The Festival of Regions is one of the most distinguished festivals of contemporary art and culture in Austria. It has been taking place every two years since 1993 in locations outside of the urban centers and cultural hubs in Upper Austria. By confronting social issues and everyday living conditions with contemporary art, the Festival aims to establish a dialog between the local population and local, regional, and international artists. Participation is therefore at the heart of the Festival, which aims to leave distinct traces, stimulate discourse, initiate or strengthen desires for change,
take citizens and their needs seriously, and collaboratively develop visions for the future.
In 2021, the 15th Festival of Regions will focus on the Upper Austrian part of the historical Salzkammergut – between Bad Ischl and Hallstatt.
With the topic Underground / Unter Tag, the Festival adopts a term that reflects the living realities of the people that worked in the salt mines of Salzkammergut. With working underground we associate heavy manual labor under extreme conditions and eminent danger. While at the same time the work in the mines also brings out something valuable to the surface.
This historical reference to the Salzkammergut region serves as a point of departure for the projects of the Festival of Regions. The term „underground“ is expanded to incorporate dimensions that go well beyond the context of mining. Possible other associations include:
• Forms of resistance;
• Opportunities for improving living and working conditions;
• Unspoken conflicts or topics;
• People‘s concrete needs and dreams regarding their region;
• „Daytime tourism“ and „night-time tourism“;
• Impacts of climate change on the region;
• Presentation and strengthening of local underground culture, alternative scenes, counter-cultures, subcultures or protest movements.
The Festival of Regions is searching for contemporary and historical traces of events and conditions from the Salzkammergut region in order to give them a reality check.
International, national, regional, and local cultural workers and artists from all disciplines will work together to develop projects that unearth the needs, dreams, and
ideas of different groups of people in order to develop and present future visions for the region.
Festival of Regions and Salzkammergut European Capital of Culture 2024: Holding the festival in the region three years before the European Capital of Culture in 2024 should
enable a strengthening and deepening of the development of cultural work in the region. Important work processes such as capacity building, combined with the professionalization and internationalization of local cultural workers and artists in the runup to the Capital of Culture, will strengthen future projects. The Festival of Regions will simultaneously benefit from the networking activities in the region resulting from the application for the Capital of Culture.
Looking for CultureNauts
The Festival of Regions is looking for local and international cultural workers and artists, working in all disciplines, such as visual and performing arts, land art,
literature, media art, music, film, … These CultureNauts will explore the region and co-create the festival program with the artistic director.
The CultureNauts will – as mentioned below – develop their own projects and participate in collaborative projects with other CultureNauts through a series of joint research and project development phases. They will research and/or work with the local population, cultural initiatives and artists to identify:
• Narratives that need to be told;
• Taboos that should be discussed;
• Invisible stories that need to be made visible;
• Needs that must be addressed;
• Dreams that need to be fulfilled.
The outcomes – exhibitions, installations, theater or dance performances, concerts, art in public space, etc. – will be presented in the context of the Festival from June 25th to July 4th 2021. The budgets of the projects are to be developed in close collaboration with the General manager of the Festival.
Selected CultureNauts will take part in collaborative research and development phases from October 9–18th, 2020 (kick off and exchange between participants, initial development of project ideas), from January 18th to 31st, 2021 (presentation and project planning), and from May 10th, 2021 to the end of the festival (concrete preparation and execution of the projects). Additional individual project related stays could also be scheduled when necessary.
The Festival of Regions invites cultural workers and artists, with experience or an interest in collaborative and participatory working methods, to send us a proposal,
which should include the following:
• a detailed resume with active links to representative works (max. 2 pages);
• a letter of motivation addressing the scope of work, and the interest or
experience in collaborative and participatory working methods (max. 3.000 characters);
• a short description of the interest in the region and the approach to the festival topic (max. 3.000 characters);
• a declaration of availability for the time frames of the joint working periods and the festival itself;
• a good command of German and/or English is necessary.
Applications, in English or German, will be accepted by March 23rd, 2020.
For questions regarding the call, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Conditions: The Festival of Regions will cover travel and accommodation costs and will provide a stipend of 3,500€ for the work phase, development, and execution of the projects.
Selection process: The festival management and board will make a shortlist of selected applicants with the help of the independent advisory board. A final selection of the
advisory board‘s recommendations will be made by the artistic director. All decisions are made without legal prejudice.
Shortlisted CultureNauts will be contacted for individual interviews by mid-June 2020. The final list of CultureNauts will be informed by the end of June 2020.
About the region of Salzkammergut, Upper Austria
Bad Ischl and Inner Salzkammergut comprise the historical core of an old industrial region, where salt has been mined for millennia and where unique cultural traditions have developed. It is said that the people in this region have a certain level of unruliness, and this apt ascription seems to also be the case. It brings together an interesting mix of the stubbornness, often existing in the remoteness of the Alps, as well as an aversion to exploitation of any kind, typical for the region. There is a sense of justice, which has been rooted for centuries, that characterizes the people
of Inner Salzkammergut.
It is in this strange juncture that is both political and apolitical, conservative and liberal, that a group of people has emerged that opposes the turmoil of our time unfazed, or, to put it less romantically – who sometimes also tend toward a frugality and idleness. As is the case all over the world, economic processes and interdependencies do not cease to exist in this fog-free region of southern Upper Austria.
The real estate prices have been soaring boundlessly for years, with regional newspapers writing more about „quality beds“ than about establishing affordable living spaces. The commercialization of the imperial era in turn took on adventurous proportions with the development of new sporting events, restaurants, and business zones that took on the names of the „undead.“ All in all, it‘s „more of the same“ in the public space, which lacks the public arenas where small concerts, readings, dance, or visual art can take place.
We can thank the artists and cultural workers that placed these deficits on the agenda, addressing important issues in their successful application for the European Capital of Culture 2024. Despite the dominant clichés and spatial confinement, many different ways of living, dialects and languages, opinions and religions coexist. The region has repeatedly been fought over. Let us recall the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, which forced many people to emigrate – nevertheless, people have always managed to organize modes of inclusion and participation for displaced persons and immigrants – spanning across very different spaces with very different identities. Nearly everyone agrees on one thing: Inner Salzkammergut is a region where people enjoy living, despite the many hardships, where there is still an awareness of being together in solidarity: conserve and cooperate! That‘s not a given in a seemingly more complex and uncertain world, but perhaps an answer to the most pressing question of our time – the fair distribution of opportunities and resources, wealth and power.
Mario Friedwagner, Free Radio Salzkammergut