A Snapshot of European Funding, Topics and Trends


A Snapshot of European Funding, Topics and Trends
[Trends] Residencies in the performing arts sector

One of the most popular sessions at the IETM Asia Satellite Meeting in Melbourne (12 May 2014) discussed artist residency programmes for the performing arts sector. Thanks to the fact that some of the key speakers did represent arts residency platforms from Europe, Asia and Australia1), the session also successfully integrated a mixed audience of artists and professionals from these world regions. The discussion went beyond the common belief that residencies are mostly designed for artists and cultural professionals originating from the visual arts sector. 

This article aims to highlight some common resources and tips on how to identify Artist in Residency programmes, with a focus on Europe, and how to interpret residencies in a different way, while still connecting it to the performing arts’ sector.

Research, production / writing, collaboration (either with regular collaborators or new ones), rehearsal, presentation as a way to engage with new audience can be among the reasons that motivate performing artists and cultural professionals to look for a residency programme. 

Whether they are focused on the creative process, a set topic, an anticipated end result, or they seek to engage with local communities, there are definitely more residencies available to artists and cultural professionals (including curators, researchers, critics, etc.) in the field of visual arts.

A sample taken from the international artists residency platform DutchCulture | TransArtists, using its search function by ‘theme’, confirms that out of an approximate 1,555 residencies listed, 580 are directly related to the visual arts sector, compared with 280 for performing arts. This includes 185 residencies in Europe2) with the top five listed countries being Spain, Germany, Italy, Belgium and France. 

1) DutchCulture/TransArtists, RES ARTIS, AsiaLink-Arts, China Residencies, J-Air Japan, Bamboo Curtain Studios and Dance Box/ON-PAM.
2) Including in Armenia, Iceland, Turkey and Russia.

더screenshot of the word cloud / search by theme under the newly revamped website of DutchCulture / TransArtists

screenshot of the word cloud / search by theme under the newly revamped website of DutchCulture / TransArtists

 Similar consultation with RES ARTIS, the worldwide network of artist residency organisations, confirms a listing of 260 residencies3)  taking place across the world that make a direct connection with the performing arts sector. There are 414 catering for the visual arts.     

  The RES ARTIS and Dutch Culture | TransArtists’ search engines allow for a more refined search through sub-categories including theatre, dance and street arts. You can also shortlist regional platforms and country-specific residencies from Spain, Germany Italy, The Netherlands, etc. 

Focusing on the performing arts through the spectrum of funding and information access...

The recent Fund-Finder, a Guide to funding opportunities for arts and culture in Europe, beyond Creative Europe, commissioned by IETM, the International Network for the Contemporary Performing Arts, and developed by On the Move, lists 18 residencies and scholarships in Europe for the performing arts. All of the listed residencies offer at least partial financial support (including contributions towards travel costs of the selected participants) for European and/or international artists and cultural professionals. 

The following key remarks can be made from this snapshot impression:
- Dance is one of the most frequently supported sectors, with residencies including the NRW Kultur, TanzLabor_21 and K3 | Tanzplan Hamburg in Germany, Tipperary Dance Residency in Ireland, Dansearena nord in Norway and the Dance Ignition Lab in Sweden. The formats of these residencies differ, including elements of creation, research, and some with a strong connection to the local environment or local communities. It is interesting to see that Dance Ignition Lab, for instance, highlights the need for research and experimentation in the development of a new model of research residency that aims to “stimulate discussion, debate, and to identify new ways of working across multiple disciplines and cultural contexts”; 

- Theatre and multi-disciplinary art residencies include the famous Akademie Schloss Solitude in Germany, the Eskus Artist-in-Residence Programme in Finland and the Arts Printing House in Lithuania, which also opens its doors to cultural managers, festival programmers and street and circus arts; 

- Street art and contemporary circus, beyond differences between countries in Europe, receive support through different residency strands. These alternative art forms have been the subject of various studies and reports, most prominently those produced in 2010 and 2012 by Circostrada (the European network for street art) across Belgium, France and the United Kingdom4)

3)Click your field of interest on the right side of the web-page under « Search residency » and then  « Facilities / support ».  
4)See in the mappings’ page by DutchCulture / TransArtists. http://www.transartists.org/publications/mappingsThe researches for France and Belgium are in French only but some of the listed organisations may have information in English on their website. 

