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OMC Policy Handbook on Artists' Residencies
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Overview of artists’ residencies
2.1 The artists’ residencies phenomenon
Artists’ residencies are not a new phenomenon1see Annex 1 for a short history of the practice. , however, in recent years there has been a rapid growth in the opportunities and an increasing importance laid on the role of residencies in the careers of artists.
There is a wide variety of reasons for artists to engage in residencies as well as a widening variety of artists who go on them. Many artists coming straight out of college and higher education see residencies as a first step into becoming an artist, other, more established artists take “time out” to go on a residency or see the residency as a mid-career break.2These differing functions are explored in the following report http://www.encatc.org/moving-and-learning/index.lasso).
It is interesting to note that, with the exception of study leave and sabbaticals in academia, residencies do not occur to the same extend in other fields as they do in the arts. Considering that personal development and networking is not a prerogative of the arts world, there must be other reasons why residencies have such an importance for artists.
One important difference between an artist’s career and another is that there is no clear career progression for artists. In addition, in order to earn a living, artists very often combine their arts practice with non-arts related work. To focus on their artistic development, artists need to be able to create distance from their secondary activities. Doing this in a physical way (a residency) is an effective way to shift the focus back to creation. Some residencies can also offer a stipend on top of the working and living space which helps artists to cover their costs.
Residencies enable artists to do fieldwork and to work on site, often with local partners, in order to map out, collect, research and generate new perspectives. This kind of "embedded research" contributes to public and professional awareness. It reinforces the concept of artists' residencies as cells of knowledge and alternative academies.
It is, however, worth noting that in contemporary art practice many art projects are based on research. Artists nowadays design their own processes, doing location-based research that may resemble a residency. For this kind of process, the artist does not rely on existing structures. Therefore, this could be an area where a new type of support structure may emerge to facilitate long-term research projects. We discuss the residency phenomenon taking into account this contemporary artistic practice, while making the distinction between working through research practice and embarking on a residency.
2.2 Timeframe of artists' residencies
The preferred timeframe for residencies differs between art forms and artists. Individual artists, like visual artists and writers, are often interested in longer terms and artists working in collective art forms, such as dance and theatre seem to prefer shorter periods. In general, there is a tendency to spend less time in residencies. Whereas 6-12 month residencies were more common before, nowadays artists' residencies are more likely to be for 3 months, 6 weeks, down to pop up, one day residencies. This reflects current economic realities and, in the case of international artists, the fact that immigration/visa rules allow no more than a 3 month period of temporary stay in one EU country.
2.3 Scale of artists' residencies
Today, very small scale, even "nano-residencies" are in operation. Because of their scale, many of these initiatives stay below the radar, going from an artist ‘couch surfing’ somewhere to a single artist that, on a regular basis, invites other artists to stay and work together.
> Maltese artist Norbert Francis Attard invites international artists to work and stay in Gozo Contemporary which he runs as a meeting point for local artists and international guests. (http://norbertattard.com/en/gozo-contemporary)
At the same time, large scale residencies also continue to exist.
> The Artist in Residence Programme run by the Federal Chancellor’s Office and Kultur Kontakt, Austria. The collaboration provides for 50 residencies in Vienna in 2015 for visual artists, writers, dancers and choreographers, composers, curators and art educators. (www.kulturkontakt.or.at)
> Arteles Creative Centre, Finland, is one of the largest and most international creative residencies in Scandinavia. The Centre is run by Arteles, a non-profit organization, and welcomes over 90 selected visual artists, curators, musicians, writers, performance artists, photographers, designers, and architects per year. It also organises cultural meetings, discussions and events and realises educational, research and editorial activities. http://www.arteles.org/creativecenter.html
2.4 Types of artists' residencies
Artists' residencies tend to be focused either on pure artistic development or on a predefined purpose or policy –the latter being thematic residencies. The number of thematic residencies has shown a considerable growth over the last years, with providers from the arts sectors as well as outsiders. This could be the effect of the growing recognition of the value of artistic and creative potential in society. Although, still, the majority of residences are still found in the visual arts fields, there is a strong tendency towards other art fields, cross disciplinary and cross sector residencies. This broadens the scope and forms of residencies.
We found it useful to consider the following categorizing of residences while being aware that other typologies and/or classifications are possible:
2.4.1 The "classic" residency model
Throughout the world and in Europe governments and funds invest in residency institutions. These organizations often have well established and strong reputation in the arts world. They often also offer a public programme (exhibitions, open doors, meetings, café,) that is centred on their main activity, the artist residencies. The focus is very much on the artists’ development and/or the development of art work.
Residents can also count on visits from curators, programmers and collectors, attracted by the reputation of the institution or invited by the organization, ideally chosen to match with the profile of the artist. Therefore this type of residency is a hub for artistic and creative encounter and exchange.
