Types of residency

There are many different types of residency. Choosing the most suitable residency for you depends on individual circumstances such as work and family commitments, facilities and accommodation offered as well as the environment you find most conducive to working.

To appreciate the range of residencies available, visit websites like resartis and re-title, and the listings on Artquest.

Before applying, consider whether you work better in a rural or urban environment. Are you most inspired by cities with social/cultural/historical attractions? Does climate affect your discipline? You may prefer solitude and self-sufficiency or perhaps you work best within a large group in a busy, structured environment.

There is a spectrum of different residencies: some where trips, group critiques and visiting speakers make up a programme of events; others where you may be remote and isolated with little contact from the outside world. Most lie in between: domestic set-ups with a few other artists, allowing for both time alone and critical but informal discourse.

Some residencies are platforms for cross-artistic disciplines and invite composers, writers and choreographers. Think about who would you ideally like to interact with during your residency? Practice-based residencies are most common, but there are those which ask artists to focus on research or curatorial investigation and don’t expect the production of work. Some are rigid and insist you complete the project you proposed in your application. Others are more flexible and leave you to your own devices.

Examples include:

Studio residency

The most commonly expected type of residency, providing a studio space to develop new work.  Some studio residencies involve artists sharing a studio, such as Artquest’s LIFE BOAT programme, so they can provide mutual critical and practical support.

Research residency

These residencies give artists access to specialist materials, expertise or knowledge, such as a historical archive or specialist curators. This type of opportunity is often more about developing ideas than realising finished pieces of work, and may not provide a studio.  Examples include the Artquest and British Library Jeweller in Residence programme that run in 2012/13, and the Foundling Residency (2012-15).

Listen below to the Wellcome Collection curator Kate Forde and and artist Felicity Powell talk about approaches for artists engaging with collections, as often occurs during a research residency.


Some organisations or businesses not connected to the arts have artist-in-residence programmes. This might be hosted by an organisation that values the different perspective that an artist can bring to the work it does. Common examples of organisations that run such schemes include schools and museums. More often these are research based though can occasionally grant the artists access to specialist production facilities, require the artist to engage directly with the work of the organisation, and may provide a stipend or bursary.

In the audio below, artists Richard Layzell and Lucy Cash talk about their experiences as artists in residence at other organisations.

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