Writing Art History Since 2002

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Exploration in site-based practices


OPENLab 2016, Scott Eric Williams, (Photo courtesy of Paul Gazzola)OPENLab 2016, Scott Eric Williams. Courtesy of Paul Gazzola.


OPENLab 2018 is the third, bi-annual laboratory for early and mid-career artists and creative practitioners in South Africa interested in making art in the public realm. It is an open and intensive residency platform aimed to generate new strategies and ideas in site specific, experimental and interdisciplinary practice.

OPENLab is part of the Program for Innovation in Artform Development (PIAD), an experimental arts and community engaged initiative of the Vrystaat Arts Festival and University of the Free State (UFS), generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

OPENLab 2018 will take place over 12 days from 11–22 July 2018 at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein alongside the Vrystaat Art Festival. It will also involve a weeklong studio held at Modern Art Projects (MAP), Richmond in the Northern Cape.

Up to 14 Artists from across South Africa are invited to take part in the Lab, led by a team of national and international facilitators including Paul Gazzola (Australia, Interdisciplinary Artist & Curator), Ella Zeigler (Germany, Interdisciplinary Artist & Curator) and Sethembile Msezane (South Africa – Visual Artist).

The opportunity is open to creative practitioners working in the visual arts, live art, performance, architecture, fashion, dance, new media, sound art, design, community arts and other creative pursuits.

Participating artists will explore diverse approaches to site-based practices and gain new knowledge in how to work across disciplines and contexts. Activities include concept and design development, interdisciplinary performance strategies, socially engaged art making, the body as site, audience interactivity and intercultural dialogue with an emphasis on collaborative processes and critical thinking.

OPENLab is a nurturing, supportive and responsive space for artists and facilitators to exchange, share and explore new ideas. It is an is investment in future practices, creative networks and professional development.


Openlab 2016, MAPSA Richmond, Northern CapeOpenlab 2016, MAPSA Richmond, Northern Cape.


Successful applicants to the OPENLab 2018 will:

• Attend Arts Lab from 11 July – 22 July 2018 in Bloemfontein and Richmond

• Participate in artist talks and forum

• Receive tickets to Vrystaat Art Festival events

• Be provided with travel, accommodation and catering


Applications open: Wednesday 4 April 2018

Applications Due: Midnight, Friday 4 May 2018

Arts Lab: 11 July – 22 July 2018


Applications outcomes announced on website: 4 June 2018

For more information and to download an application please visit: www.vrystaatartsfestival.co.za

For all programme enquiries please contact: OPENLab, Palesa Motsumi, PIAD Coordinator, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein.

T: +27514017232

E: MotsumiPS@ufs.ac.za


Eligibility: Applicants must be South African citizens or have permanent resident status in South Africa. As this is an opportunity for early and mid-career artists, applicants must be practicing artists or creative practitioners. While you may not regularly earn income from your practice, you must be identified and recognised by your peers as practicing artists or creative practitioners. (See APPLICATION FORM & FAQ’s in the website for more details).


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