Xarkis Residency & Festival 2021

Going back to the roots: environment and society

Xarkis Festival 2021 will take place in Lympia village (Nicosia district), from the 15th-17th of October and will include an Artists’ Residency programme starting from the 10th-14th of October. Over a period of five days, a group of selected artists are invited to work together with our team and with the local community, to prepare creative works that will contribute to the three day Festival.

The theme for this year’s Residency and Festival is Going back to the roots: environment and society.

Inspired by the local context, we wish to explore resources drawn from a heritage community, within which locals have a closer relationship with the environment, in order to move towards progressive, inclusive and ecologically conscious futures, in both rural and urban contexts.

By going back to the roots, we do not seek to perpetuate romantic and idealised notions of the past, or to assume that the past was better. We want to analyse how rural heritage is tied to green living, so as to embody elements of related values, practices and lifestyles in our everyday realities and in an evolving context.

Main aims of the project

  1. To create a fertile ground for testing site-specific ideas. Concepts that can be useful for our ecosystem, which can be used as good practices both locally and abroad.
  2. To expand on conversations around environmental opportunities through the prism of art and design, to raise awareness about these with those who are present. For example:
    • Agro-ecology
    • Ecological design, working with raw materials to produce sustainable products, crafts etc
    • Circular economy
    • Permaculture and collective ways of organising
    • Transforming energy systems, renewable electricity, solar/wind powered technologies, clean energy
    • Exploring communities of scale, slow-living 
    • Amplifying access to water, our connections with the land 
    • Green living, green jobs
    • Strengthening existing skills through environmental practises based on tradition

  3. To explore topics of concern such as the climate crisis, climate crisis denial, and issues requiring environmental justice like pollution, contamination, deforestation, global warming, excessive use of packaging, and how different minorities and social classes are affected by these problems.

  4. Topics like addressing generational barriers to societal change, the role of technology in environmental action, technologies as non-neutral forces, our over consumption in dietary choices, green-growth versus de-growth, waste versus composting, self-sufficient living, water and wind energy systems, sustainable construction materials etc.

    To explore possible scenarios for solving such issues, via practice-based prototypes and / proposals in the fields of circular economy, re-use/repair economy, upcycling, environmental activism, etc.

  5. To raise awareness about initiatives that tackle issues of climate concern, via site-specific evidence of climate change and site-specific artistic approaches.
  6. To widen community engagement and attract a multiplicity of publics to deal with environmental justice.
  7. To reduce our carbon footprint via ecologically conscious practices.

The global adaptation to the lockdown and the mobility restrictions have had a significant impact on the environment and humans as well. Industries and economic activities were shut down/reduced resulting in the reduction of noise pollution, improved air quality, and cleaner rivers. 

With the reduction of human effect, the climate has literally taken a breath of fresh air; clouds have cleared and colours are now brighter. Despite this, evidence of human induced harm on the environment is still prevalent as we shift towards new extractions and waste of resources.

In the face of the climate emergency, and given our diachronic interest in learning with rural communities through practice-based collaborative research, we feel the need to go back to our roots, again, this time to explore the relationship between the environment and society in our local communities more deeply. What can we learn from rural wisdom when it comes to co-existing with the natural environment? How can we thrive in the ecological future of Cyprus?

We invite practice-based proposals that set out to raise awareness, and to provoke positive changes in our relationship with the environment, starting from the micro-level to the macro-level. We want to leverage our agencies and move towards more symbiotic ways of co-existing. The objective is to catalyse a diverse set of skills, and explore collaborative methodologies in this sphere. We hope to create a shared vision for an ecologically conscious future, by looking towards our past ways of living. By doing so we aim to hone in on the possibilities that exist in heritage contexts.


In line with Xarkis’ ethos, our next Festival will be held with collaborators who will be selected mainly on the basis of their contributions. These will focus on collaborative, ecologically conscious and socially engaged initiatives which nurture creativity, experimental and innovative practices in relation to culture and heritage.

Participants invited through this open call are asked to work with the team of Xarkis and engage with the local community and local environment, to create site-specific works that are informed by the region. We envision and support collaborations that may result between the participants, and will prepare the works for publics during the Festival and the weekdays before. The final results from their residencies will be realised during the three-day Festival. 

Aspiring residents are called to propose projects that focus on the creation of an interactive and participatory experience with community members, as well as visitors. The task is to think of innovative ways to interact locally, examining where a) acts of environmental extraction, invasion, or harm are presented, symbolically, literally and metaphorically, and b) explore opportunities for positive co-existence. 

Residents are called to explore this theme in a material, or an immaterial sense, to express inclusive and diverse interpretations of the topic. We invite application submissions which inspire an active process of meaning-making around the topic of society and the environment in rural communities, leading to dynamic and transformative works between people from a range of disciplinary, professional, educational and geographical backgrounds.

Hybrid Festival

We are intending to launch parts of the Festival in physical spaces and in digital forms.

Outcomes of the program will include design, music, performing arts workshops, music performances, visual and theatrical performances, discussions and interventions that will be broadcasted live in a digital community. At the end of the activities, the material will be gathered in a digital exhibition (online exhibition) which will exhibit and display experimentation, processes and results from each action of the participating artists. At the same time, the uploading of actions will form a database.

Practitioners from any of the following backgrounds (and not only) are encouraged to apply:

  • Visual arts (that explore environmental science, permaculture, agro-ecology, eco-living, and climate change communication. Also, socially engaged art, digital arts, painting, drawing, mixed-media, photography, film, video art, visual anthropology, sculpture, installation, scenography, craft-making etc).
  • Design (social design, service design, design activism, co-design, graphic/communication design, product/industrial design, architecture, sustainable design, innovation design, motion design, interactive design, animation, communication design)
  • Music (performance, composition, sound art)
  • Performing arts (performance art, theatre, dance etc)

Please note that a limited number of residencies is available. Priority will be given to applicants with experience in community-oriented, socially engaged and ecologically conscious practices.

Proposed initiatives that will be prepared and shared live online during the Residency days with final outcomes during the Festival, can take the form of:

  • Workshops
  • Hands-on activities
  • Educational initiatives
  • Music/sound performance
  • Interactive sound installation
  • Installation
  • Campaign
  • Intervention
  • Performance art
  • Visual art
  • Experiential dance performance
  • Video art
  • Film
  • Exhibition

The aforementioned activities are to be accompanied by short talks and / lectures with Q&A sessions addressed by diverse publics.

Individuals and teams are encouraged to apply.

You are also welcome to apply with a transdisciplinary project. In this case, you are called to specify which disciplines come together through your piece of work.

Creative practitioners from any of the above disciplines are encouraged to participate with proposals and marry practices with other sectors, encouraging new alliances.

Our approach involves the application of our organization’s matchmaking mechanism, which nurtures collaborations between creative practitioners, educators and citizens from diverse educational, disciplinary, professional, generational and ethnic backgrounds.

We ask for interested participants to apply via our online portal and write in English, in a style that is suitable for a general audience:

Key dates 

Deadline to apply: 29th August 2021

Starting day of Residency & Introduction: 10th of October 2021

End date of Residency: 14th of October 2021

Xarkis Festival: 15th-17th of October 2021

Shortlisted residents may be called to participate in an interview.

Residents will be called to participate in group meetings and share work-in-progress with coordinators and the team of Xarkis for the entire duration of the Residency.

Additionally, artists are called to participate in a series of workshops and talks by selected experts during the residency week.

What we offer

  • €200 for your participation
  • Residency support during group meetings and feedback sessions
  • Documentation 
  • Social media visibility
  • Accommodation in a shared/communal space
  • Three meals per day from our collective kitchen