Projectos // detalhe // Open Call for Artists: Contested Desires

Subscrever newsletter
Open Call for Artists: Contested Desires


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 (PT): € 5.244 (per diems, travel and accommodation are covered separately)
Artist Geographies: Portugal
Artform: 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 of individuals, communities and nation states constructing 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 destabilising and divisive impact of political landscapes of Europe and beyond, where the response to the complexities, diversity and expansion of our communities, continues to be met with the power play of fear-mongering, discrimination and exclusion; where our borders become our protectors and our heritage our place of sanctuary.


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.





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 2 artists from Portugal.


(For our partners’ calls, please see: D6: Culture in Transit, UK; La Bonne, Spain; Xarkis, Cyprus; and Fresh Milk, Barbados.)


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, each North of England 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.


Each selected artist will participate in the following activities:


●  X 1 month-long European-based residency in Spain or UK (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 participating PT artists


Each artist must be available to participate in and commit to all activities listed. The selected PT artists will participate in either the joint residency in the UK or Spain and a final group residency 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? Are they valued? Who owns this heritage? How is this impacting societal change and intercultural dialogue?

February - March 2020 Joint residency 1 for three artists, hosted by LAC (Lagos, Portugal).
March - April 2020 Joint iterative exhibition by three resident artists, hosted by LAC (Lagos, Portugal). NOT FOR PORTUGUESE ARTISTS.
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.





The total fee for the work described in the brief is € 5.244, 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 PT artists will each be provided a contract and will be managed by LAC- Associação Cultural. 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.





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 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: FRIDAY 15th NOVEMBER 2019, 6PM GMT
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.


Equality and Diversity

LAC seeks to ensure that no present or potential member of staff, artist or project participant is treated less favourably than another on grounds of race, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, gender, gender identity, marital or civil partnership status, disability, sexual orientation, religious or political beliefs, age, social class or offending background. We aim to ensure that as many of our activities are as accessible as possible.


LAC, Lagos, Portugal

LAC (Laboratory of Creative Activities) is a cultural association formed in 1995 based in a former prison in Lagos.

The prison cells now contain artist studios and spaces for artistic residences. LAC also delivers a gallery programme in their exhibition space and provides artistic training in the areas of music, visual arts, performance and other artistic forms.


Alongside their annual residency programme PRALAC, recent projects include ARTURb, a programme of artistic residencies and exhibitions in public spaces focused on urban art; and ROOTS, a programme bringing 24 artists from Africa, Europe and America together to explore the former transatlantic slave trade, delivered in partnership with the National School of Visual Arts of Mozambique and CACAU in São Tomé and Príncipe.





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.





Please contact