Call For Submissions: The Rhubarb Festival

The 2021 Rhubarb Festival (February 2021)
Call for Submissions
Deadline: 5:00 pm on Friday, September 4, 2020
Thank you applicants — the application period is now closed.

Festival Director: Clayton Lee
Curatorial Collective: Van Lisa, Theresa Cutknife, Clayton Lee

Quick links:

A Mission Statement
A Note on Process
Submission Guidelines
Office Hours + Session Notes

We are currently seeking proposals for the 2021 Rhubarb Festival. The Rhubarb Festival provides artists with the space and support to create new works that are grounded in experimentation, that resist, respond, adapt, mutate, and challenge the status quo. The Curatorial Collective returns with Van Lisa, Theresa Cutknife, and Festival Director Clayton Lee with the continued support of Native Earth Performing Arts and Workman Arts.

This year, Rhubarb is proposing an alternative: the creation of a physical performative publication that attempts to capture the energy of Rhubarb and, perhaps, recreate the live performance experience itself. And, if we’re able to have a physical, in-person Festival in February, then for the artists to potentially use the publication as an object to activate their works.

We are throwing ourselves into the unknown and we intend to work individually and collectively with the selected artists to imagine what this publication can become. In our own nascent stages of planning, we’ve been dreaming about: scores, direct actions, descriptions of performances, physical interventions, call and responses, blueprints, essays, languages, translations, accessibility, audio books, audio walks, urban space, digital addenda, invisibility, visibility, utopia, instructions, inclusion riders, and, ultimately, disruptions to the status quo. This is merely the start of our process, and we invite interested artists to build and imagine the possibilities with us.

Selected projects will be featured during the Festival and, as always, will receive technical, production, promotional, and artistic support. This year for the first time, we will be working with a per-project funding model of at least $1,000, as we work to create more equitable and sustainable standards of pay across our sector.

A Mission Statement

Solitary leadership is long-obsolete; the Rhubarb curatorial collective ushers in a new path forward, an experiment in radical governance that thrives with continual growth. Our model of collective leadership is intentionally horizontal, democratic, and discussion-based, where the director and co-curators share equal decision-making power. Transparency, accountability, flexibility, responsiveness, and artistic integrity are our key collective values. Our mission will continue to adapt based on the community’s needs, and our team and institutional supports will continue to return to it, to hold each other in accountability and transformation.

Tania Bruguera paid homage to Audre Lorde’s seminal text when she wrote that “art is not a luxury.” If neither art nor poetry are luxuries, then they are necessary means for survival, for changing the status quo. The Rhubarb Festival is annually produced by Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, and aims to critically engage with the gaps, by: seeking diverse representation in our leadership; drawing voices from the periphery into the centre; emphasizing process over product and providing ongoing supports, in resistance to elitism; learning from call-ins and grassroots social movements; and visioning beyond professional development, forging a community of care.

A Note on Process:

If the idea of a Festival as physical performative publication piques your interest, we want to hear from you. The application process, however, looks different this year. Because of the nature of the 2021 Rhubarb Festival, we’re not looking for project-specific proposals. We want to know about you: your practice, your questions, your obsessions, and your contemplations. While we encourage you to think about the prompt, we are instead, at this phase, focusing on you as an artist or as a collective. In the second phase of the process, we will meet with a number of artists to discuss what their project within the context of the performative publication will look like.

Submission Guidelines

Performative Publication
Deadline: 5:00 pm on Friday, September 4, 2020

Click here to apply.

1. Artistic Practice (1000 words max)

We want to know about you and your practice. Please use all the questions below to guide and organize your thoughts:

2. Support Materials

We want a sense of your previous work. Please send through links to archival photos or videos or text or script samples that you feel are relevant to your body of work. Please specify time stamps as needed. We will spend at least 5 minutes going through your support materials.

Reading Fee

This year, instead of the typical $20 Reading Fee, we’re instead asking you to make a suggested donation of at least $20 to either an organization of your own choosing or one of the following organizations we love:

Please attach a digital receipt with your application.

If the donation is a barrier to applying, please write to clayton@buddiesinbadtimes.com by August 28, 2020.

If you have any questions about the Festival or your application, prefer alternate methods of submission (different languages, recorded video/audio, etc.) or need support to complete your application, please contact:

Clayton Lee // Festival Director

Office Hours

Over the next few weeks, in advance of the submission deadline, the Curatorial Collective will be holding Office Hour sessions to provide more context for this year’s call, and to take feedback and engage in dialogues about the submission guidelines, the curatorial structure, and the mission statement.

Past session + notes:
Thursday, August 13, 5-6PM (Notes from Session)
Tuesday, August 15, 2-3PM (Notes from Session)
Wednesday, September 2, 7-8PM (Notes from Session)