Call :: Fair Art Almanac / Summer Camp

Dear art practitioners

State Of The Arts (SOTA) invites you to take part in its first annual Summer Camp on fair practice, taking place in September 2018. It is a next step in a process SOTA initiated to reflect on the complex relationships between artistic, political and economic spheres. The Summer Camp is aimed at writing the

FAIR ART ALMANAC

A practical guide for working,
instituting and policy making in the arts

This Almanac will be an annual collection of practical as well as visionary statements, tools and announcements that can help to develop and claim fair and sustainable practices within the cultural field. It should also answer the need for common access to channel collective actions to influence policy makers towards a more diverse, transparent, supportive and engaging practice.

The SOTA Summer Camp gathers people engaged in art, working within the broad spectrum of artistic research and -production, both in- and outside of institutions, whether as artists, technicians, curators, designers, mediators, administrators, etc.

WHEN?
The SOTA Summer Camp takes place from the 1st to 8th September. Starting with an opening weekend on the 1st and 2nd September and it moves into an editorial workshop between the 3rd and 7th September. On Saturday 8th September, the Camp will close with a presentation of the mock-up of the Almanac 2019.

 

WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR?
We are looking for tips & tricks, statements & demands, examples & ideas, dates & data as contributions to this Almanac. All contributions will be discussed and worked out in versatile working groups during this SOTA Summer Camp.

The idea is to create a multi-functional Almanac that provides useful practical information, dates of major and minor events, as well as texts that address the precarious economic social and political conditions of art practitioners.

Based on the collective investigations, experiments and input gathered in the Camp, the Almanac will not only include basic information about the political and administrative agenda of the art filed, but also critically reflect upon its practical, political and performative values. It will publish practical information, as much as action plans, unsolicited comments, bottom-up strategies, make proposals for changes, and more.

 

SOME QUESTIONS WE ARE LOOKING FOR TO BE ADDRESSED
• How to create a political and institutional framework that responds to our individual or common practices, rather than the other way around?
• How to communicate between the different working fields which together make art happen
• What does a year calendars of an artist need from the art field or from cultural policy, and how to negotiate about difference in working procedures and rhythms in art and administration?
• How can we take artistic practices as a chance to practice and invent other forms of economy, politics and ecological thinking?
• How can we create common open access to the resources needed?
• How to stimulate mutual involvement? (the interest of artists into politics and administration as well as of politicians and administrators into the art)
• How can funding, budgeting and administrating be used as a critical /political tool?
• etc.

 

YOUR RESPONSE
Please send us your thoughts and ideas in a sketched-out form and describe how you would like to participate. call@state-of-the-arts.net

 

TIMELINE
Deadline for entries: 1. July 2018
Camp opening weekend: 1st & 2nd September 2018
Open Editorial workshop: 3rd – 7th September 2018
Presentation party: 8th September 2018

Finishing of the publication: between 10th September and 15th November 2018
Launch of the Almanac: ca. 1st December 2018

 

BACKGROUND
The Belgian independent art scene is flourishing and has much value, knowledge and practice to provide.

At the same time, we observe a dramatic shift in the artistic economy and the perception of the art’s value in our society. To a big part this is due to neo-liberal and popular politics and the reduction of state support towards the social and humanistic fields of society (arts, health- and social care, education). But also due to necessary aesthetic and political developments of the arts field itself.

While forcing the arts towards market oriented productions and commercialization, politics ignore the intrinsic ‘market failure’ of the commercial sectors, creating increasingly precarious working conditions for those dependent on the sector.
The increased need for multidisciplinarity, a growing interest in research in the arts and a stronger understanding of the value of art specific knowledge brings the arts in a closer, but often utilitarian or even exploitative relationship to other fields.
This shift in the artistic economy and the value of art has been largely discussed in the recent years without major impact in practice.

Although this shift is slowly being recognised, the necessary new balances, solidarities and support structures within and beyond the arts still have to be created.
Many people working in the arts feel the need for common access to independent and practical information about the possibilities to influence cultural policies, to be able to take action and enforce the necessary transition towards fair practice and a more diverse, transparent, supportive and engaging art realm, in Belgium and beyond.

Let’s act now! Let’s dare to shift some paradigms and move towards a more balanced and connected artistic field. Let’s reflect upon the link between the daily practice of art making, its political, philosophical and economic constructions, the structural potentials of the sector in order to profoundly re-think the embedding and impact of art in our society.
State of the Arts launched the idea of a Fair Practice Label for the cultural field in a major symposium in 2014, in which the elements Solidarity, Ethics (Equality and Transparency), Ecology (Sustainability), and Diversity, were pushed as important points of attention. The idea found diverse and contradicting resonance in and beyond Belgium. The idea of a yearly camp and an Almanac is the consequence of this debate, understanding the need for a continuous intensive discussion about a culture of fairness on many levels.

The Fair Art Almanac has been proposed by SOTA in the framework of the D.I.T. trajectory, initiated and supported by Kunstenpunt and it is shared with our institutional colleagues of The Coalition of the Willing (Netwerk Aalst, Beursschouwburg, Buda Kortrijk and the Theatermaker)

Please feel free to share this call with whom ever you think might be interested to engage in this process.
You are also very welcome to support us in the core team for organising, curating, disseminating, editing, etc. this event! 

The SOTA core team is looking forward very much to getting in communication with you, to answer questions and to integrate your proposals!!

All the best,
SOTA core team

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