TransArtists Workshop – Finding the Best Fit: Researching and Applying for Artist-in-Residence Programs
Bojana Panevska, Project Manager and International Collaborations and Exchange Facilitator, TransArtists, The Netherlands · www.transartists.org
The main points of discussion during the TransArtists workshop were the ever-growing number of artist-in-residence programs in the world and the consequences it has for the artists/curators and their work. Does having more choice equal having higher-quality offers by default? Are the completely-funded residencies really better? What are the options for artists in the non-funded residencies? These are just a few of the many questions that came out of the discussion during the workshop.
We can all agree that trying to find the correct residency for oneself is a far more delicate process than it seems at first sight, since the dichotomy between knowledge and experience plays an important role in the process of choosing. And not only that, the artists also need to think about their projects; their concepts; and many other factors such as living in a new environment, working/collaborating with other artists (or not), communicating with the residency organizers and trying to see their experience within the bigger picture - from the organizers’ perspective, for example. Other important differences between residencies are the support that one is getting (either financial or in-kind), the networking, whether one is alone or surrounded by other artists, and the social impact and engagement that artists have in the surrounding community.
As expected, the group that attended the workshop was made up of artists at different levels of their careers who had different experiences and expectations - which, needless to say, provided a realistic picture of the residency field. As integral as attending residencies can be to artists’ development, it is important to remember that is is only one aspect of their careers. The next stage is equally important and challenging – translating that experience into the “real” world.