How to find a residency?
So, you’ve read my ‘Why go on a residency’ post and now you’re all fired up and ready to go on your own residency adventure! Great! …and now what? Where do you start? The good news is that there are many kinds of residencies and many places to find them! The bad news is is that this can be overwhelming and you might have trouble knowing where and how to get started. In this post, I’ll take you through some resources and show you what I do to find my residencies.
This website is usually the first place I go to for finding a residency, it’s truly a treasure trove for finding artist residencies. Besides having a ton of residencies in their database, they also offer information about artist residencies in general, funding and other opportunities such as open calls and studio spaces. I say it’s my first stop on the lookout for a new adventure, but it’s often the only stop I have to make. Let’s have a look at how it works!
When you go to the site, click on ‘Go To’, and then on ‘Find your Residency’ and you’ll see a map of the world, filled with residency opportunities for you to explore. Simply browse the map, or select the country you want to go to and see what’s available.
You can also select your discipline of art(say; writing, visual art, curating, etc)and it will only show the residencies that specifically list these disciplines. I advise against this however, as not all residencies select all disciplines they offer. For example, I might select ‘textile art’ and the map will only show the residencies that specifically list ‘textile art’ in their list of genres. However, the residency might just have ‘visual art’ listed as a catch all term, and you would never know. Similarly, they might have ‘visual art’ as their only discipline but they’d be fine with writers and musicians as well, even if they don’t have them listed. I suggest only filtering on country and then just looking at the individual residency listings. If that means you might have to click through a few dancing residencies when you’re a ceramics artists, so be it.
Once you’ve found a residency you like from the thumbnail on the map, click on it and it will take you to their profile page. Here, the residency can fill in any information you might need. On the left of the page, they show the disciplines, languages spoken, when the residency was founded, information about costs(paid by artist and paid by host), outcome of the residency, duration, deadlines and application guidelines. The middle of the page shows pictures and has space for a short text written by the residency, explaining what they’re all about. On the right is the contact details; email, address, website, facebook page.
This residency’s page is very well filled out, but the residency can decide for themselves how much they fill out; some have a lot of information, others have only the basics. Don’t be deterred by a more basic residency profile; obviously more information is better, but if a residency seems interesting to you, look for more information on their website or Facebook pages before writing them off because of a rather barebones residency page.
The residency map is really the greatest feature of the Transartists website and probably the one you’ll be spending the most hours scrolling through, building up some wanderlust! However, be sure to explore the rest of the site as well; they have great information about what residencies are, about funding and events related to the ‘artist in residence’ phenomenon.
Another good resource is the ‘do it yourself’ tab. It offers artists and organisations a platform to put out open calls (for exhibitions, events and of course residencies), as well as ads for studio spaces. Here, artists can put up an ad to rent out their studio space while they travel to help combat some of the costs of going on a residency. You can do studio exchanges or look for a temporary studio in the city of their choosing. This guide focuses on residencies so I’m not getting into the studio spaces here, but I’ll write a future article about them to explain what they’re all about. It’s updated about every week or so, so just check it every now and then to see what’s available if you’re interested in swapping or renting studios.
Another great resource is Resartis. For some reason, when I talk to artists I meet at residencies, most of them seem to know Resartis over Transartists, even though Transartists has more residencies in their database. According to the Transartists website, Transartists is an information and knowledge centre about international residency opportunities, while Resartis is a network of residency organisations worldwide. Either way, I encourage you to check both of them out as both are great resources.
Resartis works in a similar way to Transartists, except it has lists of residencies, rather than an interactive map. Simply select the country you want to go to and browse to find a profile you like, then read through to see if it’s a fit for you. Again, it’s up to the residency how detailed a profile is going to be, and again; you can also select other specifics but I tend not to do that. ResArtis doesn’t have that many profiles, so it’s not a lot of work to read through them after selecting the country you want to go to.
Besides residency profiles, they also do meetings, have information about funding and general residency information. Good to read through, but as an artist looking for a residency the best value is in the list of residencies.
Now, don’t skip over this one! It may sound really obvious: well, yeah, of course you’re going to use Google, but let me explain it a bit more. Not all residencies have a profile on the more well known sites and there are other sites out there collecting residencies for specific areas. For example, there are not that many residencies for China listed on either TransArtists or ResArtis, so if you stick to these sites, you might think China just isn’t the place for going on a residency.
