About Netwerk Aalst

Netwerk Aalst is an open house, an international centre for contemporary art and an independent cinema located in Aalst, Belgium.

Mission

Netwerk Aalst is a multidisciplinary arts centre in Aalst, Belgium. Together with artists, makers, neighbours and local residents, we set up artistic projects that are shared and tested in public exhibitions, film programmes, performances, workshops and through the production of new work. In this way, we seek to generate insights and develop alternatives that contribute to a society in transformation.

Vision

Netwerk Aalst is an accessible, public meeting place where art is developed, researched, made, shown and mediated. The central question is that of how arts and cultural institutions can contribute to societal engagement.

In an increasingly complex society, we seek to create space for reflection, debate and development. We do this in interaction with the local and regional reality and in relation to international developments and trends.

Agility is required of Netwerk Aalst in responding to the dynamics of society. We are undergoing a transformation from mono- to multidisciplinary. By bringing more disciplines together, we aim to promote a greater diversity of perspectives. We believe our organisation should reflect the diverse reality that surrounds us, offering room for many voices to resonate. Only in this way can an arts centre be critical and relevant in today’s society.

We believe that our structure should likewise reflect this vision. To this end, alternating, diversely populated working groups serve a curating or mandating role. They feed and help to shape both our operations and our programme. We are in constant interaction with our environment. Proximity is an issue that we must take into account. But we are also children of our time – a time when the world is never far away. We accept this world’s blessings along with its curses. We connect and feel connected with artists worldwide and we share in global concerns about a sustainable future.

Sustainability is a way of life that we want to be reflected in all our actions. We respect the working boundaries of our staff, rally around the issue of fair remuneration for artists, weigh all our decisions against the principle of fairness, and strive for inclusion and diversity in our society. When it comes to societal debate, we do not baulk at taboos. We aim not to be attention-grabbers in a mediatised debate, but rather to offer a safe place for discussion.

Netwerk has been an advocate of societal renewal since its inception. Netwerk Aalst intends to actively maintain this societal role through a continued engagement with people, makers and artists, as well as through broad-ranging forms of artistic expression.

Netwerk Aalst is...

Pieternel Vermoortel – Artistic Coordinator
Steven Op de Beeck – Business Coordinator
Hans Bocxstael – Curator-Coordinator Film
Piet Mertens – Curator-Coordinator Arts
Charlotte Geeraert – Curator-Coordinator Public
Jeniffer Vansteyvoort – Production and daily coordination
Veerle Coppens – Finances and Administration
Clara Beel– Press and communication

In addition, Netwerk Aalst can count on a number of enthusiastic individuals to make its operations possible. On a freelance basis they are responsible for a wide range of tasks from invigilating, exhibition support, production to participate in performances.

The board

Sigrid Callebert, Bart Dierick, Francis Mertens, Monica Monté, Patrick N'Siala Kiese, Guido Saey, Sanne Van Bellingen, Arnoud Van Der Straeten, Hilde Vanfleteren and Freek Van Neck.

general assembly

Joost Callebaut, Sigrid Callebert, Hilde De Brandt, Toon De Grez, Bart Dierick, Nadia Hanssens, Rik Hemmerijckx, Nicolas Keppens, Marc Lambert, Jan Leconte, Francis Mertens, Monica Monté, Patrick N'Siala Kiese, Guido Saey, Marielle Tagop, Sanne Van Bellingen, Arnoud Van Der Straeten, Hilde Vanfleteren, Freek Van Neck and Charlotte Verhofstadt.

Netwerk Aalst endorses the principles of Juist is Juist. Juist is Juist (what’s right is right) defines clear and fair principles and practices for collaborating in the arts sector. Netwerk Aalst contributed to the elaboration.

Venue hire

Please send all questions about venue hire to Steven. Every request will be treated individually.

History

Netwerk was founded in 1981 as a successor to the Centrum voor Samenlevingsvernieuwing (CSV, ‘Centre for Societal Renewal’), which sought out new, active approaches to coexistence. In the premises of a former wholesale business in the centre of Aalst, Netwerk (co-)programmed theatre, dance, literature, punk and jazz music, and visual arts. Until the opening of cultural centre De Werf in 1989, Netwerk was the only cultural venue in the region with a comprehensive cultural offering. Gradually, Netwerk began to profile itself as a proving ground for young artistic talent.

In 2001, the Flemish Community officially recognised Netwerk Galerij as a centre for visual arts and Netwerk as a fully-fledged (performing) arts centre. The new premises – the empty textile factory on the right bank of the Dender – and a restructuring of the organisation resulted in Netwerk’s official recognition as a visual arts centre in 2005. Netwerk/Centre for Contemporary Art developed into a leading house for visual arts. Societal engagement and fair remuneration were already points of concern for Netwerk at the time.

In 2017, Netwerk initiated a process of transition that would result in a new programme structure and internal organisation. Netwerk, from then on Netwerk Aalst, placed a renewed focus on the needs of the surrounding area. Its focus on visual arts was supplemented by the addition of a film house and accommodations for third party use. This resulted in three pillars: Kunsthal, Film and Factory. Netwerk Kunsthal invests heavily in the development of new work. Netwerk Film ensures high accessibility with both mainstream and arthouse offerings. Netwerk Fabriek returns to our roots as an open house where everyone is welcome. Collaboration across the three pillars effectively erases the boundaries between them, giving rise to one multidisciplinary house.

Partnership