a.rtists in transit


a.rtists in transit

a.rtists in transit
How to become an artist in residence
Workshop II, 29.10.2011


Round table 'Residencies and networking/alternative strategies'

How to get information on residencies

In our group, we started discussing on how to get relevant information for residencies and opportunities for projects. We agreed that Internet is nowadays the most important source for that. For residencies in particular, have a look at the websites of Transartists and Berliner Pool, which are both information pools for residency opportunities (http://www.transartists.org; http://www.berlinerpool.de).

Develop and cultivate your network over a long period of time

We then discussed the importance of establishing and cultivating a network in general and with respect to residencies in particular. We agreed that it is important to develop contacts over a long period. Try to attend to your contacts even if there is no direct and immediate objective or benefit, often opportunities will grow out of long-existing relations. Especially when it comes to international contacts (but not only), Internet (emails) and social network services like Facebook can be useful because they allow you to keep in touch and informed about what your contacts do (and vice-versa) in an easy and informal way. If you go on a residency, try to consider your stay as a means to make public relations: get in touch with other residents and the people of the place, in order to broaden your network.

Alternative strategies/funding

If you think about organizing your own project (maybe abroad but not necessarily so), find a partner in the place of your interest first, then apply for funding. In order to convince the institution (public or private) to support your idea, it is always easier if you can demonstrate that there is a third party (gallery, university, other artists, etc.) on the ground that is concretely interested in realizing your project. Also, it can be of help to create collective strategies: for example, form a group of artists or create your own initiative (this could be even a small exchange “programme” of your own). In this case, if you apply to an institution, you will be the representative of this initiative and not a single artist asking for support, which can make things easier.

What you should consider if you apply for a residency or the funding of a project

Of course, your own expectations and motivations when choosing a residency or proposing a project are important. However, you should always bear in mind that the institution you apply to has expectations, too. We agreed that it is important to develop a precise profile and choose an institution that matches it. The more correspondence there is between your artistic profile and the institution´s, the more likely it is that your application will be successful (a good way to get first-hand, precious advice is to contact former residents). The same goes if you have to present a project in order to obtain funding or support (public or private) for a project of your own initiative. Find out if the theme of your project is in line with the profile of the institution or company (for instance, your project is about social or environmental matters, you could try to find a sponsor that is active in that particular area of CSR). Always bear in mind what the institution´s benefit could be in supporting you. Last but not least: strategic thinking is important, even when it comes to the order of your applications: Try to get the support of a public institution in the first place. If you succeed, private funding will be easier to obtain.

Round Table 'Funding and application structures and expectations of artists needs'

This group was tasked with discussing funding structures, application structures and expectations of artist needs.

General point – that there is a huge range of opportunities that are included in the term residence. Project specific to free thinking…

THERE ARE SO MANY… Looking for residencies when there are so many can be difficult.

We therefor have some concrete proposals for Trans Artists and residency hosts:

Recommendations to Trans Artists for their website

  • Give a funding/finance indication – eg is it funded or to what level
  • Give age restrictions if applied
  • Make clear if can we bring family  
  • And if you have to send a project proposal/and whether this will lead to a finished project opportunity

Further recommendations to the host organisations.

These are also recommendations to the residency hosts to also make clear who is on the jury and how it works.

Artist proposals    

There is a responsibility on the artist to research in advance the institution or organisation they are applying to … This is both background to the organisation and the perhaps the key words they use.

Keep it simple - Then give it to your mother or grandmother to read – if they don’t understand what you are saying then don’t expect the juror to understand.

If you are proposing something complicated, make sure you give the juror confidence that you know how to deliver it.

Further advice can be found on: How to write a proposal – Pro Helvetica give guidelines http://www.swissfoundations.ch/en/gesuche/index.html
And the On Air booklet gives guidelines

Importance of networks and artist associations to support artists

Networks are important for information and Importance to lobby on behalf of travelling artists.

(not reported back was a discussion about funding. The group did not want to just concentrate on German examples only and the discussion on EU funding was brief so it moved forward)

Roundtable 'About Motivation and Obstacles'

In our group we discussed about motivations and obstacles.

We discussed if we really need a special type of motivation to go and make experiences. Although there might be a kind of curiousity like „Reiselust“(Joy of travelling) or a search for adventure, which may lead you to surprising experiencies and results it seemed very important to us to think about your individual motivation before you go in a basic sense.

You will find several aspects and good advises about the topic „motivation“ for artists to decide about a redidency stay in the booklet from „on air“ page 13. The checklist is very worth reading and rethinking.

I just mention a few which we discussed:


  1. You should be very clear if you look for a space to improve your skills or if you look for a space where you can work without interruptions of normal day demands. Do you like to collaborate or work and live together with otjher artists? Are you curious towards another culture. In the last case you have to be more flexibel, you have to move more.
    If you are leaving the „save“ path of your own culture you should be prepared also to think of the conditions and your social/economic status in the host country. You should think of something yougive something back to the host culture. You should prepare with the habbits and the other way of thinking of another culture.
    As artists we have also a responsibility towards the world arround us and the people we are dealing with.
  2. It is very important to look at the residencies and the conditions carefully. Some are like hotels, some are just small simple spaces which force you to go outside.
    Sometimes you are alone or nearly alone far out, sometimes you are surrounded by other artists or confronted with other challenging conditions like noise or continuous disturbation of your concentration.
  3. a) Do I go to improve my skills? Do I go to have the chance to work in peace without the daily huzzle?
    b) Do I want to work and live not only in another surrounding but also wish have contact with the culture of the space and its people?
    c) Do I go just to strengthen my career as an artist or do I go also with a certain social intension for example like giving workshops or collaborate with local artists or citizens?

Obsticles: There are serious reasons to reflect about obsticles. There are obstacles at home:

  1. For how long can I leave my living space/my studio ?

  2. For how long can I leave my friends, family, relatives like old parents etc...?

  3. Will I run in problems with ongoing money that has to be payed regularly at home or are there administrative obligations I have to fulfill ?

  4. Can I stand a longer stay psychologically?
    There might be noise, loneliness, bad luck or bad conditions. May I overcome that? Am I able to deal with another culture and its representants for a longer period of time?

In our group everybody had already experiences with various forms of residencies. Principally we thought that it is very good for everybody to live and work in another place and culture sometimes. It is an experience of reality which is good for the development of oneself as a human being. It is not virtual but it is a real challenge which may improve our professionality as well as our human being.

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