Fostering Justice & Addressing Racism in Art Residencies: A Compassionate Approach

by Brittany Arrendondo

Artist residencies serve as platforms for creative expression and cultural exchange. In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the need to address issues of justice, including the Palestinian struggle, racism, and colonialism, within the art community. In this blog entry, we will explore some guidelines on how to engage with these topics respectfully and constructively during artist residencies.

Educate Yourself

Before delving into discussions on justice for Palestine, racism, or colonialism, equip yourself with a solid understanding of historical and current events. Accordingly, educate yourself on the context, including the Palestinian struggle, systemic racism, and the lasting effects of colonialism. Certainly, this knowledge will help shape your conversations and art in a meaningful and informed manner.

Dar Yusuf Nasri Jacir for Art and Research is a grass-roots independent artist–run initiative founded in 2014 and is located in our 19th century family home in Bethlehem. 

Fosterin Justice in an Open Dialogue

Create a safe and inclusive space for open dialogue within the artist residency. Encourage respectful discussions that allow for the sharing of diverse perspectives while also fostering justice and address racism. Listen actively to others, valuing their experiences and viewpoints. Likewise, embrace the discomfort that may arise and use it as an opportunity for growth and increased empathy.

Amplify Marginalized Voices

Acknowledge and prioritize the voices of marginalized communities, including Palestinians, in conversations addressing justice, racism, and colonialism. Invite guest speakers, artists, or scholars who can provide insights and firsthand experiences. Amplify the stories and narratives that often go unheard, allowing for a more nuanced understanding of the issues at hand.

Embrace Collaboration

Foster collaborations, consider partnering with artists or organizations that work towards justice and social change. After all, collaborative projects can spark powerful artistic expressions and address important topics. Ensure that the collaborations are based on mutual respect, consent, and shared goals. Overall, use your platform as an artist-in-residence to amplify the voices of marginalized communities, fostering justice, addressing racism and effecting positive change. There are several amazing art residencies in Palestine and for Palestinian artists with very powerful voices including: Al Ma’mal, Dar Jacir, Qattan Foundation

The Qattan Foundation delivers its services through two primary programs, tailored to benefit Palestinians worldwide.

Address Intersectionality

Recognize the interconnectedness of various forms of oppression, including racism, sexism, and ableism. Additionally, highlight the ways in which these systems intersect with issues of justice for Palestine and colonialism. Emphasize the importance of building solidarity across movements and fostering discussions on how to dismantle these structures.

Take Accountability

Acknowledge that as an artist-in-residence, you may inadvertently contribute to or perpetuate structures of injustice. Reflect on your own biases, assumptions, and privilege. Be open to feedback and willing to unlearn and revaluate your approaches. Hold yourself accountable for your actions and strive to be a more conscious artist and ally.


Artist residencies can be transformative spaces for addressing justice for Palestine, racism, and colonialism. By fostering open dialogue, amplifying marginalized voices, embracing collaboration, and addressing intersectionality, artists can use their platforms to effect positive change. Approach these topics with compassion, empathy, and a commitment to learning, ensuring that your art and conversations contribute to a more inclusive and just world. Let your artistic practice become a catalyst for understanding, empathy, and collective action.

Addressing Colonial Legacies in Artist Residencies

Addressing Colonial Legacies: Artist Residencies and the Middle East Amidst the Gaza Humanitarian Crisis

by John Lei

The Role of Artist Residencies

Artist residencies play a pivotal role in fostering creativity, cultural exchange, and critical dialogue in the art world. However, with international conflicts escalating, including the Middle East, addressing colonial legacies in artist residencies is crucial. It is necessary to confront persisting historical conflicts around the world. In this blog post, we delve into the pressing need for residencies to acknowledge the colonial legacies of European empires. Particularly in the Middle East in light of the Gaza humanitarian crisis and the long-standing conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Understanding Colonial Legacies

To comprehend the relevance of colonial legacies in the Middle East, it is imperative to recognize the historical context. Especially the active role and influence of European empires’ in the region. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, European powers, such as Britain and France, established political and economic control over much of the Middle East, including Palestine. The consequences of these colonial encounters continue to shape the region’s socio-political dynamics. Even today, they still have a profound impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Gaza Humanitarian Crisis

The Gaza Strip is a densely populated region on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean. Over the years it has experienced profound suffering and humanitarian crises due to the Israeli expansion. The occupation and strict control imposed has resulted in limited access to essential resources, including food, water, healthcare, and education. The Gaza humanitarian crisis is a dire situation that has been exacerbated by the ongoing war between Israel and Palestine. The conflict has resulted in significant human suffering. Particularly the Gaza Strip, endures severe restrictions on basic necessities like food, water, healthcare, and education. The people of Gaza face constant violence, displacement, and limited access to essential services due to the blockade and occupation. The crisis has led to a profound humanitarian emergency, with innocent civilians, including children, bearing the consequences of historical conflict.

