25 SEPTEMBER 2020
A New Chapter for Res Artis: Worldwide Network of Arts Residencies
Dear Members and Community,
It’s hard to believe we were sitting in the Kyoto Arts Centre last February for our 2019 Res Artis conference. We were discussing the way arts residency models are shaped by external factors like climate change, technology and humanitarian crises, with no warning of the global challenge looming on our horizon.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, turning our worlds upside down.
As the peak organisation for arts residencies world-wide Res Artis saw the immediate and devastating impact to our sector. We have responded by providing information and guidance and working hard to bring you up-to-date information via:
- the new COVID-19 section on our website
- thematic panel discussions online
- initiating a global survey examining the impact of COVID-19 on international arts residencies in partnership with University College London, and you can read the published phase 1 analytical report here
Res Artis is working with like-minded sector advocacy organisations to ensure that the situation and importance of arts residencies and artist mobility does not get sidelined.
The impact of the pandemic is clear, and we would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the Res Artis member residencies that have been lost as a result of this pandemic.
As an organisation whose work is funded by membership income, Res Artis has also needed to make difficult decisions that safeguard the sustainability of our future including reducing our overheads and consolidating our office operations in Melbourne, Australia, where we’ve been operating for the past 4 years.
In the coming months, Res Artis will officially move its governance and operations from the Netherlands to Australia. This decision has meant saying goodbye to our office in Amsterdam and, unfortunately, to our staff there too.
Many of our members will have liaised with Res Artis Communications and Operations Manager Birte Gehm remotely or met her in-person at our conferences over the years. Birte has been an integral part of Res Artis’ success and will be missed by our staff, Board and membership community as she finishes her employment with us at the end of the month. Birte would like to say a personal goodbye to our network which you can read here.
While a behind the scenes restructure of Res Artis has been necessary, the important work we undertake on behalf of the sector, our global perspective, and our Values, Mission and Vision remain the same.
Despite a drop in membership numbers we continue to support over 550 member organisations in 75 countries worldwide. As we look to the future, there is much to do. We embrace that challenge and opportunity with the strength of our collective diversity and expertise. We are a truly global organisation, with engaged and dedicated Members and Board Members all over the world.
We often talk about residencies within a changing world. The speed of change unleashed by this pandemic is exceptional, however the resilience and adaptability of the residencies sector can more than meet this challenge. From change and adversity comes opportunity.
Already many artists in residence and arts residency centres are learning to adapt to our new environment through digital programming or by providing stay at home or studio residencies, and we have also seen a return to and rise in local, national and regional exchange. Some of your new business models and practices are innovatively and creatively shaping a new future, and we continue to learn from each other.
We would like to thank our Australian benefactors Michael Schwarz and David Clouston for their generosity in supporting the Melbourne office, now our new HQ and home base of Res Artis Executive Director, Eliza Roberts and Membership Manager, Carolin Casey. Our thanks also go to the Rijksakademie for 17 fruitful years of collaboration and friendship in the Netherlands.
To you, the 574 members who have been able to stay with our 27 year old network thus far – thank you for your support. We continue to operate as your essential resource during this time and look forward to sharing positive news about our restructure activities in the coming weeks.
Res Artis Staff and Board
15 May 2020
Best-practice approaches regarding residency cancellations during COVID-19
As the peak member organisation for the international arts residencies field, Res Artis aims to represent diverse best practices and different perspectives. Our membership includes arts residency operators, researchers, curators, artists and international arts councils, ministries and funders. Their paid annual membership fees enable the distribution of free and publicly accessible quality residency information for artists.
With 780 members across 80 countries Res Artis membership represents an overview of a complex ecosystem. We acknowledge that arts residencies operate in countries and regions with different socio-economic contexts and that some have little or no funding support available to them. Like artists or any other cultural practitioner, residency operators must cover operational costs, and when required, artist residency fees are determined by individual providers according to their residency’s context and individual financial circumstances. As such, within our membership we have a range of residency types – from large institutions who are government funded and able to support all residency costs for artists including artist stipends, to small, grass-roots, artist-led independent residencies who charge a fee for residency costs such as accommodation, meals, programming, outcomes and support. Res Artis members are required to provide a clear breakdown in their website profile to indicate whether they are offering paid or fully/partially funded residency opportunities.
In line with increased artist mobility and demand, the field of arts residencies has exploded over the last decade. External factors such as humanitarian crises, climate change, and technological advances have contributed to shaping new residency models. In this sense COVID-19 is no exception, and we anticipate a surge in local exchange, virtual residencies and digital residency activity. While the pandemic has had global impact on health, mobility and economies, each country is reacting to these challenges independently and with differing restrictions, laws and financial regulations.
Res Artis embraces the unique diversity of the arts residencies landscape. Res Artis members, board and staff adhere to our shared set of Values, namely: Professionalism, Diversity, Transparency and Sustainability: https://resartis.org/global-network-arts-residency-centres/vision-mission-values/
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Res Artis calls on all sector stakeholders to use these Values to underpin their actions. The situation is unprecedented, and there is so much uncertainty from all sides. Artists are navigating cancelled residencies and adapting their practices so that residency outcomes can continue while physical exchange cannot. Arts residencies are negotiating the return of artist fees, pause in local and international community partnerships and the evolution of their programming so that stay at home, studio-based and virtual residencies can occur. Funders and arts councils are scrambling to find emergency funding and incentives to support artistic and cultural activity across the globe.
