Nocturne 2021 Call For Projects

Posted on April 1st, 2021
by Nocturne


Nocturne welcomes proposals to our 14th annual art at night festival from artists at any stage of their career. We encourage proposals to respond to the curatorial vision of the festival and are happy to provide assistance to applicants anytime.

This blog post should give you all the information you need to know before you apply but if you have any questions at all feel free to reach out to our team at the contacts below.

DEADLINE EXTENDED: New *extended* deadline is now May 30, 2021 (midnight AST)
2021 CURATOR: Liliona Quarmyne
2021 THEME: Liminal

NEED HELP? Application assistance is available! Contact our staff:

Lindsay Ann Cory, Executive Director
[email protected]

I’thandi Munro, Programming Coordinator
[email protected]

Need more information? Keep on reading and make sure to attend an upcoming info session:

Info session 1: April 16, 11am - register here
Info session 2: April 29, 5:30 pm - register here
Info session 3: May 10, 7:30 pm - register here

Ready to apply?


Keep reading for the rest of our submission guidelines.


Nocturne: Art at Night (Nocturne) is a fall festival that brings art and energy to the streets of Kjipuktuk (Halifax & Dartmouth). The completely free annual event showcases and celebrates the visual arts scene in Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia). Nocturne 2021 will take place from October 13-16, 2021.

Established in 2008, Nocturne holds space for new experiences and meaningful exchange through the exhibition of temporary public artworks in downtown Kjipuktuk (Halifax & Dartmouth) and online. We aim to present critical and relevant art event(s) of a high artistic and professional standard that focus on the strengths of many diverse local art communities that exist here in Mi'kma'ki. In 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nocturne expanded to weeklong timeline as well as the type of work we were able to showcase. We now include digital and virtual art including animations, short films, interactive online experiences, live coding, virtual performances, and more.

Nocturne will continue to move forward in this hybrid manner for the foreseeable future due to public health restrictions and in 2021 our festival will pan 4 days from October 13-16.

Every year when we do this call for projects we encourage all applicants to consider their relationship to the land; Nocturne is an opportunity and platform to re-imagine the spaces of our city both built and natural.

The land (and waters) where Nocturne takes place is Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral, unceded and unsurrendered territory of the Mi’kmaq People. This territory is covered by the “Treaties of Peace and Friendship” which Wolastoqiyik and Mi’kmaq Peoples first signed with the British crown in 1725. It’s important that we say unceded and unsurrendered because acts that violate these treaties are happening every day here in Mi’kma’ki and across Turtle Island. We are all treaty people and Nocturne strives to uphold the relationships outlined in these treaties that govern this land. We also acknowledge the significant foundations that the infrastructure and culture of Black and African Nova Scotian communities have contributed and continue to contribute to this province and country. Nocturne continues to collaborate, amplify, and connect with the many art communities that live and work here in Mi'kma'ki.

To learn more about Indigenous territories, treaties, and languages, the Native Land Interactive Map is a great resource and educational tool.


  • We encourage proposals that reflect Nocturne's core values
  • We encourage emerging artists, creatives, arts workers, makers, to apply
  • We aim to support efforts that are exploratory, challenging, and critical in nature.
  • We encourage applicants to propose new work as well as projects that have been started or completed elsewhere.
  • We seek to view applicants from a lens of equity and aim to create space for equal opportunities.


Nocturne is proud to pay successful applicants an equitable CARFAC Artist Fee (or better) every year along with a material budget and support for additional costs as needed. Nocturne is also committed to Accessibility, Inclusion, and Artistic Care and will work with artists to identify various access and support needs that can make their project better and more welcoming. The Nocturne Selection Committee reserves the right to ask questions about the submitted budget, provide additional funding, or suggest a different contribution amount.

  • Individual artists will receive a $450 Artist Fee.
  • Collectives will receive the $450 artist fee per artist involved in your group (for example: 3 artists = 3 x $450).
  • Successful applicants will also receive funding towards their material budget as described in their application.
  • We invite applicants to apply for up to $250 towards additional accessibility costs and to outline additional supports that may be important to their participation in Nocturne.


In addition to the google form application, Nocturne will also accept proposals via phone, video, or audio file as needed by the applicant. Please get in touch via email to arrange. This process will look like a 10-15 minutes interview that takes place between an organizer or committee member and the applicant where we will go through each section of the application verbally. The conversation will be recorded and shared with the Selection Committee via video or transcription.

Application assistance is also available upon request – this volunteer service is highly recommended if you have never applied before. Please get in touch via email to arrange.

You may submit your application in English or in French. Please note that the selection process will take place in English, so your application will be translated.



Every year we work with a new curator to bring to life a curatorial concept or theme for our artists to respond to at our art at night festival. This year we have selected Liliona Quarmyne as our curator who has chosen the theme: Liminal.

To be liminal is to be in between. To be suspended between realities. It is to see both past and future, to know where we have been and see where we have to go, to have left one way behind without yet being able to live what is ahead. It is transition, threshold, possibility, ambiguity.

In this time when we struggle to release previous ways and look to new realities of justice and care, how can creativity enliven the liminal space in which we live? How can our experiences of being both here and there enable us to acknowledge our complexity and contradiction? For those living experiences of marginalization and oppression, how can art bring power to the liminal experience?

