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Plovdiv Municipal Artists-in-Residence Program 2023

Арх. Нина Толева-Новак

Context AiR 2023: Artistic Practice in Public Space

Artists-in-Residence Program in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, EU

The AiR program is initiated and funded by the Culture Department of the Municipality of the second biggest city in Bulgaria – Plovdiv.

The residency program aims the production of new artistic works in public space, following artists’ interactions with the city and inspired by its distinctive character. The city of Plovdiv – with its eclectic mix of ancient and medieval history, socialist heritage and modern reality, the experience it carries of a European Capital of Culture in 2019, a home to a variety of ethnic and religious groups, and an urban-nature-scape that follows a charming river and a few hills – is the central thematic focus of the programme.

Program goals:

· To realize innovative ideas in the scope of the contemporary art and culture  trends and in direct interaction with the givens of the local context and with the local communities;

· To help renew the perception of the cultural identity of Plovdiv by creating iconic works;

· To generate events and manifestations that help to develop audiences, attract tourists to the city, as well as for development, education and integration of different communities through the means of culture;

· To provide opportunities for artistic exchange and partnerships with local organizations and institutions.

The program offers a full scholarship, covering living expenses and production costs, as well as providing living-&-working space in a shared residential house – the Nishaniyan House. The house is located in the architectural and historical reserve Old Town Plovdiv placed over three of Plovdiv’s hills: Nebet Tepe, Dzhambaz Tepe and Taksim Tepe, currently at the very central urban area of the city.

Program curator since 2022 is Svetlana Kuyumdzhieva – art historian, critic and curator with 20 years of experience in private and public cultural institutions in Bulgaria.

Program coordinator for CONTEXT AiR is Vanya Grozdanova – art manager and curator experienced within the diverse local independent scene.

Email for contact: ​​​​[email protected]


Deadline for applications: March 20, 2023

Artistic residencies: between June 1 -  August 31, 2023

Announcement of selected artists: April 15, 2023


The program is addressing professionals working in one or a combination of the following areas:

- Visual Arts
- Theater and Performance
- Digital Media
- Architecture and Sculpture
- Music and Dance
- Land Art and Artistic Practices in Public Space
- Social Innovation and Community Projects


- The call is open to artists, preferably based in Europe, regardless of the stage of their career development.
- Artists who are Bulgarian citizens, as well as foreign citizens who currently work in Bulgaria are eligible applicants.
- The participation of groups is also allowed, but in terms of funding, it remains within the set limit, regardless of the number of members of the group.
- The program allows the participation of artists who prefer to take part in the residency in the presence of their children and/or family partners – depending on the approved residency schedule and available spaces. For this purpose, the organizers will provide – without additional fees – accommodation in the residential center. All other costs related to their stay (including transport) are not reimbursable and are borne by the approved participants. For the successful scheduling of the residency, the presence of children or partners must be noted in advance in the application.

Working language: English and Bulgarian


- The program provides conditions for a residency stay between 4 and 6 weeks, depending on the specific preliminary proposal of each candidate.
- A detailed schedule for the exact dates of each artist’s stay is to be fixed after the completion of the final selection of participants.


▪ Production budget, artistic free, covering of travel costs;

▪ Living space for the resident artist;

▪ Practical guidelines for research and work;

▪ Support for the organization of a public event/s for the presentation of the new work and its promotion in local media

All of the above is free of charge for the residents and is provided by the organizers.


The residential house “Pilibos Nishaniyan” was build in mid 19th century, now an architectural monument  It is a self-contained house with a yard, located in the central area of Plovdiv – providing the opportunity for an easy pedestrian walk to all museums, the city parks, and the Kapana neighborhood famous for the urban leisure activities provided on each of its corners.

The maximum number of resident artists in the same period: 4 persons.

The living space offers suitable conditions for work and life during the artistic residency*.

-       Equipped kitchen

-       Washing machine for shared use

-       Bathroom and toilet for shared use

-       Separate bedrooms (with bed linen and towels provided)

-       Shared workspace within the living area with internet access**

-       Bikes that could be used as transportation tool around the city

When signing the contract for the residency stay, the artists will receive instructions for living in the house, given its status as a cultural monument. Failure to comply with them may result in disqualification from participation, financial penalties, etc.


* Residents are responsible for maintaining hygiene and normal living conditions in the residence area during their stay.

