Artist Residencies, A Guide to Established Archetypes & New Paradigms

As published in Exhibist Magazine, January 2016

Artist Residencies
A guide to Established Archetypes & New Paradigms

co-authored with Anna Zizlsperger

Artist residencies exist to provide artists, academicians, musicians, curators, and all manner of creative people a time and place away from their normal environment. They provide a new context, a framework for the development of a new project, research into a topic of interest, and/or the actual production of new work. There is no single model. Some programmes are incorporated into larger institutions, others are independent organisations, while others still are small spaces run by a single person. They can be seasonal, perpetual, or tied to a one-time event. 

Residencies are not only for artists from abroad, they can be breeding grounds for local artists requiring space or tools and a connection to the local and worldwide art worlds. Borusan Art House and Platform Garanti, (both unfortunately now closed) hosted international as well as local artists in their facilities, providing studio space and increased visibility. Akbank Sanat printing studio fulfills a similar function, allowing local artists access to printmaking facilities and knowledge. 

The following guide is an overview of Turkish and international residencies, an attempt to make some groupings for the sake of illustrating the variety and range of residencies available. The categories are not absolute, and there are overlaps of course, but they provide a way of approaching the seemingly indefinite world of opportunities.


Local, regional, or national governmental bodies may find it within themselves to start artist exchange programmes, or fund them as part of an existing organization. Why? Including an element of cultural exchange may follow certain political policy lines, or may enhance relationships with new trading partners. It can also be a form of soft diplomacy, sending artists to prepare the way for politicians. Governmental programmes can focus on bringing foreign artists to their country, sending local artists to other countries, or both. Though it seems like a rather stable system, such cultural programmes are always fragile, as they are easily changed or eliminated completely when there is a change of leadership.  

Gyeonggi Creation Center, South Korea

The GCC is a government sponsored complex of six large buildings which hosts over fifty Korean and international artists on an island three hours from downtown Seoul. 

Sydney Olympic Park Authority, Australia

SOPA hosts local and international artists, providing studio, workshop, and living space in a 700-hectare area that hosted the 2000 Sydney Olympic & Paralympic Games. 

Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art, Poland

First initiated by a group of artists in search of a space free from censorship, prejudices and inhibitions, it was then fully supported by the Gdansk City council and designated a municipal cultural institution, hosting exhibitions, classes, and residencies in their port location. 

IASPIS, Sweden

This is the visual arts and design umbrella for the Swedish Arts Grants Committee, consisting of twelve residencies in Sweden for international artists and eight residencies abroad for Swedish artists, in addition to travel grants, cooperative projects, and public activities. 

Cite Internationale des Arts, Turkey (France)

The IKSV in Turkey ensures that funding is available from the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Foreign Affairs for one Turkish artist to have a residency at the Cite des Arts in France each year, to continue until 2029 without interruption. 

Attached to a museum or gallery

Cultural institutions often like to be directly involved in the creation of the works they present. These residencies are mainly focused on development and production, as the final goal is usually a body of completed works. Having a residency programme can increase the visibility of the institution, and allow for deep connections to be forged with other institutions, artists, and even funding bodies. The exhibition can be at the conclusion of the residency period, or can be at a later date, allowing time to bring the project to completion. 

Irish Museum of Modern Art, Ireland

Artists in residence have the opportunity to work onsite at the Museum of Modern Art, with a full range of resources available to them such as the museum’s collection, current exhibitions, education and community programmes, and studio and administrative assistance. 

Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Poland

The A-I-R Laboratory is the international residency programme at the castle. It offers an opportunity for residents to develop projects in close dialogue with a curator, focusing on the work itself rather than the market or existing exhibition venues.  

Art Channel Residency, China

Focusing on the relationship between village and urban constructions in Beijing, Art Channel furthers this goal by inviting international artists to bridge gaps between Chinese methodologies and those elsewhere in the world. 

Hammer Museum, USA

Embedded within the Hammer Museum, which is positioned inside ULCA and the greater Los Angeles art community, resident artists are deeply involved in the programming of the museum, contributing artworks, lectures, artist talks and more while pursuing their chosen line of work. 

Galeri/Miz, Turkey

During the summer months, when the gallery would normally be closed, the exhibition space transforms into studio space, inviting several international artists to work there, sharing their results with an open studio at the conclusion of the residency. 

Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center Residency, Turkey (closed)

For eight years, the Platform residencies worked with various funders worldwide to host dozens of residents in Istanbul, concentrating especially on hosting residents from neighboring countries. 

Mixer ArtLab, Turkey

The Mixer Arts gallery seeks to reveal the artistic process through an open studio residency. The resident artist works inside the functioning gallery, allowing an open dialogue with gallery visitors. 

K2, Turkey

In addition to their exhibition and artist studio programmes, K2 also offers a guest studio to international artists, allowing them a deep connection to the local art scene and the opportunity to develop new works. 

Artist-run, Microresidency

Artists and other individuals may choose to host other artists as part of their artistic practice, sharing their homes, studios, resources, and experience. In this case the experience is quite intimate, as the resident is embedded in the life and reality of the host. Unlike larger institutions, they are not bound by extensive bureaucracy or political agendas and can be quite free to follow their own missions, changing them at will to suit shifts in their communities and interests. They rely heavily on the initiators’ time and resources and are rarely properly funded. As a result, the resident artists often have to find funding for themselves, or pay a residency fee to support the programme. 

Youkobo Art Space, Japan

Resident artists at Youkobo are welcomed into the Murata family’s home and studio. They have organised exhibitions, residencies, and cultural activities in the suburbs of Tokyo, and are supported by many local artists and advisors. 

KulttuuriKauppila Art Center, Finland

Initiated by a group of artists, KulttuuriKappila invites international artists to a remote Finnish village to pursue their projects and connect to the local community. 

Hungarian Multicultural Center, Hungary

Based in both the USA and Hungary, the HMC, through its initiator Beata Szechy, serves as an international meeting point for artists, organising exhibitions, residencies and exchange projects in both countries. 

Waaw, Senegal

Run by volunteers from Finland, in cooperation with Senegalese partners, Waaw hosts artists and projects on an island in the Senegal River, focusing on visual arts, crafts, and design. 

Gullkistan Center for Creativity, Iceland

Initiated by two active artists, Kristveig and Alda, Gullkistan hosts creative people, artists, and scholars of any profession in a peaceful and pleasant Icelandic village. 

Homesession, Spain

This residency began with the initiator’s simple offer of opening up their home, sharing space and work for a period. Homesession now offers stays from one week to three months in a dedicated living and working space embedded deeply in a culturally active neighborhood in central Barcelona. 

Hotel Maria Kapel, Netherlands

With a rotating pair of host artists/curators/coordinators, resident artists are invited for a specific proposed project, to be created inside or outside the 16th Century Maria Chapel, the main exhibition venue for the organization. 

Halka Art Project, Turkey

Initiated by two academics working with a team of local artists and administrators, Halka is an open platform for residencies, exhibitions, talks, and workshops. With several apartments and a gallery space, Halka invites international artists for themed and project-based residencies

Maumau Art Residency, Turkey

This six-week programme allows residents to pursue their own work, while providing the opportunity to work together with other residents and local artists. The initiator Sine Ergün is a writer, so she’s especially attuned to the needs of literary projects. 

Caravansarai, Turkey (closed) 

The Caravansarai building was located in the hardware district of Istanbul, providing production space, circus workshops, studios, and arts consultancy to resident artists and international and local guests. They hosted over 40 resident artists and organised dozens of projects inspired by hardware and their neighborhood. 

PIRPIR (PiST///), Turkey

Within 31 months, artist-run space PiST/// hosted 26 art professionals in collaboration with the Danish and Dutch Arts Councils and provided free studio space to artists from Turkey, under the name PIRPIR.  

Torna, Turkey

Sharing its space with a visual engineer and several lathes (torna is the Turkish word for ‘lathe’), Torna is a project space for contemporary art and a bookshop, intermittently hosting international and local artists in the Torna Studio. 

Workshop / Learning / Themed

Artists attending these residencies are doing so for a specific reason; a skill they wish to learn, a topic they wish to study, an environment in which they want to be immersed, or a community of people with whom they share some interests. Or perhaps it is certain equipment that is being sought; a large-scale printing press, a gas ceramics kiln, or specific technological equipment.

