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28 June 2013

What a Great Discussion on The Guardian's Live Chat

By Melanie Burnell, one of the Directors of Artists Info

Wow, what a great discussion! I really didn't know what to expect when I was asked to join the expert panel on The Guardian's live chat about making residencies work for both venue and artist. I've just finished after a two-hour live message-based discussion and it has flown by! There were some great fellow panellists and contributors where many ideas and opinions were shared. I have also made some really interesting new connections. Through partaking today I have also come up with the idea of offering a virtual/remote residency on Artists Info. How do you see it working? Would love your thoughts which I will share with the team later. Please email [email protected]

Here's an overview of today's topic and my two favourite contributors...

More about this week's topic

A time for reflection, research and inspiration – residencies for artists can be life and career changing moments. Stepping outside of your usual surroundings and daily routine, even for just one week, can have a profound impact on how visual and applied artists work and create. They can introduce creatives from all backgrounds of art to new materials, people and ways of working – they are as much about a change in culture as they are a change of scene.

But not all artist-in-residence programmes are the same – they can vary quite significantly in length, from weeks to months to years. What can also change is the relationship between artist and venue: some residencies are large organisations offering space; others are artist-led initiatives where creative minds can meet; then there are more academic placements where the artist is expected to give lectures and workshops.

With the rise of digital technologies and platforms, there's now scope for residencies online, which begs the question: does an artist even have to relocate to somewhere physical? No matter what they look like, at the heart of all artist-in-residence programmes is a relationship between practitioner and venue. And it goes both ways – residencies can have huge benefits for both tenant and landlord, and we want to explore that relationship in this week's live chat. We want to know what goes into a successful residency programme and will be discussing everything with the venues and artists who have managed to make it work and why....

My favourite contributors

Alistair Gentry, freelace artist & writer

Alistair is an artist, writer, performer and talker – he is a former English Heritage artist fellow and artist-in-residence at the University of Edinburgh, New Media Scotland and ArtSway, among others.@AlistairGentry

"There's also some stuff about residencies on my blog
... including a parody of the really bad ones that obviously struck a nerve because it went seriously viral (twice in fact) a while ago."

Valentina Fois, director and curator, La Scatola Gallery

Valentina is an art curator specialising in contemporary art with a focus on emerging artists – her particular fields of interest are new media and live art. She also works as a freelance digital consultant for the arts.@ValentinaFois

"These should apply to both the artist and the venue:

Build trust and respect each other
Try to make the most out of a residency
Look for a residency that suits your ethos
Ask for feedback and evaluation when the residency terminates
Be motived as often the budgets are very tight!
Enjoy yourself as you will probably have a great life and working experience"


The Guardian's Professional Culture Network Discussion 28 June  (scroll down home page)


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