Call for Artists: More Info & Details


The transnational project Borderline Offensive is a platform for artistic research and art-based societal development, connected to issues made urgent by the crises of xenophobia, populism and global refugee mobility.

Artists from 12 European and Middle Eastern countries (SE, SR, NL, BG, SK, HR, GR, LB, TR, PS, SY, DE) explore issues of xenophobia, intercultural conflict and dialogue, sociological contact zones, violence-promoting radicalization, migration and integration, collective identity-building, and community cohesion in contemporary Europe.

Humor (aesthetic approach) and participatory arts (method) are employed to guide interaction, dialogue, and cooperation between the migrant and host communities in 7 European countries. Participating audiences are invited to share knowledge, respect and laugh together, at the same things and at themselves.

The aim is to use art as a resource to develop critical thinking, social wellbeing and peaceful inter-community relations, within and beyond Europe.

#2 Context

The context of the residency is anchored to a participatory process in which artists together with audience members (migrant/refugee and host communities) research the possible artistic format and contents allowing alternative voices and interpretations to be expressed.

#2.1 Context and Process

This participatory way of working aims to make mechanisms of power and exclusion transparent, and to make individuals (migrant/refugee and host communities) aware of the real causes of contrived tension within the contact zone of their daily interaction. From the starting point of their knowledge and practice, the artists create a space in which roles and insights can be played with. As such, participants are offered the trusted space to explore assumptions and give shape to new perspectives or identities.

Retaining the artistic direction and responsibility, following the process and reflective approach, the artist should ensure that the process develops the following components:

Contextual – artists conduct artistic research into a local context and engage in dialogue with the audience about perception of their realities;

Artistic – starting from their own artistic process and forms, artists share their powers of imagination, collaboration, creation and aesthetics with the audience;

Participatory – the creative process engages the audience in reflection/dialogue about social contexts and creates new possible positions, relations, representations or views.

Transformative – the intended outcome is a proposal for a challenging artwork, to be presented to a wider audience, as an experience offering critical reflection and as a basis to form new perspectives (for action) and new development pathways for the development of the initiated discussion.

#2.2 Context and Topics

During the residency, artists will explore, research, guide dialogue about 1 or more of the following 4 thematic frames, in connection to the local reality they encounter:

1.      Affiliative and self-affirming humor as a therapeutic resource (to manage and relieve fears and personal/historic trauma) and as mean to develop relationships, amuse others and reduce tension, as well as taking humorous perspectives about reality as a mechanism to cope with stress.

2.      Critical analysis and deconstruction of narratives about the existing cultural conflicts in Europe (segregation, xenophobia, political and religious hypocrisy, moral norms violating human rights) via humor and satire, always analyzing equivalent phenomena across represented cultures.

3.      Reinterpretation of intercultural relations based on European, Mediterranean, Arab historical and artistic intangible heritage connected to humor: what can be agreed as OK or not to laugh about across cultures, existing mutual stereotypes perpetuated by aggressive humor, and how to use humor to disarm these stereotypes.

4.      Development of humor as an instrument for freedom of speech, democratic participation and critical thinking, in a way that reclaims the use of "political incorrectness" by extremist/trolling/populist/xenophobe narratives, as well as challenge the "political correctness" consolidating victim/martyr/savior narratives.

#2.3 Local Context of Artistic Residency

In each residency, artists are connected to a unique local cultural context and a unique cultural partner, as detailed below:   

Bulgaria: (May-August 2018): The Museum House of Humour and Satire is a unique cultural institution in Gabrovo, a UNESCO creative city in Craft and Folk Art. Gabrovo is a self-proclaimed an international capital of humor due to the particular sense of humour of its inhabitants. This particular sense of humour is itself the cultural heritage from which the idea for the Museum came from. The Museum organizes the International Biennial of Humour and Satire in Art, including competition in the categories of Cartoon, Animated Cartoon, Printed Publications and Contemporary Art.  

Netherlands: (May-August 2018): Leeuwarden-Fryslân 2018 is a European Capital of Culture in 2018. The capital of the Dutch province of Friesland in the north of the Netherlands builds its vision around the theme of "iepen mienskip" - open community - with the intention to explore art as a medium for change and the artist working within communities to shape a new environment. Connected to DeReis2018, the residency explores how to develop idiosyncratic, committed communities which are curious about each other's ideas, opportunities and challenges.  

Serbia: (May-August 2018): The Center for Cultural Decontamination (CZKD) is a nonprofit cultural institution whose work is based on critical thinking, and cultural and artistic production. Through cultural and social engagement, CZKD articulates initiatives of politization and repolitization of public space, culture and art. The production process is based on collectivity and cooperation in the community, consisting of artists, activists, theoreticians, NGOs, international and local cultural, artistic and human rights initiatives, developed on both the regional and the international level. 

Slovakia: (May-August 2018): Creative Industry Košice is a catalyst for creativity in Slovakia, with the goal to educate, assist and increase creativity in creative people. The residency is organized in cooperation with K.A.I.R. Košice Artist in Residence, an international Artist-in-Residence programme for artists from all over the world and all artistic disciplines. Artists work in Košice's singular cultural surrounding to realize art projects, collaborate with the agile local art scene and present themselves to new audiences. Košice is a UNESCO creative city in the field of Media Arts. 

