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XARKIS x SYMPRAXIS: Exploring the relationship between heritage and contemporary artistic practises through values of care

Faithful to its nomadic tradition, the 10th Xarkis Festival will move to Kornos, a mountainous village renowned for its red clay pottery in the district of Larnaca, Cyprus, and will be held from the 13th-15th of October 2023. It will include an Artists’ Residency programme starting from the 1st-12th of October. For 11 days, a group of selected artists are invited to work with our team and the local community to prepare creative works that will contribute to the program of the three-day Festival.

The results will be shared with the public throughout the 3 days of the Festival.

This year’s international program includes gatherings, engaging workshops, exhibitions, interventions, live performances and concerts, film screenings, interactive games and much more, suitable for kids and adults of all ages. 

Selected artists are invited to collaborate with members of the rural community, within which they will employ, test and experiment with feminist perspectives of care.

The purpose is to contribute towards emerging discourses in socially engaged practice, through site-specific, practice-based research and experimentation. The criteria for the final group of artists that the festival will invite, will be based on a conversation about the proposed concept that should be related to the theme.

For this year’s open call, we are interested in applications which explore the following question/s:

Q1. How can socially responsive art and design practices engage communities to elicit insights into the practice and sustainability of endangered crafts?

Q2. How can collaborative art and design practices driven through a feminist lens of care inform the topic of intangible cultural heritage (ICH)? 

Q3: How can artistic and cultural practices embody rituals and routines of everyday life?

Heritage loss; Heritage devaluation and globalism; Heritage industry; Feminist critique of knowledge production; Administrative and bureaucratic processes that hinder caring practices vs inclusive practices; Performance of everyday life; Rituals of everyday life; performance, rituals and the supernatural; Movement and the body in spaces of care; Body practices; Movement rituals and practices; Gender dynamics in heritage; Meta products of heritage; Communal identities; Alternative technologies for making; Making as an act of sharing; Invisible labour in everyday practices; 

All invited artists will participate in the ten-day multi-residency programme, with workshops, mentorship sessions with selected co-curators and residency coordinators, and collaborative peer-to-peer feedback sessions by artists, curators and coordinators. The latter entails artists and partners from transdisciplinary backgrounds interacting and feeding off of each other’s know-how and skills. These ‘spaces for conversations’ will be roaming, and will combine both with pre-structured formats and open possibilities for experimentation, culminating in the Festival.



Practitioners, individuals and teams are encouraged to apply. Those working from single disciplinary backgrounds, interdisciplinarily or transdisciplinary with backgrounds ranging from humanities, arts and other fields, working in the following directions are encouraged to apply:

  • Visual arts (socially engaged art, digital arts, painting, drawing, mixed media, 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)
  • Writing practises (academic, creative, unstructured, journalistic)

In this case, you are called to specify which disciplines come together through your work.

Creative practitioners from any of the above disciplines are encouraged to participate in proposals and marry practices with other sectors, encouraging new alliances. Our approach involves the application of our organisation’s matchmaking mechanism, which nurtures collaborations between creative practitioners, educators and citizens from diverse educational, disciplinary, professional, generational and ethnic backgrounds.

Please note that a limited number of residencies are 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 during the Residency days with outcomes during the Festival, can take the form of:

  • Workshops
  • Hands-on activities
  • Educational initiatives
  • Music/sound performance
  • Interactive sound installation
  • Installation
  • Campaign
  • Interventions/Open space format
  • Performance art
  • Visual art
  • Experiential dance performance
  • Video art
  • Film
  • Exhibition
  • A (digital) zine 

Participants are called to accompany the realisation of their proposed initiatives with short talks and/or lectures with Q&A sessions addressed towards diverse publics.



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:

[contact-form-7 id=”11034″ title=”Application”]

Please include a subject line as follows: 

Your Full Name_Surname_Discipline_Type of activity

I.e. Marion_Sky_Music_Workshop or Joe_Bouvoir_Design_Installation etc 


  • Deadline to apply: 14 August 2023
  • Starting day of Residency & Introduction: October 1st, 2023
  • End date of Residency: 12th of October 2023
  • Xarkis Festival: 13 – 15th of October 2023

Shortlisted residents may be called to engage 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, residents are called to join a series of workshops and talks by selected experts during the residency period.



  • A stipend of 400 euros for your participation 
  • 200 euros for production, material or travel costs
  • 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



The Context of Craft-making in Cyprus

Up until 1974, many Cypriots were part of a primarily rural, agricultural society, while, from the 1960s onwards, bigger Cypriot cities were rapidly shifting to a pace of life defined by modern technology. The ecosystem surrounding agriculture, included craft-making practises made for different reasons, including community members’ livelihood (Papademetriou, 2000). Local events involving a Turkish occupation of almost two-fifths of Cyprus in 1974, including the displacement of one-third of the total population, lead to a severe impact on local customs, habits, ways of life, and the economy (Britannica, 2021).

Although this is a small component of our contemporary urban lives – craft-making practices connect to a different Cypriot narrative, that is close to home. It is considered to be part of local identities and heritage, which we can use as an apparatus to reflect on, learn with, and sustain, not from a moralistic or traditionalist lens, but to enable more pluralistic and caring futures.