Arquetopia, Mexico

In either or both of their two locations, Arquetopia offers residencies that specifically focus on a particular skill, many unique to Mexico, taught by local masters and experts. 

Electro Etching Workshop, Canary Islands

Alfonso Crujera, himself a master printmaker and electro-etcher, offers one-on-one instruction in his print studio and adjacent guest room. 

Banff Centre, Canada

At the core of its programming, the Banff Centre offers thematic residencies and intensive workshops that offer residents the chance to explore a specific topic or material under the leadership of an expert in the field. 

Pollinaria, Italy

Firmly based in a rural environment, Pollinaria focuses on the overlap of art, science and agriculture, and works closely with residents to research and develop specific projects in this conceptual vein. 

Eyebeam, USA

A residency at Eyebeam is a five-month period of intense concentration focused on a proposed project investigating art, technology, and culture, with all of Eyebeam’s technological tools and expertise at your disposal.


Bridge Guard Art, Science Residence, Slovakia

Along side his or her own project working on the themes of uniting, connecting, and bridging, the duty of a Bridge Guard resident is to observe and record their observations on the Bridge Log. 

arthere, Turkey

Initially founded by and for Syrian artists with difficulties accessing workspace after leaving their country, arthere is a place to work and exhibit, hosting several artists and housing an exhibition space and a café. 

Meeting Point, Turkey (discontinued) 

The two editions of Meeting Point, in Gülpınar and Büyükhüsun, brought together individuals from Turkey and abroad for specifically themed workshops; photography, videography, design, performance, and local cuisine. 

Theatre Madrasa, Turkey

Besides hosting festivals, theatre camps and courses, Theatre Madrasa intends to serve individual artists, researchers and groups who wish to conduct their own work in the performing arts in Madrasa. 

Academic / University structure

Using the format of the academy, or embedded within working Universities themselves, these residencies take on the hierarchies of academia. The duration is based on the academic year, and there are most often academic requirements for application. While generally not degree awarding, they do function like universities, with mentors, visiting lecturers and research-based development. 

Rijksakademie, Netherlands

Dedicated to developing talent in the fine arts, the Rijksakademie offers a two-year residency to selected artists, which includes comprehensive production studios in all mediums and connections to an international network. 

Jan Van Eyck Academe, Netherlands

The residency at the Van Eyck strives for a balance between action and contemplation, with regular studio visits, lectures, and presentations by advisors and guests, and workshops given by the residents themselves. 

Nida Art Colony, Lithuania

The Colony is itself part of the Vilnius Academy of Arts, offering independent two to six month stays for professional practitioners. Residents are encouraged to engage in the activities of the University and those in the local community.  

UNIDEE – University of Ideas Cittadellarte, Italy

The university is structured as an interdisciplinary educational laboratory consisting of thematic weekly residential modules at Cittadellarte and at partners’ sites internationally. 

Whitney Independent Study Program, USA

The Program provides a setting in which students of one of three programmes (studio, curatorial, and critical studies) can discuss the historical, social, and intellectual conditions of artistic production. 

Boğaziçi Chronicles Residency at Boğaziçi University, Turkey

Established and emerging writers, artists, and thinkers are invited to the campus in order to gain an in-depth appreciation of Istanbul and to contribute to campus life. The residents should document their stay in a written form, which is included in an annual publication of the residency. 

The Retreat / Colony

These residencies provide residents with a truly other-worldly experience, a bubble in which to fully immerse oneself in work, without the distractions of the city, crowds, and obligations. Historically these were the first residencies, giving artists a chance to relax, socialise, and create in a contained environment – a summer camp for adults.  In Western Europe and in the States these retreats also became a path to fame for many artists, putting them in contact with collectors, curators, and patrons, who often sponsored the experience. 

MacDowell Colony, USA

Founded in 1907 by composer Edward MacDowell and his wife Marian, a pianist, the colony awards fellowships based solely on talent. A balance of privacy and interaction is maintained through private studios and communal dinners. 

Oxbow, USA

With three programmes specially formulated for MFA students, arts faculty, and professional artists and writers, this century-old residency also offers a wide variety of summer courses for students of all ages in its rural wooded campus by Lake Michigan.