While arts residencies contracts are private between artists in residence and residency providers, Res Artis urges the following best-practice advice be followed by both artists and arts residencies in relation to cancelled residencies:
- Read the artist agreement signed on acceptance of the residency by both parties. Is the fee breakdown clearly outlined? Does it specify terms and conditions that enable a credit note or refund due to cancellation? Is the full amount refundable or does it include a non-refundable component? Does the contract address force majeure?
- Discuss the matter directly with each other, in writing, in a courteous and professional manner.
- Understand that compromises likely need to be made by all during COVID-19. Are you able to negotiate a full or partial refund? Can an official credit note be created with the intention of taking up the residency at a later date? Res Artis recommends credit notes are issued in document form for at least an 18 month period.
- Complete the Res Artis survey open to both artists and arts organisations to help us analyse the impact of COVID-19 on the arts residencies field with concrete data: https://resartis.org/covid-19-updates/covid-19-survey/
- If the residency is one of our members and you have attempted to resolve the matter amicably and in good faith directly, arts residencies can contact Res Artis at email@example.com for advice. Artists can submit a complaint for Res Artis to investigate using this online form, provided that the above steps have been taken and a reasonable resolution has not been reached: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf4xWX4B7T-wo7nt-z0f2s5n9kt3YfIUO8MwROhjV07Emy3Fw/viewform
These matters can be complex. The role of Res Artis at this point is to use our best-practice knowledge of the field to suggest a path to resolution. It may take some time to triangulate the information and ascertain an outcome. We do not have the authority or resources to investigate the financial or legal implications of complaints, or deal with he said/she said matters. As a vetted network, what we do is assess whether the member breached our shared set of Values they agree to adhere to: https://resartis.org/global-network-arts-residency-centres/vision-mission-values/
If they have not breached these Values, they may remain a member. If they have, it may be grounds for removal of membership.
- What is stated in the residency contract? This is the basis for all conversation.
- Arts residency contracts usually operate according to the local laws and financial protocols of the residency organisation, not the artist’s home country, unless otherwise specified.
- COVID-19 is a time of learning and patience for everyone. Laws and financial protocols are being adjusted daily in order to respond. Do your research, stay up to date and be patient.
- Like any business, arts residencies may not have the means to return artist fees or cancelled residency expenses in the case of insolvency or bankruptcy.
- Are you able to access pro-bono legal assistance in your country?
- Are you able to access emergency funding or government incentives in your region to recoup lost residency expenses?
- Does either party have relevant insurances that can contribute towards cancelled residency expenses?
Most importantly, let’s not forget that while the economic impact of COVID-19 on the arts residencies field has been devastating, an extraordinary global health crisis continues. Our thoughts remain with our members, arts residencies, artists and international arts communities who have been personally affected by the pandemic. Stay safe.
27 March 2020
The impact of COVID-19 on Res Artis, our members, and the international arts residences field
Dear Res Artis community,
How are you?
We are now living in unprecedented and uncertain times. Like all our network members, Res Artis and the entire arts residencies field is being greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. By our very nature of facilitating quality international and national arts and cultural exchange, the field of arts residencies is one of the hardest hit. Necessary travel bans and physical distancing regulations have already resulted in the closure of arts and cultural organisations, dwindling of hard-earned self-generated income and the disappearance of arts residencies and outcomes. The ramifications of COVID-19 will be felt by arts residencies and artists for months and possibly years to come.
But Res Artis is not just a network, we are family, and Res Artis stands in solidarity with our members and all those affected by this pandemic. There is strength in numbers, and our 750+ members across 85 countries are a collective community that is here for one another. We are also a global powerhouse of knowledge, skills and expertise. While physical distancing is necessary, we urge all members and subscribers to connect with the Res Artis board, staff and each other through our social media platforms. Links are included below:
Res Artis Facebook
At Res Artis we are working around the clock with stakeholders and key partners to adjust to these challenging times and ensure the sustainability of the arts residencies sector. While physical residencies can’t take place right now, there is no better time to connect, learn from each other, and increase our capacity as a global think-tank. The Res Artis team are curating a suite of digital learning initiatives for our members in order to increase connection and productivity. Stay tuned for more details to be announced in our next newsletter to be sent out next week…
In the meantime, our friends at On The Move and Circostrada have collated a comprehensive list of general advice, health and safety information, statements by networks, and online surveys by arts and cultural organisations that examine the impact of COVID-19. We encourage everyone to access this information and have your say.
Every country and region is different, but many governments are putting in place emergency funding and stimulus packages for small business and not-for-profits impacted by COVID-19. I encourage all members and subscribers to explore funding options in your location.
Despite the uncertainty and devastation, there is hope. The world watched as the epicenter of the pandemic, China, navigated through the pandemic. It is not over yet, but our colleagues at China Residencies share their tips and insights through this valuable blog.
Arts residencies are literally life-changing experiences – not only for artists, but for anyone who encounters them. Arts residencies reflect the world around us, they engage diverse communities more so than any other arts sector, they bridge intercultural understanding and peace-keeping. When the COVID-19 pandemic is over, arts residencies will play a critical role in the re-emergence of national and international exchange. Arts residencies are our future.
Res Artis Staff and Board