Eligibility Criteria (and beyond)

formerly Am I eligible to apply?

An ongoing research exploring the ways in which eligibility criteria create barriers in the lives of artists


The art world and systemic inequalities are phrases that go hand in hand, the former being highly visible and the latter not that much. Although Covid-19 pandemic gave us an adjective, unprecedented, to define our time, our art world maintained its precedented requirements to determine who gets access to what. It is still very unlikely to read ‘anyone can apply’ to art open calls while we all memorized the sentence structure for who can apply: Artists of a certain-nationality, based in certain-places, younger than certain-years-old, and yes graduates of that certain-school, among other restrictions.

This research questions who is neglected in the categorisation of eligibility criteria, and how this neglect affects the production of new art works. It explores how criteria reproduce oppression through bureaucracy and aims to start a dialogue between artists to re-examine application requirements in art open calls. Throughout this research residency, I will have conversations with artists, define eligibility together, and write a collective manifesto for an open call open to all. Together we will also walk around intersecting subjects of eligibility as the discussions appear.

Conversations with artists

This section will involve semi-structured interviews and not-structured daily conversations with artists. I’ll explore how certain artistic productions were made possible or impossible as a result of art open calls, and how facing restrictions affected the creation of new works.

Not only but also

For some artists, their eligibility to work is tied to the type of residence permit they hold. This section will focus on conversations around visa eligibility and how visa categorisation disrupts the lives of artists.

Open open call: A manifesto

This section will involve collaborative writing workshops to create an open open call with one criterion in mind: anyone can apply.


Betül Aksu is an artist and researcher with a background in media arts, cognitive science, and linguistics. Her work explores what it means to be permitted to live, work, and breathe in a certain territory. She uses language as an art material, observes intercultural miscommunication, and reflects on systemic reasons that cause communication barriers.