** Artists whose practice needs a bigger working studio and/or specific tools for the development of their concepts – should notify in advance the organizer, in order to be  supported in finding the proper tools, space, etc. for them to rent.


The organizer covers the following costs:

- BGN 2,000 – remuneration covering travel expenses, living expenses, and artistic fee
- BGN 5,000 – production costs for the realization of the creative concepts of each author. The amount is paid in two installments -  one after further development of the initial idea, and second after its realization
- The total amount of the production costs and remuneration is subject to the compulsory tax of 10% required by the Bulgarian legislation.

Detailed information about the payment of the grant:

-       The financing of the approved candidates is carried out in three installments, in cash, in Bulgarian leva.

-       1st payment – in the amount of BGN 2000. The amount is paid in the first week after the arrival of the resident artist and after the signing of the contract with the organizer and the provision by the approved participants of an originally stamped EU A1 form (proving your social security status)*

-       2nd payment (production costs) – no earlier than the second week of the creative stay after approval of: 1) creative project implementation schedule and 2) project budget detailing all costs (materials, rent, documentation, fees of third parties involved in the projects, etc.).

-       3rd payment (in the amount of up to 10% of the production costs) – after the implementation of the project.


* check more about the form here


- All other expenses, other than those mentioned above, are at the expense of the residents. This applies to the mandatory health insurance, the issuance of visas and various administrative documents related to participation in the program – before, during or after the creative stay.
- It is possible to have more than one visit to the city for research and work both from a distance and on site – based on the project proposal, but all remain within the above-listed costs and no additional funding is provided.
- We ask all applicants to get acquainted in advance with the regulations for entering the country – visa requirements, current covid-restrictions, etc.  Selected applicants will be in charge of all related costs, along with the responsibility for providing the necessary documents.


The artists approved for participation in the residency program will be selected by a jury based on:

- Preliminary proposal and concept, developed independently or in partnership with local artists and cultural organizations (although these partnerships are not a prerequisite)
- Potential for realization of the project within the residency
- Previous experience of the candidate


▪ Preliminary project concepts should be developed at conceptual level, preferably supported with accompanying visual material, and should include relevant research and argumentation. ▪ During the residency, changes or further development of the preliminary concepts with which the participants were approved are allowed.

▪ Each of the applicants for the residency program can apply with more than one preliminary proposal, and there is no limit to the number of preliminary projects. The jury reserves the right to choose a specific project.


▪ Artists are committed to creating new works and their own concepts, as a result of the research done on spot in relation to typical for the city realities;

▪ Applicants are advised to develop in advance liaisons or confirm partnership with local organizations / artists / students from the local art schools in relation to the implementation of their concepts.

▪ Proposed projects should be in accordance with the particularities of the various urban spaces, as well as with their history and modern functions, and meet the present-day requirements for sustainability, safety and conflict-free public environment and urban landscape.

▪ Interventions in public space are to be temporary (up to 3 months).

▪ The commitment for professional and exact video and photo documentation is each artist’s responsibility and should be planned by them, and if relevant also  within the project’s production costs. Documentation of the creative process and the final artworks could  be executed by the artists themselves or commissioned to a third party.

— The Municipality of Plovdiv will be the owner of the right for the usage of the documentation, while the authorship right for all of the artworks produced within the residency belongs to their author artist.

▪ Each of the participants is required to participate in at least one public event within the residency program, in which to present themselves and their work.

▪ The implementation of all creative concepts should be in accordance with the Bulgarian legislation together with the regulations in force on the territory of the Municipality of Plovdiv. For the implementation of projects and ideas in public space required is the earliest possible preliminary preparation of any candidate – in terms of the conditions of the local legislation, as well as in terms of the possible spaces for execution.


Applications should only be sent to the following email address: [email protected]

The subject of the email should be: [APPLICATION__NAME OF APPLICANT]

The application email should contain the following attached files:

1. Completed and signed Application Form (sample)*

2. CV / Resume

3. Portfolio

4. Output of the artistic project

5. Visual material (if relevant)

Please include in the body of the email all additional specific information – concerning your stay / project / notification.

Application fee – no.


* Completion and signing of the application form declares agreement with the rules of the residency program and commitment of the approved artists to comply with them. The declaration attached to the form shall be submitted together with the participation form, signed with an electronic signature or on a scanned copy.


The organizers reserve the right to change the deadlines, cancel approved participations or offer alternative conditions for the residencies.


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