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

Fresh Milk Welcomes Marianne Keating to the Platform

Fresh Milk is pleased to welcome Irish artist Marianne Keating to the platform between March 11th – April 18th, 2019.

Landlessness, 2 Channel Video Installation, StudioRCA, London 2017.

Residency Statement:

Harnessing post-colonial and archival theory to analyse the migration of the Irish diaspora to the Caribbean during Ireland’s colonial rule by Britain, my research focuses its attention on the complex histories of the movement of Irish indentured labourers from Ireland to the Caribbean.

My focus in Barbados addresses the subaltern ‘poor whites’ community on the East Coast of the island, who are believed to be direct descendants of indentured labourers from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales who arrived in the seventeenth century, although through creolisation their direct origins can no longer be determined. During my residency at Fresh Milk, I aim to visit and document regions related to this community in the villages of the parish of St John where the ‘poor whites’ still live today and other sites of importance including the “vanishing villages” of Irish Town and Below Cliff. The analyses of this material and sites are fundamental to my research and development of my practice-based output, which involves the gathering of oral histories through interviews, film footage, research and documentation.

Excavating the official government documents at the Irish, English, Jamaican and the Bajan National Archives, alongside on-site investigation of other remaining visual and material traces, and through new oral histories, I begin to reconstruct this history.  Accumulating these disregarded and overlooked traces of different histories, I seek to insert a series of previously muted or silent voices into the archive and to give them presence through my practice-based work as an artist-researcher.

Situating my practice within the historiographic turn in contemporary art discourse and in relation to the Archive, notably through the examination of unrecorded, private and disregarded histories, my multi-disciplinary approach to the research, the archival record and the archival image questions the legitimacy of the archive and falsification within the recorded image and text. My research involves the gathering of oral histories through interviews, film footage, analysis, documentation and re-documentation. Through my research and the study of archival theory, I wish to challenge the definitions and meanings of the archive itself. By recovering photographic and textual traces, which had been consigned to disappear within the archive, I question what the archive remembers and what it forgets; for whom and for what purpose. By investigating collective, social and individual memory through a series of video interviews, I accumulate accounts and memories of a particular time and consider how they have been affected by the passage of time. My engagement with archival and personal accounts and embodied memories positions my research as anti-monumental, counterpoising monumental official state histories, and developing strategies to address excluded narratives, enabling previously muted voices to inform a counter-narrative assembled through creative practice, exhibition and written accounts.

About Marianne Keating:

Marianne Keating graduated with an MA from the Royal College of Art, London, and a BA from Limerick School of Art and Design, Ireland. She has exhibited extensively including exhibitions in London, Paris, New York, Melbourne and Shanghai. She is currently preparing for upcoming solo shows for the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, Ireland and Rampa Gallery, Porto, Portugal. Recent group shows include New Contemporaries, South London Gallery and as part of the Liverpool Biennial; Arrivants: Art and Migration in the Anglophone Caribbean, Barbados Museum and Historical Society, Bridgetown, Barbados and Between Us And, Embassy Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland (2018). 

Deadline extended: 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.

The deadline for applications has been extended until October 18th, and the residency will take place between November 6th – December 8th. Read more below:

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 November 6th – December 8th, 2017. The deadline for applications is October 18th, 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 November 6th – December 8th, 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 Wednesday, October 18th, 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.

Nyugen Smith’s Residency – Final Blog Post

US-based interdisciplinary artist Nyugen Smith shares his final blog post about his recently completed residency at Fresh Milk. Nyugen’s last post takes the form of poetic musings, looking at experiences he had in Barbados and how they informed his views and his work. Further images and texts expanding on some of his performance pieces – including an intervention held at the Barbados Museum and Historical Society in collaboration with Barbadian artist Llanor Alleyne and a live performance done at FRESH MILK XXI – will follow. Read more here:

FRESH MILK XXI – Photo by Dondré Trotman

Day 26

Everyday –
Rising just after the sun
after four maybe 5 hours of rest,
my body follows mind into action
as I ask the day for all that’s good.

I am going home.
-soon.
it was about a month of
open receptors
toward the external
and internal.
what has happened
in the twenty-eight days?
what have I learned?
what have I given
shared
created
destroyed

in the process?

I remembered to rest
to eat well
to drink plenty water
to carry water

-each day-

the sun showered bodies
moving
in the outdoors.
some sought shade in bush
-in ways their DNA recalled.
i’m still thinking about them
side
by
sturdy-bodied
side.

body of man + body of woman

quiet they sat
on concrete curved
holding the walk way.

their faces leaned close
to the broad leaves
and more leaves
rose above their heights and blocked light.

they were cooled.
~as if by blue light~
they were cooled.

just across the bridge
they were
a little distance from the fairchild bus depot-
where a steady stream
of loading and unloading

travelers

jostled to the tune
of signature horns
and conductors who
shouted down
man woman child
to the chorus of
multiple destinations.

load ’em up
load ’em up.

the twin seats always had three
and the ledge behind
the passenger riding shotgun
usually sat two.
the conductor stood
hunched over perspiring heads
they inhaled (usually) him
sometimes her ~(only once I saw)~

collecting crumpled cash
handed over
like the act
was powered by contempt
or ambivalence
or coolness
like the bills had little value
no matter the color.

though the rush
of the journey
in and out of town
fueled my spirit and
grounded the work
made there and
created sparks for more to come,
i was ready to be home.