Artist Residencies and Activism

Artist residencies can confront colonial legacies within their own immediate communities and from their own missions and projects. Rather than imagining activism as a response to war, it should be an act of resistance on an everyday basis. Artist residencies can challenge dominant narratives. They can engage with in much needed critical conversations with their artists-in-residence, fostering collaborations, supporting their immediate communities. They should work in solidarity by questioning official history, shedding light on different issues and advocate for change.

Confronting Colonial Legacies through Artist Residencies

1. Repositioning Narratives: Artist residencies can provide a platform for artists to challenge dominant narratives and amplify marginalized voices. By addressing the colonial history and its impact on the region, residencies can encourage dialogue and foster greater understanding of the complexities of the conflict.

2. Collaborative Engagement: Residencies can actively challenge colonialism, first by addressing their own local colonial legacies, also by engaging their own artist-in-residence in critical discussions to identify historical racial and power dynamics. Artist residencies can definitely foster collaboration through dialogue, providing a space for mutual learning and cultural exchange. Such dialogues can help artists in the process of developing their own projects and initiatives within their own localities by addressing local social, political and cultural challenges.

3. Art as a Political Act: Artists have a unique ability to use their creative expressions to raise awareness, challenge power structures, and advocate for social justice.

Unveiling the Beauty of Natural Colors in Arts Residencies

by Zuri Jackson

Come along on an incredible adventure, as we unveil the limitless possibilities of natural color in arts residencies. Color has a deeper connection to the artistry of craftsmanship and the allure of nature. Dive deep into the incredible array of vibrant colors they produce and the captivating stories they hold. Join us as we investigate the magical process of obtaining dyes. We will immerse ourselves in the enchanting realm of slow fashion residencies, where creativity takes on a truly unique form. Get ready for an encounter with awe-inspiring inspiration, as the worlds of art, nature, and sustainability seamlessly intertwine. 

In the realm of color, lies an undeniably neglected area of research. Especially when it comes to the exploration of the creative possibilities of natural dyes. It is disheartening the heavy reliance of many artists and designers and on synthetic dyes for their production processes. However, amidst this disheartenment, there is a glimmer of hope. Within the realm of art and color, we should recognize the enormous potential for innovation and sustainability within natural dyes. By embracing these organic alternatives, we have the power to create beautiful and unique garments while reducing our environmental impact. It is time for the arts to reevaluate its choices and embrace this positive change. We need to recognize the importance and vast possibilities that lie within natural dyes.

Exploring the Creative Possibilities of Natural Dyes

From a critical perspective, it is crucial to address the issue of sustainability in various industries. When considering the realm of dyes, we must acknowledge the negative impact that traditional synthetic versions have on the environment. This has led to the exploration and development of natural dyes as a sustainable and cost-effective alternative by different artists. This is the case of Margaret Byrd, an expert in color with her channel “Color Quest.” By utilizing natural sources such as plants and minerals, we reduce the pollution caused by synthetic dyes. We can also provide long-term benefits to both the environment and consumers. This positive shift towards natural dyes demonstrates a proactive approach towards sustainability. It also highlights the need for environmentally conscious practices within the industry. Embracing this alternative not only ensures a brighter future for our planet, it promotes a responsible approach to consumer choices.

Furthermore, by taking into account the unique characteristics and properties of natural dyes, we can explore new ways of creating beautiful pieces that are not only durable but also environmentally friendly. Thus, this approach challenges the conventional methods of textile production. It urges us to reconsider our reliance on synthetic dyes which contribute to pollution and waste. Embracing natural dyes allows us to reconnect with our environment and value the resources it provides. By incorporating these dyes into our creative processes, we support sustainable practices. Also we contribute to the preservation of traditional craftsmanship and cultural heritage. By understanding and appreciating the potential of natural colors, we can pave the way towards a more responsible and conscious fashion industry that prioritizes both aesthetics and sustainable practices.