> Iaspis, the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s International Programme for Visual Artists, Stockholm, Sweden (www.konstnarsnamnden.se)
> Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany (www.bethanien.de)
> Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany (www.akademie-solitude.de)
> Rijksakademie, Amsterdam, the Netherlands (www.rijksakademie.nl),
> HIAP Helsinki, Finland (www.hiap.fi)
2.4.2 Residencies connected with art institutions and festivals3Art institutions may also have a designated “in residence” post, for example, a “conductor in residence” in an orchestra or a “choreographer in residence” in a dance company. These cases did not concern the OMC group.
These residencies are located within a contemporary art centre or institution and therefore profit from the closeness of an active arts environment with its professional management, promotion, an established audience and interested visitors and participants. There is often an expectation or opportunity for the presentation or work in progress with discussions and feedback from other professionals or the public.
> A-I-R laboratory CCA Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, Poland. The A-i-R laboratory organises an international residency programme at the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw. (www.csw.art.pl/a-i-r_en/)
> Wiels, Brussels, Belgium is housed in a former beer brewery and operates as a Contemporary Art Centre offering exhibitions, residency, film, and educational programmes, lectures, often in collaboration with other art institutes in Brussels. (www.wiels.org)
> Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen, Innsbruck, Austria. It brings together two programmes under one roof: the International Fellowship Programme for Art and Theory and studios for artists based in Tyrol who require space for working in a professionally interesting environment. (http://buchsenhausen.at)http:///h
> Plataforma Revólver, Lisbon, Portugal is an independent art organisation that includes, among others, an international exhibition space and residency programme. (www.artecapital.net/plataforma.php)
> Hotel Marco, Spain. In this project, the space attached to the Museum of Contemporary Art of Vigo (MARCO) was reshaped as ‘Hotel MARCO’. Curators, artists and researchers explore the particular context as part of a programme of residencies. In addition, it can be used as a hotel room, where people can make a reservation and payment and then enjoy the experience of lodging in an exhibition space conceived as an art work and located both inside and outside the Museum’s premises. (www.marcovigo.com)
> Some theatres or orchestras have artists-in-residence for longer periods. The purpose of this kind of residency is usually more closely allied to a future production where the artist can either use the facilities of the hosting organization or collaborates on an artistic level.
> Artist-in-residence at Toneelhuis, the city theatre of Antwerp, Belgium. Toneelhuis hosts multi-annual residencies of theatre companies or individual artists. They benefit from the scale of the theatre to produce, budget and spread productions in an artistic collaboration with the theatre. (http://toneelhuis.be)
> Mala Performerska Scena, Zagreb, Croatia is an art organisation in the field of new circus. They organise residencies with other partners, primarily for future productions. In addition, they offer residencies for journalists in new circus in the framework of the "Unpack the Arts" project. The artists’ residencies in the field of circus are organised in partnership with other art organisations and festivals. (www.cirkus.hr)
> National Dance Company, Spain offers creation residencies for young emerging dancers and companies. Selected artists are invited to create, rehearse and show their work within the company. ( www.cndanza.mcu.es)
2.4.3 Artist-led residency centres
Set up by art professionals, these residencies develop a profile that is on the priorities of the founder(s). They vary from small-scale artist-run organizations to organizations that are an essential link in the local art scene. Due to the link with the personality and priorities of the founders and the staff, these residencies often have a clear profile, focusing on a specific art sector or a specific network.
> Derida Dance Centre, Sofia, Bulgaria. An independent cultural unit in Sofia. It is the only organisation in Bulgaria that provides opportunity and space for representatives of the independent art sector in the fields of contemporary dance, theatre and interdisciplinary arts to improve their professional development, to carry out production activities through the program of residencies and to present their productions. (www.derida-dance.com)
> BLOK - Urban Festival, Croatia. The BLOK curatorial collective runs Urban Festival, and within this framework organises artists’ residencies. Artists are invited to carry out specific research locally using collaborative and interdisciplinary approaches. The projects realised regularly raise issues of great social importance and are launched into the public sphere. (www.blok.hr).
2.4.4 Research-based residencies
Artists in this group use the process of research to create the experience of the residency. Artists sometimes also create solutions and alternative approaches to the issues arising from that research. Research based residencies differ from thematic residencies (see below) largely in the close nature of the relationship of the artist to the people and places that they work with and within.
> Artist Jeanne van Heeswijk (Netherlands) works from the idea that communities need to co-produce their own futures. For this reason, she embeds herself, for years at a time, in communities from Rotterdam to Liverpool, working with the communities to improve their neighbourhoods and empowering them to design their own futures. She calls it “radicalising the local”. (www.jeanneworks.net)
> Benjamin Deboosere and Wouter De Raeve (Belgium) conducted research in 2013 on Templelhofer Feld ('Tempelhof Airport Berlin') while being in residence in Berlin's Alexanderplatz (http://www.onthf.com/On_THF/On_Tempelhofer_Feld.html)
> DutchCulture|TransArtists AiR Collection: “Undercover”. An artist can be anyone: an anthropologist, a spy, taxi driver, stockbroker and so much more. This collection focuses on embedded artists and residencies that are 'undercover', that is, participants blend in a community, a system or a company. (www.transartists.org/dutchculturetransartists-air-collection)
2.4.5 Thematic residencies
Thematic residencies encompass all sorts of approaches, but what unites them is that the purpose of the residency is beyond the artistic development alone. Artists are asked to contribute to a common theme. Examples include residencies designed to celebrate a particular heritage or regional identity.
