This March, a delegation of artists from Manchester and the North West will travel to Budapest to meet with artist-led projects and experience the Hungarian capital’s grassroots art scene. The trip is being made possible thanks to eight funded places supported by Castlefield Gallery’s Lee Artists’ International Bursary Fund and a-n The Artists Information Company.

Led by Castlefield Gallery with assistance from a-n, the artists’ delegation is the first of several partnership projects that the two organisations intend to deliver between 2018-2019, providing support and talent development for artists in the North West.

Taking place between 17 – 24 March 2018, participants on the delegation will each receive a per diem of £40 per day for the eight-day trip, as well as accommodation and return travel. There are four places specifically available to North West-based a-n Artist or Joint (Artist and Arts Organiser) members.

One of the aims of the delegation is to experience how artists respond to sudden political and social shifts. In particular, it will learn how the Hungarian art scene has evolved since 2012, when the country’s sharp political shift to the right brought immediate infringements to cultural freedoms and opportunities.

“It was a deeply worrying time for artists,” says a-n’s director, Jeanie Scott. “What’s come out of that though has been a burgeoning of artist-led activity and activism, particularly in Budapest – the government has made it difficult, but there is a tight, strong and quite determined network of artists there.”

The delegation will travel by train, allowing for an overnight stay in Munich with visits to a number of galleries and artist-led projects. Once in Budapest there will be five days of tours and encounters with galleries and artist-run projects, including a visit to the artists’ town of Szentendre.

The journey, organised by Jane Lawson, the gallery’s CG Associates coordinator, has been conceived of as a mini-residency in itself – a chance to delve into aspects of contemporary European art and its historical and sociopolitical contexts.

“It’s a great opportunity, particularly at the moment, in the current political climate,” says Scott. “I hope it will be a rewarding experience for the artists selected – with valuable insights to sustaining an arts practice amid significant political, social and economic change.”

Details on how to apply are available on the Castlefield Gallery website. The deadline for applications is 12 noon, Monday 22 January 2018

1. Budapest, Hungary, March 2017. Photo: Oliver Spall

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