Critical Perspectives In Arts Residencies

An appreciation of nature-inspired art, with a focus on natural dyes, should include a critical perspective. This helps identify and question the cultural, social, and political implications of artworks. When examining art, individuals should be prompted to consider the deeper meaning and impact that these artworks hold within society. This critical perspective can allows us to recognize the power of using materials derived from nature. Not only in the creation of visually stunning pieces but also in the potential to address larger issues. By exploring the intricate relationship between nature and art, we can reflect on our own connection to the natural world. How it shapes our understanding of culture, society, and even politics. Through this lens, we gain a renewed appreciation for nature-inspired art. Not only its ability to aesthetically captivate but also provoke thoughtful discussions and positive change.

A critical perspective within the context of arts residencies offers a unique opportunity for a deeper understanding. not only of the artwork itself but also of how it is intertwined with society’s evolving values, beliefs, and attitudes towards nature. This is the case of the Icelandic Textile Center, Arquetopia Foundation and Cambridge University Botanic Garden.

Art Making and Nature

By adopting this perspective, we can delve into the layers of meaning and symbolism present in the artwork, unraveling the intricate relationship it has with the world it was created in. Through this lens, we can gain insights into the artist’s conscious or subconscious choices, and their possible intention to provoke thought or challenge preconceived notions. This critical approach enables us to appreciate the interconnectedness between art and society, and how it acts as a reflection or response to the prevailing ideologies and perceptions of nature. By embracing a critical perspective, we open ourselves up to a more profound and enriching understanding of the art residency experience, allowing it to serve as a catalyst for social change and transformative dialogues.

Similarly, by analyzing the artist’s representation of nature and its connection to society, we can recognize the potential for positive change towards sustainability. Through their artwork, the artist may highlight the importance of preserving and appreciating the natural environment, urging viewers to reflect on their own relationship with nature. This critical perspective offers an opportunity for individuals to reexamine their behaviors and choices, encouraging a more sustainable lifestyle. By shedding light on society’s role in shaping and impacting the environment, the artist’s work can inspire a sense of responsibility and foster a collective effort towards creating a more ecologically balanced world. Such critical perspectives not only enrich our understanding of art but also promote a positive dialogue about the urgent need for environmental conservation and sustainability.

Final Say

In a world dominated by fast fashion and synthetic materials, the emergence of slow fashion residencies brings a breath of fresh air. These creative spaces not only celebrate the beauty of nature but also embody a deep respect for sustainability and craftsmanship. Through the exploration of natural dyes, we have witnessed the unfolding of vibrant hues and the telling of remarkable stories. From the enchanting process of dye extraction to the mesmerizing artistry of slow fashion residencies, we have discovered an ecosystem where art, nature, and sustainability seamlessly intertwine. By embracing this eco-conscious creativity, we open up a realm of limitless possibilities, inspiring us all to reimagine fashion as a medium to connect with our environment and express our truest selves. Let us embark on this journey together, and together let us unveil the beauty that lies within.

The Question that Matters as an Artists

Choosing Critical Questions in your Art Practice

by Sarah Smith

As a visual artist, choosing critical questions for your art practice is crucial. It provides a sense of direction, purpose, and coherence to your work. A critical theme helps you explore specific ideas or concepts that you are passionate about and wish to convey through your art. It also allows you to engage with and contribute to larger conversations within the art world. So how can you choose a critical theme that will enhance your art practice? Here are a few steps to help you on your journey:

Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness by Alfredo Jaar, and Exodus by Barthelemy Toguo, at Frieze Art Fair, Randall’s Island, NY, 5/4/19

Identify your interests and concerns

Start by reflecting on the critical art questions that intrigue you the most. What are the issues that evoke strong emotions or thoughts in your mind? Is there a message you want to convey or a story you want to tell? Consider your personal experiences, beliefs, and values. This introspection will help you identify the areas you are passionate about and will provide a foundation for your critical theme.

The interactive art installation of With All Love for Tulips, I Pray Forever of big coloured dots anf giant sculpture flowers by Yayoi Kusama, Life is the Dream of a Rainbow exhibition at the National Gallery Singapore.

