Fierce Festival 2019 / Birmingham, UK / 15 – 20 October

Artists Behind Bars: Call for Applications

Following the huge popularity of Birmingham’s first Artists Behind Bars event in 2017, we’re doing it again on March 1st as part of Digbeth First Friday – and we need you to propose ideas for bars to run!

Artists Behind Bars is an event concocted by Kitty Finer that brings together artists to build, install, host, and run their own bars. For one night shift only, the bar is the work of art, the artist is the bartender, and the spectator is the punter.

Long before the term “pop up” popped up, Kitty’s many and various makeshift shops, bars and galleries have appeared under the influence of interim interventions, the oftentimes illicit social spaces of raves, fiestas, carnivals and beach bars.

Artists are invited to make a bar which can be as simple or extravagant as they wish as long as all artists take in to account that this is not a money making event. It is not guaranteed that the bars will make a profit but one can usually cover expenses from drink sales if the bar is built with a resourceful and (financially) inventive approach (cutting cloth according to your means) using whatever you have to hand. However on this occasion Fierce will provide each artist with £150, a small gesture, but one that should limit the risk on any ingredients purchased in advance and hopefully cover a small days wage too. You keep all bar takings!

This event curates itself whilst it goes along like pitching up tents in a camp site- we will all pitch up and if certain bars don’t work alongside each other then we can work together to shuffle around- All designated bar areas will have a power supply so each bar can light itself up as all main lights in the space will be turned off so that the bars provide the illuminations. We also advise that being a bartender can be a lonely business so do think about getting someone to run your bar with you.

Artists can chose whatever drink they wish to serve. All bars and drinks will vary.

Furthermore each artist’s bar will have a 30 minute slot to select their chosen playlist/DJ or live performer.

We will have a morning and afternoon to set up our bars in the space – we will also take down our bars at the end of the night and you can choose when you do this- it is fine to pack up your bar during the event.

We will provide a PA system and ice for bars who need it.

Examples of past bars include French Riviera’s purple rain bar (tribute to Prince), Brian Catling put himself behind literal bars – held himself prisoner whilst serving sprits, Benedict Drew served drinks from the inside of his jacket, Tai Shani served shots of sambuca, sans toga from a greek column and Marcia Farquhar hosted a champagne speakeasy where punters could sit and hear a story or two.

Fierce is looking for proposals from artists who are interested in the spontaneous structures of hospitality and the (part-time) role of bar-tending. We are particularly interested in hearing from artists who have a performance element to their practice, whether this be from a theatre, dance, visual art or other background. Proposals should reflect the the DIY nature of the event and the small honorarium offered. (In 2017 all bars turned a profit).

How to Apply

Please send proposals to by midnight on Monday 28th January 2019 with the subject line ‘Artists Behind Bars 2019’. Proposals should be 100 words on what you want to do with the bar and 50 words on what drinks you want to serve, you may also include one link to your website or a copy of your CV.

Fee: £150 to cover material costs, artists keep the money they make on their bars. This £150 is inclusive of any travel or accommodation and so it is presumed that this opportunity will be predominantly for artists in the Birmingham area.

Deadline:  28th January 2019

Event: 1st March 2019