Open Call ECHO Academies:
@Bitola, North Macedonia, 18 September – 08 October 2023
As a part of the ECHO Academies Project, a Creative Europe initiative under the direction of Inter Alia, SFERA International is releasing an open call for 10 musicians to enroll in the ECHO Academy in Bitola, North Macedonia. The project aims to nurture talents, build capacities, create networks, allow synergies, and expand the visibility of artistic works on a cross-national and international level.
The 10 selected artists that will join the ECHO academy in Bitola will research the ritual song heritage of the Bitola region, songs about the calendar cycle, life cycle, pagan holidays, and other traditional holidays, and as a result, develop music pieces. Bitola has a rich music tradition (both traditional and modern or contemporary music), like the rest of North Macedonia and the Macedonia region. Macedonian traditional music includes rural and urban branches and expressions and, among other things, ritual songs. In addition, the “Hidrellez” spring celebration, the beginning of spring cultural practices, the “Glasoechko” singing, and the “Kopachkata” dance belong to the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage list.
The ritual songs of the Bitola region will serve as inspiration for musicians to create traditional, modern, or contemporary music. Artists will get to visit music historians, attend celebrations that include traditional music, and meet with fellow musicians from Bitola in order to research and get inspiration for their work.
Each artist must create a concept for a musical piece at the conclusion of the academy that draws inspiration from Macedonian ritual songs and knowledge gained during the study visits planned during the three-week period in Bitola.
The top 3 artists will be awarded (1st place: €3000; 2nd place: €2000; 3rd place: €1000) for recording their music pieces.
Dates: 18 September – 08 October 2023
- Artistic field: music
- Heritage element: ritual songs of Bitola region
- Participants: young, emerging or/and low-experienced artists from the field of music aged 18-35.
- Deliverables: Music Pieces due to October ’23
Eligibility and supported projects
Who is eligible?
- Applicants that are legal residents in the countries within the Creative Europe framework and non-EU countries of the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia). The selection of the ten (10) participating artists will consist of 5 artists from the EU and 5 artists from the Western Balkan.
- young, emerging or/and low-experienced artists from the field of music aged between 18 and 35.
- Good English language communication skills, as the working language is English.
- All applicants need to have contacts with an organisation from their country that will work with them on developing their music piece if selected for funding.
What we offer: Participant opportunities and support
What we will provide:
- Exposure through ECHO Academies’ dissemination and engagement activities, such as announcements, networking and events, social media, video and photo documentation, and general promotion of ECHO Academies’ work through its large partner network.
- A cross-border and cross-disciplinary opportunity for exchange and artistic enrichment with fellow artists across Europe, including activities with partners and collaborators.
- Professional development support and in-depth knowledge of ECHO Academies’ core topics, provided by experts and specialists and facilitation by academic researchers, and project partners.
- The accommodation and travel expenses, and the per diem costs of the selected creatives are supported by the Project during their stay in Bitola.
- Mentorship programme on project development from ideas to implementation, and consultations for marketability. `
- Three winning projects will receive monetary awards for project implementation – 1000 EUR for the creative individual and 2000 EUR for each local micro-organization whom the winner will work with.
- Additional award after the project’s implementation based on an expert jury evaluation for the 1st and 2nd winning places.
What we expect
What we ask from participants:
- Participation: We expect that selected creatives will participate in the ECHO Academies’ events, including the Academy in Bitola and the final event. Please note that attendance at the Academy in Bitola will last for 21 days in total.
- Attendance: The selected creatives are expected to attend and engage in online mentoring meetings, consultancy sessions, two online forum events, online progress reviews and contribute to the project’s reporting.
- Engagement: Creatives must be committed to ECHO Academies’ objectives. As success depends on the activation and engagement of European audiences, creatives are encouraged to support ECHO Academies’ general communication by using their personal and professional communication channels and networks.
- Commitment: A private agreement with the hosting organization, will define the terms and conditions of their participation in the academy. In any case, the participants will be asked to grant all necessary rights for the dissemination of their work in any activities directly related to this Project.