Research and explore

Once you have identified your critical questions and art themes, dive deeper into them through research. Look for artist residencies, related artists, artworks, or movements that have explored similar themes. Understand how they have approached and interpreted these topics throughout history. This exploration will expand your knowledge and inform your understanding of the theme you want to choose. It will also help you differentiate your approach from what has already been done.

Don’t touch Ai Weiwei’s Sunflower Seeds (Tate Modern London)

Evaluate your skills and style

Consider your artistic skills, techniques, and preferred style. Think about how your chosen critical questions aligns with your art and abilities as an artist. For instance, if you are a painter, you might choose a theme that can be effectively expressed through color and composition. If you are a sculptor, you may look for a subject matter that can be translated into three-dimensional form. Evaluating your skills will ensure that your chosen theme is a good fit for your creative strengths.

Barbara Kruger

Untitled (Your Body is a Battleground), 1989. Photo and silk screen. Broad Art Foundation. LACMA

Be authentic and genuine

Authenticity is key when choosing a critical theme for your art practice and questions. Select a theme that resonates deeply with you and reflects your unique perspective. Trying to mimic someone else’s theme or riding the wave of a popular trend might lead to work that lacks sincerity and fails to connect with your audience. Being genuine in your choice will give your art a distinct voice and make it more compelling.

Frida Kahlo, Las Dos Fridas. Museo de Arte Moderno Mexico

Consider your audience and impact

Think about the effect you want your art to have on its viewers. How do you want them to feel or think when they encounter your work? Consider the audience you wish to reach and how your chosen critical questions can resonate with them through your art. Understanding your audience will help you create art that is engaging, thought-provoking, and has the potential to evoke a response. Keep in mind that the impact of your work can extend beyond the art world and contribute to larger societal discussions.

Marina Abramović, The Artist is Present, 2010, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 9 March – 31 May 2010.

Embrace evolution and growth

Finally, remember that your critical theme is not set in stone. As an artist, your interests and concerns may evolve over time. Allow yourself the flexibility to explore new themes and experiment with different ideas. Embracing growth will keep your art practice fresh and allow you to continuously challenge yourself.

Yinka Shonibare, Planets in My Head

Choosing a critical theme for your art practice is an important decision that will shape your entire body of work. Discover your art world potential by learning. It is a reflection of who you are as an artist and what you wish to communicate to the world. By identifying your interests, conducting research, evaluating your skills, being authentic, considering your audience, and embracing growth, you can select a theme that will fuel your creative journey and make a lasting impact through your art.

Latin America a Destination for Art: The Top 10 Artist Residencies

by Zuri Jackson

Latin America is a vibrant and diverse region that has been a hub for creativity and artistic expression for centuries. From the energetic streets of Mexico City to the abundant creativity of Brazil, Latin America is home to some of the most inspiring artist residencies in the world. For artists looking to immerse themselves in this rich cultural heritage, there are many artist residencies offering opportunities for growth, learning and collaboration. In this blog post, we will explore the top 10 artist residencies in Latin America, where artists can find inspiration, create, and expand their artistic practice.

1. Casa Wabi, Mexico

Nestled between the mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Casa Wabi offers a serene and inspirational space for artists to work and collaborate. Additionally, with its commitment to sustainability and community engagement, this residency provides a unique opportunity for artists to create while contributing to the local community.

2. Arquetopia, Mexico & Peru

Arquetopia is an internationally recognized residency that attracts artists from all over the world. With its focus on artistic research and critical academic methodologies, this program offers artists unique opportunities to learn art techniques from Mexico and Peru, while questioning art history, power and colonialism.

3. Instituto Sacatar, Brazil

Located on the beautiful island of Itaparica, Instituto Sacatar offers a peaceful retreat for artists. Undeniably surrounded by the beauty of nature, this residency allows artists to focus on their work while offering opportunities to engage with the local community and culture.

4. Residencia Corazón, Argentina

With its emphasis on experimentation and contemporary art practices, Residencia Corazón is a haven for artists. The program pushes the boundaries between themes and mediums. This residency encourages interdisciplinary collaboration and provides artists with the resources and support needed to explore new artistic posibilities.