Google ‘Artist residency in China’ however, and you’ll find the website ChinaResidencies, a whole site dedicated to artist residencies in China! This is how I find QingYun International Art Centre, which at the time of my application didn’t even have it’s own website. I went there in March of this year. Because I used Google. So, if you specifically know where you want to go, it can be very useful to take the couple of seconds it takes to do a Google search for ‘Artist residency in the city of country of your choice’.
There are tons of websites for artists to find open calls, such as Wooloo, CallforEntry, and many more. Most of these focus on calls for events, exhibitions, public art, etc, but there are quite a few residencies who list their open calls on here and it’s worth checking out. To avoid yourself a lot of work, many of these have newsletters you can subscribe to. Of course, any residency or open call that’s in a newsletter is going to get some serious competition, so unless you’re super confident in your applying abilities, it may still be worth doing some leg work to find a residency that isn’t going to have hundreds of artists applying for it.
Don’t just go with the big sites either, use Google to see if there are local sites for your destination country that list open calls for residencies or studio swaps. These are less likely to have a lot of competition and there might be some hidden gems here. This is more work than looking at sites like Transartists or Googling, but it can be worth it to find a cool residency that not that many other artists know about,
National art funding organisations
Going from digging for hidden gems to finding the treasure right in the place where you’d expect to find it! Most countries-especially in the Western world- have government funded organisations to fund and support the arts and often these will have residency opportunities.They work together with residencies all over the world to provide artists the opportunity to work on a project as an artist in residence. You apply through the organisation, so not directly to the residency itself, and they often have annual open calls for each residency. Often, these residencies will come with a stipend for the artist.
The good side: they’re often awesome, great for your network and they look very good on your resume. The residencies these places work with tend to be well established in the national and international art scene, so doing one of these can be a boost to your career as an artist There are residencies where you can only apply for through these organisations, there is no other way to get in.
The bad side: they’re competitive, they come with a lot of paperwork, and they’re often looking for a very specific kind artist, with the background, experience and kind of artwork that is right for them. See it as a job interview; if you know beforehand you don’t fit the profile of what they’re looking for, ask yourself if it’s worth putting in the hours to make an application. On the other hand, if you have a very good idea for a project and you really want to go to that specific residency, go and apply! If you don’t try, you’ll never get in.
Related to this are organisations such as who ‘collect’ residencies in an certain area and send out information about them, such as open calls or new opportunities. You don’t always have to apply through them, sometimes they’re a site to find many residencies for that destination neatly organised together. It’s useful to follow these, often they have a Facebook page or a newsletter, to find out about open calls for an area of the world you’re interested in. The aforementioned ChinaResidencies is a great example of a site like this. Another one is On The Move, of which TransArtists and ResArtists are both a member.
Ask through your own network, and think outside the box.
Like the Google one, this might be a little obvious but it can really lead to great opportunities! Let me tell you a personal example of this; last July I wanted to spend a month in Belgium. It was a bit last minute and I didn’t find a residency that would work on such a short notice, so I went to Airbnb to find an apartment to rent for a month. I selected a few I found interesting, and after talking to a host of an apartment in Leuven it turned out he and his wife were artists and he actually ran a residency! It wasn’t on Transartists or any of the other sites and he mentioned it was a bit of a hobby, they liked to invite artists over and connect them with the local art scene in Leuven. This is just one example of how you can find cool places by looking just a bit further than the obvious places.
Another one is asking your friends and art colleagues, or perhaps if you’ve been on a residency before-ask if they know of other places they like. Some artists are not the best at keeping an online presence and there may be amazing places out there that are just known through word of mouth.
If you see a residency you like and they have a newsletter, subscribe to it! You’ll be the first to hear when there’s going to be an open call or they’ll let you know when an artist has cancelled their residency and there’s an empty spot just begging to be filled by you..
These are just a few of the many ways to find a residency! I’m working on a Resources page where I collect and review the many sites available to find your residency, but this should give you a pretty good place to start.
I hope I have given you some idea of where to find your residency. Now, go out there and get some wanderlust! And when you’re all filled up with dreams and so many places you want to go to and you’re wondering, okay great, now I want to go to China, Iceland, AND Australia all at the same time, come back and read the next instalment ‘How to choose your Artist Residency?’