symposium

Rethinking Residencies Symposium
Three days of conversations, lectures, and videos on visual art residencies

December 8 to 10, 2021

Online, free with registration


The Rethinking Residencies Symposium invites artists, curators, scholars, and residency organizations worldwide to come together to address residency programs as critical sites of production within the field of visual arts. The symposium will consider existing scholarship and cultivate new thinking about the history, institutional structures, and conditions of visual art residencies.

Founded in 2014, Rethinking Residencies is the first network of New York-based artist and curator residency programs, and the symposium will be its most extensive event to date. The 16 member institutions of Rethinking Residencies generate knowledge and resources, anchored together in cooperation and collaboration.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2021, 3:00–4:30 PM (ET)
Welcome remarks and Introduction to Rethinking Residencies
Kari Conte

Keynote Conversation: Mierle Laderman Ukeles and Tania Candiani, moderated by Christina Daniels
This conversation between artists Mierle Laderman Ukeles and Tania Candiani will reflect on both artists’ respective residency experiences. Since 1977, Ukeles has been the official, unsalaried artist-in-residence at New York City’s Department of Sanitation. Candiani has participated in numerous residency programs throughout North America, Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Europe.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2021, 2:00–3:00 PM (ET)
The History of Artist Residencies by Irmeli Kokko
The term artist-in-residence appeared in the early twentieth century as a temporary position within academies. Artist-led communities such as Black Mountain College prefigured many norms of today’s residencies. However, Irmeli Kokko writes that artist residencies as stand-alone institutions emerged only in the 1990s, and since then, have quickly grown to become one of the most critical and widespread support institutions for contemporary artists. While the term is ubiquitous today, little awareness of the historical currents or divergent practices brought us to today’s status quo. Kokko has written one of the most comprehensive histories on the subject in a dissertation that shaped what is perhaps the most comprehensive publication on residencies to date, 2019’s Contemporary Artist Residencies: Reclaiming Time and Space, published by Valiz. Kokko will address how residencies came about and the complex programs they currently offer so that by understanding where we came from, we can better understand where to go in the future.

The Environment and Residencies, video proposition
Eileen Jeng Lynch and Gabriel de Guzman

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2021, 2:30–5:00 PM (ET)
Representation, Accountability and Solidarity in Institutions and the Artists they Serve, with M. Carmen Lane, Laila Hida and Francesca Masoero, and Emily Pethick, moderated by Stephanye Watts
As residency programs grapple with complex geopolitical and affective realities, how do the values of their residents and the institutions’ locations inform their practices? Residency programs are impacted by the personal, social, and global circumstances of the artists they serve. Determining which of these issues deserve or demand an organizational response and how to transform topics that could be divisive into conditions for support is the responsibility of an effective organization. How do the roles of host and guest play into these dynamics most productively? This panel will also address questions such as: What lessons can organizations draw from social and political movements to better support artists? How do institutions create the most conducive environments for artists to explore complex ideas and practices?

Curatorial Residencies, video proposition
Susan Hapgood

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2021, 2:00–3:30 PM (ET)
New Models for Communing: Residency Programming and Strategies, with Robin Everett and Sanna Ritvanen, Catherine Lee, and Sally Mizrachi, moderated by Nicholas Weist
Residencies are increasingly looking outwards and developing new programmatic and structural models centered on community engagement, local embeddedness, ecology, and civic partnerships. How has the pandemic reoriented residencies towards their local communities? Can online residencies still be situated within their host communities? How have new digital realities impacted ideas of community? Presentations by residency directors will be followed by a conversation.

Residency Decolonization, video proposition
Lizania Cruz

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2021, 5:00–6:30 PM (ET)
Structures of Support for the Whole Artist with Eve Biddle, Jamie Blosser and Howardena Pindell, moderated by Dylan Gauthier
How can residencies support intersectional artists’ identities, needs, and expectations, beyond their professional practices? From parent artists to artists of color to disabled artists and more, how can residencies be more accessible to the “whole artist”? This panel will be a conversation between artists and residencies.

The Future of Residencies, video proposition
Christina Daniels


Rethinking Residencies members include: Abrons Art Center, Eyebeam, Fire Island Artist Residency, Flux Factory, International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP), Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC), Queens Museum, Pioneer Works, Recess, Shandaken Projects, EFA Project Space’s SHIFT Residency, Triangle, Wave Farm, Wave Hill and W.O.W. Project. The Rethinking Residencies Symposium is organized in partnership with the Vera List Center For Art and Politics at The New School and is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. The Rethinking Residencies Symposium will result in a digital publication that will launch in Spring 2022. Recorded videos of the symposium will also be permanently available online in January 2022.