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THE SCHOOL OF ENOUGH – Call for arts practitioners and activist initiatives based in Europe

Are you concerned about the unsustainability and the injustice of our current growth-driven economy? Do you believe that human progress should be redefined in pursuit of well-being, social justice and ecological welfare rather than GDP or mere technological innovation? If you are eager to work towards a postgrowth society, this call is for you.

The School of Enough is looking for four teams to take part in a 2-year program that fosters collaborations between activist and artistic practices around the multiple social, political, environmental and cultural challenges of a post-growth transformation of our lifestyles. Applicants should be interested in exploring this field of thinking and practice collectively and to develop projects through a process of co-learning and mutual support.

The programme consists of:
• A five-day residency in Hungary hosted by Pro-Progessione in January 2025
• A five-day residency in Norway, hosted by Rosendal Theatre in June, September or October 2025 (TBC)
• Monthly online exchange sessions between November 2024 and October 2026
• A 10,000 euro grant for each participating team
• Accommodation, travel and subsistence costs for the two residency retreats (2 persons per team)

The School of Enough will enable each team to develop a project that is strongly related to the call’s focus (see below) and that is relevant to the teams’ respective local contexts and struggles. The goal of the programme is to contribute to the emergence of post-growth alternatives, to support peer-to-peer learning and exchange across borders and cultures, deepen knowledge and practice, nurture potential connections and collaborations, initiate a network of like-minded initiatives and groups across Europe, as well as to provide a greenhouse for future activities.

Participants will have room to contribute to the design of the programme as it proceeds. The presence of 2 representatives of each team to the two residencies and to all online gatherings is mandatory.

Who can apply?
The call is looking for four Europe-based teams. Each teams should bring together an activist initiative with (an) arts practitioner(s) to work on a project to be realised during The School of Enough. The projects should 1) be useful to the advancement of the applicants existing cause or struggle 2) tackle issues related to the development of post-growth alternatives 3) engage and experiment with artistic strategies and sensitivities.

Activist initiatives and arts practitioners can apply together as an already existing, or new collaboration, or they can apply separately, in which case the curatorial team will assist them in finding and selecting their artistic or activist counterpart.

Activist initiatives, collectives or organisations are understood here as any form of endeavor working towards societal transformation. They can range from initiatives directly engaging with specific political and social struggles to the practicing of alternative forms of organisation, production, exchange, or any combination thereof. Their practices, topics or struggles should be strongly related to
the call’s focus (see below), and can be situated in any field of sociopolitical, educational, environmental or cultural engagement.

Applicants should have a specific interest in opening their ways of working to artistic practices and to expand their field of operation to experiments with aesthetic, poetic, sensual or spiritual approaches.

Arts practitioners are understood here as anybody working and experimenting with the aesthetic, poetic, emotional, sensual and spiritual dimensions of life in order create and share transformative experiences, irrespective of whether that work takes place within, or without the institutional artistic sector. Applicants should be eager to engage with the call’s focus (see below) and willing to put their skills and sensitivities at the service of tangible societal transformation processes. Applicants should be open to approach social, political, ecological and artistic practices on an equal footing, to operate outside of artistic contexts and to question the position and role of

How to apply?
• Potential applicants should contact Christophe at prior to submitting an application, in order to schedule an online call.

The application should include:
A letter of no more than two pages that describes the applicant’s connection to the programme’s focus areas, the applicant’s motivation to apply, as well as a description of the activities/projects imagined in the framework of the School of Enough.
A portfolio, website or other support giving a good insight into the applicants’ past and present work, projects, realisations.
Applications should be sent to using the subject “SoE application”

• Applications are to be sent in until 1 June 2024
• Applicants will receive a response before the end of June 2024
• Start of the programme in November 2024

Focus of the call & curatorial statement
Today, humanity’s global ecological footprint amounts to 1,67 times Earth’s carrying capacity (3,01x for the EU and 5,1x for the US respectively). Out of the 9 planetary boundaries identified as the threshold conditions for human life on Earth (climate change, biosphere integrity, nitrogen and phosphorous, ocean acidification, landsystem change, freshwater, ozone depletion, atmospheric aerosols), 6 have already been breached. Ultimately, either the wealthier part of humanity drastically reduces their ecological footprint by limiting their use of raw materials to a small fraction of their present consumption, or everyone faces extinction.

As the European Environmental Bureau puts it in one of its latest reports, if we are serious about wanting to develop ecologically sustainable ways of life, and if that should happen in a globally fair manner, countries of the EU will in average have to reduce their total use of raw materials by 60-70 % as compared to 2022 levels. That means literally 60-70% less of everything: new objects; new building materials; new clothes; new appliances; packaging; as well as fuel to heat, cook or move around.

Reducing resource consumption by so much is hard to imagine. What does a good life look like without unrestricted electricity supply, summer vegetables in winter, easily travelling abroad, being able to count on goods shipped from far away, easy access to credit, or that new pair of sneakers? Envisioning it implies a profound shift of values.

Today, the mere idea of living within the physical boundaries of our planet still seems to be an exotic thought, far remote from any political agenda and mainstream cultures, while the perspective of infinite growth remains as it were part of who we are as modern Westerners.

At present, multitudes of initiatives exist which are not only imagining a post-growth future, but also develop concrete alternatives to re-invent and practice aspects of what a good life could be in an ecologically sustainable and socially just world.

However, despite their evident urgency, such initiatives are very far from being the norm. They mostly happen at the fringe of society, largely unsupported and unfinanced — often even hindered — by authorities.

How then to disconnect the idea of advancement and progress from that of growth, and to (re)connect our collective desires with the idea of limits? How to transform the image of doing and producing less into a positive one, an ideal worth striving for?
How can “enough” become a synonym for “beautiful”? Rational and scientific arguments alone are unlikely to succeed at it; figures don’t make a culture. A more integrated approach is needed in which strategies for building up political power and the courage to oppose effective resistance go hand in hand with speaking to the sensual, aesthetic, poetic and spiritual dimensions of life. By speaking to the senses, by crafting new imaginaries and desires, artistic practices could have an essential role to play in this battle for hearts and minds. The question is how to best put them to work.

About the organisers
The School of Enough is co-designed by artist and activist Christophe Meierhans, dramaturg Guro Hustad Stugu and artist and curator Alexander Roberts and organisationally led by Rosendal Teater – a co-production house in Trondheim, Norway. The project was initiated by The Big Green – a Creative Europe Network that brings environmentally-engaged artists and arts organisations under one large umbrella initiative and experiment with innovative ways of using art to promote sustainability.

The Big Green & The School of Enough are funded by the European Union.