On sustainability: "It's not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change."

Charles Darwin in 1816, at the age of seven.

Sustaining creativity

A new initiative by Julie's Bicycle

Through the lens of the environment Sustaining Creativity is an ambitious programme to map where the creative and cultural sector might be heading over the next five to ten years, and what big opportunities we can deploy to focus on a thriving and sustainable creative economy. Julie’s Bicycle is a not for profit organisation making sustainability intrinsic to the business, art and ethics of the creative industries. Founded by the music industry, with expertise from the arts and sustainability, they bridge the gap between the creative industries and sustainability. Based on a foundation of peer-reviewed research, they sustain creativity, enabling the arts to create change. read more

Tip: ‘Is digital greener?' is one of the many inspiring topics on their blog

Giving Artists Access to the Waste Stream

Artist Billy Blaise Dufala scoping the piles of waste for materials.

RAIR (Recycled Artist in Residency) is a young yet accomplished project located within a construction waste recycling center in Philadelphia. They are building new connections between art, sustainability and industry by giving artists a vehicle to create awareness about the waste stream. They are excited to announce that the application for artist residencies for the 2014 year is now available.

  • Two residency tracks are open for application: the Biggie Shorty and the Standard Residency. Click here for more information and to apply.
  • deadline: September 30

City compost

Wander is a research residency program in The Hague, The Netherlands. Earlier this year Wander invited Swiss artist Lorenz Olivier Schmid to develop Common Ground; an exchange project to produce both conversation and compost by the artist and his audience together.

During his stay as an artist-in-residence Lorenz explored the social and sustainable qualitites of composting for the idyllic Nutstuin in The Hague, a city where composting is not common just yet. Lorenz collected organic waste in The Hague, met with local experts to reflect on his research and designs a sustainable compostbin for collective use.

The main part of every Wander residency was the possibility for its resident artist to meet with a variety of professionals that could offer their thoughts and expertise. Lorenz met with an evolution biologist, a recycling organisation, the local environment centre, local artists and gardeners to share his research on composting.

  • Wander – OPEN CALL 2014
  • The Hague, The Netherlands
  • Deadline: December 15, 2013

Made in Zvizzchi

The village of Zvizzchi lies in a the cultural parc Nikola Lenivets, which has been developed more actively in recent years and can definitely expect to welcome more tourists. How will the image of this village stay imprinted in people’s minds?

The Dutch artist Wapke Feenstra explores the direct physical and mental environment by tapping into local knowledge. For more than a year Dutch artist Wapke Feenstra communicates with the Zvizzchi villagers. This process produces different results – a vegetable garden on the school grounds, photo activism, a counter with new products at the local store, banner exhibition on fences, salad show, exhibition in a local house of culture. Now – installation at the Culture Centre ZIL. The project is in progress and gradually the multifocal portrait of the village is built. The artist explored the themes of the countryside and local produce, and crafts, gardening, geology. read more

sustainance & heritage locations

With the support of the French Ministry of culture and communication, the ACCR has been coordinating, the Odyssée artist-in-residency program. The program is aiming at artists, researchers and culture professionals from countries other than France wanting to develop projects within French Cultural Centers – Historic Monuments. More than 350 artists from over 50 different countries have taken part in the program, developing projects in different areas such as music, architecture, arts and crafts, visual arts, dramatic writing, novel writing, scriptwriting, animated film-making, photography and journalism.

  • what: residencies that take place in heritage locations – in this case, in historic monuments throughout France.
  • deadline: December 3, 2013
  • read more

Frontiers in Retreat

(Image:The Mustarinda House)

Frontiers in Retreat is a research residency platform that fosters multidisciplinary dialogue on ecological issues within a new European network involving artist residencies, art and education organisations, artists, experts in various disciplines as well as diverse audiences.

The project is organised by HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme in partnership with the art organisations Mustarinda, Finland; Scottish Sculpture Workshop SSW, Scotland; Interdisciplinary Art Group SERDE, Latvia; Cultural Front – GRAD, Serbia; Centre d'Art i Natura de Farrera, Spain; Skaftfell – Center for Visual Art, Iceland; and Jutempus, Lithuania. Frontiers in Retreat has been funded with support from the EU Culture Programme for the years 2013–2018.


The Sustainers

The Sustainers

The AiR Collection

The Sustainers looks at an inspiring and dedicated wave of thinkers, researchers, actors, collaborators and pioneers dealing with sustainability in multiple ways.

There is so much going on in the world of artist residencies that is growing and morphing. In order to see what’s there and to understand what’s going on; we dive in the big pool of data on artist residencies and see what we come across related to one specific theme to serve you a collection connecting new and old stories, big and small projects accompanied with interviews and articles related to this theme. These kinds of collections allow for a broad perspective through a specific narrow entrance in this immense world of artist residencies, including useful deadlines, background info and a related side dish in the right column of books and readers.

