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OMC Policy Handbook on Artists' Residencies
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3.1 Residencies and new partnerships
The OMC group identified a number of changes in the way residencies are structured and run. Some of these changes are directly a result of the economic downturn and others are a result of the need to adapt to social and other challenges. Significant among these is the trend towards a diversification of partners, both in terms of stakeholders, funders and, overall, adopting a more pluralistic approach to artists’ residency programmes.
It should be noted that these new partnerships do not just mean new models of funding residencies. At the heart of partnership is collaboration and cooperation and it is this aspect which was of interest to the OMC group. In considering this issue we have taken into consideration the March 2014 report of the OMC working group on “Creative Partnerships”.1http://ec.europa.eu/culture/library/reports/creative-partnerships_en.pdf
3.1.1 What do we mean by new partnerships?
New partnerships are partnerships between those that fund, organise, host, broker or facilitate artist’s residencies. A partnership exists when:
● There are benefits to all parties involved;
● There is investment (not necessarily financial) by all parties;
● There is learning and / or the transfer of skills and knowledge between parties.
3.1.2 Why are new partnerships developing?
In identifying partnership as an emerging and developing theme in artists’ residencies, the OMC group concluded that there were a range of cultural, economic, societal factors at play which included the following:
● Arts practices are changing: there is an increasing tendency towards methods of creating and making art that are inherently based on the very idea of partnership, collaboration and participation. The art itself requires and is a result of partnership and exchange. Residencies provide a setting where partners can meet and where relationships can be built and developed.
● Interdisciplinary practices: the historical barriers between and within art forms /genres/ disciplines are disappearing. Increasingly, artists are exploiting opportunities to collaborate, learn from and share with their peers in other art forms and arts practices. Residencies provide a neutral space for such interactions.
● Financial pressures: sharing costs and sharing resources is a big incentive for all organisations working in the arts. The required compromises of entering into such arrangements are often far outweighed by the benefits.
● Communications and new technologies: new technologies, especially in the area of communications and social media have facilitated the creation of new networks, the ability to identify like-minded partners, the ability to exchange resources and to promote opportunities.
● Complementary objectives with other sectors: as historical institutional barriers become more flexible, and as arts practices become more open, an increase in collaboration between different sectors is palpable. For instance, scientists or environmentalists have become more interested in what the arts have to offer and conversely, artists are interested in exploring issues and ideas that are prevalent in other sectors. So residencies that allow artists and scientists, or even artists and statisticians to work together, to share and learn from each other are becoming increasingly common.
● Social and societal: the value of the arts to impact positively on social and societal situations has long been recognised and it is increasingly becoming a priority area for state agencies investing in the arts. The long term, place specific, engaged nature of residencies makes them particularly appropriate as a mechanism for this form of arts practice and participation.
● Promotional value: Europe is experiencing increasing demand for cultural products and events. There is a global competition for attracting trained creative workforce to different countries. To compete successfully, countries and especially different regions have to create innovative ways to assert cultural and creative distinctiveness. Residencies can offer solutions to promoting the cultural and creative credentials of peripheral regions in Europe.
3.1.3 Who is involved in new partnerships?
There are a wide range of organisations and institutions involved in residency partnerships. New partnerships may involve existing models of residencies branching out to incorporate new opportunities or secure new funding.
However, the most significant type of new partnership is that involving a broader range of partners outside the traditional arts institutions or outside of the arts sector altogether.
This might include partnership inputs from:
● Other (non-arts) public or private sectors – resulting in residencies that facilitate artists working within other sectors, e.g. artists working with environmentalists / scientists / businesses / producers / technology.
● Other (non-arts) public or private institutions and agencies – resulting in residencies that facilitate artists working within place or community contexts, e.g. artists working in residencies in hospitals / schools / housing developments / work places.
● Geopolitical defined authorities – city/town/ regional authority development initiatives.
● Artists taking an increased role in initiating, creating and running residencies.
3.1.4 Successful partnerships in artists’ residencies
The success of a partnership will be driven by what the partners get out of the arrangement, but also what they put in. It is important that participating partners are clear on their own objectives and the objectives of their participating partners may not always be shared. In fact it is important for the partners to acknowledge that successful residencies tend to have complimentary rather than shared objectives. In other words, all parties are bringing something unique and different into the partnership and, for this reason, partners place a greater value on each other’s contribution.
A partnership is a relationship. So Investing time in developing partnerships is important as are trust and commitment. Successful business partnerships are often built and developed on the back of good personal relationships. The importance of a personal connection in developing successful residency partnerships cannot be underestimated.
Partnerships may grow into long lasting relationships or may be time limited. Both models can be successful if clear objectives are outlined in advance and, in the case of time-limited projects, thought is given for the legacy of the project.
