2015 Festival \\ Call for Contributors


The NIGHT\SHIFT 2015 call for proposals is now closed.

We are no longer accepting proposals for performances & installations at NIGHT\SHIFT 2015, which will take place over Halloween weekend this fall – October 30th, 31st & Nov 1st! Details about the application process are outlined below – the submission deadline was on Monday, July 20th.

Myriad members of the Region of Waterloo community are collaborating with the NIGHT\SHIFT \\ Halloween organizing team to produce downtown Kitchener’s third annual nuit blanche -style festival of art, culture and nocturnal adventure.

Our mission is to expand on successful 2013 & 2014 festivals and attract another diverse local audience to explore a free, provocative and walkable showcase of visual artistry, performance, participatory creativity, technological leaps, bright ideas, delicious food and warm drinks on Saturday, October 31st, 2015 – the evening that the clocks roll back. In 2015, selected festival programming will also be unveiled and/or presented earlier in the month of October, and potentially be featured in fundraising events that will take place on October 30th and November 1st.

NIGHT\SHIFT \\ Halloween will be spread throughout various indoor and outdoor locations downtown, threaded together by four event hubs: the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, Kitchener City Hall, The Walper Hotel and the Kitchener Market. Wherever possible, the festival makes use of laneways, parks, intriguing buildings and overlooked outdoor gems – please consult the 2013 & 2014 explorer’s map and take yourself on an evening walking tour of the programming landscape to get a sense of which spaces might potentially be occupied by your proposed ideas or production. It’s ideal if you can suggest possible indoor or outdoor spaces that seem appropriate for your vision, or that could potentially link together other established festival venues in an interesting way.

The curation committee seeks to assemble projects and creations by a range of (primarily local) visual artists, media makers, students, social groups, entertainers, entrepreneurs, community leaders and builders, cultural organizations and other random individuals. We already have the support of a number of downtown businesses and local cultural institutions, and a green light from the City of Kitchener to produce a third version of NIGHT\SHIFT .

If you need a refresher, check out last year’s festival lineup and the social media storm it created .


Proposals for NIGHT\SHIFT \\ Halloween should be designed to explore a theme of “Costuming the Core.” Generally speaking, proposals should be written in plain language, and the programming you want to produce should be adaptable to a range of potential spaces and scenarios (until we’re discussing things more concretely) and described in simple, non-technical terms. The festival intends to be a sort of social intervention supported by Kitchener’s creative and communal forces, aimed at drawing out hidden possibilities of downtown’s built environment. In 2015 we’ll support a range of collaborative installations, performances, digital and mixed media pieces, decorations, experiences and interactive activities that will attract the festival’s audience as follows:

  • the content of all proposed projects should challenge NIGHT\SHIFT 2015 explorers to reconsider the typical usage, dimensions, appearance or purpose of participating indoor and outdoor venues in downtown Kitchener;
  • proposed projects can obviously celebrate Halloween, but it’s more important that they use set decor, illusion, imagination and storytelling to urge festival attendees to open their minds and engage with their surroundings;
  • physical and social accessibility for all event participants should be considered in your project plan.

We are currently inviting individual artists, performers, entrepreneurs, student groups and cultural organizations to submit short written proposals for installations or exhibits, technology demonstrations, performance pieces and other participatory public events under this broad theme. The deadline for proposal submissions is Monday, July 20th, 2015, at 4pm (Kitchener time).

NIGHT\SHIFT contributions must:

  • Be prepared to take place on the October 30th to November 1st, 2015, weekend, in downtown Kitchener, Ontario, between the hours of 7pm and 2am (or a pre-determined portion of that time period, and/or potentially starting earlier or running later as required);
  • Provide a high-quality, unconventional cultural experience that aims to include and engage a wide, diverse audience without jeopardizing their safety and/or that of event volunteers, organizers and other artistic contributors;
  • Explore or strongly incorporate the 2015 festival theme, “Costuming the Core”;
  • Be created within a budget of approximately $500 to $1000, including all production expenses.
  • Be chosen by the curators committee after a group evaluation of how well each proposal fits the curatorial theme, budget and basic logistical criteria for inclusion in the festival;
  • Provide free admission to NIGHT\SHIFT attendees;
  • Be installed or presented in a careful and considerate manner that abides to all by-laws, laws and safety regulations or requirements, as assessed by the City of Kitchener.

