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Seminar 1 // Resident Good, Resident Evil, Resident Confusion?

Seminar Series // Resident Good, Resident Evil, Resident Confusion?

Developing critical perspectives on the Great Contemporary Art Residency Complex


Seminar 1: When is a residency not a residency (and does it matter)?

Today, the word ‘residency’ is applied to a diverse range of relationships involving artists and institutions. In this introductory meeting, Rachel Withers will present a wide range of examples. Along with facts and stats, she will start to probe some of the thinking about artists and creativity that inform the theory and practice of different residencies.

She will also test the proposition that the artist’s residency sector is powerful but invisible, in the sense that it is overlooked in mainstream art-institutional narratives: while it is easy to find institutional critique dealing with the gallery, the fair, the museum, the market, the auction, the art school, the art prize, and so on, the residency (despite its widespread presence) receives much less attention. If this is true, why is it the case?

Participants will be invited to review, remodel, interpret and critique the data, in all its splendid inconsistency – and to share their own views and experiences.

In this meeting, we’ll also discuss research methods for understanding more about residencies. This subject invites both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Comments, reflections and critique are invited.

This seminar series is part of PRAKSIS’s fourteenth residency Now that’s what I call an artist’s residency!. It sets out to anatomise the diverse range of phenomena that come under the title, “artist’s residency”. It proposes that, by asking questions about artist’s residencies, we can expose and probe many of the foundational questions, problems and contradictions that both bedevil and enable present-day artmaking.  

We will almost certainly not arrive at definitive answers to the issues we encounter. However, by placing the theories and practices of artists’ residencies on the bigger, global contemporary art map, we can potentially make more informed decisions about where we wish to place ourselves, and our own practices, on that map – and devise strategies for getting there.

This seminar series is designed to be of interest to anyone presently working in, or thinking critically about, the institutions of contemporary art. Everyone is welcome and free discussion is warmly invited.


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