This collection can be seen as a starting point; a place for plural views and stories on this theme. If you want to tell a store related to this months' theme in relation to artist residencies or want to react on something you read here please send your story (see the right top for submissions)

An Air Collection is long; either meant for hour-long read or just for you to pick out what interests you.

'Sustainism is the New Modernism '

As of September 2013, Michiel Schwarz has joined the Academy of Architecture and the Reinwardt Academy as an Artist in Residence. Schwartz is a cultural sociologist, consultant and future theorist. In 2011, he introduced the term ‘sustainism’ together with Joost Elffers, thereby providing a new cultural era with a name. In his AIR program, Schwarz explores how the sustainism perspective can provide new insights into crucial questions in the world of cultural heritage and the design domain (architecture, urbanism and landscape architecture).

The Artist in Residence (AIR) program is a research group of the readership Arts practice and artistic development in cooperation with the various faculties of the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture (AHK). The program stimulates innovation and confrontation with current artistic impulses. It offers the opportunity to bring practice to the classroom and to invite artists to inspire education and artistic policy of the school. Special attention is given to new developments within an inter and multidisciplinary context and the interaction with the international state of the art. Results of the AIR program are addressed both internally and externally in the ON AIR magazine.

Michiel Schwarz & Joost Elffers, Sustainism is the New Modernism (New York, DAP, 2010). Creative Commons by-nc-nd 3.0.

from his book 'Sustainism is the new modernism':

"We didn't invent sustainism; we found it, as it were, on the street. The ideas of sustainism are all around us, if we care to look for them. Despite the root word sustain in our term for the new culture, sustainism encompasses much more than just green practices. It's as much concerned with the internet, social media and open-source information. And amidst these global trends, we a growing interest in finding local qualities, for example in our food (think of the 6000 plus local farmer's markets). In one line: sustainism is where connectivity, a new kind of localism and sustainable life styles meet. Sustainism (or whatever name you wish to call the new culture) is bringing its own style and perspective: diverse rather than uniform; effective instead of efficient; networked instead of hierarchical. It stands for the perspective of long-term investment and appropriate speed, rather than "quick return“ and "faster is better." From functionality to meaning, from space to place. "


Installing the first hydro turbine at CAT (from the Mark Mathews collection)

CAT is based in a disused quarry in Mid-Wales, UK. It started as an experimental community with a handful of environmental pioneers in the winter of 1974 and has grown into a globally known educational institution. They want the Artists in Residence to work alongside staff to create work of lasting value that will inspire visitors, scholars and staff during and beyond the residency, based around the theme Voices from a Disused Quarry – a history of the Centre for Alternative Technology. CAT is now looking for two visual artists to work alongside staff to create artwork of lasting value that commemorates its 40-year history. The three-month residencies, sponsored by the Arts Council of Wales, will ask the two artists to spend time exploring an archive of historic material, including documents, photographs and a large oral history collection. The final piece will represent the past and point towards the future, as CAT explores new directions moving into the next phase of its history.

  • Vacancy: Artist in Residence to commemorate 40 years of life at ‘The Quarry’

  • Each artist will receive a fee of £6,000 for three months

  • website

Creative talent in Taiwan

Since 2009, Bamboo Curtain Studio has launched an “Emerging Artist Program”. It aims to provide times and spaces for creative talents to do experimental works, outreach projects, collaborations or research. Since 2012, CBS focuses more on “Creative Talents” which their projects will bring out new ideas, concepts to their communities, societies and the world without regard to the age, gender, race and nationality.

read more

Escapists and Jet-Setters

by Laura Kenins for C Magazine Issue 119 "Residencies" on Newsstands

"Artist residencies have become so commonplace that we rarely think to question their origins or their future. Subscribe to any art mailing list and every week brings a new crop of application deadlines for residencies, festivals and various shortterm projects, in Japan, Brooklyn, Newfoundland, Berlin and Alberta—seemingly indicating a world of possibilities— in spaces that range from gleaming purpose-built artist colonies to one-off projects to punk enterprises in backyards and sheds. Some are urban, while others appeal to a desire to get away from it all and work in beautiful natural environments." Read the full article here

Hacienda Grounds

The Guapamacátaro Center for Art and Ecology is a site-based and community-oriented initiative where artists from different disciplines, scientists, educators and activists converge to foster culture, collaboration and sustainable development.

  • When:Winter/Spring (February through June)
  • Duration: 3 weeks
  • Where: participants use the hacienda grounds as a laboratory for the creative process and engaging with the local community.