5. Casa Tres Patios, Colombia

Founded in one of Latin America’s most vibrant cities, Casa Tres Patios provides a space for artists to connect, create, and engage with the local community. This residency focuses on social transformation through art and offers a space for artists to explore social and political issues.

6. Kiosko Galeria, Bolivia

KIOSKO Galería organizes and curates exhibitions of contemporary Bolivian and international art in its rooms and open spaces. Thus, the exhibitions showcase the work of world-renowned established artists, emerging artists, young artists, and artists.

7. Casa Tomada, Brazil

Located in the heart of Brazil’s cultural capital, Casa Tomada is a residency dedicated to promoting creativity and experimentation. Above all, this residency invites artists to challenge conventions and explore new artistic directions while creating a space for dialogue and collaboration.

8. Proyecto’Ace, Argentina

Proyecto ACE is an artist residency founded in 2005 and located in the Barrio de Colegiales. The residency is as a space for production and reflection on contemporary artistic practices linking guest artists to the City of Buenos Aires. Through production, research and urban-community intervention residencies, it fosters relationships with other artists and contexts, facilitating exchange, discussion, experimentation and collaborative work.

9. La Curtiduría, Mexico

La Curtiduría supports and promotes community-based contemporary art practices in Mexico. With its focus on cultural diversity and community engagement, this residency especially provides artists with the resources and support needed to create meaningful and impactful work.

10. Lugar A Dudas, Colombia

The program aims to incorporate the experiences of residents into the cultural fabric of the city of Cali. Therefore, the program facilitates collaborative practices, research processes and the transition between disciplines and knowledge. Accordingly their goal is to contribute to the production of thought, experimentation and complexity.

Latin America is a region rich in culture, history, and artistic traditions. Thus, artists from around the world are drawn to its vibrant environments, diverse communities, and rich artistic heritage. Whether it’s the busy streets or the tranquil beaches, these top 10 artist residencies in Latin America offer unique opportunities for artists to connect, create, and be inspired. So, pack your ideas and art supplies, and embark on a transformative artistic journey in Latin America.

Setting Foot In Another Country:

Challenging Colonialism as Foreign Artist

by John Lei

As we travel following our artistic journey, we have to approach these experiences with cultural sensitivity. It is crucial to avoid perpetuating exploitative attitudes. More than ever, we have to challenge Colonialism in artist residencies. Thus, in this blog entry, we will explore important guidelines to cultivate understanding in artist residencies and promote respect for the local community. Here’s a a guide to avoid the pitfalls of colonialism in artist residencies.

Educate Yourself

Before setting foot in another country, get a better understanding of the historical and cultural context and its relationship with colonialism. Read news, watch documentaries, and engage with local resources to learn about the local heritage, traditions, and current realities. Specifically, acknowledge the impact that colonialism has had on the artist residency you are visiting.

Embrace a Collaborative Approach

Shift your mindset away from the notion of being a tourist or even a “savior” “enlightening” the local community. Instead, focus on listening and creating an environment where knowledge exchange, mutual learning, and partnerships flourish. Treat local artists and residents as equals, valuing their insights and expertise.

Respect Local Traditions and Customs

Respect for local traditions and customs is paramount. Hence, take the time to understand and adhere to local customs, etiquette, and social norms. Do not impose your own artistic vision, individual expectations or even diet. As much as we believe in our individual choices, keep in mind that food justice is directly connected to colonialism. Furthermore, never disregard local sensitivities, seek permission when necessary, and always honor the wishes and guidelines of the local community.

Engage with and Learn from Local Artists

One of the best ways to confront the challenge of colonialism in artist residencies is to actively learn from local artists. Certainly from those running artist residencies. Attend their events, workshops, and performances to familiarize yourself with their artistic practices and perspectives. Foster genuine relationships and engage in open and respectful dialogue. Learn from them, value their experiences, and acknowledge their creative contributions.

Collaborate, Don’t Appropriate

Colonialism has a long history of extracting resources and exploiting communities. You can appreciate the unique artistic expressions of the local community; however, be cautious on appropriating cultural symbols, practices, or stories for personal gain. Collaborate in a way that respects their intellectual property rights and cultural sovereignty. Be mindful of the potential impact your work may have on the community and always seek informed consent.

