Urban Heat – Artists Call Out

The Project
Urban Heat is a project developed by the Festivals in Transition (FIT) network of 13 international festival partners, supported by Creative Europe, which enables artists to engage with the invisible communities within cities. The four year project supports emerging and mid-career artists to develop and create daring and extraordinary work that connects with the world outside the arts by addressing urgent political and social issues, and by working with audiences and communities affected by those issues.

The canvas for Urban Heat is cities. They are the physical framework of our society, the generator of civil values, the engine of our economy and the heart of much of our culture; and 50% of their population are people aged under 30. But in the era of late capitalism they also feel increasingly unsustainable: economic migration has created an almost invisible underclass; poverty is pushing people to the edges; and issues ranging from mobility to the rise of faith-based communities are seeing cultures and communities becoming more segregated and less permeable.

Through a series of academies and Urban Labs, which bring together selected artists, academics, faith leaders, political scientists and technologists, Urban Heat enables artists to develop their understanding of issues facing cities and to develop new forms of participatory arts practice and projects in response. The project will explore the following questions:
* How can artists learn from activism, politically and socially engaged artistic strategies and other models of organisation and engagement?
* How can artists reflect and discuss their own role in actual political and social processes?
*How can artists effectively utilise technology and social media to reach audiences and build communities?
*What are the new and developing forms of participatory art and community engagement?

Urban Heat is looking to support 22 emerging and mid-career artists (working in performance, theatre, dance, interdisciplinary practice, live art and installation based practice) who are open to reimagine and experiment with the role of arts in the development of contemporary cities (or) who are open to re-imagine how art could evoke change and support sustainability in the cities. Selected artists would:
* Attend the initial and closing academies
* Participate in a minimum of three Urban Labs scheduled throughout 2016.
* Develop project ideas and proposals that would be commissioned by the international festival partners (at least one artist will be commissioned by each of the partners).

The project will begin with an initial 5 day academy taking place from October 28 to November 2, 2015 during the SPIELART Festival in Munich, Germany.
This Academy will provide participating artists a chance to meet each other and the festival partners and to share information on their practice, as well introducing the content and themes of each of the five Urban Labs. It will also provide a wider introduction to many of the themes of Urban Heat by offering an opportunity for the participants to immerse themselves in SPIELART’s 2015 platform of curated activity entitled ‘Art in Resistance’. Curator and researcher Sandra Noeth will facilitate the process over the four years.

The closing Academy will take place in May 2018 at SPRING festival in Utrecht, Netherlands and will include a series of closed and public sessions where participating artists and organisations will share their knowledge and experience of the programme.

Urban Labs
In 2016 the FIT partners will hold a series of Urban Labs in cities across Europe and the Middle East. These Labs will include talks, meetings, workshops and performances and will enable the participating artists to develop knowledge and skills in how to tackle the fundamental issues and challenges facing cultural professionals working in cities. Dates and topics will include:

– Urban Lab 1: Choreography, Performance and the Public. Hosted by Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (Cairo). March/April 2016
– Urban Lab 2: Participation, faith and communities. Hosted by Alkantara Festival (Lisbon). May 2016
– Urban Lab 3: ’TechCityLab’ supporting artists to respond to the Digital Shift. Hosted by LIFT (London). June 2016
– Urban Lab 4: Art, Big Data and Activism. Hosted by Central Fies (Dro, Italy). July 2016
– Urban Lab 5: Socio-Economic Power Structures. Hosted by Bunker/Drugajanje Festival (Maribor, Slovenia). November 2016

Subsequent to these Urban Labs each FIT partner will commission at least one participating artist to create a new work based on the themes of the programme. These works will engage a specific audience or community within each of the festival’s own locations and will be developed through close collaboration between the artists and FIT partner. The new works will be commissioned for presentation in the partners’ 2017-18 festivals.

Time Commitment
Participating artists are required to attending the initial Academy from 28th October to 2nd November 2015 and the closing Academy in May 2018. Artists will also attend a minimum of three Urban Labs between April – November 2016.

Financial Support Available
Travel, accommodation and per diems would be provided during the duration of the academies and labs. A separate fee will be available for artistic commissions in 2017-2018.

How to Apply
Applications will be evaluated against the following criteria:
– Emerging/mid-career artists working internationally with an interest in social engagement through contemporary performing arts. You must have a minimum of 3 years of professional experience in making artistic work
– Residents of EU and EEA member states, Switzerland and residents of the Middle East and North African region: Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, Syria.
– Fluent in spoken and written English
– Available for the duration of the project 2015 – 2018. This includes attending the opening and closing academy and three Urban Labs in 2016. Available for artistic commissions process in 2017-2018.

Candidates are required to submit a CV (no more than 2 sides of A4) and a covering letter, (also no more than 2 sides of A4) expressing why they wish to participate in the project. The CV should demonstrate your experience and covering letter should demonstrate a strong working methodology, your particular interest and any relevant experience in social engagement and participatory practice and the benefits of your involvement in the project. If possible please include a maximum of 3 video links to your work and/or a maximum of 3 images of relevant texts. Please includes of your nationality and country of residence.

Individual artists as well as small companies and collectives may apply.

Applications should be sent by email to urban.heat@liftfestival.com by 5pm (GMT) on 22nd June 2015. Please limit the total size of any attachments to 5MB

Due to the number of applications we are unable to respond to individual requests and questions. All applicants will receive an automated reply and successful candidates will be contacted by 31st July 2015

The Festivals in Transition Network
Festivals in Transition (FIT) is a network of 13 international festivals. For the past ten years the network has explored the role of festivals in producing and curating theatre and performance practice. The network has successfully implemented four large-scale projects: FIT, FIT Mobile Lab, Festival Lab and Global City Local City. Urban Heat is the network’s fifth project.
FIT members: SPIELART festival (Munich), Krakowskie Reminiscencje Teatralne (Krakow), International Festival of Contemporary Theatre Homo Novus (Riga), LIFT (London), Baltic Circle International Theatre Festival (Helsinki), SAAL Biennaal (Tallinn), Bunker – Festival Drugajanje (Maribor), Spring Performing Arts Festival (Utrecht), Lokal – International Theatre Festival Reykjavik (Reykjavik), Centrale Fies – Drodesera (Dro)
Associated partners: Alkantara Festival (Lisbon), Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (Cairo), Reykjavik Dance Festival (Reykjavik)