Sweden (May-June 2018): In the Gothenburg region, led by TILLT, an NGO working with artistic interventions: participatory processes led by artists in social arenas outside the cultural sphere (a community, a hospital, a school...), always connected to an urgent societal issue. Projects involve elements of relational art, participatory and community art and are focused on how audiences develop through the creative process. Depending on artistic discipline of selected applicatins, cooperation is possible with Konstepidemin, Nordic Watercolor Museum, Röda Sten... 

#2.4 the Artistic Manifesto

More context about the ideas, aesthetic principles and visions of the project are provided in the project's Artistic Manifesto:

#3 Artist's Role

As an artist, you may prefer to travel abroad, or to host artists travelling to your country of residence. You should indicate your preference when applying. Artists working as Host (1 in each of the 5 countries hosting a residence) as well as artists from the Middle East will have a more complex and comprehensive role (preparing the intercultural dialogue between target groups), and as such will have a higher stipend. Guest artists enjoy more time to develop their own artistic practice.  In any case, you will work with 2 artists from one of the 5 countries other than your own and 1 artist from the Middle East.

The residency is planned for 10 working days; of which a minimum of 2 days is dedicated to facilitating a dialogue between an audience of max. 20 people, representing the target group of migrants/refugees and the target group of host communities. Furthermore, a minimum of 1 day is dedicated to peer-learning activities between participating artists and the local artistic community. You as an artist will decide how to use the rest of the time, including artistic research and creation, individually or collectively.

Participant artists have access to: office space and technical facilities for desk work; rehearsal/performance space to explore and practice ideas; interaction, research, inquiry, and crowd sourcing of the cultural interaction between migrant and host communities. The residency and adjacent process is organized and designed by a project partner (see #2.3), in cooperation with a local cultural partner (for access to rehearsal/performance space) and a societal partner (for access to target groups), which engage the target audiences and create the context of the residency, including support to you as an artist.

At the end of the residency, artists are required to deliver an artwork proposal, including an artwork description/excerpt, an artist statement, and a production budget proposal.  Artists participating in the same residency may submit proposals individually or collectively. 

All costs for your participation are already covered, but project partners are working to increase available funding to expand the scope of the residency or develop complementary activities. Applying artists are also encouraged to apply for individual-based support grants such as:

Artwork proposals will be evaluated by a special committee of artists, cultural managers and experts from the 12 partner countries, which will then vote on the approval of the proposals for further production.

Artworks selected for production will become part of the transnational tour, again curated by the committee of experts, with a minimum of 3 performances (15 working days) guaranteed for each artist within Sweden, Serbia, Netherlands, Bulgaria and Slovakia. As part of the transnational tour programme, each artist will give a public presentation and an interactive workshop connected to the artwork, with audience participation.

Artworks will also be included in a Borderline Offensive portfolio shared and promoted by the 12 project partners at regional, national and transnational level to promote the artwork’s created + their creators.

More details about the design, context of each residency of the project and how it will connect to the future activities of the project will be given to selected artists. 

#4 Resources & Budget

  • Travel and accommodation expenses fully covered, up to a maximum standard defined by the framework of European development programmes;
  • Per diem + Stipend (both adapted to living costs of the country where you take part in the residency, and the country where you reside). You can calculate the amounts you might receive on the Money Table: 

  • Travel, accommodation, subsistence and stipend covered for presentation/performance of artworks in 3 other European countries in 2019;
  • Travel, accommodation, and subsistence covered for public presentation of artwork in international conference in Sweden, 2020.


#5 Eligibility and Selection Criteria

  • Artist (emerging or established, all ages and career stages are welcome); 
  • Based in or resident in one of the following countries: Sweden, Serbia, Netherlands, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Lebanon, Palestine, Turkey, Syria (all nationalities and legal statuses are eligible);
  • 1 exceptional spot is open to artists from all countries, selected and managed by Tandem Cultural Exchange programme, run by MitOst;
  • Able to communicate fluently in English (no academic certificate needed);  
  • The 20 highest classified applications  by a group of 12 experts from the partnership countries, according to the following criteria

A) Overall aesthetic and critical quality of artistic work: 20%
B) Prevalence of humoristic motives in artistic work: 15%
C) Critical analysis of intercultural conflict/dialogue issues in artistic work: 15%
D) Competence and willingness to work with co-creation and participatory processes: 20%
E) Interest in developing societal impact via artistic practices: 15%
F) Affiliation with Borderline Offensive's imaginary and manifesto: 15%

If you do not fulfil the set criteria of the call, but you think that you have something indispensable to offer to the project, we encourage you to apply.

Applicants will be contacted with a decision on the 9th of March 2018, for some good news or some f**king useless words of comfort and genuine wishes of best fortune on future endeavors.

#6 How to apply

  • Fill in a single online application, including the following info:

Personal info and short bio;

CV + Portfolio

Paragraphs on Education, Experience

Preferences for the Residency

Provoking/Politically Incorrect Joke

Paragraphs on Humor, Inspiration, Inclusion/Exclusion and Ideas for the Residency

Critique of our Artistic Manifesto + Contribution to it ;P