When establishing an AIR which factors should be considered?
I would like to focus on three aspects: organisation structure, finances, and perception.
Lillian Fellman and Mark Vennegoor, Program Director & Fundraising and Managing Director of Res Artis, Amsterdam, running ‘Res Support in Central, East and South Europe 2012-14′, pointed out to first look at strategies and structures which can be adapted to cover the requirements expressed by emerging AIR programmes, as well as to meet the needs of established initiatives in the region.
The local situations and specific challenges in the area should be considered already at the development stage of the residency programme.
There are no doubts on the benefits for artists participating in an AIR regarding the work-life space, the already established infrastructure like contacts to the art scene and optional funders/supporters or exhibition opportunities are obvious.
But if we look at AIR in a discursive way, the discussion about residencies often lacks a connection to broader discourse of artistic research or contemporary art practice.
Two particular aspects are to be stressed out:
What is the site-specificity and what are the participatory practices?
Furthermore, what about a residency programme for academic research and if a university can really serve as a good place for resident artists. And of course there is also the sphere of benefits of educational and participatory offers provided by the guest artists and/or the institutions.
Is there sufficient funding for residencies in the time of permanent «crisis» and how much regulations can the funders claim? In general it can be stated that almost all AIRs are not only receiving regional, national, European or international grants, but also can rely on the generosity of private sponsors and corporate funding. When applying for and accepting funds there needs to be a closer look at the terms and conditions; on how much influence this will have on the selection process already, on programming, realisation and reporting.
Is there a public, hence does a residency need an audience? If so, how to present or mediate the residency and its artistic and/or educational offer to the public? And to what extent? …as the operating personnel are rarely mentioning curators. Looking at the impact of such programmes, what do the transcultural exchange and the often interdisciplinary contents achieve? If it is about only a little bit of more dialogue, understanding, respect for different nationalities and cultures, it can be considered successful.
Therefore mobility is the prerequisite, but taken as the motto in a metaphysical mode: If residencies foster the process of homogenisation, we actually could end up with a universal art scene.
Zuzana Bodnárová (cultural manager, Banska St a nica, Slovakia) ‘Let’s make the residency centre!’
The presentation will be dealing with various consequences of deciding to run a residency programme outside urban, artistic hubs.
See her publication list.
Helpful guidelines and good advice can also be found with the Alliance of Artists Communities publishing an article ‘Starting a Residency Program’ (in the US). This article leads to the Emerging Program Institute, offering a two-day intensive crash-course in creating a residency. It provides site visits to established artists’ communities, information on attracting artists, discussions of facilities and more.