> TRADUKI is a European network for literature and books, which involves Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Kosovo*2*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence. , Liechtenstein, FYROM, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Switzerland. Since 2009 residency programmes have been established with the initial help of TRADUKI, the result of cooperation and partnerships between literature associations, publishing houses, literature festivals, Pen Centres and local communities. For the first time writers-in-residence programmes have started in Split, Sarajevo, Belgrade, Tirana, Pristina and Skopje. (www.traduki.eu)
> Spark creative residencies in companies, Ireland. This example demonstrates a successful partnership between local authorities, local businesses and the cultural sector resulting in artists undertaking residencies in a wide range of working environments including a factory, a bakery, a police station, and offices. (www.leitrimcoco.ie/eng/News/SPARK-creative-residencies-in-companies.html)
> Dar al-Ma'mûn, Marrakesh, Morocco is an example of a successful collaboration between the Fellah Hotel, Dar al-Ma'mûn cultural centre and the local community. The artists' residency programme is self-sustaining due to the patronage of the Fellah Hotel located near Marrakesh. Dar al-Ma'mûn brings a wide range of cultural activities and resources, such as an exhibition space, a library of over 10,000 books in Arabic and French, a literary translation research centre, cultural and educational activities for children and adults. (http://dam-arts.org/en/#/en/2)
3.1.5 The role of intermediaries
The OMC group also identified the important role, played by intermediaries that broker relationships and partnerships. An individual or organisation that is trusted by two or more parties, that can identify the needs of and opportunities for all parties and that can bring them together plays a critical part in creating and delivering successful partnerships. In many cases the brokering / intermediary role is by far the most important in identifying opportunities, initiating partnerships and determining the ultimate success of residencies.
Arts officials working for local/regional/state government bodies are well placed to occupy this intermediary role. However, economic pressures, especially on local authority budgets are making some of these posts vulnerable to cuts.
3.2 Artists' residencies with positive externalities for cities and regions
A growing number of European cities are interested in becoming active partners in residency programs. The positive external effects of residencies are being acknowledged by municipal authorities and politicians and contribute to: Strengthening of the arts and culture in their cities and regions which enhances the cultural offer for citizens and tourists; Regeneration and social change – many examples exist of residency spaces existing in neglected parts of cities that act as a catalyst for businesses, including creative ones to open, ultimately contributing to the regeneration of areas; Community engagement: where residencies are linked to community and social issues many residency programmes have a strong track record in creating safe spaces, creative solutions and reduction of anti-social behaviours; Intercultural dialogue: cities with open, international outlooks are part of what Richard Florida calls “Creative Cities” and ultimately attract inward investment, trade and economic activity.
> CreArt (Network of Cities for Artistic Creation) responds to a need amongst European cultural institutions who share a common challenge: to maximise the economic, social, and cultural contribution that visual arts can make by better facilitating artists, managers, industry and the general public to allow them to create, present and enjoy art work, as well as to access training and education, through seminars, artists' residencies, workshops, research and analysis programmes. (http://www.creart-eu.org/activities)
3.3 Artists' residencies as "Safe Havens”
Artists' residencies can function as a “proto-institution” in countries experiencing conflict or emerging from turmoil where no structures that can incubate artistic development exist, for example, in Afghanistan "where no audience exists and there is no place to show work."3Hanifa Alizada curator-in-residence in the "Re-directing East" programme, Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, Poland (2013).
In today’s geopolitical realities, art and culture create the right spaces for intercultural dialogue and development to happen between the EU and its neighbours to the East and South. Residencies can offer a safe haven for artists and curators coming, for example, from areas that are experiencing the turbulent aftermath of the Arab Spring, to further develop or in some cases even provide the necessary safe environment.
> ICORN: The International Cities of Refuge Network is an association of cities and regions around the world dedicated to the value of Freedom of Expression. By providing a guest writer with a safe place to stay and economic security for a standard term of two years, ICORN cities make an important, practical contribution to the promotion of Freedom of Expression. (http://www.icorn.org)
3.4 Artists' residencies and environmental sustainability
A significant number of artists, culture professionals and artists’ residencies programmes are engaged with creating new models of work that contribute to environmental sustainability.
> Frontiers in Retreat is a research residency platform that fosters multidisciplinary dialogue on ecological issues within a new European network involving artists' residencies, art and education organisations, artists, experts in various disciplines as well as diverse audiences. (www.hiap.fi/project/frontiers-retreat)
> Green Art Lab Alliance (GALA) is a partnership of cultural organisations in Europe dedicated to promoting environmental sustainability and how that can be challenged in practical, ethical, and artistic ways across arts and cultural communities. Artist labs (residencies) address key components of environmental sustainability through artistic work, research and debates. Workshops aim at disseminating tools, guidelines, resources and shared knowledge across the wider EU cultural community, including policymakers at all policy levels. (http://greenartlaballiance.eu/)
> Ars Bioarctica residency: its goals are to establish a common art & science initiative together with Finnish universities, institutions, organisations and individuals interested and working in art & science collaborations, the development of art & science activities at the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station and to become a long-term national and international programme for art & science. The residency has an emphasis on the Arctic environment and art & science collaboration. (http://bioartsociety.fi/ars-bioarctica-residency)
3.5 Virtual residencies
Virtual residencies are becoming more of a reality as an increasing number of artists use the internet as a platform to create or share their art, as well as interact directly with other artists, curators, art professionals or other audiences.
> Virtual Art Residencies - a Manual by Weronika Trojańska includes several examples of virtual residencies. (http://artmobility.interartive.org/2013/09/27/virtual-art-residencies-a-manual-weronika-trojanska)
> The Digitals Arts Network (Réseau Arts Numériques - RAN) offers a unique platform where art, science and industry converge, removing barriers between them while opening up a pioneering space for creation and innovation. Experts from various professional fields can come together. RAN seeks to develop a collaborative approach aimed at fostering exchange, reflection and co-production between artistic, scientific and industrial structures. It promotes the synergy of cross-disciplinary expertise and helps bolster national and international cooperation. (www.ran-dan.net/eng)
> Raum: online platform hosting artists' residencies (http://raum.pt/en)
1     http://ec.europa.eu/culture/library/reports/creative-partnerships_en.pdf  »
2     *This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.  »
3     Hanifa Alizada curator-in-residence in the "Re-directing East" programme, Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, Poland (2013).  »