**my residency culminated with a new performance in the fresh milk studio that was informed by much of what i had learned and experienced during my time in barbados. i also created and intervention at the barbados museum and historical society in collaboration with bajan artist, llanor alleyne. images of both are being organized to be coupled with writing and will be uploaded to my website soon**

thank you to the fresh milk team for the wonderful experience and for the invaluable network and resources provided. i am eternally grateful!
-One Love

___________________

This residency is supported by the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund for the Performing and Visual Arts

Nyugen Smith’s Residency – Third Blog Post

US-based interdisciplinary artist Nyugen Smith shares his third blog post about his recently completed residency at Fresh Milk. Nyugen reflects on part of his time in Barbados and the sensitivity of some of the issues he is attempting to unpack through his work, as he begins to navigate the history of the island in conjunction with the contemporary realities and nuances of its complex culture. Read more below:

___________________________

Day 6

I pity them greatly but I must be mum,
For how could we do without sugar and rum?
-William Cowper

Every night is a time to reflect on the events of that day, yesterday, and the day before that.

Today (6/9/17) is one day short of a week that I have been here in this place where there weren’t many places for a runaway to hide. Flat land. Coral rock holding points of pressure always a reminder that one day, almost all of this, if not the highest point of this mass, will look upwards to refractions of light filtered by a mix of salt and fresh water. I see shells at my feet in places that provide an overview of flowering fields, marveling at the magic produced by the perfect length of day. There isn’t much soil here. So I’ve heard. I couldn’t help but wonder how one buries the dead. My mind ran through the file of flora and fauna my eyes have registered since landing. To think that their roots do not run deep. Or maybe they possess the strength and capacity to carve their way through the limestone floor because they must.

I wondered. Every time that I see banks of this almost rock that flank the roads I travel, I want to measure the depth of dirt that rests atop like frosting on sponge cake slices. I am curious. Six or seven inches of soil is all it takes for “white gold” to situate itself in this part of what Andrea Stuart referred to as a “European world”, to the south and west of England’s winter.

…continued on 7/6/17 post-residency…

“It’s Complicated”… is a phrase that became popular on social media platforms as a way to describe relationships between two individuals when either one or both parties dance between acknowledging the other as a romantic/committed partner and not doing so. This could be due to reasons that may or may not include external pressures, unresolved prior romantic/committed relationships, apprehension to absorb one another’s “baggage”, lingering questions regarding long-term effects on one’s social status, fear of personal sacrifices that are inevitiable for the relationship to work, and or unaddressed psychological trauma that hinders one or both parties from being able to commit to the “long-haul” together.

As a guest in Barbados, the home of 285,750 people, I quickly became aware of topics of conversation that if spoken of, would complicate the weather underground and perhaps prompt the removal of lavalier microphones with a muttering of “we’re done here…” This early awareness was not derived from my own assumptions or conclusion drawn from tangential musings, but directly spoken to me by Bajan citizens. There was no mistaking the message bottled in the words…

f-f-f-f-f-f-fear
sen-s-s-s-s-sitive
am-m-m-m-ne-e-e-e-sia
e-e-era-a-a-sure
den-i-i-i-ial
protective-v-v-ve
in-secur-r-r-r-re
sus-s-s-spicion

…these words are like the togetherness of flies on a pile of shit
bothered by strong breeze
and boots barely too close.

bothered for good reason.
if spoken (topics) they do a number of things:

they
carry a threat of a future removal of the flies’ feast

they
add pressure that spreads the feast thin over a wider area, making it easier for more to take part in the spoils

they
carry the scent across a distance simultaneously attracting more to buzz about in the mess and causes others to close off parts of themselves as to not absorb any

they
smear the pile taking with them a trail wherever they go. at least – a small sample ends up in the home of the hot stepper

Despite the words of caution and warnings, I, the guest, stepped in the pile.
I, the guest, was smearing, spreading, and stirring up the mess with the work I was doing.
There was one instance in particular where I was asked to stop.

To speak the name,
Barbados
is to spray the air
with a mist of sea salt and
the smell of green-
for bush and deep waters are never far.

To speak its name
is to swaddle the body with hospitality
and rock it with musical vibrations of the region.

To speak its name
is to draw from its wells of intellectual tradition.

But you cannot speak the name,
Barbados
without the bitter taste of
black death soaked
in the juice of Saccharum officinarum
lingering on lips
warmed by the Caribbean sun.

For sugarcane to have earned the moniker “white gold”, scientific means had to have been employed to develop and improve its quality, while maximizing its production. There were people at the helm of this scientific research. Parallel to this timeline that ensured the success and longevity of the sugarcane industry, existed a systematically constructed labor force comprised of enslaved Africans and their descendants. The success of the plantation system (slavery) in Barbados was a model for the colonies in North America. As sugarcane was and is selectively bred, enslaved Africans and their descendants born into slavery in Barbados were also bought and sold-their value determined by their physical attributes and skills. I am intrigued by the historical and contemporary societal relationships between the two and plan to investigate this and the sensitivity of these matters more in my practice.

Engaging in conversations about this, is not for the ill-prepared. Preparation is a must. Patience must be had, composure maintained and its important for all engaged parties to be present with a willingness to bridge gaps of understanding within “the complicated”. If not now… when?

____________________________

This residency is supported by the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund for the Performing and Visual Arts