Social apathy and low rates of conventional citizen participation in Western societies are a great problem at the moment. In this context, the space for the emergence and consolidation of populist narratives has been intensifying, weakening therefore our democracies. Citizen participation is, at present, permeated by a widespread feeling of ineffectiveness and inconsequentiality. Fragile participatory acts affect our ability to desire, in the sense of imagining other worlds, other possible modes of relationships, of being and producing. It is in the space of a vital drive, which is desire, that this movement is intended to support.

In this 1st edition, we seek to investigate mechanisms that can rescue the practice of desire as something essential for life – the reinvention of arts, places, and common ideas. It’s an organic and fluid national and international movement of arts and common places, integrated into Braga 25 Portuguese Capital of Culture, launched in 2024 with a program that integrates a wide range of actions.

DESEJAR focuses on action and reflection around participatory, community-based, and sustainable artistic practices. In this edition, it aims to promote experimentation and knowledge focused on contemporary artistic and cultural creation and production. DESEJAR is supported by an idea of common, sustainable art, based on the sharing of resources in which human and more-than-human elements of an ecosystem establish horizontal relationships.

 

The main principles are:

  • Artistic creation and experimentation – an approach that is centered on artistic practices that privilege the idea of experimentation and transdisciplinarity;
  • Participation and communities – development of participatory and community artistic practices based on different formats, levels, and intensities;
  • Horizontal relationship with nature – focus practices on symbiotic exchanges between human beings and ecosystems that go beyond them;
  • Exchange of knowledge – favor the involvement and intersection of local communities, development agents, thinkers, and professionals from different areas.

 

The project is being directed by:

  • Hugo Cruz (Artistic Direction and General Coordination)
  • Ana Bragança (Participation and Communities Director)
  • Simone Almeida (Executive Director)

 

Monthly assemblies

As part of the project, monthly assemblies are organized to get to know the interests and wishes of the community. It is based on these assemblies that Desejar’s programming and creations will be decided.

 

Open Call

A call for proposals for projects that could be part of Desejar, which will have an intensive public presentation between June 10 and 14, 2025, is also open until April 15. We’re looking for participatory and community artistic creations to begin before June 2025, which bring together local, national, and international collectives and artists with experience in participatory and community art, with agents from the Braga region. Learn more here.