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A transnational project exploring our shared and contested Colonial heritage and its influence on contemporary culture.


Launch date: WEDNESDAY 16th OCTOBER 2019


Project Duration:   14th Feb 2020 – September 2021

Project Fee (Cyprus):    € 5,244.00 (per diems, travel and accommodation are covered separately)

Artist Geographies:   Cyprus island wide

Art form:   Visual arts (including but not limited to: film, digital, sound art, performance art, installation, sculpture etc)


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 colonising ancestors and our cultural identities today.


At a time of increasing right wing populism, CONTESTED DESIRES aims to challenge the de-stabilising 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 Cyprus island-wide  


(For our partners’ calls, please see: La Bonne, Spain; LAC, Portugal; D6: Culture in Transit, UK; 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 Artist from Cyprus 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 Portugal or the 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 CYPRUS Artists

Each artist must be available to participate in and commit to all activities listed.
The selected 2 artists from Cyprus will participate in either the joint residency in Lagos Portugal, or in Barcelona Spain, or in Newcastle UK, AND a final joint 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).

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) NOT FOR UK ARTISTS

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 partially according to the activities’ schedule, realisation and receipt of invoices.

The selected Cyprus artists will each be provided a contract for signature attesting content and commitment to the program, and will be managed by Xarkis NGO.

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 LINK) and send to [email protected].

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: MONDAY 18th NOVEMBER 2019, 6PM EET (GMT+2)

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

Xarkis NGO & Festival

Xarkis 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 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. If you have any particular access needs you would like to discuss, please contact us at [email protected]



Xarkis is an NGO based in Cyprus with over seven of years of experience in delivering an umbrella of initiatives within the realm of contemporary art, culture, heritage and education. We work in and with communities, and involve people from diverse disciplinary, educational, generational and ethnic backgrounds in our projects. To do this, we apply participatory and socially engaged design methodologies.

We are nomadic, which means we travel across different communities in rural and urban contexts.


Xarkis Festival


First launched in 2013, our annual Xarkis Festival roams rural mountainous villages of Cyprus. 

To this effect, the Festival assumes its shape through the residency program which precedes it. In this context, artist residents come together in a communal environment, to work with local and former residents of a selected rural area and collaborate on their practise based inquiries, in ways that make use of the skills, desires and resources of persons and locations in the village, often addressing some of the needs of the region.

The participants prepare artistic works that are realised during the Festival, in public and private spaces and a key goal is to communicate these in ways that are accessible for Festival visitors, contemporary art audiences and rural community members. This experience cultivates artists’ skills in terms of research and dissemination to diverse audiences, but moreover extends the use of site-specific collaborative arts practice in rural communities of Cyprus.


VISIT for further information.


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.


Christina Skarpari, Xarkis - Creative Director | Contested Desires - Coordinator [email protected]
Argyro Toumazou, Contested Desires - Local Coordinator

[email protected]

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