The Ephemeral River (dancing, speaking, singing, laughing)

A Global Nomadic Art Project

June 9-19 2018


Read more information about GNAP-UK


Call for participation


Since 2001 CCANW  has been exploring new understandings of our place within the natural world through the arts.

We are based on the 1,200-acre Dartington estate in rural southwest England, part of a new family of arts and ecology organisations ( Since the 1930s this medieval estate has been a place for social, creative and cultural experimentation combining Western, Eastern and Asian philosophies and involving some of the world’s leading creative artists and thinkers.

GNAP UK takes place entirely within the rich ecologies of the Dartington estate; it marks the launch of CCANW’s new Art+Science programme, a new three-year long programme of exhibitions and activities reflecting our growing engagement with transdisciplinary and international working.

GNAP UK has a particular focus on river systems, and is followed by an international symposium Liquidscapes at Dartington from June 20-22 2018. As its name suggests, the River Dart wraps around and provides a focal point within the estate – the river will become a site for exploration and interrogation by artists and other invited specialists with expertise in river systems and water ecologies.

GNAP UK lasts for nine days and will invite fifteen artists and participants from other disciplines.

We will focus on work and ideas that are ephemeral, thus embracing a metaphoric nomadism where work and ideas fly away within hours, within minutes. Work may be ritually burnt or sent downstream to the sea. Although captured and documented, we aim to leave no physical trace on the site at the close of the project.

We are now recruiting participants. The application deadline is midnight on  January 29, 2018. You will hear back from by the end of February.


Themed enquiry

Although we do not at this point want to proscribe any direction of enquiry, we have a particular interest in:

  • Water
  • Landscape
  • Waterspace
  • Poetics
  • Kinesis and the kinaesthetic
  • Immersion
  • Spiritual relationships with water
  • Water, the environment and politics
  • Ecosystems and river systems
  • Ecologies of other species within the river
  • Upstream ecologies
  • River science

The Dartington estate has good access to the river which houses a rich ecology of aquatic, animal and bird life. It also includes a working water meadow (currently undergoing restoration) –– a fast-disappearing ecology and habitat so important to aquatic birds and other species. In the West, our relationship to water is different from that in other parts of the world – particularly monsoon climates such as that in Korea. Our international gathering will allow us to explore such cultural differences.

GNAP UK will work closely with partner and producing organisation, and with the Dartington Hall Trust, the charitable trust who own and run the Dartington estate. Resources available to participants will include access to CCANW’s extensive library of books and catalogues, films that can be screened in its Barn cinema, ecologists and ecological designers from Schumacher College, studios of various kinds, print and book binding and an extensive art collection from early 20th Century artists such as Mark Tobey and Cecil Collins. Also on site are hostels for accommodation and catering.

The River Dart at Dartington has been a site for gathering and recreation for centuries. In modern times, the river is remembered as a gathering and swimming site for the early Fabians such as George Bernard Shaw, Beatrice and Sidney Webb and HG Wells, Fabianism has social justice at its core, focussing on equality, collectivism, accountability and transparency in government, sustainability and internationalism. We are proud to embrace these philosophical tenets as part of our work at GNAP-UK 2018.

We are looking for artists and others with a creative practice interested in responding genuinely to the site, open to exploration and collaboration (although collaborating with others is not a requisite). We would like you to approach GNAP with a clean slate and an open mind; to crack open your own practice and to evolve a meaningful relationship to this place.


The Dartington estate

This map shows how the River Dart wraps around the estate. GNAP-UK will be based in the buildings shown at 6 on the map.


Who is GNAP for?

The vast majority of participants will be selected by open call.

We are looking for a diversity of participants and will choose participants primarily on artistic merit, but also taking intro consideration cultural mix and how you talk about your work. Being ephemeral is a fundamental focus of this investigation; we will invite artists who can demonstrate a nuanced understanding of the implications of this profoundly ecological idea.

We welcome applications from artists in any artform including visual art, performance, digital media and writing. We also welcome applications from researchers and thinkers whose primary practice is not art-based but who have an interest in creative thinking and problem-solving and who have an interest in ecology and responding to place.

Creative practice is at the core of the project, but so is the conversation between art and science.

If you have a creative practice we will take into account your previous work but we’ll also look at how you think the arts can contribute to questions around the environment. If you are not an artist, we’re interested in why you want to take part in GNAPUK and what you think your discipline can bring to the discussion. We’d also like to understand more about what you think the arts has to say about the environment and ecological thinking.

We encourage applicants of all ages, creeds, gender, orientation and physical ability.

We will prioritise artists who have not previously attended a Global Nomadic Art Project; if you have previously been an artist at a GNAP please do not take this as a disincentive to apply as all applications will be considered.


Where you will stay and work

We will be based at two sites on the Dartington estate: Dartington Space is a collection of studios and working spaces. We will have exclusive use of Studio One, the main black-box theatre space. This is a large space with plenty of natural light that will allow for all kinds of indoor activities.  There is a semi-sprung painted floor, and we will have intermittent access to a proper dance studio with a polished sprung floor (if required).

If you use digital media, we’ll expect you to be largely self-sufficient in terms of the tools you use. For makers, we can provide access to basic tools and to an outdoor workspace. As the emphasis here is on the ephemeral, we expect that you’ll be making simple constructions.

We will eat and stay in Higher Close. This was designed in the 1960s as student accommodation. All rooms are single rooms with a sink and small study area. Bathrooms are shared. If for medical or personal reasons you require a private bathroom you may be able to stay in the Dartington hotel rooms, but this would be a cost that we are unable to cover. Please contact us.


How much does it cost?

The only costs you will have to meet are your travel costs. Otherwise all accommodation and meals are provided as well as local travel during the event.

If you are likely to have difficulty meeting your travel costs, we have a small bursary fund available. The initial application process will not take this into consideration and we will not ask you about whether or not you require support until you are offered a place.


How to apply

The deadline for applications is midnight on January 29.

Read the GNAP-UK information page