ON-AiR 2010-2012: A European “Tool for Artists”
ON-AiR was an exceptionally fruitful collaborative workshop- and training project about artist-in-residence (AiR) opportunities and other mobility programs, funded by the European Commission’s Culture Programme.
A total of 19 artist-in-residence centers, art education institutes, municipalities, and artists-run-initiatives in 15 European countries worked together from May 2010 through April 2012. Nearly each month a workshop took place at one of these partners’ organizations. In addition each half year a seminar was organized for all partner organizations, to discuss and improve the workshop program, and to present and distribute its results.
The ON-AiR project aimed to provide artists throughout Europe with equal intelligence, skills and practical tools to select, access and participate in AiR programs and other cultural mobility schemes. The basic values all partners shared were: equality and reciprocity.
As project leader, Trans Artists, the Amsterdam based knowledge centre on cultural mobility and artist-in-residence opportunities, worked together with all the partners to set up a project structure in order to guarantee equality among all the partners, while the EU programme guidelines on defining categories of associate and co-organising partners were respected.
Evaluator Judith Staines (Evaluation Report ON-AiR, May 2012) rightly points out: “the aim was to run a democratic and inclusive project , giving equal weight to the contributions of partners with very different levels of institutional status and budget, varied perspectives and experience” (Staines 2012, p. 25). The high number and diversity among the partners, which was exceptional for a European cultural project, proved to be fruitful and challenging. For instance through their collaborations ” ‘stronger’ institutional partners realised that they had a lot to learn from the creativity, commitment and experience of those smaller, ‘less stable’ organisations and structures” (ibidem, p. 26).
The ON-AiR website functioned as a platform of exchange between all partners, and as a growing source of experience and expertise for artists. The printed ON-AiR manual formed the back-bone of all the workshops. The ON-AiR book, published and distributed during the final stage of the project, includes practical information as well as in-depth essays on cultural mobility by experts in art theory and cultural management.
Judith Staines has pointed out ten success factors of the ON-AiR project, not only to point out the success of this project, but also to give direction to future collaborative projects with a high amount and diversity of partners. These success factors include: a solid foundation and preparation, an experienced team leader, a high degree of transparency, ongoing self-evaluation, and a willingness to listen and learn.
The project leader was: Trans Artists
The six project co-organisers were:
Workshop Foundation (Hungary)
The City of Göteborg in partnership with Konstepidemin (Sweden)
UNITER The Romanian Association of Theatre Artists (Romania)
K2 Contemporary Art Association (Turkey)
KOC University (Turkey)
Frans Masereel Centre (Belgium)
The ten associate partners were:
Pépinières Österreich (Austria)
City of Munich & Platform 3 (Germany)
Circuito Giovani Artisti Italiani – GAI (Italy)
ARTEZ, art and education & City of Enschede (Netherlands)
Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle (Poland)
Clube Português de Artes e Ideias – CPAI (Portugal)
Stanica Žilina, Banska Stiavnica Contemporary (Slovakia)
Artservis, SCCA (Slovenia)
The Glasgow School of Art (United Kingdom)