Artist Residences Research Project Update

By Morag Iles on 11.03.20

I have been working with The Work Room, Cove Park and Bothy Project on this collaborative research project since late 2017. I last wrote a blog post in February 2018 and a lot has happened in between.

Provisionally titled, ‘Analysing Artist Residencies in Scotland: What impact do artist residencies have on individuals’ artistic practice?’ This project seeks to investigate how artists articulate the impact of artist residencies on their practice, exploring how the impact of a residency may evolve, develop and change through time. The research will also explore artist’s motivations for taking part in residencies, which aims to highlight the role residencies play in the sector as well as what is valued in the specificity of different residency opportunities.   

In the short term the project aims support the three project partners to better understand their role in artistic practice and how they sit within the sector. In the longer term it aims to inform policy around artist development, drawing attention to artist’s needs from the artist perspective.

Last year (February 2019) I was given the opportunity to attend Res Artis’ annual conference in Kyoto, Japan. Hosted at Kyoto Arts Centre the conference addressed the the evolution of artist residency models, comparing the traditional with new residency typologies, including start-up and virtual residency spaces, such as those hosted by Akademie Schloss Solitude and ZKM. It was a brilliant opportunity to meet organisations and individuals, and since, I have been invited to Helsinki (June 2020) to attend a meeting of researchers and academics studying the artist residency field.

I am really excited to present and profile this project in an international context. The meeting will provide an opportunity to interrogate changes in the field globally, including mobility issues, political and social disruptions and ecological impacts. In collaboration with others attending the meeting I will explore how these shifting dynamics are shaping contemporary residency opportunities and importantly, how this is impacting on artists.

Simultaneously, I will be collecting data on artists experiences of residencies. This will involve speaking to individuals, like yourselves, who have taken part in residencies at Bothy Project, Cove Park or The Work Room. This data will be included in my final PhD thesis as well as feed into international conversations around artist development, addressing the value and challenges from the artists perspective.

We will be contacting Work Room members who have taken part in residencies between July 2017 – July 2019. However, for those who have taken part in residencies outside this time frame and are interested in engaging with the research further please get in touch with Sara or I.

I had hoped to deliver this update in person at February’s annual general meeting but unfortunately Storm Ciara had other ideas!

I am really looking forward to meeting more of you and hearing your experiences.  

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