The European Biennial Network is a collaborative structure, active in the field of contemporary art, that aims to promote dialogue, interaction and collaboration between contemporary art Biennials in Europe. It intends to use the knowledge, experience and wealth of information accumulated by organisers of large-scale periodic art events, in order to support the communication and mobility of artists and art professionals. Biennials are clearly a very successful form of presenting art and interconnecting global tendencies with local experience. The European Biennial Network takes the next logical step by providing a practical way for Biennials to relate to each other, to disseminate their knowledge and experience, and to seek out the knowledge and experience of others. In doing so, it perceives Biennials as constant hubs of activity, perpetually beneficial to both international exchange and local needs, rather than identifying them simply through their peak, which is the biennial exhibition itself.
The European Biennial Network, furthermore, aims to respond to a need for further investigation as far as organisational issues are concerned, therefore focusing on the production and dissemination of contemporary art, the mark that the presentation of art leaves on a city and how it relates to its history and culture, national and international policies on the support and funding of contemporary art, and practical possibilities for art professionals to share their knowledge beyond their borders.
As an initial platform, which will begin to practically implement these aspirations, the European Biennial Network has initiated, with the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union, the Biennial Exchange and Residency Programme: a two-year cycle of workshops, residency and traineeship programmes, research visits, and networking events. These activities are designed to reflect the diversity of different approaches to contemporary art, and to create opportunities for research, exchange of ideas, and creative partnerships.
The Biennial Exchange and Residency Programme is an experiment, which intends to strengthen the ideas behind the European Biennial Network and to further its aspirations. It is particularly looking to enrich the opportunities for international travel, research, practical training, writing, networking and exchange, not only for artists and curators, but also for independent art professionals and arts writers, exhibition organisers, art managers, administrators, as well as trainees.
Through the Biennial Exchange and Residency Programme, the European Biennial Network aims to investigate and assess the possibilities and benefits of collective action, in order to consolidate its mandate as a long-term collaborative structure of contemporary art Biennials.