Art in residency: experiences and impacts

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Since 2019, ARTENSO has been conducting a research component, with partners, devoted to artist residencies in living environments (for example, in the college, in companies, in cultural and community establishments). The centre is interested in artist residencies conceived as spaces of cultural mediation to increase interactions between artists and communities. The component is intended to foster reflection on this field of cultural action and contribute to the promotion of good practices.


Since the 1990s, interest in artist and author residencies has grown, both in Québec and in the rest of the Western world. This interest may be explained by the geographic decentralization of cultural activity (Dissez, 2004), the influence of cultural diplomacy (Lafortune and Blachier, 2018), and the diversification of forms of support for creation (Liot and Lamy, 2002). A residency seems to be a key step in building an art career and acts as a form of recognition, or even distinction, in the field of art (Bisenius-Penin, 2015).

Research on residencies reveals a wide diversity of disciplines, hosting structures, and formats: short or long term; research, production, or dissemination residencies; online residencies; those dedicated to a specific territory; and so on (Goyer-Ouimette, 2010; Leclerc-Parker, 2016). Finally, the ways in which the artist is linked to the hosting structure, the public, and other guest artists also contribute to forming this diversified portrait (Chaudoir, 2005). Analysis of cultural, social, political, and aesthetic dimensions of artist residencies, due to the potential complexity of situations, seems crucial for artists, partners, and the research field.

Through three major studies, ARTENSO seeks to grasp how residencies are experienced and the effects they produce. What do the different actors involved look for? How can the quality of experiences and their outreach to cultural networks and in communities be evaluated? This work thus contributes to the development of cross-disciplinary knowledge of these mechanisms and better comprehension of their meaning in the current field of cultural action.

ARTENSO is a Centre collégial de transfert en pratiques sociales novatrices (College centre for transfer of innovative social practices) affiliated with Cégep de Saint-Laurent in Montréal. Its mission is to promote the general interests and specific issues related to research and innovation in art and social engagement in the field of cultural mediation.

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