Unasked Advice

Unasked Advice

Lately more and more artist-in-residence programmes are hosting literary writers and translators, next to their regular guests working in other art disciplines. Authors and translators themselves also opt for other residency opportunities than the Writers and Translators Houses, for several reasons. In many cases Writer's and Translator's Houses demand a contract with a publisher. This reduces the possible functions of these houses to production. Multidisciplinary artist-in-residence programs offer more possibilities for open research, contemplation, exploration, collaboration. That is what some authors and translators also are looking for. Antenna held an at random survey among international guest studios in the Netherlands and Flanders, with the following questions:

  • Did you ever host a writer or translator?
  • If yes, who, when, and what for: production or exploration, collaboration?
  • If not, would it be an option for your residency to host a writer or translator in the future?

The survey isn't representative, but we can draw some conclusions:

  • translators hardly or never have been hosted.
  • literary writers are hosted by non-literary residency programs, to great satisfaction.
  • there is willingness and enthousiasm in the air for hosting writers and translators, especially when they want to operate interdisciplinary, working with other guests or collaborating with audience.
  • there are several artist-in-residence programs, which offer already for a long time opportunities for art critics, curators, art researchers.

Advice for funding organizations, publishing houses, and Writer's and Translator's Houses:

  • explore options for collaborating with other artist-in-residence programmes.
  • explore options for non-contracted residencies.
  • explore options for residency opportunities for research-driven, process-oriented writers and translators.

In the right column and below you can find reactions!

An email from Kunstfort Vijfhuizen

Kunstfort Vijfhuizen
"Beste Erik. Grappig wij hadden net een schrijfster/ illustrator uit Australie in resident. Zij was zeer blij en tevreden met de gift of time and contemplation. Het Kunstfort blijkt voor schrijver zeer geschikt te zijn... Graag meer! Zij heeft mooie woorden gevonden over haar verblijf. Als je wilt stuur ik ze door."

Holger Nickisch, directeur Kunstfort Vijfhuizen.

"Dear Christy,
Thank you so much for your warm words! That confirms our aims to provide working space for artists in such a ‘special’ setting as the Kunstfort offers. A gift of time and contemplation. I am happy to hear that your stay at the Kunstfort was so successful for you. I am looking forward to receive your book, when it is finished!"


"Dear Holger, Gert-Jan and all,
Thank you so much for a wonderful stay at Kunstfort at Vijfhuizen. The time went by much too quickly - especially at the end - but I am so grateful both for the quiet space to focus on my writing and for the base from which to venture out to do research and present at a conference. The fort was an even better location than I had anticipated for my specific project which focuses, among other things, on birds and the dune landscapes in the area. Looking forward to being able send you a copy of the completed book in a year or two. In the meantime thank you for all you do for art, artists and to allow the public access to new and interesting work.
Warmest best wishes,"


Filmstill Genesis III by former resident at kunstencentrum BUDA / arts centre BUDA Thomas Ryckewaert. In Genesis (I, II, III) Ryckewaert successively directs the scientist, the priest and the actor. A quest for the source of theatre, for the essence of ritual.

Fromer resident at Kaus Australis Artist in Residence 2016 Matthew Stadle.

Kunsthuis SYB, image by Pieter Paul Pothoven "de familie kool".