Escape and Engagement. Residencies as Hosts, Producers and Promoters

  • Poster_Nida Art Colony_place_logo
  • Res Artis Regional Meeting

    Vilnius Academy of Arts and Nida Art Colony (Lithuania)
    October 2-6, 2014

As a representative of the ‘Art and Cultural Studies Laboratory’ (ACSL) and its ‘Art Commune’ International Residency Program, Susanna Gyulamiryan was invited to participate in the international meeting ‘Escape and Engagement. Residencies as Hosts, Producers and Promoters’ organized by Nida Art Colony and Vilnius Academy of Arts (Lithuanian) in collaboration with Res Artis Worldwide network of Artists Residencies.Nida Art Colony and Vilnius Academy of Arts hosted over 94 people from 28 countries during 5 days of intensive meeting in Vilnius and Nida.

Residencies are among the few places left where artists can escape the pressures of the market, devote time to themselves, engage the other and sally forth for research and experiments that do not happen in their daily studio practice. Although the phenomenon of artistic residencies started more than one hundred and fifty years ago with an aim to escape the routine, the facet of escape is still one of the most important raison d`être for residencies. The location (remoteness and exoticism), travelling, and hospitality are therefore the focus of discussion on the present and the future of residencies. What does it mean nowadays to be physically and mentally remote? What are advantages and disadvantages of residencies located in naturally, politically or socially exotic places? How close are such residencies to cultural tourism hubs?

However, residencies are temporary escapes. After a while residents have to return home. What do they bring from a residency? Is it a completed work of art, a piece of writing to be published, or a sketch, an idea, an experience, a discovery, a failure? Do we have tools to measure the results? Can we call them artistic production? Is an exhibition, a performance, or a concert the expected outcome?

More so, residencies are no longer about artists alone. They increasingly engage in artistic, social, or political life. Which position does a contemporary residency take or strive for: that of an agent, an educator, a research center, a promoter, a facilitator of artistic research and processes, an art hotel, a social activist, a creative industries incubator, or a catalyst of contemporary art phenomena? Should residencies engage into or stay away from the fashionable cultural policy trends? There is more than one answer and the understanding of the role of residencies changes over time. This Res Artis meeting will encourage experienced and emerging residency operators to look for most relevant answers to the above questions and for a new meaning of the old phenomenon.


Main Topics

REMOTENESS–escape, exotic location, cultural tourism, hospitality.
RESIDENCIES’ ROLE–level of engagement in the resident’s life, in the local community, in the art world, in the education and (artistic) research community; reputation and influence, models and ethics of host-guest or curator-artist relationship, diversity of artistic production or residency results, evaluation of results.

Next to the above this Res Artis Regional Meeting will

  • Expose a rather unknown region–former Soviet Union–to its Nordic partners and participants from other parts of the world;
  • Provide learning opportunities for emerging residencies and discussion opportunities to experienced residency operators;
  • Offer more time to interactive exchange and less time to panel presentations.

Target groups

The meeting was open to Res Artis members and non-members, i.e. present and potential residency operators from:

  • Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania)
  • Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan)
  • Eastern partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine)
  • Nordic countries (Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden)
  • Russian Federation