Give Back to the Local Community

As an artist-in-residence, find ways to give back to the local community that hosts you. Share your skills, knowledge, and resources through workshops, mentorship programs, or collaborative projects that benefit the community. Demonstrate a commitment to reciprocity and leave a positive lasting impact that uplifts the community.

Waaw Artists’ Residency. Morning meeting, April 2018: Johanna Ziemer (DE), Pap Souleye Fall (US), Catrin Kaitaro (FI/SN), Linn Henrichson (FI) and Jarmo Pikkujamsa (Waaw).


Participating in an artist residency abroad presents a unique opportunity to challenge colonialism through creative practices. By consciously avoiding colonialist attitudes, nurturing respect for the local community, and participate in collaborative partnerships, you can foster an environment of mutual learning and understanding. Most important, let your artistic practice become a tool for empathy, bridging cultures, and celebrating diverse perspectives, fostering resilient and equal artistic communities.

Colonialism in Artist Residencies

by Brittany Arrendondo

Artist residencies have become an increasingly popular way for artists to travel, engaging in focused and creative work, free from the distractions of daily life. However the history of colonization and colonialism affects artist residencies, furthering problematic power structures, and impacting local communities.

Colonization and Traveling

The colonization of indigenous lands and peoples around the world have also contributed to the creation of contemporary artist residencies. Artists from colonizing nations travel to other countries with their set of skills and expertise, often to exoticize, romanticize and appropriate aspects of the local culture in their art. This echoes colonial structures, which aimed to dominate and exploit the resources and way of life of colonized peoples.

Yinka Shonibare’s “The Confession” modeled after Fragonard’s “The Love Letter,”. Shonibare’s intellectual choices–the use of wax print trade cloth that tied Europe to Africa and figured in both the slave trade and economic colonialism or the headless mannequins prefiguring the guillotining of aristocrats–as well as his art historical references require decoding for both Western and African audiences. Photo Kirsteen, 2007. Creative Commons CC BY-SA 2.0. Now in the collection of W. George and Margot Greig. Commissioned by the Musée du Quai Branly for the exhibition “Jardin d’Amour.” © Yinka Shonibare MBE.

Power Imbalances

Although artist-in-residence travel with the best intentions, when they arrive to countries with a history of colonization, structural racism can be reinforced. With the rise of Airbnb and new forms of traveling, artists frequently subject artist residencies to touristic expectations. Rather than adapting to a different environment, they expect immediate access, comfort and entertainment. This phenomenon has increased gentrification and the amount of pressure on many artist residencies and local neighborhoods. Although tourism seems to be a solution to stimulate local economies, power dynamics can further perpetuate colonialism in artist residencies. Considering that the imbalance of privilege, marginalization, and exclusion is reinforced. Many artist residencies have lost autonomy and creative freedom over the last few years, and sadly many closed their doors.

Exclusionary Practices

After the 2016 U.S. presidential election, many Americans decided to leave their country. This had a direct impact in gentrification and also artist residencies. Many expats decided to embrace their new home and open an artist residency.  However, this has also become an exclusionary practice, welcoming artists with a touristic mentality and intensifying the impact of colonization. On the other hand, artists from marginalized communities may find it challenging to access these programs due to financial barriers, lack of diversity and inclusion, or requirements that may not be accessible to them. Colonial perspectives are exclusive, fostering a “gatekeeping” mentality in which artists from colonized or otherwise marginalized communities are not given the same opportunities as privileged groups.

Palace des Nations, Geneva. Credit: Victor Barro/Friends of the Earth International

Redefining Residencies

To address these issues, artists, organizations, and institutions must work to reimagine artist residencies in a more inclusive and equitable way. This can include reassessing financial structures, diversifying selection committees, and creating more opportunities for underrepresented groups. Many Indigenous artists are decolonizing their practice to reclaim their cultural heritage and collaborate directly with other Indigenous people and artists. This approach provides an opportunity for non-Indigenous artists to learn from these practices, and for Indigenous artists to empower their cultural people.


Colonization and its resulting power imbalances continue to have a significant influence on the art world, including artist residencies. However, by acknowledging the impact of colonialism and working to redefine these programs, we can create a more inclusive and equitable space for artists to create, collaborate, and grow.

