This is a call open to artists, architects and designers to take part in the BASHKË ART CAMP, from the 9th to the 16thof September 2018 in the historic center of Gjirokastra in Albania.
BASHKË ART CAMP is one of the actions of the project “Bashkë: let’s create our spaces!”. The project originated in 2017 thanks to the fortunate encounter between two different organizations: the Rete delle Case del Quartiere APS (Turin - Italy) and the Gjirokastra Foundation (Gjirokastra - Albania).
What is Bashkë?
The word Bashkë means “together” in Albanian and perfectly explains the core of our project: building communities together. How? Through culture! In our project artists and locals will play a leading role by being involved in a process of mutual learning and sharing experiences, crossing borders, developing together a “place to be”.
This open call is part of an artistic and cultural project developed by the Gijrokastra Foundation and the Rete delle Case del Quartiere under the framework of the programme Tandem Europe. Tandem is not just a project, it is a learning process between two entities that chose to work together, to grow by learning from
each other using the powerful tool of culture to bring social innovation to their communities. “Bashkë: let’s create our spaces!” is participating to the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.
For more information:
The project is funded by Tandem Europe, a network of cultural organizations all over Europe that aim to use culture to foster social change and bring innovation to communities. Tandem Europe is an initiative developed by European Cultural Foundation and MitOst e.V. together with Fondazione Cariplo with additional financial support from Robert Bosch Stiftung and Stavros Niarchos Foundation. It is implemented together with 4iS (Aveiro, Portugal), COMM’ON (Athens, Greece) and Ideas Factory (Sofia, Bulgaria).
What are we looking for?
We are looking for candidates from Albania, Italy and all Europe who will take part in the BASHKË ART CAMP as a highly motivated, passionate and creativity - driven group. The group will consist of artists, architects and designers, that will work closely with the local community in order to co-built an artistic project with selected artisans and craft masters from Gijrokastra. The artistic project will be presented during the National Fair of Crafts and Heritage 2018 that will take place between 14th and 16th September in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Gjirokastra, Albania.
Applicants must be at least 18 years old - there is no upper age limit for the program. A sufficient level of English is required.
The BASHKË ART CAMP
Through a series of fieldworks, local-led tours and meetings with the community organized by the Gijrokastra Foundation and with the involvement of different actors, the participants will have the opportunity to co-create an artistic project with the local artisans. They will have the change to collaborate with each other, to deeply discover this fascinating Albanian site, full of history and popular traditions. The artists will live for 7 days in renewed historic buildings in the city center of Gjirokastra, directly in contact with local groups, associations and citizens.
The artistic project will be part of the National Fair of Crafts and Heritage 2018, a Festival that since 2007 is bringing new life to the city and to its heritage. The Fair of Gjirokastra has been organized regularly at the end of September, during the Cultural Heritage Days. Every year more than 100 individuals and organizations from all over Albania and Kosovo, participate in the activities organized for three days in the Historic Center and Medieval Bazaar of Gjirokastra. The Fair includes usually various activities dedicated to different aspects of preservation and development of heritage and handicrafts, folk and food festivals.
The BASHKË ART CAMP is:
an opportunity: the artist will work on a project in close cooperation with local artisans, exchanging ideas, learning new skills through a mutual training and an intercultural dialogue
a competition: the artists will have to design the project in 3 full-immersion days of work directly on-site. The proposals will be evaluated then by a selected jury, which will declare the winner that will realize the project with the selected artisans from Gijrokastra.
All applications will be reviewed by a selection jury made up of art professionals, representatives from the Gjirokastra Foundation and the Rete delle Case del Quartiere. During the Camp will be organised a public moment when the artists will present their project to the jury and general public. The decision of the winner is in unquestionable opinion of the jury.
1. Embroidery and textile
GjiroArt is a artisan centre and a shop in Gjirokastra’s Old Bazaar that features authentic Albanian handicrafts and products, available both for locals and for visitors. The Gjirokastra Foundation has initiated its Artisan Programme in 2007 with the opening of the GjiroArt Artisan Shop and creating step by step the centre in order to revitalize the historic bazaar of Gjirokastra and to promote inclusion among vulnerable women of the city.
Projects like GjiroArt demonstrates that arts and crafts have a future in Albania, and gives back a leading role in the market to authentic Albanian handicrafts embroideries and textile products. GjiroArt gives work to many local women and fostered the protection of Gjirokastra’s intangible heritage.
2. Wood and stone carvings
Wood and stone are the two main materials used to build and decorate traditional Gjrokastrite houses. The city has been well-known in southern Albania for its craftsmen mastering complex carving techniques. Every main room of each traditional house, called “Oda” shows fine examples of ceilings and furniture extensively decorated with traditional motifs, created thanks to techniques and knowledge that have been transmitted from generation to generation for centuries.
Between the sea and the land, situated at the border with Greece, Gjirokastra is an authentic hidden gems where people can breath history and live an immersive experience.
The BASHKË ART CAMP offers a unique opportunity to live an unforgettable enriching experience in the historic centre of Gjirokastra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Known as the “city of a thousand steps” or “the city of stone”, Gjirokastra is a rare example of a well-preserved Ottoman town. Its main feature consists of exceptional examples of vernacular architecture: hundreds of Ottoman- style tower family houses with distinctive stone roofs, wooden balconies and whitewashed stonewalls.
