News: 17-12-2020 OPEN CALL: KONTRA LABS

KONTRA Labs #1

Tackling inequality within the Rotterdam[se] creative scene

For KONTRA, inequalities and any type of discrimination constitute our main focus of action. As femxles, queers, immigrants, cultural workers, and most of all humxns, we consider it essential to overcome such issues in order to be able to move forward, towards an equal, inclusive, and sustainable society where everyone is free and has equal treatment as well as the same opportunities. We believe that a bottom-up approach as well as generating awareness are the key elements for this achievement. We also believe in positive societal transformation through the arts and in the power of socially engaged art projects and communal creation. Thus, living and working in Rotterdam, we take steps aiming to fight these issues within our local communities hoping to aid eventually in the global struggle against inequalities.

Already active since 2017 in striving for an equal and inclusive society and art sector, incidences like the Julian Andeweg case and comments such as “I am not his father. I like his work and it sells.” by his gallerist, just call for bigger actions to eliminate any behaviours as such, as well as raise more questions on the position gatekeepers and policymakers in the sector should have.

Acknowledging the situation around us and in an effort to stimulate awareness on a local level towards societal inequalities in the Creative and Cultural Industry of Rotterdam (CCIR), KONTRA is teaming up with the WORM Pirate Bay (WPB) to engage in a community-based research residency -WPB residencies are moments for artistic groups/ artists to formally (and informally) explore the topics and ideas that they are curious about while making the process of art production and artistic research less intimidating. For that KONTRA is organising a new series, the so-called KONTRA Labs, focusing on discriminatory practices within the Creative and Cultural Industry of Rotterdam (CCIR) and accessing them through artistic research and creation.

KONTRA Labs #1 will take place between January and February of 2021 and aims to catalyse positive societal transformation by reflecting on the current situation within the Creative and Cultural Industry of Rotterdam (CCIR). It also aims to push towards the necessary change by bringing to light the struggles experienced and by narrowing the gap between the sector and its policymakers. To achieve that, KONTRA Labs #1 assembles a group of 15 participants -individuals or representatives working in the CCIR, who together with KONTRA’s team and through a series of events, in which the group will have the chance to think, talk, and share personal experience will re-imagine the future and map proposals in order to create a small publication in order to contribute substantially to the transition towards a more equal and inclusive sector. The publication will be the chronicle of the residency portraying the main objectives and it will be shared with the wide audience via KONTRA’s socials and be printed as a limited series.


17 December | Open Call for Participants

30 December | Close Call for Participants

7 January       | Inform Participants

13 January     | 19.00 – 21.00 | Dinner Conversation at WORM Rotterdam

23 January     | 12.00 – 18.00 | Think tank at WORM Rotterdam

6 February     | 17.00 – 19.00 | Trauma Healing Workshop at WORM Rotterdam

13 February   | 19.00 – 21.00 | KONTRA Labs#1 closing event at WORM Rotterdam with a publication reading,  panel discussion and performance

Who can participate?

We are looking for 15 participants who:

  • Consider themselves to be part of the creative community of the city of Rotterdam (both individuals and organisation representatives are eligible to apply)
  • Have availability to be present at all the parts of the project or at least the dinner and the think tank
  • Have an interest and/or knowledge on the topics being tackled in the KONTRA Labs #1 or a personal experience or observation
  • Feel comfortable talking about their experiences (with the rest of the participants)
  • Have a desire to strive for a more equal and inclusive creative sector.

Practical information

All events are organised and produced taking into consideration the health and safety of everyone involved. KONTRA and WORM are working closely together to make these events safe for all those involved.

Due to COVID-19 regulations, the dinner conversation will take place online -we will do our best to make it gezellig 🙂 The rest of the events will be in the physical space of WORM, corona willing. In case of stricter measures, the project will go on but in a different format and everyone will be notified on time.

The language of the event is in English.

We are unfortunately unable to provide travel reimbursements, however, we will provide food and drinks to all participants accordingly.

Programme Analysis

Dinner Conversation

Difficult times -as such- needs creative solutions. Thus, in the formation of an online dinner, the participants and KONTRA team will get together in order to meet and have the initial conversation on the topic of Inequality within the Rotterdam(se) creative scene. The conversation will be guided/moderated by KONTRA and the topics of discussion will refer to sexism, sexual harassment, the glass ceiling, and gender, race, and age discrimination all related to the Creative and Cultural Industry of Rotterdam (CCIR).

The conversation will be initiated by personal experiences and observations of inequalities and discriminations in the CCIR. The aim is to conclude on the central discriminative issues the CCIR is ailing in order to address them publicly and later on be able to come up with eliminating proposals. Hence, the outcomes of the dinner conversation will form the main topics of the Think tank. Finally, the dinner conversation will be documented as an animation short story which will be included in the publication.

Think tank

KONTRA will organise a Think tank so the participants further examine the aforementioned issues, focusing on the key objectives arising from the dinner, aiming to discuss eliminating proposals and further actions.

Trauma Healing Workshop

KONTRA will invite an instructor to provide knowledge and effective ways one can deal with and overcome trauma arising from inequalities related to gender, race, and age in the working environment. This serves as a way to facilitate healing & promote self-care within the participants.

KONTRA Labs#1 Closing Event

KONTRA will organise an event to complement the release of the publication which will be based on the dinner conversation and the think tank. The event focuses on providing to the wide audience the ability to access the publication via a  reading and be complemented with a panel discussion, a performance, as well as providing the space for discussion and networking.

The panel will aim to connect the two sides of the sector, the participants and the wide audience with the cultural policymakers and gatekeepers. Thus, in the selection will be one representative of the participants.