Artist Residency Mentorship is a Must!

by Sara Smith

Artist residencies are known for offering artists the time and space. They allow them to focus on their creative practice away from the distractions of daily life. However, the benefits of an artist residency extend far beyond solitude and a conducive environment. One of the most invaluable aspects is the opportunity for mentorship and guidance from experienced artists and professionals. Here we explore the importance of mentorship in an artist residency and how it can allow artist’s growth and development.

Atlantic Center for the Arts

Critical Feedback

Firstly, mentorship provides artists with a fresh perspective and critical feedback. While artists often work independently, having a mentor can offer valuable perspectives. A mentor provides constructive criticism that helps refine their artistic vision. With their extensive knowledge and experience, mentors can identify areas for improvement. They often suggest alternative approaches, and challenge an artist’s preconceived notions. This guidance encourages artists to push their boundaries, experiment with new techniques, and explore new possibilities in their work.


Furthermore, mentors can offer guidance in career development and professional strategies. Artists may have exceptional talent and creative ideas, but they might lack the necessary knowledge and resources to navigate the art world successfully. Mentors, who have likely encountered the challenges and triumphs of an artistic career, can provide practical advice on portfolio development, exhibition opportunities, networking, and marketing strategies. Artists gain insights into the business side of their practice and learn how to effectively present and promote their work.

Jordan Parks and Diedrick Brackens at Indigo Arts Alliance

Fostering a Sense of Community

Moreover, mentorship fosters a sense of community and connection within an artist residency. The opportunity to connect with established artists or professionals in the field allows residents to build meaningful relationships. They can expand their networks and connections. A residency can lead to collaborations, future exhibition opportunities, and ongoing support beyond the length of the residency. The mentor-mentee relationship acts as a foundation for community-building. It creates a platform for exchanging ideas, sharing resources, and offering mutual support.

Dr. Emmanuel Ortega during an academic visit at Arquetopia Foundation

Artistic Growth

Additionally, mentorship in an artist residency encourages personal and artistic growth. Having a mentor who believes in an artist’s potential can be incredibly motivating and empowering. Mentors often act as advocates, offering encouragement, and helping artists realize their strengths. This affirmation and support can bolster an artist’s confidence, enabling them to take risks, explore new concepts, and pursue ambitious projects. The guidance provided by mentors ultimately contributes to an artist’s artistic and personal development, fostering growth and nurturing their creative journey.


In conclusion, the importance of mentorship and guidance in an artist residency cannot be overstated. Mentorship provides artists with fresh perspectives, critical feedback, and valuable career advice. It creates a sense of community and fosters connections with established artists and professionals. Furthermore, mentorship encourages personal and artistic growth, empowering artists to push their boundaries and realize their potential. Therefore, when considering an artist residency, aspiring residents should seek programs that offer mentorship opportunities, as it can truly elevate their residency experience and shape their artistic trajectory.

Unique Artist Residencies Across Asia

by Zuri Jackson

When it comes to finding exceptional artist residencies in Asia, certainly several options come to mind. These programs offer unique experiences and create a fertile environment for artistic growth and creativity. Here are some of the best artist residencies in Asia:

at STPI – Creative Workshop & Gallery.

1. Singapore Tyler Print Institute (STPI) Residency (Singapore):

STPI Residency is well known for its collaborative atmosphere. Their residency offers artists the opportunity to work with master printmakers and experiment with diverse printmaking techniques. The program provides access to wonderful modern spaces and engages artists in dynamic exchanges with local and international art communities.

2. Cité Internationale des Arts (France-Asia Program) (Paris, France):

While not based in Asia, the France-Asia Program at Cité Internationale des Arts offers a unique opportunity for Asian artists. Creators can live and work in one of the art capitals of the world. The program makes possible cultural exchanges and invites artists to connect with the vibrant Parisian art scene.

Wen-Chih Wang, 2015 (Photo by Chiu Chih Hua)

3. Bamboo Curtain Studio (Taiwan):

Situated within the lush environment of Taiwan, Bamboo Curtain Studio aims to promote diverse art practices and foster cross-cultural dialogue. Artists can engage with local communities, participate in various workshops, and create site-specific installations inspired by the natural surroundings.

4. Rimbun Dahan (Malaysia):

Set amidst nature in Malaysia, Rimbun Dahan’s residency program provides artists with serene spaces, allowing for uninterrupted focus on their creative practices. After all they offer studio spaces and support from the local art community, certainly artists can explore different art forms while being inspired by Malaysia’s cultural diversity.

