An online symposium on affecting change through Artist-in-Residencies

Online symposium, on December 8, 10, 2020 & January 14, 2021

With Anika Mariam Ahmed, Clare Butcher, Larose S. Larose, G, Sekai Makoni, Harriet Rose Morley, and more.

More info and links to the online programme will follow in the coming weeks –

December 8, 10, 2020 & January 14, 2021
As 2020, a year of political and social turmoil draws to an end, we look inwards at our own role as artist-in-residencies. AiRs offer time and space for research and development and present new and fresh visual art projects to a local and (inter)national audience. AiRs are places where hospitality, reciprocity and inclusiveness form intrinsic parts of the institution’s ways of working; between the artist and the host institution, as well as between the artist, local residents, and the public.

Residencies are strongly rooted in their local environments, where artists often directly engage with people and social issues from the locality of the residency. Following the social and political unrest and the drastically changed ways of life that face us all, as (small) institutions we must investigate our role in our local contexts and in society. How do we work towards reconfiguring our positions and practice –- in the midst of the corona crisis and global protests against inequality?

Hotel Maria Kapel (HMK), Kunsthuis SYB and AiR Platform NL kindly invite residencies, organisers, artists and their audiences for an online symposium spread over three days. The symposium offers lectures, workshops and panel discussions to explore common challenges and aims to strengthen the Dutch – and international – residency network and art community.

The symposium will explore:
– How can AiR programs as independent, contextualised spaces contribute structurally and sustainably to positive changes in their own sector and beyond?
– How can AiR work together in networks with fellow art institutions and partners such as local authorities, policymakers and funds?

The symposium takes place in 3 parts: An online AiR network meeting and a keynote lecture on December 8. A program of presentations and working sessions on December 10. And we’ll reflect during an online discussion on January 14. The outcomes of the program will be shared in an online publication.


December 8
15.00 – 17.00: ‘Keynote’ by Clare Butcher, with a Q&A

Clare Butcher is a curator and art educator, originally from Zimbabwe and then South Africa, and currently based in Toronto. She initiated and ran the pilot Annex Residency Programme in collaboration with the South African National Gallery. She currently teaches Reading Writing and Research at the MA Education program of the Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam.

December 10
10.00 – 16.15. Presentations and hands-on work sessions

Morning programme: presentations
The morning presentation centres on feminist, anti-racist and radical perspectives on creating social change:

Sekai Makoni & G: ‘A Pair of Clogs and Two Brits’
– Sekai Makoni is a writer, activist and podcast maker. She was artist-in-residence at Hotel Maria Kapel in 2019, where she researched black womanhood and rest as a response to the pressures on black practitioners in the art world. In her presentation she discusses in conversation with G, artist currently in residency at the Rijksakademie, the political aspect of residencies, being a black woman and the phenomenon of taking a rest in response to her experiences as an HMK resident.

Afternoon programme: Work sessions (sign up needed)

In the afternoon we disperse into work sessions that tackle specific issues. The work sessions explore tactics and share experiences on shaping (caring) spaces, entering into intercultural dialogue, radicalism, and institutionalising care.

Anika Mariam Ahmed: ‘Intercultural Dialogue’
– The artistic space offers room for different positions and perspectives. But within an art institution, there are also stories and contexts that we can overlook, ignore or take for granted. This workshop investigates the relevance of different contexts for an artistic practice. Which sources and stories are relevant when making your work and how much do you want to share with an audience? What are our own blind spots in our ideas about art history and stories?

Pauline Burmann: ‘Hosting Translocality’
– Residencies often contribute to a local scene in unexpected ways: in programmes in which local history, identity and current issues are the subjects of research, through exchanges between artists, local residents and other experts. At the same time, they relate to an (inter)national art discourse. What are the different ways — and conditions — for generating these specific localities, in the short and long term?

With artistic contributions by larose larose and Harriet Rose Morley

About the initiators

This symposium is an initiative of artist-in-residencies Hotel Maria Kapel and Kunsthuis SYB in collaboration with TransArtists – AiR Platform NL, and stems from discussions between these institutions about their need to redefine their position in relation to art, artists and an (institutionalized) art world, partly in response to the current pandemic and the powerful Black Lives Matters protests in the spring of 2020.

Hotel Maria Kapel (HMK) is an artist-in-residence and exhibition space for contemporary visual arts in the city centre of Hoorn. HMK aims to support early practice artists in the production of new work and to promote exchanges between national and international artists, cultural institutions and the public. HMK’s current annual program Slow Burn investigates the concept of care. In the past decade HMK – like most other art institutions in the Netherlands – has experienced a blend of funding cuts and increased pressure on institutional performance and organizational efficiency which, in turn, has resulted in overproduction and heightened anxiety in the cultural field. HMK now asks: How can we build institutions of care within a capitalist society with which we are all complicit? 

Kunsthuis SYB is a residency in Beetsterzwaag, in Friesland. At Kunsthuis SYB, contemporary artists and curators are offered a workplace in the lee of the (art) world. Residents are selected on the basis of a project proposal and invited to work and stay at Kunsthuis SYB for six weeks. Artists are invited to develop their work through focused research, experiments and new collaborations. This year Kunsthuis SYB celebrates its 20th anniversary: an opportunity to reflect on this place where many artists have already thought about the role of art in society, about ecological issues and post-colonialist issues. For SYB, this event is therefore also a look ahead: how do we proceed, in commonality and freedom, in a way that contributes to the sustainable development of artists and institutions?

AiR Platform NL organizes, together with the AiR organizations and their partners, meetings and programs for mutual exchange of knowledge and experience. Building on the outcomes of previous meetings, research and symposia such as ‘Working on the margins’ in 2018 in cooperation with Kunstloc in Tilburg, TransArtists’ AiR Platform NL works together with HMK and Kunsthuis SYB to investigate the key question of this symposium together with the guest speakers, the AiR organizations, funds and policymakers in the Netherlands. 

The symposium is kindly supported by the Pictoright Fonds.