Dominated by the sheer flanks of its vast castle, Gjirokastra is a magical city with a tumultuous past. From feudal stronghold to Ottoman jewel to Italian colony, the city has known many rulers throughout history and has inspired poets, authors and artists. For more than fifteen years the Gjirokastra Foundation is working with the local community and main stakeholders to keep this unique site alive and to protect its heritage. As a result, the Gjirokastra Foundation renewed several traditional houses with the aim to create new spaces for the community.
Trained Wood and Stone Craftsmen of Gjirokastra
The history of Gjirokastra has always been related to its local stone and wood craftsmen who have created this extraordinary built heritage. In the early 20th century Gjirokastra was an important crafts centre in southern Albania, counting more than 400 workshops only in the bazaar area.
After having been declared a “Museum City” in 1961, 100 skilled craftsmen were employed for the continuing restoration and maintenance works needed to preserve the historic buildings.
After 1991, due to economic and political instability, many craftsmen emigrated and house owners did not have the resources to maintain the historical houses. As a result, the city lost the incentive and skills to maintain its historic buildings, which got abandoned or collapsed. After the site inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List, a revitalization of the historic centre of Gjirokastra and its traditional craftsmanship activities slowly started.
The aim of the festival is to raise awareness about intangible heritage, with a particular focus on traditional skills and craftsmanship techniques.
Every year, more than 100 artists and artisans participate in the National Fair of Crafts and Heritage, which is organised in the cobble streets of the Old Bazaar of Gjirokastra. During the festival, round tables and workshops allow participants to exchange skills, learn techniques and share knowledge. On this occasion, many events for the promotion of local heritage take place, such as traditional dances and folk music performances, costumes exhibitions, and food festivals with typical products of the area.
The Gjrokastra Foundation
The Gjirokastra Foundation is an Albanian non-government and not-for-profit organization, established in 2001. Registered in the Court of Tirana in 2004, its mission is the sustainable development of the Albanian UNESCO World Heritage Site of Gjirokastra/Berat based on their cultural heritage.
The Gjirokastra Foundation is one of the prestigious not-for-profit organisations in Albania, which has demonstrated good examples of restoration and revitalisation of the built heritage in historic centres and in the region. In the recent years, the Gjirokastra Foundation has implemented activities and projects which have aimed: to raise awareness and advocate, nationally and internationally, for the exceptional cultural values of Gjirokastra and Berat (UNESCO World Heritage Site inscription); to preserve and develop the built heritage and as well intangible heritage; to encourage sustainable economic regeneration, by supporting new cultural businesses and development of new attractions based on cultural heritage.
The Rete delle Case del Quartiere
The Rete delle Case del Quartiere APS is a network, based in Turin (Italy) born in 2012, made up of eight non-profit organisations. They manage open and public spaces placed in eight different districts, in which it is possible to express collective experiences thought the actions of citizens’ participation and self-organization.
They promote initiatives involving formal and informal group of citizens and associations, answering to social, cultural/intercultural and economical needs; developing practices of good neighbourhood and active citizenship.Critères de sélection
Participants will benefit from seven days residence fee covered, including:
- transports from Tirana to Gjirokastra and vice-versa,
- all materials for the realization of the project,
- and accommodation.
Participants will be host by the Gjirokastra Foundation in a revitalized traditional ottoman house in the historic center of Gjirokastra. The organizers will arrange a dedicated working space with drawing boards, electricity and Wi-Fi access. Other drawing instruments will be freely admitted but not provided. The use of any digital support is free. Participants attending will be responsible for their round trip travel costs to and from Tirana (Albania). The organization will fully cover the travel expenses for two international artists identified by the jury in the selection phase.
For more information:
Terms of participation
Artists, architects and designers, with no sex or nationality constraints, may participate.
Although not being a binding requirement, a basic knowledge of English may be beneficial, in order to facilitate communication and ideas exchange with non- Albanian speakers.
Participants will be selected by a jury comprised of three members of the organizing institutions, of different profession, sex and age. Selected participants will be contacted via email and/or call after the 22th of August 2018.
Outcomes will be publish on the web site
The decision of selection is in unquestionable opinion of the jury. By submitting the application form the candidates will undertake to agree with the decision of the jury.
- attachment application.doc file filled with the candidate data, the Motivation Letter and the work methodology of the candidate.
The Motivation Letter consists in a brief essay (max. 500 words), written by the candidate, which illustrates his/her motivation to attend the camp.
The work methodology consists in a brief essay (max. 500 words) which illustrates any work or study experiences in multidisciplinary environments, his/her expectations and personal interest in the specific field of this announcement.
- Portfolio (if present)
The candidate will submit by e-mail his/her application.doc (in English only) conveniently filled, the cv and the portfolio (if available),
to firstname.lastname@example.org by noon on 20th August 2018.
The e-mail subject will be “BASHKË ART CAMP participation”, followed by the NAME and the SURNAME of the candidate.
The Bashkë Camp will take place from the 9th to the 16thof September 2018 and the programme will include the following activities:
- welcoming and ice-break activities
- meeting with the locals (artisans and local traditional businesses) and public confrontations
- observation activities (spaces / community / tradition / tales)
- design workshop activities
- project realisation of the selected project
We look forward to welcome you in Gjirokastra!!!