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

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

Developing critical perspectives on the Great Contemporary Art Residency Complex


17.00 – 19.00 Mondays and Wednesdays throughout August 2019
Session 2


In today’s contemporary art news and conversations, the word “residency” is hard to escape – but the range of activities and institutions to which it is applied differ so widely that, at times, it’s difficult to see what they have in common. On top of this, art criticism’s engagement with the label and the diverse practices to which it’s applied seems scanty. It’s easy to find institutional critiques looking in detail at the fair, the gallery, the market, the auction, the museum, the art school and so on, but despite the near-omnipresence of the residency, it rarely features.

In this area, the fields of international relations, policy studies and the social sciences seem to offer richer resources – but their accounts offer only part of the story. What might we learn if we applied a wider range of perspectives to the riddle of this widespread art-world phenomenon that seems so strangely incoherent and invisible? What might we learn by subjecting ‘the artist’s residency’ to art historical, art critical or mythological forms of analysis?

Art critic Rachel Withers, convener of PRAKSIS’s fourteenth residency, seeks participants for a series of informal presentations and discussions focused on this situation. In the course of eight meetings, we’ll seek to map the uses of the term, to investigate and evaluate existing commentaries, and to start adding in new approaches.

We will ask some foundational questions. Who are residencies really for? What do they tell us about perceptions of, and lived realities for, contemporary artists: their needs, abilities, creative processes, social, cultural and symbolic roles? What deficits do they point to in the day-to-day lives of artists, and others? By placing theories and practices of artists’ residencies on a wider map of ideas, 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.

The seminar will run on Monday and Wednesday evenings through August 2019. The two-hour meetings will be structured flexibly and responsively, featuring materials and ideas provided by Rachel Withers, while making space for participants to introduce their own material, arguments and agendas. Refreshments will be provided. Participants are welcome to attend as many or as few sessions as they prefer. Preparation is optional: come, contribute, learn and share ideas.  

To express interest in participating please email Further details of the seminar schedule will be made available in July, along with information about supporting reading and resources.

This seminar series is part of PRAKSIS’s fourteenth residency Now that’s what I call an artist’s residency! The residency invited ambitious projects to be developed in Oslo and has been conceived to support both the residents in their pursuits, and Rachel Withers’ investigation into the artist residency phenomena.

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