grief and space on a small island. There are more than a few touches of humor written into it, but they slip and slide between deeply somber and even morbid moments. In writing it I was thinking a lot about the question of “What’s it like to live here?”– a question I get fairly often at home in New Providence. What is it like to live on a small island? Does the here of the visitor translate to the here of the local? And, if there is a disconnect, who is allowed to cross that divide? Is the question a rhetorical one? Does it beg for an answer, or require a confirmation? What might it miss?

Writing the story was for me an attempt to think through, if not answer, these questions. I feel we tend to believe that you think and then you write. That you have this thing you want to express and that all you need to do is find the words that fit. For me, it was quite a different experience altogether. I didn’t know what I thought. I had no answers. But I did want to make my way toward finding them, to stumble upon something. And so, I set about writing. And that’s how I found my way.

Many thanks to Annalee, Katherine, Ark, and Kia for all the love and support they’ve shown me since I arrived at Grantley Adams International Airport.

Fresh Milk Family. Photo by Dondré Trotman