arts printing house in Lithuania ⒸArts Printing Hous

arts printing house in Lithuania ⒸArts Printing Hous

Arts Printing house in Lithuania ⒸArts Printing House

… And expanding a view to cross-sector capacity building

As noted on page 24 of the very resourceful EU handbook on artists’ residencies, « Artists’ residencies may host artists working with a diverse range of media, in different disciplines and fields of the arts. Both artists and the residency hosts tend to explore more often the possibilities to collaborate with partners across other sectors outside the arts world ». 

Screening alternative Artist in Residency programmes related to multi-disciplinary arts, we identified an increasingly prominent connection to new media, new technologies, and most extensively, to science and research. Exciting opportunities to work with new sectors, include the Collide@CERN residency in Switzerland, Pact Zollverein in Germany and the Impakt International Residency Programme in the Netherlands. Some initiatives at the European level, like the stARTS platform, or new EU-funded projects and networks, like the European Network for Contemporary Audiovisual Creation, tend to confirm this trend.  In furthering cooperation projects with the scientific and research world, expeditions such as the UK/Canadian foundation Cape Farewell allow artists to work in a close relationship with scientists and researches on issues related to climate change. 

Environmental challenges and climate change can be a significant focus of residency programmes. The recently published GALA funding guide, supported by the EU-funded project Green Art Lab Alliance, lists sources of support for projects relating to environmental sustainability, including some residency programmes with full or partial funding contributions5). As far as the performing arts sector is concerned, climate change is a focus of residencies, including MAAJAAM in Estonia, Danse et Territoires by Association Format in France and the Cambridge Sustainability Residency in United Kingdom, which is focused on social choreography and arts practice. 

Artist in Residency programmes often connect their activity to the professional development of artists and cultural professionals, providing support for participants to develop and strengthen their own careers, often at an international level. This is often connected to soft skills, such as nurturing partnerships with other sectors. Inspiring models and residency programmes include the Unpack the Arts Programme, a EU-funded project which offered writing residencies for cultural journalists in Europe interested in contemporary circus and physical theatre. These residencies specifically aimed to share and expand knowledge of the field to concerned journalists and critics, in hope that this would subsequently have the effect of providing more understanding and recognition of the sector. 

Residencies which focus on young and promising artists at the start of their careers include for instance the Pépinières Européennes pour Jeunes Artistes in France that offers young creators a wide range of European and international residencies through its MAP programme, supplemented with professionalisation tools and cooperation opportunities.

5) See in particular the pages 27-31.


Pépinières européennes pour jeunes artistes ©(La) Horde

Pépinières européennes pour jeunes artistes ©(La) Horde

Pépinières européennes pour jeunes artistes ©(La) Horde

Residencies that relate directly to the performing arts sector in Europe do not exist in a vacuum. This article begins to outline the connections artistic residencies are making with other sectors and broader themes, in an attempt to adapt and extend their relevancy beyond the usual perception of what can be residency programmes. In the same vein, it is relevant to identify a shift in attitude by artists and cultural professionals working more openly to connect to other sectors outside of their own. 

As the EU handbook on artists’ residencies recalls, it is often challenging to categorise residencies and related funding support and mechanisms. With such a diverse range of themes and formats, no two residencies are the same, often embracing experimentation and cross-sector working in other fields, such as the sciences, research, environmental issues, social engagement, site-specific work etc. However, this is a good piece of news for the sector: the opportunities for artists and cultural professionals – from curators to managers, critics to journalists – could not be greater, given the wider selection of residencies looking to connect. 

More than ever it seems necessary to delve into information related to residencies, be that their overall approach or their specific missions, to find which best fits your artistic needs and aspirations. The floor is yours through the resources provided in this article! 

The author wishes to thank for her inputs: Marie Fol, Manager, DutchCulture / TransArtists, and for editing support, Hannah Van Den Bergh.

Ⓒ Marie Le Sourd


Marie Le Sourd_Secretary General, 《On the Move》
Marie Le Sourd_Secretary General, 《On the Move》

Marie Le Sourd_Secretary General,On the Move