This is an invitation to step into the portal that hangs between. This portal is multi-dimensional, able to turn and rotate, to be seen from many angles and perspectives. It is both complex and piercingly clear. It is liminal.

As we step into this liminality, can we begin to imagine that which cannot yet be imagined?

New this year we hired an artist to work with our curator to visualize the theme and give artists more indication of where the curator is going. We were very excited to work with designer Kadeem Hinch.


LIMINAL visualized theme by Kadeem Hinch


In 2021, Nocturne will continue to happen both physically and virtually. We encourage proposals of all kinds: radio, video, installation, performance, community engagement and using whatever physical or virtual platform you can come up with as long as it does not require large social gathering. Proposals for Nocturne 2021 must comply with the Nova Scotia government's COVID-19 Recovery Plan and all public health restrictions related to events.

This means that:

  • Applicants who are currently based in Nova Scotia may submit proposals for physical installations in public spaces that do not encourage large gatherings of people.
  • Nocturne installations will be up for viewing for the duration of the festival, October 13-16, or longer, in some cases. This means that these installations must be weather-resistant or located indoors and security may be an important factor to consider. Applicants who are currently based outside of Nova Scotia may submit proposals for digital or virtual installations or propose a physical project with a local collaborator.

If you have any questions, please get in touch via email or give us a call.



Applicants are encouraged to apply via our online form (linked at the APPLY NOW button below). This is a fillable Google form so keep in mind that while you can work on it as you go you cannot save the form to come back to it later.

We suggest working offline first and copy & paste your answers once you are ready to submit.



1. Fill out your application form or prepare for an alternative application format (audio, video, Zoom art welcome, please reach out to our team to learn more). We encourage you to work offline before entering your answers into the form to avoid any loss of information.

2. Submit your application form before the *extended* deadline: May 30, 2021 midnight (note that if you are seeking an alternative application format you do not need to submit a written form)

3. Submit your support material by an email to [email protected] of support material including:

  • Support Images/Material (include an image list - see template below)
    • You can include images of the project you are submitting if it has been started or completed, or you could include images of work you have made that is similar to what you are proposing for Nocturne. Submit past work that would help the Selection Committee understand your project.
    • Any other relevant support materials (letters of support, sketches etc.)
  • An up to date artist CV + Bio (Optional)
  • Your budget

4. The Selection Process

  • The Executive Director and Programming Coordinator will do an initial review of all proposals and send them to the Nocturne Selection Committee which is composed of local artists, arts and culture workers, and community members. The Selection Committee members are paid an honorarium for their time and expertise.
  • Each Selection Committee member must sign a confidentiality and conflict of interest agreement.
  • The Selection Committee members choose their top 20 proposals individually in no particular order.
  • The Selection Committee meets as a group to discuss the top proposals.
  • Notes about the discussion will be kept on file for information sake but feedback on proposals is not guaranteed.
  • If the committee has any questions or concerns, the Executive Director and Programming Coordinator will contact the applicant to clarify any necessary details about their proposal before making a final decision.

5. Notification of Results

  • The Executive Director and Programming Coordinator will reach out to selected applicants to deliver the Selection Committee's recommendations.
  • Successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified, at the latest, on July 2, 2021


We have created the following templates to help with your application. These are google docs but can be downloaded as spreadsheets usable in other platforms.


(can be used to help prep your application)



Nocturne takes place across 5 unique zones:

  1. North End
  2. Downtown Halifax
  3. Downtown Dartmouth
  4. Waterfront
  5. Spring Garden

A secured site at the proposal stage is not mandatory but highly recommended. Having a site in mind at this initial phase can help the jury picture your project more accurately and can sometimes be a deciding factor when considering your project. We encourage artists that are proposing a physical project to seek out a venue or site before you submit your application.

We can help you connect with site owners like HRM, landlords and other venue contacts and even suggest potential locations that have worked well in the past. Reach out to our team to learn more.

To get you thinking, consider some of these past venues:

  • HRM Parks + Public Spaces
    • City Hall & Grand Parade
    • Cogswell Park on Quinpool Road
    • Granville Mall
    • Victoria Park
  • Halifax & Dartmouth Waterfronts
  • Propeller Brewery Locations
  • FBM Architecture
  • Halifax Seaport
  • Parking garages
  • Scotia Square Mall
  • Alderney Landing
  • Public Gardens
  • Public Libraries
  • YMCA



Check out our info sessions where you can speak to organizers and Selection Committee members, meet the curator, talk about your project a bit and ask any burning questions about the process you might have.

Info session 1: April 16, 11am - register here
Info session 2: April 29, 5:30 pm - register here
Info session 3: May 10, 7:30 pm - register here

Still have questions? Reach out anytime to:

Lindsay Ann Cory, Executive Director
[email protected]

I’thandi Munro, Programming Coordinator
[email protected]



Nocturne is here to provide assistance at any step of your application journey. Feel free to send us an email, set up a call, or attend one of our info sessions to chat all about the process, meet the curator, learn about the theme and discuss any questions or concerns.

Application assistance is also available whether you just need someone to review what you have ready before submitting it, need help clarifying your ideas, or even need assistance in transcribing your application. We have a team of volunteers ready to help!

We also accept proposals via phone, video or audio file - please let us know if you would like to set up an application interview.

Still not sure how to get started? Check out this application example!