Dealing with the present and imagining the future: a letter to our community

Dear residents,

Over the past few weeks, we have been overtaken by a reality in which the Corona virus is once again circulating more intensively. Workspacebrussels subscribes to the fundamental public interest of a professionally operating healthcare sector, which cannot get through this period unharmed without the care, precaution and solidarity of all the other sectors. As a cultural organisation, we do not feel elevated above this reality.

For ourselves and for the artists with whom we work, this means that in the coming months we will have to learn to live with a state of uncertainty. As an organisation for development and creation, we don’t want to allow ourselves to be completely paralysed by this new reality. The central question in our current conversations is therefore: How do we collectively safeguard space for artistic research, imagination and creation outside the classical framework of closed studio spaces and international tours?

Within workspacebrussels we opt for a conscious process of slowing down and for dialogue. Today of all times is not the time to let ourselves be led by the pressure of ever-shifting studio planning or to cling to old ways of working. Together with all the artists we enter into a dialogue about a meaningful continuation of their research, practice or project. Which shape and form do they feel is both necessary and possible? And how can a small organisation like workspacebrussels support them as agile as possible?

We do not say goodbye to the studio residencies. Where a studio residency is necessary, we will make it possible within the applicable government regulations. But we keep a part of the budget and our energy free for the unexpected, the unplanned, the other. This choice is in line with our belief in the open artistic horizon that is needed to allow breathing space, imagination and mental resilience.

For the time being, this means the following:

  • We are committed to engaging in an open dialogue with all the artists in the current 2020-2021 residency programme about possible ideas and (side-)paths for their artistic practice or project.
  • With regret for all the artists who have invested time and energy in drawing up a dossier, we have to announce that we will not be able to process the applications under the open call of 1 October 2020 under the conditions announced at the time. We will read all the dossiers with care and love in the coming months, but are currently not planning any additional residencies in our studios and ateliers. We will take the time to work out a new strategy and will contact all the artists involved personally by mid-December.
  • In 2021, we would normally start up new two-year artistic trajectories. We will postpone these trajectories and use our budget flexibly and on a tailor-made basis for research, experimentation and creation.

Take care of each other!

October 29, 2020