Space-specific proposal needs:

  • We are seeking multiple contributions that present video, animation or other moving pictures projected on exterior walls and at indoor venues;
  • An outdoor installation, performance or presentation that could illuminate and/or occupy space in Civic Centre Square (aka Fireman’s Memorial Park, at Queen & Otto streets, across from the Centre in the Square\KW|AG facility), Vogelsang Green (Queen & Duke), or Market Green (Duke & Scott);
  • An outdoor installation, performance or participatory activity that could occupy an enclosed patio space (such as Gaol Garden);
  • An installation, performance or experiential activity to be presented in either Halls Lane or Goudies Lane (without limiting foot traffic through those areas);
  • Visual and/or sound installations or performance acts that could be located in smaller interior rooms, or a portion of them;
  • An installation to occupy the front window at Matter of Taste (115 King St. West.);
  • Interactive or participatory ideas that could “roam” around the downtown area, or that do not require a bricks-and-mortar space to present;
  • Wonderfully strange ideas that do not fit any of the spaces described above, yet they would undoubtedly enhance the theme of “intervention” or “hidden stories” in a meaningful way.

Please include a list of the bullet points above as potentially appropriate venues for your proposal, or feel free to suggest other indoor and/or outdoor space ideas that fall within the established festival landscape.

NIGHT\SHIFT artist proposals must:

  • Include all names of individual artists (or members of a collective, organization or community group) that will participate in producing the proposed event, and include contact information (phone numbers and emails) for the artist(s) who will bear responsibility for ensuring full delivery of the project as proposed;
  • Include an itemization of all expenses and requirements related to the production and/or construction of an installation or event, including supplies, equipment rentals, power needs, transportation costs, etc.;
  • Agree to create a site-specific exhibit, installation or performance project that would be located in a designated NIGHT\SHIFT festival location, as determined by the curators committee and participating business owners and venue managers;
  • Explain or describe how the proposed event, exhibit or activity relates to the theme of “Costuming the Core” in clear, succinct language;
  • Attempt to clearly describe the physical presence that proposed projects will have during NIGHT\SHIFT by providing an artists’ rendering or mock-up image (or other media such as videos, press materials, etc);
  • Include all details requested above, a proposal description in writing (no more than 500 words or so please), and submit no more than three pieces of support material as attachments via email or snail mail (this includes images, videos or audio works that you wish to have the curators committee include in their evaluation);
  • Be received by before 4pm on Monday, July 20th, 2015, addressed to the “Night\Shift curators committee” and sent to either [email protected] , or mailed or hand-delivered to 195 King St. W., Suite 202, Kitchener, Ont., N2G 1B1.

NIGHT\SHIFT curators committee will:

  • Be composed of five members, including one NIGHT\SHIFT \\ Halloween organizing team member and one representative of the City of Kitchener;
  • Assess all proposed projects that meet the above criteria in a fair and judicious manner, both individually and as a group;
  • Judge all proposals based on their artistic merit, thematic appropriateness, logistical and physical feasibility, support materials provided, budgetary demands, relative production costs to other proposals, the history of the applicant as a professional artist and other criteria determined to be crucial to the decision-making process during committee deliberations;
  • Collaborate with the authors of successful project proposals and our roster of downtown venue providers to choose an appropriate event location;
  • Encourage artists (and provide logistical or intellectual support where possible) to apply for individual grants to fund their participation in NIGHT\SHIFT (but we also advise that artists should not rely on receiving third party funding to fulfill their proposed project).

The Fine Print

  • Selected artists will be given a modest stipend to account for expenses and compensate for their participation in NIGHT\SHIFT . Appropriate payments will be negotiated with the festival director. A\J has secured a small operating budget for the festival that allows us to pay for some production expenses and provide a sliding scale of participating artist fees that currently ranges from $500 to $1000 per programming project;
  • Artists do not need to provide their own insurance for this event;
  • Artists who are approved to participate in NIGHT\SHIFT can solicit their own sponsorship or corporate donations, but they must first obtain written endorsement from the curators committee before doing so – we will be securing overall corporate sponsorship and funding for this event, and we must ensure that there are no conflicts of interest with the festival’s title sponsors;
  • NIGHT\SHIFT organizers and curators cannot assist artists from locations outside of Waterloo Region with travel or materials transportation expenses;
  • The organizing team is currently negotiating commitments from downtown business owners and city officials related to individual indoor and outdoor venues for NIGHT\SHIFT programming, and we cannot guarantee specific spaces for particular events, so proposals should not be absolutely bound to one space;
  • For any digital attachments that are submitted with a proposal, please use the following naming convention for your files: [number]_[artist name]_[proposal title] (For example: 01_Smith_LighteningStorm.jpg);
  • Please submit written proposals as a .doc or .pdf file only;
  • Please submit video files as attachments to proposals in .mov, .mpeg or .avi file formats, and audio files should be .mp3 or .wav files only;
  • Emailed proposals should not exceed 10 MB in size, including all attachments and required documents;
  • If sending your application by snail mail, please ensure that all proposal submission materials (including the application form) are burned onto a single CD or DVD-R.