Curating a Festival | What We’re Looking For. — York Mediale


Curating a Festival | What We’re Looking For.

What we look for in an application when curating the festival?

York Mediale is a biennial, international media arts festival and celebration of York as the UK’s first and only UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts. The team runs a year-round programme of events and projects which merge digital technology and breath-taking art.

We are currently finalising plans for the 2020 festival which will take place 21 – 25 October. Over the next 12 months, we’ll bring the most exciting national and international visual, performing and digital artists to the city, developing world-first experiences for diverse audiences.

At York Mediale, we strive to bring the best emerging and established media arts talent to York and so our curation process is rigorous, providing a platform for only the best artists.

We select artists in a number of ways:

Our activity is delivered in partnership with local, national and international theatres, galleries, museums and music venues, so we work closely with these organisations on delivering their own aims and objectives. An artist with an idea that fits a space well, or demonstrates a connection to a collection, can open the door to new opportunities.

Open Calls
We often publish open calls via our website, and each will have an independent judging panel and criteria. Open calls can often bring high-quality artists to our attention that we may not otherwise have seen.

Sometimes we receive suggestions from our network of creative partners, other festivals or artists. We thoroughly consider every proposal we receive.

Ulungile Magubane performing eMBIZENI, Still We Rise © York Mediale
Ulungile Magubane performing eMBIZENI, Still We Rise © York Mediale
Token Homes © Charlotte Graham
Token Homes © Charlotte Graham

What do we look for?

We want to see ambition and creativity, inspired ideas and fresh thinking. Proposals with a narrative explaining why the work is timely and important, what it says to an audience and the thematic challenges it might present are most exciting to us.

It’s useful for us to gain some context around an artist – can we see some of their portfolio? Are there references we might know? This is to prove that the artist’s work is of quality and that they can handle a project of the scale they suggest in their proposal.

A pragmatic approach and scoped budget, which includes set-up, maintenance, contingency and staff, is an important aspect of any submission, but we do not expect artists to be fully fledged producers – that’s our job. I would say however, if you have an idea of how to fund a project, match-funding and/or partners already in place, this will add weight to your submission.

As a festival, we don’t have unlimited time, venues or resources (far from it!). Any submission should come with plenty of time to deliberate its merits.
Diversity is crucial for us and we want to see artists who can show they value this in their own work. We aim to select artists who have different perspectives and backgrounds.

Fair pay for artists is also something we strive for and we will want to see this reflected in your budget. We fight against the idea that doing something you love means you shouldn’t be paid for your skills.

To stay up to date with the latest news and opportunities, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and sign up to our mailing list below.