The international sector

How to build an international career?

In the third lecture we want to give you some tips on how to initiate a process of internationalization. 

The pandemic revolutionized the formats of the international markets for performing arts and many of them have adapted to the digital age. We will review how the international markets and fairs have evolved since the pandemic. We will propose alternative routes you could take, as there is not just a single path to bring your work abroad. Like for instance, applying to residency spaces or joining underground meeting places for international artists and self-organized artistic projects.

International markets

In the following video, Claudia Morgana, an expert in the international arts market, will provide valuable insights on how the international market works. She will explain the importance of international fairs as a key element for building an international career in the arts. This ten-minute video is a must-watch for anyone who is interested in pursuing an international career in the arts, as Morgana will share her knowledge and experience on the subject.

She will explain the benefits of attending international fairs and how they can help artists and art professionals connect with potential clients, collaborators and partners from around the world. She will also delve into the potential downsides of attending these markets, such as the cost and the competition and provide tips on how to overcome these challenges.

Overall, this video is a great resource for anyone looking to build an international career in the arts and will provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to succeed in this competitive market.

To summarize:

  • Since the start of the pandemic, many international markets began offering an online version of the fair. This shift has made it possible for emerging artists to attend from the comfort of their homes. That implies that, for a small fee, you can benefit from the event’s activities, contacts, and information from anywhere. Some fairs also offer digital resources, such as virtual booths and exclusive webinars, which can help them to learn about the latest trends and conversations.

List of relevant performing arts fairs

If you got carried away with Claudia Morgana, here is a list of some of the most relevant performing arts fairs around the globe for you to begin your research. Notice that we have divided between international fairs and regional fairs.

Check out the list here. 

  • If you want to build an institutional and international career you might need to overcome feelings of rejection towards meetings, speed dates and pitching. You need to find your joy in preparing these actions and develop your own strategy based on the needs of your work. If you want to be in the market, people need to get to know you.
  • Your work might not be suitable everywhere, so remember to research the fairs and markets you are planning to attend or wish to be presented at beforehand. Don’t waste your time and money if you are not sure if it is the right match or fit. 


If, after some reflection, you’ve come to the conclusion that international fairs are not the right fit for you and your artistic practice, you are not alone. Not every artist or performing arts professional will find fairs to be the best way to build an international career and that’s totally fine. The world of art is diverse and there are many paths that can lead to success.

It’s important to remember that international fairs are just one way to build an international career in the arts and they may not be the best fit for every artist or art professional. Some artists may prefer to focus on building a strong online presence, while others may find success through traditional gallery representation.

It’s also important to note that the type of work that you create can play a role in determining which path is best for you. Some artists may find that their work is best suited to an international fair, while others may find that their work is better suited to another path.

The key is to do your research and explore different options. There are many resources available that can help you learn more about the different paths to an international career in the arts and it’s important to find the one that best fits your artistic practice and your goals.

Ultimately, whether you choose to attend international fairs or explore other options, remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution and that building an international career in the arts requires hard work, dedication, and a willingness to try new things.

Follow an educational program abroad

We are in a great moment for education in performing arts. In the last years there has flourished many educational programs, such as Masters, BAs, and post-BAs, everywhere. Following such programs are great opportunities to get to know the sector abroad, open up your career prospects, gain new professional skills, and create new connections. The fact that these kinds of programs focus on the international community, will also expand your outreach by making it possible for you to get to know your colleagues from different parts of the world.

With so many graduate schools to choose from, it can be difficult to know what’s the best option for you. The process can be challenging, especially since you have to invest money and time. But remember; this is a commitment to yourself and to your future. 

As Morgana recommends in the video above, you have to know yourself. Take some time to figure out what you want to get out of the graduate school experience, and engage in research about all possible options, including informal interviews with people and fields that seem interesting to you.

There are three main logistic elements you should take into consideration:
  • Program Format and cost of living:
    Take your time to understand the full cost of the program and how it fits into your budget. You should also take into consideration the cost of living of the country where the program is based. If you do not have other support than your own, you will need to consider the workload of the program and if it is compatible with working full time or with having family responsibilities. If so, maybe you should focus on one-day a week programs.
  • Program Qualifications and Requirements:
    Once you’ve identified graduate programs that interest you, you’ll need to research whether you meet the qualifications for admissions. You’ll also want to know exactly what requirements you’ll need to meet to graduate. Some programs are crowded and you might not manage to access them at first, so we recommend having some other suitable options on the table and apply to all of them.
  • Funding:
    Educating yourself about funding options is also important. Each country has different educational support grants. While you are in the process of applying to a program, you might as well take time to research various study support programs. Some countries have public subsidies and there are many foundations that offer grants to study abroad. 
How to know if it is a good graduate program?

