Artist residencies vary greatly. With such a diversity on offer there is likely to be a residency that offers something for your practice. But before you start packing, we’ve prepared this toolkit to help you make sure you select the right residency for you.
Paid or unpaid?
Many residencies are not paid opportunities.* If you select to apply for an unpaid residency, consider whether you will need to supplement any income lost while you are away from home. Are you taking leave from a part-time job while undertaking the residency? Can you send plenty of stock to your suppliers before you head off to facilitate sales while you’re away?
*Guildhouse advocates that artists be paid for their time and their work. It is the decision of the individual to undertake residencies and other unpaid opportunities.
The cost to the artist
What costs associated with the residency will you have to bear? Consider that you may have to pay a rent for the use of the space/studio, food, travel, access to transport and the cost of materials. Some of these costs may be part of the offering, but it is important to have a clear understanding of what you will need to pay for while you’re on the residency.
Is accommodation provided?
Always check that accommodation is provided as part of the residency offering. You may also want to check the type of accommodation on offer. Is it shared or private? What facilities (bathroom, kitchen etc) might you be sharing with other residents? Some residencies also provide for the artist to bring their family. It is important to check the details of accommodation on offer.
What is the application process?
Some residencies are available on an ongoing basis with no set application deadline. Others have very specific application, residency and outcomes timelines. Read all the guidelines to be sure the application and residency dates suit you. Check if there is an application fee. For tips on how to prepare your CV, artist statement and even a budget for your application see our other toolkits.
What are the expected outcomes, if any?
What outcomes/deliverables do your residency hosts expect from you? Are your required to give an artist talk, exhibit works-in-progress or teach a workshop? Have a clear understanding of what is required of you as an artist-in-residence. Also be clear about the timing of any exhibition outcomes – is this included in the timing of your residency?
What other support are you provided while away?
It is worth checking with your residency provider if there is non-financial support offered to you while you are away. Will you be connected with members of the local community? How will your workshop or exhibition be promoted (if you have one)? This support can be a valuable way to grow your networks and build new audiences while you’re away.
Not all residencies are located within a major city. Familiarise yourself with the location of the studio and ensure that you are aware of the venues proximity to amenities such as shops, services and transport. Residencies often afford an artist the opportunity for privacy and isolation to dedicate to a project, research the surrounds and be aware of the location.
Tools and materials
Before you hop on a plane, know what tools and materials you need to take with you, what you need to source once you have arrived, and what the residency provides. If you are making artwork on the residency consider what you might want to bring home with you and if you need to allocate a budget line for freight in your residency funds.
Do you need insurance?
Ask if it’s a requirement that you have public liability insurance in your place of residency. It may be provided by the venue, but if not, be sure that your insurance will cover you in your new location and cover all the activities you plan to undertake.
Images (L-R): Louise Flaherty undertaking a residency at the Mill for Memorial for Forgotten Plants, 2018, photographs Daniel Marks.