Application timeline, key dates
- May 25: Launch of Open Call
- July 1: Application deadline
- During August: Selected artists are notified
Selection process for the 10 creatives
- A Selection Committee will review applications based on the applicants’ body of work and quality, relevance, concept suitability & feasibility, and the strength of motivation and commitment to the topic and to the objectives of the Project.
- Finalists may be invited for interviews with ECHO Academies staff.
- Notification of programme acceptance and entry will occur in September 2023.
Key dates for the 10 selected creatives:
- 18 September – 8 October 2023: physical presence in Bitola is between 18 September – 8 October 2023, with arrival and departure days.
Optional dates for the 10 selected creatives:
- October, 2023: Capacity Building Activities – Participants of the Academy have the chance to attend on the international online lectures
Key Dates for the three winners of the Academy in Bitola
- Winter 2023-2024: Online mentoring sessions for the three winners of the Academy.
- March 2024 – November 2024: Three winning creatives will work on their pilot projects to implement them at their country of residence.
- February 2024: First Forum Event – Good Practices, panel with the three winners of the Academy and international speakers
- November 2024: Second Forum Event – Feedback of the practises of the three winners used for the project implementation period that they gained in the First Forum Event.
- November 2024: Open Event – Final Event in the country of the three winners and showcase of implemented pilot projects.
How to apply
All applicants must submit the following documents in English via the online application:
Motivation letter which describes your project idea and how your participation in the academy will benefit you, or how your project idea relates to your participation in the academy.
- All applicants need to propose a micro-organization with whom they will work together in the project implementation period if successful
- Anticipated material needs
- Link to applicant’s website and/or submission of selected work samples
- Curriculum vitae
- All submissions must be sent digitally through the Application Link
Notification of Results
The selected individuals will be informed of the outcome and may be asked to provide further relevant information. They will be requested to sign a document of commitment regarding their work with the team and their participation in the ECHO Academies Project activities. Unsuccessful applicants will be informed of the outcome of the process as well.
Contact and further information:
Milcho Duli, firstname.lastname@example.org
Katerina Popovska email@example.com
ECHO ACADEMIES’ grounding
ECHO Academies, based on the experience of implementing “ECHO: European Cultural Heritage Onstage”, “ECHO II: Traditions in Transition” and “ECHO III: For Memory’s Sake”, address issues of visibility, networking, employability, and opportunities to enter the art market for new European talents. For that purpose, it uses heritage as an inspirational tool, building on the values of European and global perceptions of heritage.
Having an EU and non-EU Balkan Region exchange focus and character, ECHO Academies aims to:
– Cultivate and nurture young and emerging European talents from the fields of arts and the CCS in order to enhance resilience through monothematic, small-scale creative academies in the fields of comics, fashion design, music, photography and architecture by exploring different expressions of European heritage.
– Offer training opportunities and build capacities for artists and CCS professionals in order to improve employability through Capacity Building Activities (CBAs) that offer new tools and skills.
– Create networks between artists and CCS professionals with the art market by facilitating networking and synergy-building that will help artists generate jobs and growth, and
– Promote artists and their work on the international level in order to increase opportunities and outreach by supporting them in terms of resources in the implementation of pilot projects for selected academies’ artists in order to generate jobs and growth and by performing targeted communication and dissemination of the artists, their artworks, and projects internationally.
ECHO Academies is co-funded by the European Union under the Creative Europe Programme and will run until December 2024. ECHO Academies is implemented by an experienced consortium led by Inter Alia, a civic non-profit organization based in Athens that is active in the cultural and creative sector, joined by Sfera International, North Macedonia’s association working in education, using several methods and about the protection of the environment, cultural and natural heritage; Open Space Foundation based in Sofia with the aim to support and promote cultural dialogue and relationships and focuses on engaging artists into projects with social causes; Pro Progressione, a Budapest-based artistic hub specializing in international cultural collaborations; and CUMEDIAE, a Brussels-based international non-profit agency providing consultancy services for Europe’s Cultural and Creative Industries.
With financial support of EU program Creative Europe