The responsibility is yours. Deciding what to prioritise when selecting an educational program to expand your career is a process that is individual, although there are some key elements common to anyone:

  • The instructors:
    Since we are talking about pursuing a degree to build an international career, the most important aspect are the instructors. Be sure the teachers have something to do with your artistic interest, because you will get more advantages if your work can gain from their experience, than if it is unrelated. Also, check if they are active artists or if they have been long without working outside education. You should be interested in people who know the field today, and which network is up-to-date. 

    You can do this research by looking at the program from previous editions, researching their webpages and social media platforms. Talk to your colleagues about them, have a go at finding out how much they resonate in your community.
  • Alumni Career Paths:
    We suggest finding alumni to find out their trajectories post-graduation. If their stories inspire you, that’s a positive sign the graduate program may be a good fit for you as well. School websites will also often include profiles on current grad students and alumni, or the faculty social media platforms might tag the alumni in certain posts. This can give you a sense of their academic experiences and career outcomes. And of course, do not hesitate to contact them and ask.
  • The scene:
    Not every country has a developed scene and not every country is as connected with the international scene as others. There are countries that do invest more in the performance scene nationally, there are others that invest more in the internationalization of their artists and this might vary from year to year. It is important to research if the place of the program is in a country that is hyper-connected, if there are many quality festivals and artistic networks, because it is where you need to place yourself. 
  • Program:
    Also make up your mind if you will want a more artistic driven program, research based or a program that incorporates management on the agenda.


Applying for artistic residencies abroad is a very interesting way to make yourself known in other parts of the world and also to expand your network. First of all, because you will benefit from the network of the residency itself and you will not be alone approaching people because you will be assisted by the host. Secondly, because people will meet you through your work. Lastly, it is a great way to work without your usual distractions in a place to nurture your process and discover new ways of working.

There are many interesting open calls for artist residencies online, but remember to do your research and dedicate time in order to choose the right one for you. Below you can find search engines for relevant and recommended artist residencies. 

To get the most out of every residency you should look carefully where to apply.

Recommended artist in residence search engine

In the search engines listed below you will find updated information about various residencies. These search engines continuously upload residency and grant opportunities for artists:

Most importantly, decide why you want to do a residency, how much time and money you have to spend, what your project will be, and where you want to go. The research steps are similar to the ones written to choose a degree or graduate program described above.

After that, write a compelling project proposal that is truthful to you and specific to the open call. Each residency has different criteria, so make sure you read the application carefully—sometimes they want emerging or established artists or have a theme. Do not apply randomly. 

Most residencies have an application fee, so make sure you understand the criteria for each residency. Don’t waste your time and money if you are not eligible for the objective criteria.

Joining underground projects and contexts

If neither art fairs nor residences feel like a perfect fit for you, maybe you will feel more comfortable building a community of supporting artists. And you are not alone, many artists prefer to create their own contexts rather than spend their time applying to different opportunities and/or waiting until an institution invites them.

You are probably following artists on social media, who run their own project spaces that are exceptional, artists whose work appeal to you or inspires you.

It might be an underground venue, a collective studio space, or a living community. These kinds of spaces usually organize open events that gather the professional community and are great places to meet new people. Visiting these kinds of spaces and communities and getting involved in them is also a way of connecting and networking with other colleagues on the international performing arts scene. 

One example is PAF, Performing Arts Forum, in France:

“PAF is a place for professional and not-yet professional practitioners and activists in the field of performing arts, visual art, literature, music, new media and internet, theory and cultural production and scientists who seek to research and determine their own conditions of work. PAF is for people who can motorize their own artistic production and knowledge production, not only responding to the opportunities given by the institutional market.

Initiated and run by artists, theoreticians, and practitioners themselves, PAF is a user-created, user-innovative informal institution. Neither a production-house and venue nor a research centre, it is a platform for everyone who wants to expand possibilities and interests in his/her own working practice.”

*Description on the web of PAF.

PAF is an example of a space that gathers around one thousand artists from everywhere in the world every year. It is a self-run space open to anyone interested in research and in people. They have yearly events you can join and get to know new people and possible future collaborators. Visit their webpage, find the program or the event that suits you the most, visit it and start working from there.

PAF is just one example of the many artist-run projects around the world. This is another path you can take if you prefer to work independently and in your own rhythm.


Claudia Morgana (Spain)

Coordinator of FECED (State Federation of Dance Companies)

Graduated in Law from the University of Salamanca, she studied International Relations at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. She has been, for 15 years, an entrepreneur in the Performing Arts sector; she specialized in the production, distribution, and management of dance shows in Madrid. She was the 2010 coordinator of Ibercrea and currently, she is the coordinator of the State Federation of Dance Companies and coordinator of the Dance from Spain platform for the internationalization of dance. Since 2014 she has distributed the National Dance Company in Asia, Oceania, and the Persian Gulf.