Residency centres invite artists, academics, curators, and all manner of creative people for a time and space away from their usual environment. They provide a time of reflection, research, presentation and/or production. They also allow individuals to explore his/her practice in the framework of another community; meeting new people, using new materials, experiencing life in a new location. Artist residencies emphasise the importance of meaningful and multi-layered cultural exchange and immersion into another culture.
Some residency programs are incorporated into larger institutions. Other organisations exist solely to support residential exchange programs. Artist residencies can be a part of museums, universities, galleries, studio spaces, theaters, artist-run spaces, municipalities, governmental offices, and even festivals. They can be seasonal, ongoing, or tied to a particular one-time event. They exist in urban spaces, rural villages, and deep in nature. Hundreds of such opportunities and organisations exist throughout the world.
There is no single model, and the expectations and requirements vary greatly. The relationship between the resident and the host is an important aspect of a residency program. Sometimes residents become very involved in a community - giving presentations, workshops, or collaborate with local residents. At other times, they are quite secluded, with ample time to focus on and investigate their own practice.
Residency programs utilise a wide range of financial models. In some situations, residents must finance their own stay, finding funding and support from their own countries and networks, while there are also residency programs that cover part or all of the expenses for invited resident artists.
The application processes also vary widely; not all programs organise an open call for applications. Some opportunities are by invitation only, or are offered through special partnerships with other institutions, funding bodies, or organisations.
Many times a residency experience is only the beginning of a longer relationship. Residents often return to complete a project they started, to begin a new collaboration, or to participate in an exhibition, panel or workshop.
Read about other artist's residency experiences here!