a natural oasis?

OPEN CALL | A Natural Oasis?

A Transnational Research Programme

2022-2023 IV edition

OPEN CALL | A Natural Oasis? A Transnational Research Programme 2022-2023 IV edition

Long-term training and research programme open to curators, writers and artistic researchers under 35

Deadline May 6th, 2022, 1 pm (CEST)

Promoted and developed by

BJCEM – Biennale of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean

in collaboration with


Ministry of Culture


Réseau Ecole(s) du Sud (MIRAMAR)


Sardegna Film Commission


The Cultural Cooperative Association for Youth in Theatre and Cinema – SHAMS


Fluks- Center for Young Arts

Republic of Cyprus

Ministry of Education Culture, Sport and Youth, Cultural Services


A Natural Oasis? is a two years nomadic free school dedicated to the development of new curatorial research paths in the field of contemporary visual and performing arts starting from the geopolitical peculiarities of the artistic scenes of those Southeuropean and Mediterranean territories which are commonly considered remote, marginal, small, insular or liminal.

Founded in 2013 thanks to the support of BJCEM and its partners, the program has been imagined and designed by Alessandro Castiglioni and Simone Frangi, who have been serving as directors and scientific coordinators of the project since its first edition.

The purpose of this programme is to build a transnational cultural platform able to critically question the ideas of territorial remoteness/marginality/smallness/insularity through the lenses of artistic research, triggering a reflection on the fictional procedures that empowered the idea of continental Europe in its geopolitical and cultural immunity via the exclusion and/or the vampirization of its “provinces” and its “externalities”.

A Natural Oasis? aims to develop curatorial and theoretical discourses assuming geo-cultural areas as polemical fields in which a precise ecology of fluxes describe their cultural, economical and political morphology. By deconstructing the fetiche of the southern or exotic “natural oasis”, the project tries to counter-ritualize those processes of “naturalization” and “metaphorization” of mediterranean territories enacted by white and eurocentric rethorics linked to tourism and to the neo-colonial and ecological fractures it produces.

The project focuses as well on the controversial shortage of professionals in “peripheral” cultural and artistic systems in relationship with on-going processes of educational centralization and with the concentration of artistic legitimation processes in big European and Mediterranean “centres”.

A Natural Oasis? is based on the tools that social sciences provide to contemporary cultural practices and support specific context-aware figures in the frame of a global contemporary artistic scene. The aim of the project is the development of situated practices in the context of a specific locality with a transnational and transmediterranean perspective.

A Natural Oasis? bases its working methodology on the tactics of conversational and dialogical research and on the main strategies of oral history. In this view, working sessions will be characterized by a discursive approach based on study and in-depth analysis of the context of the travels but also on storytelling and more fluid transmission of diverse knowledge. The project privileges an idea of knowledge(s) production and transmission through slow and sustainable traveling experiences in certain territories accompanied and tutored by local partners.

The research group of A Natural Oasis? 2022-2023 will be composed by Alessandro Castiglioni and Simone Frangi (founders and curators of the project) and 6 fellows (under 35) coming from Lebanon, Sardinia, France, Cyprus, Albania, Norway. Each fellow is supported by a mobility grant offered by institutions inside and outside BJCEM Network, covering all their travel expenses over the 2 years of programme.


A Natural Oasis? 2022-2023 is open to curators, writers and artistic researchers with a confirmed interest in the cultural and artistic productions in the Mediterranean and/or in insular, remote and small territories.

In order to be eligible for A Natural Oasis? 2022-2023 candidates must be under 35 (born in 1987) and, for this edition, come from or be based in the following territories:

Sardinia (Italy): 1 fellowship supported by Sardegna Film Commission
Réseau École(s) du Sud (France): 1 fellowship supported by Project MIRAMAR (Fundings CulturePro 2022 Ecole(s) du Sud). The candidate must be a graduated student of the following universities of arts in France: École supérieure d’art d’Aix-en-Provence; École supérieure d’art d’Avignon; École nationale supérieure de la photographie de Arles;Les Beaux-Arts de Marseille; Pavillon Bosio, art & scénographie – École supérieure d’arts plastiques de la ville de Monaco; Villa Arson Nice – École nationale supérieure d’art; École supérieure d’art et de design Toulon Provence Méditerranée; École Supérieure d’Art et de Design de Grenoble – Valence.
Cyprus: 1 fellowship supported by Ministry of Education Culture, Sport and Youth
Albania: 1 fellowship supported by Ministry of Culture of Albania
Norway: 1 fellowship supported by Cultiva Ekspress
Lebanon: 1 fellowship supported by Fanak Fund and SHAMS
Eligible candidates shall send the following application material:

Portfolio: documenting their research practice and their past and current projects and highlighting a confirmed interest in the cultural and artistic productions in the Mediterranean (compressed Pdf, Quick Time or MP3 formats of max. 6MB).
Motivational Letter: proving their specific interest in the programme and the contribution they could give to the research group in respect to the theoretical matters detailed in point 1 – CONCEPT (max. 2 pages);
Application form, downloadable here: XXXXX
All the dossiers, motivational letters and application forms shall be sent to oasis@bjcem.org not later May 6th, 2022, at 1 pm Italian time. Any application not complying with the requirements will be automatically rejected.A_Natural_Oasis_APPLICATION_FORM (2022)


Applications will be evaluated at their incontestable discretion by the scientific directors Alessandro Castiglioni and Simone Frangi in dialogue work BJCEM team and partners and up to 6 practitioners will be selected from these countries: Lebanon, Italy, France, Cyprus, Albania, Norway


The participation to this call is free of charge.
Each selected candidate will be provided by BJCEM and associated partners a grant which will be administered by the partners and BJCEM, to cover all the expenses related to the research travels, board and lodging in 2022 and 2023;
In the frame of their participation to A Natural Oasis?, the selected candidates are invited to present their curatorial and theoretical research to a wider audience at different stages of the program in 2022 and 2023. For these activities, a fee could be provided to the selected curators joining the platform DEA.RE (Creative Europe Network Project currently conducted by BJCEM) for educational and research activities;
The participants will be selected during the weeks following the deadline for application detailed in the announcement and selection results will be communicated immediately on BJCEM website (www.bjcem.org). The selected participants will be contacted by email.


The project will start in Spring 2022:

[16th – 19th JUNE 2022] Italy (Procida): Kick off seminar hosted by Procida Italian Capital of Culture 2022
During the 2 years program, the research group will travel in the following territories and will activate working sessions with the following initiatives:

[29th August – 4th September 2022] Greece (Lesbos): hosted by University of Agder at Metochi Study Center and K-Gold Gallery
[NOVEMBER 2022] Italy (Torino) Public conference in the frame of BJCEM Network project
[FEBRUARY 2023] Italy (Sardinia): hosted by Sardegna Film Commission
[MAY 2023] Morocco (tbc)
[NOVEMBER 2023] Norway (Kristiansand): Public Conference in the frame of BJCEM Network project

This call and the participation in the project A Natural Oasis? do not preclude the possibility to apply for future BJCEM national and/or international calls with different personal projects. All the curators and artists who have already participated in the previous editions of the Biennale can apply to this call. Priority will be given to curators that have never attended previous events.


BJCEM Executive Office | bjcem.aisbl@gmail.com | +39 011 19504733 | www.bjcem.org