How to Find the Best Artist Residency

New technologies help provide new experiences, like residencies in the digital space. Here's how to figure out what residency is best suited to your needs.

Image Above: Château d’Orquevaux Residency, France

Artist-in-residence programs are integral to many artists’ careers. They play an important role in helping artists live and work outside of their usual environments, giving them the space and time they need to focus solely on enriching their work. AiR’s are vital to the contemporary art scene, connecting the local art world with the global.

Artists taking part in residency programs build bridges between countries and cultures, helping to contribute to cultural diversity. A residency allows an artist to gain deeper insights into the country where they are based, enabling better communication and understanding between countries and cultures. This is especially important in today’s times of increased cultural intolerance as well as political and economic tension. 

Fogo Island Arts, Canada

Residency programs are fluid and encompass a broad spectrum of activity. New technologies help provide new experiences, such as residencies in the digital space. The OMC group (The Open Method of Coordination) is a voluntary form of cooperation between EU member states, and has used a pragmatic approach in defining residencies that allow for these changes while retaining the essence of the residency: “Artists’ residencies provide artists and other creative professionals with time, space and resources to work, individually or collectively, on areas of their practice that reward heightened reflection or focus”.

Château d’Orquevaux, France.

AiR programs had to adapt to the pandemic, which resulted in a major shift to remote and online residencies.

CO–RESIDENCY is a remote 12-week long residency, which financially empowers artists of all backgrounds. Michael Headrick, the founder of Co–Residency says:

“With this new normal, I wanted to explore new way to support the arts and artists around the world. Our vision is to conduct a global remote residency that will provide financial support to artists in all fields during this time. The program will not only address a financial need, but will allow artists to collaborate, show their work online, and create commentary on the impacts of this global conflict. We want to provide a space to wrestle with and respond to topics bubbling to the surface during this time: race, nationality, financial markets, global economy, governments, communities, and the list goes on. Beyond this one global crisis, my hope is that the residency can be a place that will facilitate art’s response to conflicts and global issues into the future”.

The first residency cohort has already started, however you can sign up to keep posted on further application deadlines.

New York-based Eyebeam, a platform that engages technology and society through art, acted immediately in the face of the current systemic collapse. As economies and everyday routines are disrupted, Eyebeam took action to support artists who are imagining a more humane digital realm. They focused on helping artists that are creating new ways of interacting online, engaging with each other, and finding more equitable relationships for sustainable arts practices and creative economies. For the first time in Eyebeam’s 20-year history, they put a pause on their flagship Residency program, and launched a new one – the Rapid Response for A Better Digital Future.

Dora Maar House, France

Prior to applying to a residency program, it’s essential you know what you’re looking to get out of it. Residential art centers have distinct motivations and purposes for running their programs. Yes, you might have more than one reason to want to apply to said residency, and we’re sure that all your reasons are entirely legitimate. But make sure that what you want to get out of the program aligns with the philosophy and culture of the artist-in-residence of choice.

Here are some questions to ask yourself prior to applying: 

Looking for…education:

  • are you looking to learn specific technical skills or crafts?
  • getting individual feedback from experienced artists, curators, and academics?

Looking for…production.

  • are you looking to pursue a fixed, individual project you already have in mind?
  • using specific technical tools, facilities and resources?
  • creating art works for an exhibition?
  • help with future productions in the region?

Looking for…isolation:

  • do you want to be away from the daily bustle?
  • from the demanding pressures of the artistic profession?
  • taking in a different environment and culture?
  • finding new insights and inspiration?
  • focusing on your work?

Looking for…collective work.

  • do you want to meet local artists?
  • get acquainted with other international residency artists?
  • work together with other artists to facilitate a project?
  • give lectures and workshops?

Looking to…elevate your career.

  • are you keen to explore the arts in another country and culture?
  • network among artists’ initiatives, galleries, museums, music distributors, and publishing houses?

Looking for… I’m not sure?

If you want to apply to an AiR for no specific reason, feel free to surf the database of the following platforms, and get inspired.

On the Move is a cultural mobility information network with 50+ members in over 20 countries across Europe and the rest of the world. Their mission is to encourage and facilitate cross-border mobility and cooperation, contributing to building up a vibrant and shared European cultural space that is strongly connected. 

DutchCulture|TransArtists combines and shares knowledge and experience on artist-in-residence programs and other international opportunities for creative professionals to temporarily stay and work elsewhere. This program gives you all the facts, use and value of international artist-in-residence opportunities. This platform helps artists to navigate the worldwide residential art labyrinth. It is by far the biggest source of information on artist-in-residence opportunities worldwide, listing around 1,400 residency opportunities, including first-hand artists’ experiences, research, contacts, and advice.

Fully Funded Residencies is an online platform for research and knowledge-sharing that gathers, archives, and shares fully funded residencies, awards, grants, and mobility funds. Their mission is to work towards making the contemporary art fields more democratic, transparent and equal. They hope to facilitate an open environment for cultural workers to exchange knowledge, ideas, and experience through providing evaluation forms, a pool of resources, applications, and counselling.

Fordypningsrommet, Norway

Finally, if traveling the world, gaining new experiences and meeting fellow artists is something you’re keen to experience, artist residencies are a creative, unforgettable adventure that should not be missed! 

Daria Kravchuk
Daria Kravchuk
is a curator and art manager with an MA in Museology from Amsterdam University. Her international projects are focused on the intersection of contemporary art, architecture, urban planning and anthropology. You can connect with her via LinkedIn.