Checklist to start your AiR program

Checklist to start your AiR program

Imagine you start your own AiR program. To help your plans take form we composed a checklist that will set you on your way. In ideas and practical matters, what does it take? Can you bring it on?

Image: Beeldenstorm, Eindhoven

More and more artists, individuals, art organizations and policy makers want to start artist-in-residence programs.

Time and space to offer to artists: it seems such a simple concept.

But.... what does it really take?

Artist-in-Residence (AiR) programs offer artists, art professionals, and researchers the opportunity to stay somewhere else in order to concentrate, to do research, to produce, to connect, or to collaborate. A residency working period can vary from a few weeks to even a year, or can be spread out over several periods. In general a distinction can be made between process-based and product-based residencies. The first type allows the artists unconditional freedom how to fill in their stay, the latter asks  for a specific outcome, which might take the form of an artwork, an exhibition or publication.  No AiR-program is the same. There is a huge proliferation of all kinds of AiR-models worldwide.

In the Netherlands many AiR programs are offered by artist-run organizations. But also individuals, governments, art institutions and funds facilitate AiR programs. There are major institutions , such as the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam and the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht. And there are small ones, such as Arthouse SYB in Beetsterzwaag, a tiny village in Friesland, and Kaus Australis, an artist-run space in Rotterdam. More and more alternative AiR concepts are developing, such as P.A.I.R. (Peer Artist in Residence), which offers a studio in portable containers.

Motivations to start an AiR program vary widely. This also counts for the profile of the organization, for the purpose of the program, for the expectations, for the resources and facilities. Nevertheless, each new initiator of an AiR program is confronted with comparable issues.

This checklist provides an overview of the questions and issues at stake while (thinking about) starting an AiR program. The list is the result of research carried out by Trans Artists and AiR organizations in the Netherlands. The checklist can help each one thinking of setting up an artist in residence program about how to get it on the road.

1. Checklist PROFILE



AiR Platform NL

When you have composed your profile and the practical things are done you are ready for take off! Write us and we add your program to the international artist-in-residence database at the TransArtists website.

DutchCulture | TransArtists offers artists information about the opportunities of international artists-in-residence programs. And next to that, together with the Dutch artist-in-residence organizations TransArtists initiated a platform to make visible the diversity of the organizations and strengthen their position in the AiR sector in the Netherlands. However the focus of the platform is on the Dutch and Flemish AiR sector and every country has its own cultural context and structures, the forthcoming research, expert meetings and projects might serve you with insight and practical information applicable to your program or plans.

Please share with us your thoughts, wishes & comments to improve the sharing of knowledge and expertise.


The AiR organizer Checklist was created thanks to the generous support of Stroom, The Hague and the contributions of artist-in-residency organizations:

  • 1646, The Hague
  • The DCR, The Hague
  • Hotel Maria Kapel, Hoorn 
  • Arthouse SYB, Beetsterzwaag
  • M4 guest studio, Amsterdam
  • Thami Mnyele Foundation, Amsterdam
  • KiK Foundation, Kolderveen

See also

223 Visual Arts Residencies in France; a practical guide to residencies for artists, curators, art critics, art theorists and art historians. The guide (PDF in English) is published April 3, 2017 by the Centre national des arts plastiques (Cnap), as part of its mission to support creative practice and provide information for artists and professionals working in the field.