Yaddo, USA

Founded in 1900 by financier Spenser Trask and his wife Katrina, a poet, Yaddo is their legacy, left to future generations of writers, composers, painters, and artists as a place for uninterrupted work. 

BigCi, Australia

On the edge of one of the largest wilderness areas in Australia, BigCIi provides time and space to be alone and is particularly suited to projects that explore environmental or ecological issues. 

Schloss Bröllin, Germany

Originally an 11th century farm with a manor, the residence programme gives ensembles and performance groups the possibility of a short and concentrated time for production, offering space to rehearse, experiment, train, and relax in a creative atmosphere. 

Casa del’Arte, Turkey

‘The Department’ runs a residency programme in Bodrum outside of the normal tourist season. Each year it hosts young visual artists from the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.

Culture House Babayan, Turkey

Babayan is situated in the authentic and historical village of Ibrahimpasa. This residency, located its cave apartments, offers a special opportunity for artists of all nationalities and all disciplines.

Bolu Residency, Turkey

A two-week residency organised by AmongOtherThings brought together emerging artists from various cultures and provided a well-stocked working space and time to interact, with a concluding exhibition in Istanbul. 

The Intermittent/Nomadic Residency

Residencies need not necessarily be perpetual programmes hosting one group of artists after another. Residencies can also be offered once a year, seasonally, or tied to a specific festival or event. They can also be completely one-off experiences that happen only one time in a particular place. 

Dragon Dance Theatre, Germany

This one-month summer residency focuses on collective creation and getting the theatre out of the institution. The participants spend the month creating masks, props, and costumes for the play, as well as the music, the dramaturgy and all other aspects of a theatre performance.

Artifariti, Algeria

Promoting intercultural relationships and the trading of skills between local and international artists, the programme flies the invited artists to Tinduf, where they are hosted in a family home inside a refugee camp. From there, they will travel ten hours to Tifariti where they will have food, a bedroom and studio in which to pursue their projects. 

Plato Sanat Residency, Turkey

The annual Plato Sanat Residence Program is thematic. Its first residency project will deal with urban regeneration projects in Istanbul, and specifically in Balat, which is the historical area that Plato Sanat is located in.

TRIBE Residency Network

Focused on Transitory Art, this residency offers production and research periods to take place in Ljubljana, Prague, Istanbul, Nicosia, or other locations. The residents travel to one city for one month, and to two other cities for two weeks each. 

Moving Museum, UAE, Turkey, UK

The Moving Museum is a nomadic programme of contemporary art exhibitions, which in Istanbul included an accompanying residency.  

I:O residency, Ukraine, Turkey

This is an annual residency programme focusing on the Black Sea Region and its centuries old history of communications, diversity and exchange, with the first edition taking place in Koktebel, Ukraine and its second in Bahçecik, Turkey. 

Amongst Neighbors, Germany, Turkey

An exchange project organised between artists of Turkey and Germany. Eighteen artists living in Cihangir, Istanbul, were hosted by artists living in Mitte in Berlin, and vice versa, with a concluding exhibition. 


A one-off residency for an Italian artist in Istanbul funded by the Embassy of Italy in Turkey

Funded and Sent, but not hosted

As is often the case in Istanbul, arts councils and other funding bodies have the budgets and desire to send artists for a residency in a particular place, but for one reason or another there are no programmes or organisations willing to host them. Not to be deterred, the funders rent an apartment and send their chosen artists to live and work there. Sometimes there will be a local person to facilitate their work period, but not always.   

Kulturakademie Tarabya

Kunststiftung NRW, Künstlerresidenz Istanbul

Kunst und Kultur Stipendium der Stadt Köln 

Berliner Senat, Kulturaustauschstipendium des Landes Berlin

Stipendium der Stadt Zürich, Auslandsatelier Istanbul

Auslandsatelierprogramm des österreichischen Bundeskanzleramts

Stipendium des Brandenburgischen Verbands Bildender Künstlerinnen und Künstler e.V.

Stipendium der Burg Giebichenstein Kunsthochschule Halle

Auslandsstipendium der Hessischen Kulturstiftung

DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service)

Danish Arts Council (in collaboration with SALT)

Online Sources to Follow



Residency Unlimited


Lab for Culture

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© Julie Upmeyer 2016