Numerous authors have highlighted the historical significance of Cypriot handicrafts both locally and abroad. Cyprus had been renowned for its crafts since ancient times. In his timeless epic “The Iliad”, Homer describes a shining breastplate, sent by King Cinyras of Cyprus (the founder of the Cult of Aphrodite) as a gift to King Agamemnon (Theodorou, 2018). Craft-making was important in Cypriot society too. Typically, the Cypriot craft-making and working of raw materials was practised by families and passed on to the next generations. This was supported by collaboration between community members, particularly between those related, as family bonds were the basis of traditional economic activity (Rangou, 1983, p.98).


The value of craft-making through a lens of care

Making can be considered as a praxis rooted in thinking-through-making, which actively creates community and care, through the very act of coming together to make (Wild, 1998, Sennet, 2009).

Beyond the object-based value of Cypriot crafts, there are other, intangible values associated with craft-making, which we wish to give a platform to at Xarkis. These values include mindfulness as part of well-being, patience, empathy (Kznaric, 2013, Gamman and Thorpe, 2015), collaboration, rituals, community (strengthening cultural identity and belonging) and ecological sensitivity (our relationship with raw materials and nature at large), which all come down to care (Tronto 1993 and 2013, Bellacasa 2017, Vyas, 2019).

Puig de la Bellacasa’s feminist standpoint theorises that a lens of care can assist in shedding light on “invisible and affective aspects of everyday activities that are generally missed when the attention is purely on instrumental aspects” (Bellacasa, 2011, p.85-106). 

This project is about cultivating care with community members to sustain and rejuvenate elements of their heritage whilst co-existing in the contemporary world. Ultimately, it means caring for social justice and human rights.



As a form of decoloniality and care, we not only wish to engage communities but aim to co-exist with those who are experts in their own lives and take the time to listen to and learn from their own experiences and insights. The process entails interpreting key aspects of their heritage, including what is often left unsaid, and sharing untold stories that deserve to be spoken in public and intimate spaces.

Acknowledging the limitations on, and competing interests between, actors involved in cultural heritage, and tensions between the institutional and independent sectors, which often set limits around conversations and disempower those who have a stake, we wish to help create the conditions to talk about taboos and unpack complex conversations.

The Festival (est. 2013) started as a design-led social experiment to test ideas around resilience, self-sufficiency, DIY practices, cultural heritage and folk wisdom, and to create a communal identity amid the global economic crisis which climaxed in Cyprus in 2013. 10 years down the line, in a post-pandemic era within which we are still undergoing various crises, we are revisiting the relevance of such principles. In Kornos, the Festival seeks to flesh out values of care, tied to intangible cultural heritage and traditional craft-making practices, rituals and ways of life through contemporary art forms. 

Xarkis is largely connected and shaped according to the environment and communities in which it is situated each year. Participants of the Multi-Residency programme and local community members co-create outcomes in ways that allow them to focus on issues of interest, things that are important to them, and ways that enable them to manage their representation.  

Residents are called to respond to these ideas via a site-specific project developed in the hosting community. This residency programme will draw emphasis on the human, natural and cultural heritage found in the hosting community. In this context, each resident is called to respond to one challenge that explores the theme of the festival – a feminist lens of care to elicit insights into the practice and sustainability of endangered craft-making practices, and related rituals and ways of life.  



Established in 2016, Xarkis’ roaming multi-residency programme focuses on socially engaged practice and encourages artists from diverse disciplinary pathways to become temporary residents of a local context and responds to a given theme whilst collaborating with communities, informed by the site-specific context.

Here, various art practices become democratised and are open to the public. As such, one of our main goals is to co-create contemporary art with communities, regardless of community members’ previous experience in such forms of art. Our practice shows that the accessibility of art and the drive to speak the local language help dismantle hierarchies and strengthen social inclusion through exchanging good practices, establishing peer-to-peer support networks and exchanges of mutual benefits to artists and communities. During the residency, different community groups engage in intercultural and cross-cultural dialogue via different art forms.

In turn, by learning how local communities and minorities live, and by adopting anthropological and collaborative methods of research and engagement during our initiatives, we believe that we can move towards a more inclusive world, with planetary and social welfare at heart.



Beyond the Festival, to be taking place as a result of the Multi-Residency programme in a physical form, we aim to have a series of ongoing online events. These can include:

  • Work-in-progress shows, artists’ talks, webinars, performances etc, to broadcast some of the experiments, processes and outputs in a digital space. 
  • This could take place before, during and after the Multi-residency and exhibition experience, to extend the physical outputs, leading to digital exhibition space to 

connect the artists and further disseminate the project and continue the conversations between artists and participants.

The digital output will allow participants to exchange know-how and experiment, whilst adapting to current challenges posed by crises, through the development of new skills and capacity building (i.e. in digital exhibition setups, online curation, scrolly-telling etc)



As Xarkis, we invite artists from different backgrounds, regardless of gender, sexual orientation and age to apply. We particularly encourage applications from people from a variety of backgrounds who are not equally represented in the public debate such as women, LGBTQIA + people, people with different abilities and people from different national backgrounds.