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 will engage producers, cultural experts, artists and communities across a variety of local contexts, who 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.
This ambitious and collaborative project will be running from January 2020 until September 2021.
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.