Sustainability is in the AiR (Athens, Madrid, Prague) Artist-in-Residence Programme
1. SAiR project
The project Sustainability is in the AiR (SAiR) is a three-year project co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme. The SAiR project aims to develop a model of viable ongoing management of residential centres to foster maintainable visual artistic practices and enhance career opportunities for visual artists. The project combines and upgrades the operational strategies of four residential centres operating in the field of the visual arts in: Ljubljana (MGLC Švicarija – International Centre of Graphic Arts), Prague (MeetFactory), Madrid (Matadero – Centre for Contemporary Creation) and Athens (Snehta Residency). The added value of the project lies in the development of long-term workable studio practices and an extensive accompanying programme alongside the residential exchange.
The objectives of the SAiR project are:
- to revive the activities of the residential centres in a supportive way after the pandemic crisis,
- to bring artists into circulation and to create opportunities for artistic and social practices to intertwine,
- to develop a solid and forward-looking residential centre production process that provides artists with time and space, professional staff support and funding to create new artworks,
- to explore sustainable artistic practices and the infrastructural potential of the partner residencies and test their usefulness beyond the art world,
- to raise awareness of the pertinent issues on the subject of sustainability in a broader context.
2. Participating partners/residential centres
Located in Ljubljana’s central Tivoli Park, MGLC Švicarija is a creative, residential, cultural, educational and social hub that offers programmes to the public, studio facilities for local artists and residencies for international artists and art professionals. Home to a public programme following the concept of “community, art and nature”, Švicarija is part of the International Centre of Graphic Arts (MGLC), a specialised museum, the producer of printed contemporary art and the Ljubljana Biennale of Graphic Arts. MGLC emerged from the legacy of 20th-century printmaking and the Ljubljana Biennale of Graphic Arts, the world’s oldest printmaking biennale that has been held continuously since 1955.
Matadero Madrid – Centre for Contemporary Creation is run by Madrid City Council. Created in 2006 in a former industrial site, Matadero Madrid has defined itself since its origins as a multidisciplinary and/or transdisciplinary production space. As a centre for contemporary creation, Matadero Madrid promotes a programme of residencies to provide support for creators in a broad sense: artists, researchers, thinkers, cultural agents, transdisciplinary artists, etc. This programme is carried out through the Centre for Artists in Residence whose purpose is to support creative processes and provide residents with accompaniment, both in terms of curatorship and production, providing spaces, facilitating production, research and shared learning with other residents and agents.
MeetFactory (Prague) is a not-for-profit international centre for contemporary art. Its mission is to foster a dialogue between individual genres and make the current happenings on the art scene accessible to the broadest public. The organisation supports original projects in visual arts, theatre, music and interdisciplinary and experimental platforms. MeetFactory aims to create a space where art is alive and artists are present, enhancing a direct exchange between international artists and visitors and between different fields and generations. MeetFactory facilitates ten studios, which annually host over thirty visual artists, curators, musicians, theatre directors and writers.
Snehta Residency is a not-for-profit organisation founded in Kypseli in 2012, as the first artists’ residency in Athens, during a period of economic and social uncertainty, founded in a neighbourhood with a strong element of intellectual and social potential. To this date, Snehta has accommodated more than 100 artists and organised more than 60 exhibitions and research programmes. Alongside its art residency, Snehta offers expanding educational programmes with professional mentoring and technical knowledge to emerging artists who want to top their artistic practice. The programme is staffed by established Athens-based artists with a strong and vibrant presence in the arts.
3. What do we aim to reflect on?
In recent years, the term sustainability has become a buzzword that has gained more popularity than meaning. On this occasion, we would like to take a closer look at how visual artists, art professionals and art institutions define this term in their own artistic practice or implement sustainable practices in their work.
- How can we achieve sustainability when the majority of environmental issues are caused by big corporations and our own role in society's inability to take action?
- Do baby steps matter? Is it about taking slow care of our surroundings or having no remorse?