Photographs by artist in residence Lorena Endara, part of a series documenting local artisans.

In Mexico, many rural zones like Guapamacátaro lack cultural opportunities. This phenomenon is due to a complex web of factors such as the priority to fulfill basic needs, economic migration, globalization and lack of support from the public and private sectors. Consequently, this deficiency contributes to severe social issues including alcoholism, violence, repression and learning disabilities. At the same time, many rural zones in México present a high level of ecologic degradation, due primarily to poor education. The program addresses these two very important issues. Through education and community organizing, we are creating a more sustainable network of people, technology and resources. This programming involves local people of all ages in an array of cultural activities: workshops, round tables, exhibitions, performances and screenings. Subjects have included various art techniques, aesthetic appreciation, resource management, organic agriculture and craft making with natural and recycled materials. Already, these new activities are generating a great amount of positive change in society.

Cambridge Sustainability Residency

Cambridge Sustainability Residency is a two-phase project that consists of an immersive research period, facilitated by scholars working in the field of art and sustainability and that is followed by an exhibition of the works produced during this research. This residency is done in collaboration with Cambridge School of Art and Anglia Ruskin University (UK).

This residency is designed to be academically driven and will allow the selected artists to participate in group crits, one on one tutorials with school of art lecturers, silent crits, field trips, talks, discussion and workshops with people working and campaigning in the field of sustainability, etc. The selected artists will have access to the Cambridge School of Art (CSA) and the Global Sustainability Institute (GSI) at Anglia Ruskin University facilities as visiting artists.

Accommodation is provided for the selected artists coming from abroad, as well as some financial help to cover travel costs.

The 2014 edition will take place from March 31 to April 11 in Cambridge, UK. Artists interested in the field of sustainability are invited to apply by December 15, 2013.

Please contact Marina Velez (director of the Cambridge Sustainability Residency) to learn more about the application process. Contact email: [email protected]

More information of previous residency can be accessed here

Linking the Arts to Environment and Sustainable Development

Research commissioned as part of the Asia- Europe Foundation’s Connect2Culture programme

Images from the casestudies: (Left) Roshanaras Net by Mary Miss. Image courtesy of 48 Degrees Celsius. (Middle) Site specific rituals where trees had been felled. Image courtesy of Maraa.(Right) Participants in the Bridging Scales and Knowledge Systems project. Image courtesy of SUSDEN.

Environmental conservation and sustainable development are among the key challenges faced by countries and communities across the world. Since the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, civil society stakeholders have become increasingly active, alongside Governments, in the global dialogue on environmental issues. More recently, the culture sector has begun to explore and engage with pressing issues of environmental sustainability. ASEF was keenly interested in examples that went beyond merely employing the arts as tools for information, rather seeking projects that envisaged art as a catalyst to stimulate discourse and foster change. The initiatives profiled in this research range across a variety of forms of collaboration, such as creative interventions, innovative solutions, public art initiatives, networks, seminars, training and research projects. The final research covered 20 case studies across nine countries of India, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Mongolia. These case studies serve as an introduction to practices in the cross-section of arts and environment and by sharing these innovative projects, ASEF hopes to inspire other such examples of diverse and creative connections between art and environment.

Click here to download the PDF

In the Lanna language of the Northern Thais, com means a remark and peung means appropriate. In bringing these two words together, the Northern Thai artist Pisithpong Siraphisut was able to appropriately name the artist residency programme he founded: ComPeung. As Siraphisut elaborated, “Our vision and mission for ComPeung is to create appropriate remarks that are suitable to the situations, environments, and communities we deal with.” - See more at: http://culture360.org/magazine/between-art-and-environment-a-thailand-case-study/#sthash.GkzL0JeP.dpuf

Compeung House Building

Where do farmers and musicians meet?


At ISLAND. ISLAND believes that sustainable living is a natural law being resisted, unsuccessfully, since the advent of the industrial revolution; that technology alone will not create a sustainable world, and that it is equal parts culture, intellect and practice.

It is a non-profit arts and ecology center dedicated to connecting people with nature, art and community helping people become native to place by:

  • supporting artists - and now also farmers- with dedicated time, space and resources to create new work;
  • restoring the old and developing the new skills and traditions of community self-reliance
  • creating and sharing a broad collection of tools for ecological living.
  • The property on the left where all ot these ideas take shape: 10 acres of rolling glacial hills and wetland patches, inhabited by sugar maple, poplar, sumac, oak, beech, red pine and myriad plants, mushrooms and wild animals. Late 19th century homesteaders clear-cut the property to make room for grazing livestock. Since the 1950s it’s been used as hunting grounds, a red pine plantation and a four-wheeling site. Now, after over 100 years, they’ve begun working to build a resilient, sustainable human presence on the land.
  • Location: 44.995 N, 85.235 W


ISLAND’s Farmer Residency program is a farm incubator project located at the Conservancy’s Maple Bay Farm. Like traditional business incubators, farm incubator projects aim to help new and beginning farm entrepreneurs establish their own successful businesses by providing specific resources and services that are difficult for start-up entrepreneurs to access on their own. The goal of the Farmer Residency program is to minimize the barriers to entry for aspiring and beginning farmers.