> Cape Farewell, UK. Cape Farewell uses the notion of expedition - arctic, island, urban and conceptual - to interrogate the scientific, social and economic realities that lead to climate disruption, and to inspire the creation of climate-focused art. Cape Farewell brings artists, scientists and communicators together to stimulate the production of art founded in scientific research. (www.capefarewell.com)
> Satellietgroep, the Netherlands. Their long-term project “Badgast” at The Hague/Scheveningen aims at researching the pressure on public, social and cultural use of waterfronts. Satellietgroep develops concepts and strategies focused on a new approach to future coastal urban areas. (www.satellietgroep.nl)
> Moving landscape #2 is a PepeNero project in the context of the G.A.P. project (City as a participatory art gallery), a territorial laboratory of art experimentation and contemporary language in the Puglia Region, Italy. Since 2011, PepeNero sustains and start initiatives aimed at participatory processes of active citizenship for reviving non­functioning public spaces and supporting the diversification of local enterprises. (www.neropepe.it/artists-in-residence-program/)
2.4.6 Production-based residencies
This is where the elaboration and practical realisation of an idea/project is the central aim. The organization offers infrastructure, material and/or know-how. These are close to commissions but the process is part of the final work. Many of the discipline-specific residencies are in this category.
> Amsterdam Grafisch Atelier (AGA), Amsterdam, the Netherlands. AGA’s Artist in Residence programme aims to contribute to research and development of new work in the field of graphics (both traditional techniques and new digital art forms). The studio provides various facilities, techniques and expertise for artists allowing them to produce and develop their work. In addition, AGA makes high quality prints, from classical craftsmanship to modern digital techniques, by commission of artists, designers, cultural institutes and organisations. (http://amsterdamsgrafischatelier.nl)
> Scottish Sculpture Workshop (SSW), Aberdeenshire, UK. In addition to providing traditional models of residencies, training and exhibition opportunities for visual artists, SSW offers production residencies. (www.ssw.org.uk)
> Baltic Centre for Writers and Translators, Visby, Sweden is an international residential centre for writers and literary translators. The Centre operates as a working and meeting place for literary professionals and continuously organises seminars and other projects (www.bcwt.org)
> International Writers' and Translators' Centre, Rhodes island, Greece. Its main goal is to provide for accommodation free of charge to writers and translators for a period of two to six weeks. Additionally, it supports new writers mostly by offering grants, awards and accolades and scholarships, as well as with the organisation of special educational programmes, publications, conferences, seminars and cultural events. Drawing from the history and the multicultural heritage of the island of Rhodes it aims to attract writers and translators from all the geographical regions neighbouring the island and mediate its work to the local society (http://www.writerscenter.gr/en.html)
2.4.7 Interdisciplinary and cross-sectorial residencies4analysed in greater depth below under 3.1 Residencies and new partnerships.
Artists' residencies may host artists working with a diverse range of media, in different disciplines and fields of the arts. Both artists and the residency hosts tend to explore more often the possibilities to collaborate with partners across other sectors outside the arts world.
> Nida Art Colony (NAC), Lithuania. NAC is a meeting place for experienced and emerging artists in any discipline. Artistic, curatorial and educational process lies in the core of its activities, which mostly focus on professional development of artists and informal art education for the young. (http://nidacolony.lt/en).
> Kulttuurikauppila residence programme in Ii, Finland connects to municipal elementary school and college art education, creating an international art college. Art education is integrated to all disciplines and a part of the partnership is international, updating education for the teachers in arts. Partnerships are formed also with polytechnics and universities. The artist in residence programme has promoted the profile of the municipality Ii in Finland and is already called as an art education model example. (http://www.kulttuurikauppila.fi/frontpage)
> Pollinaria in Abruzzo, Italy is a residency concept of regeneration for the agrarian environment. It is a radical and multi-faceted programme designed to create a new rural archetype. The projects evolve constantly in a fruitful collaboration between art, science, agriculture and other disciplines. (http://www.pollinaria.org)
> The Prix Ars Electronica Collide@CERN is the digital arts strand of the three year Collide@CERN programme initiated in 2011. The aim of the Prix Ars Electronica Collide@CERN prize is to take digital creativity to new dimensions by colliding the minds of scientists with the imaginations of artists. It seeks to accelerate innovation across culture in the 21st century, creating new dimensions in the digital arts, inspired by the ideas, engineering and science generated at CERN, and produced by the winning artist in collaboration with the trans-disciplinary expertise of the FutureLab team at Ars Electronica. (collide@prixars.aec.at).
1     see Annex 1 for a short history of the practice.  »
2     These differing functions are explored in the following report http://www.encatc.org/moving-and-learning/index.lasso).  »
3     Art institutions may also have a designated “in residence” post, for example, a “conductor in residence” in an orchestra or a “choreographer in residence” in a dance company. These cases did not concern the OMC group.  »
4     analysed in greater depth below under 3.1 Residencies and new partnerships.  »