- Can we still think of sustainability in terms of balance and stability, while it is becoming increasingly clear that it will be difficult to achieve any degree of environmental sustainability without making drastic changes to our society and the world we live in?
- Thinking about the sustainability of contemporary social concerns, such as migration, new digital technologies and immersive digital environments etc.
At its core, sustainability entails enhancing our relationships with both communities and the means of production and development networks, prioritising human-centric systems and environmentally resilient strategies. This can be achieved through the development of adaptable and meticulously crafted approaches that recognise the interdependence of these networks and promote resilient cooperation among them. Eventually, this requires us to think critically about the impact of our actions and our role within these networks as makers and cultural producers whilst prioritising long-term well-being over short-term gain and fast results.
The additional objective of the call is to stimulate and promote the mobility of Slovenian visual artists in an international context and to foster conversations on sustainability within art production and creation. In this manner, each beneficiary of the residency will join a group of international artists and spend a period of time (of two up to three months) in each of the partners’ residential centres: MGLC Švicarija (Ljubljana), MeetFactory (Prague), Matadero (Madrid) and Snehta Residency (Athens). The maximum duration of all residencies is 9 months.
The aim of this initiative is to:
- support artistic practices in a sustainable way,
- strengthen the commitment to support projects over a medium-term period,
- contribute to the debate on sustainability in the field of the visual arts,
- support the mobility of visual artists from Slovenia.
4. Slovenian visual artist
The selected visual artist (1) will develop a project throughout the programme and during the residential stays. Specifically, the selected Slovenian artist will be able to choose one of the following itineraries:
MeetFactory (Prague): February-April 2024
Snehta Residency (Athens): October-December 2024
Matadero (Madrid): April-July 2025
Snehta Residency (Athens): January-March 2024
Matadero (Madrid): September-December 2024
MeetFactory (Prague): February-April 2025
Matadero (Madrid): January-April 2024
Snehta Residency (Athens): October-December 2024
MeetFactory (Prague): February-April 2025
The final dates of the residencies can be subject to change.
The open call is addressed to visual artists
We are open to projects that take sustainability as a method as well as a topic. We are interested in artistic stances touching upon the subject in the context of the art environment and art institutions. The residency does not have to be built around the production of art – quite the opposite: we are looking for projects dedicated to art thinking as a method in art making in times of crisis.
What do we offer?
- Accommodation (2-3 months in Madrid, Prague and Athens), travel costs – return trip from the artist’s usual place of residence to each of the three stays.
- Duration of the three residency stays of 2 to 3 months.
- 800 EUR gross grant per month (up to 7.200 EUR gross for 3 years or 9 months).
- 2.800 EUR gross production costs for the whole project.
- Support in getting to know the local art scene.
What do we expect from the artist?
- Participation at the final presentation/exhibition of all residential artists.
- At least two community engagement events per residency.
How to apply?
We accept applications at the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org (subject line: Open call – SAiR 2024-2026) until 20 June 2023 (23.59h, CET).
There is no fixed application form. Applications must be in English and should contain the following:
I. Full personal and contact details
- Full name, postal address, email address, telephone number, date of birth, official status (such as student, employed, freelance artist …).
II. A single .pdf file containing the following information:
- Biographical summary (maximum 500 words).
- Candidate's interest in the SAiR project (maximum 500 words).
- A brief dossier of previous work (maximum 6 pages).
III. A single .pdf file containing the work plan for the residency. It must include the following information:
- Title of the project.
- Brief text on the research to be carried out in the framework of the residency (maximum 600 words).
- Images of the project or related to it (maximum 12 images).
- Visits and schedule of the work to be carried out during the residency.
Applications will be evaluated by a jury composed of professionals representing the SAiR project partners. The selected applicants will be notified no later than July 2023. If applicants do not hear anything by that time, this indicates that their application was unsuccessful on this occasion.
*If you have any questions regarding the open call, please contact Dušan Dovč: email@example.com.