The goal of the Hill House Residency is to support talented emerging songwriters, writers at all stages of their career and non-studio artists with a two, three or four week stay in a semi-secluded log cabin near East Jordan, Michigan. It includes a well stocked kitchen, a selection of instruments and some basic recording gear, as well as opportunities for community exchange through performance, readings and workshops (only at your request, of course). The emerging musician residency also offers a small stipend to aid in your professional development.

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Surviving to Thriving

"What is organizational sustainability, and how might it apply to artist residencies?" This question was beeing explored by The Alliance of Artists Communities- an American and international association of artists' communities and residencies- vhe resulting report – Surviving to Thriving: Sustaining Artist Residencies – features information and examples from 157 organizations on funding, personnel, governance, programming, property, environment, and priorities and also includes case studies of four very different artist residency centers – 18th Street Arts Center (Santa Monica, CA), Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts (Omaha, NE), Escape to Create (Seaside, FL), and Hedgebrook (Whidbey Island, WA) – conducted by the Urban Institute, with principal investigator Maria Rosario Jackson.

read more

a Thailand Case Study

Prison, Farming, The Elderly

New! The Grin City Collective is a brand new approach to art and community. Combining the concept of an artist residency with that of a volunteer corps dealing with prison, farming and the elderly; it creates a dialogue-rich, socially-driven creative community for everyone, regardless of age, degree, or experience. It seeks creatively-minded people interested in impacting a community through a variety of service projects. It seeks artists striving for a social context in which to place their art. It seeks non-artists committed to service work and looking for a space to explore their creative inclinations.

Grin City is committed to community sustainability, it also has a commitment to environmental sustainability and simple living. 'We grow our own produce and buy our ingredients from local farms and mills. We use outdoor clothes lines, compost, and do many other small practices which reduce our environmental impact. Some of these practices come from our rural setting, some are from our mission, but all are smart systems of living that we ask every resident to commit to. Grin City is currently exploring solar and wind power.'

  • Location: Grinnell, Iowa
  • Deadline: November 30
  • Website


In October 2011 Edward Thomasson became the first recipient of the inaugural Nina Stewart Artist Residency. For six months he benefed from a studio courtesy of SPACE, a programme of mentoring from SLG and SPACE staff, and accommodation in South London Gallery's Outset Artists' Flat.

SPACE runs some of the UK's pioneering residency programmes, supporting both emerging and mid-career artists based both from the UK and internationally. Unique among UK institutions, SPACE supports artists who work at the intersection of art, technology and ecology. By focusing on artists and their relationship with emerging technology, the residencies encourage consideration of how artistic practice is continually shifting, responding and innovating in an increasingly fragmented post-analogue era.

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Social Sustainability

Making neighborhood in Barcelona

Jiwar’s project revolved around neighbourhood’s philosophy, understood as the privileged and necessary space of living and peer interaction. Departing from the agreement with the Africa Center Foundation of South Africa, Jiwar will host in residence during the month of November 2013 the South African artist Sydelle Willow Smith, who will carry out her project Making Neighbourhood through interactive workshops with African immigrants living in Barcelona. The tools used will be photography and video. With her permission, Jiwar opens a call with the same name: Making neihbourhood, opened to artists from other disciplines who want to reflect on neighborhood relations, preferably from participatory creative processes, thereby building a small human map of the dynamics of interaction in the city of Barcelona. read more


Fall-Winter Residency at the Non-Toxic Electro-etching Workshop in Canary Islands

An opportunity to take part in recent experiences in the process of electro-etching carried out by the artist and specialist Alfonso Crujera - Training for print artists in 2013. The artists will take part in the process of electroetching carried out by the specialist A. Crujera. Since 2002 the artist Alfonso Crujera has been working in this workshop introducing printmakers to the process of nontoxic etching. Today, the classic technique of intaglio engraving has been updated and reinvigorated by electrolytic etching, making the process of etching and engraving safer and ecologically sound while providing a wider range of expressive qualities and innovative possibilities on graphical effects. The use of this technique is simple and not necessarily expensive. The wide range of technical possibilities enables printmakers to develop their skills within and continuing their art process. read more