Visual Arts Submissions

Visual Arts Programme


Deadline for receiving UK and European based artists applications: 24 December 2018, 11pm
Festival Dates: 2-6th July, 2019

BE FESTIVAL begins to plan for its 10th anniversary and we feel that 2019 will be an important moment, not only to celebrate this milestone for the festival but to reflect on the past 10 years.

Over the last editions we have focused on different key themes that were relevant to the current situation of the world, and would open a space for new ways of seeing and debate. Themes such as Currency, Democracy and Physical & Imaginary borders.

In looking back, we hope we can bring a new perspective as we move forward. Using our chosen theme of archive and memory, we invite artists to reflect on the processes we humans use to shape the past; to interrogate the narratives of our collective memory that create our stories and shape our histories.

Europe has faced many changes in the last decade. Increasing inequality, the rise of the far right, fake news, all these facets that are shaping landscapes of uncertainty in a world that is constantly changing. The European identity is in question while facing an urgency to manage a humanitarian and environmental crisis with thousands of people leaving their homes seeking a safer place to live in Europe.

We believe Art offers a possibility to tell our stories, to unveil the unspoken and rethink the the future looking retrospectively. Combining the individual memory, the social memory and the collective memory, to make sense of these things to help understand where we are now.

BE FESTIVAL is Birmingham’s annual summer festival of international arts. It aims to uncover exciting artists, theatre makers and companies making work across Europe and bring them together for a week-long celebration of theatre, dance, circus, site-specific and visual arts.

The visual arts programme at BE dedicates a two-year cycle to exploring a particular theme and open submissions bi-annually. We see visual arts as an essential tool to inspire alternative answers to socio-political challenges. We believe that art practice must always question the world we live in. We facilitate a working arts laboratory that explores the conjunction of arts, politics and economics in an attempt to uncover and proffer innovative and experimental responses.

Who can apply?

Any visual artists from different cultures, backgrounds and practices from UK and Europe can apply. BE FESTIVAL’s visual arts programme can support three visual artists based in the UK and one visual artist based anywhere in Europe.

UK-based Visual Artists’ Exhibition (2-6 July 2019)

The visual artists will be selected from different visual arts disciplines (digital, performance, video, installation, etc) and will exhibit their work during the festival to international audiences.

Their approach to the theme will serve as a catalyst to one of the panel discussions at the festival, in which all three artists will take part. Selected artists will be provided with accommodation, meals, transport to Birmingham and free access to all festival performances, workshops, feedback sessions and discussions. There is a bursary available for material costs to be discussed as part of your proposal and a minimum fee of £500 for each of the three projects.

European Visual Artist Residency (2-6th July 2019– residency and exhibition in 2020)

The successful applicant will be invited to attend BE 2019 for an initial research residency. This visit is an opportunity to draw inspiration from the programme, the festival, the city and  the theme of archive and memory. The visual arts residency will begin the following year and the new visual arts project will be presented at BE FESTIVAL 2020.

The selected artist will be provided with accommodation, meals, all travel costs and free access to all performances, workshops, feedback sessions and discussions.

In 2020, a two-week residency will be provided prior to the festival (dates to be agreed, however installation must take place in the week leading up to the festival and you must be available for this period). There is money available for material costs to be discussed as part of your proposal and a fee in the second year of the residency of £800.

Take a look at the spaces available at BE FESTIVAL: Download Spaces at BE Specs

How to apply?

Download the Visual Arts 2019/2020 Application: HERE

Download the Artist in Residency 2019/2020 Application: HERE