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Artist-in-residence programs and other residency opportunities exist to invite artists, academicians, curators, and all manner of creative people for a time and space away from their usual environment and obligations. They provide a time of reflection, research, presentation and/or production. They also allow an individual to explore his/her practice within another community; meeting new people, using new materials, experiencing life in a new location. Art residencies emphasize the importance of meaningful and multi-layered cultural exchange and immersion into another culture.
Some residency programs are incorporated within larger institutions. Other organisations exist solely to support residential exchange programs. Residencies can be a part of museums, universities, galleries, studio spaces, theaters, artist-run spaces, municipalities, governmental offices, and even festivals. They can be seasonal, ongoing, or tied to a particular one-time event. They exist in urban spaces, rural villages, container ships and deep in nature. Hundreds of such opportunities and organisations exist throughout the world.
There is no single model, and the expectations and requirements vary greatly. The relationship between the resident and the host is often an important aspect of a residency program. Sometimes residents become quite involved in a community - giving presentations, workshops, or collaborating with local artists or the general public. At other times, they are quite secluded, with ample time to focus and investigate their own practice. Residency programs utilize a wide range of financial models. In some situations, residents must finance their own stay, finding funding and support from their own countries and networks. There are also residency programs that provide part or all of the required finances to invited guests.
The application processes also vary widely; not all programs organise an open call for applications. Some opportunities are by invitation only, or are offered through special partnerships with other institutions, funding bodies, or organisations. Many times a residency experience is only the beginning of a longer relationship. Residents often return to complete a project they started, to begin a new collaboration, or participate in an exhibition, panel or workshop.
No two artist-in-residence programs are the same. Each program has its own background and atmosphere. Some focus on only one discipline of the arts, most offer facilities for any discipline: visual arts, literature, music, science, research, culinary arts, art historians, curators, creatives, innovators, philosophers, performing arts, architecture, design, dance. Working periods differ enormously: from two weeks to six months or sometimes even a year. There are also a lot of differences in financial resources, housing and studio facilities, application procedures, selection procedures, coaching and exhibiting.
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