5. Gyeonggi Creators Residency (South Korea):

Gyeonggi Creators Residency offers a diverse range of programs designed to support artists from various backgrounds. With a strong focus on experimentation, the residency invites artists to collaborate and exchange ideas with local artists, resulting in new and cross-disciplinary artworks.

6. Fukuoka Asian Art Museum (FAAM) Residency (Japan):

FAAM Residency in Japan provides a creative environment for artists to develop their work through research and collaboration. The program invites artists to engage with cultural heritage, contemporary issues, and diverse artistic expressions with a deeper understanding of Asian art and promoting cultural exchange.

7. Hong Kong Arts Centre Residency (Hong Kong):

Located in the busy city of Hong Kong, the Arts Centre Residency offers artists a vibrant environment rich in cultural diversity. With access to equipped studios and resources, artists can immerse themselves in the local art scene, connect with fellow creatives, and present their work through exhibitions and events.

Indeed, these artist residencies in Asia have proven to be exceptional in terms of their spaces, resources, and support offered to artists. They provide a platform for artists to pursue their creative visions, connect with individuals who think alike, and embrace the uniqueness of Asian art and culture.

Airbnb VS Artist Residencies

A Blurring Line Between Traveling and Exploiting

by Brittany Arrendondo

In recent years, the rise of Airbnb has provided travelers with a unique way to experience different cultures and communities. However, as we reflect on the intersection of Airbnb and artist residencies, the line between traveling and exploiting has blurred. We need to examine the underlying complexities and potential for colonial dynamics that this sharing economy model presents.

Airbnb Challenging Monopoly Of Hotels In Africa Publicity

The Airbnb Effect

At first glance, it seems Airbnb offers a promising platform for artists seeking alternative and affordable accommodations for their residencies. It offers new environments for exploration, including immersing yourself in neighborhoods away from tourism. This accessibility can be valuable for artists seeking inspiration and new perspectives.

Identity, Gentrification, and Commodification

However, we must also acknowledge the layers of identity, gentrification, and commodification that arise from the expansion of Airbnb’s influence. The influx of tourists into local communities can disrupt the everyday life and cultural fabric of those neighborhoods. As artist residencies become intertwined with the short-term rental market, their mission is also at risk. The economic forces behind Airbnb can significantly contribute to misleading expectations of community engagement. All of this leads to gentrification, displacement and exacerbation of social inequalities.

From “The Face of Airbnb, New York City – Airbnb as a Racial Gentrification Tool”

Power Dynamics and Cultural Appropriation

Artists from more privileged backgrounds, have the means to travel, some times choosing the comfort of Airbnb over artist residencies. In other instances, a tourist expectation is transferred into artist residencies, disregarding and endangering communities. In that sense, power dynamics and issues of cultural appropriation arise when artists engage with Airbnb assumptions within the context of artist residencies. This kind of cultural tourism reinforces a colonial mentality, where artists from colonizing or privileged backgrounds exploit local culture for their own artistic endeavors without understanding or respecting the historical and cultural context.

Rethinking Artist Residencies in the Airbnb Era

In light of these concerns, it is crucial to rethink the nature and purpose of artist residencies in the age of Airbnb. Residency programs should actively engage with the communities they are located in, being able to create profound connections and beyond surface-level interactions. Collaboration with local artists, cultural institutions, and community organizations can help foster more inclusive and reciprocal relationships. Transparency and accountability also play a key role. Residencies should actively address the impact of their presence and work towards reducing any negative effects on local communities. This could involve creating projects that directly benefit the community, offering learning opportunities, or supporting local jobs in the arts.

Moving Towards Responsibility and Collaboration

While the Airbnb model is a challenge, it can also be an opportunity for artist residencies to engage in critical conversations on colonialism and power dynamics within the art world. Looking at tourism as a system that allows exploitation, we could challenge models like Airbnb, by supporting arts organizations. Airbnbs are not residencies, even if they allow artists to live in neighborhoods far away from tourism. We should strive towards more responsible and community-focused models that prioritize cultural collaboration, social accountability, and a genuine exchange of ideas and experiences.

Let us seize this opportunity to reimagine artist residencies in ways that respect and empower local communities, allowing for a more inclusive and equitable artistic future.