Point 4 – Interview Booth

The final point was an opportunity to interview artists/artist parents/creatives to see if there were any commonalities in there response to the previous questions and ask them specifically about their professional development needs. This is an area I want to expand on which requires me to gather more responses through an emailed survey.

Generally the artists selected   FUNDED   MAKE   NETWORK

What would be your no.1 Professional Development need at your artist residency?

Some examples:

Exhibiting work publicly

Critique of ideas from an artist peer or curator

Time and space for discovery


Cultural Exchange

Research & Development

Develop a meaningful art practice-exchange

Overall the individual artists professional development needs are very different to each other, which would need a personalised and supportive approach from the residency facilitator to realise. One fit will not suit all artists. Listening back to the artist parent interviews it is clear that they need flexible residency structures to be able to participate in this activity.

Finally the artist was asked if a 1 night over stay residency would be of interest and why?

All participants responded with YES.

Some responses:

This would work for me as I have children and I could manage that in the evening.

Anything different and creative to spark inspiration is worth doing.

It would still be worthwhile to gain the experience, and gain any relevant networks/skills/opportunities to engage with others on many levels.

I could do that now with a young baby but what would I get out of it?

I’d be open to doing a shorter over-stay residency but I’m wondering what purpose it could serve.

I emailed a short evaluation to the ‘Explainers’ who worked at the event.

What was memorable for you from the event?

The sense of taking people on a journey and how people got involved in the idea of being on a residency through that performative idea.

It was great to have the opportunity to talk to different people (ages and professional backgrounds). Those who I spoke to understood the notion of a residency even if they didn’t class themselves as an artist or creative. What struck me is that most people who didn’t class themselves as an artist could easily benefit from a residency period (one Mum collected driftwood and natural materials to create bespoke up-cycled pieces for an art market and homeschooled her children, another was a writer wrote a blog for somebody else (and not having as much creative freedom and time to experiment. Another Mum talked about the difficulties for women continuing their professional lives/business as opposed to men and how having children could be a barrier to doing something like a residency (lack of childcare, free medical facilities abroad).

To see my own family go through the guided tour and put themselves in the shoes of an artist engaging in an artist residency opportunity (my husband and 2 kids aged 5 and 3 (and to have actually offered them that tour). This gave me an idea of how they might respond in future potential residencies that I may come across.

Any other comments about the day?

Great to see such a wide and varied response from people of all walks of life.

Was great to be involved and to help people to engage in the process.

It was an interesting event to be a part of, particularly in relation to the context of the Clore Art Studio, being placed near gallery spaces. Most people were visiting the galleries to view art and objects or to find a space to engage their children (away from the commercial parts of the city centre). I think more space could and should be given for gallery visitors /members of the public to meet real ‘local’, practising artists to dispel the myths and stereotypes about what an artist does and who an artist is.


43 participants including adults and children

33 General Public   10 Artists/Creatives

Point 1 – Suitcase
People where asked if they wanted an International or Domestic residency and noted their responses on luggage labels. The scores for this where International – 24    Domestic – 12. I was surprised to see that families where open to longer periods of travel than I expected for example months or even up to a year. Although I wonder if the explainers indirectly influenced their response by informing them at the start that a residency could be for 1 day or up to a year. Going for months would be the middle answer in that scenario and the popularity of 1 year as it had already been suggested as a maximum stay.

After continuing along a pink line on the floor to the next point people where suddenly stopped at a sign and told before you continue on this journey I want you to stop and think about a barrier that may stop you taking part in a residency. Comments where written down on a postcard and posted into a box. It will be no surprise that the biggest barrier for people is MONEY. The word ‘family’ frequently came up which makes me feel a bit sad. Other responses included different family relationships such as elderly parents or siblings.

Examples of ‘Barrier’ postcards
How would the family be involved?
Work disapproving while away
Being away from my sister
Caring duties of parent
Doesn’t want to leave family
Social anxiety being with the same people
Fear of flying and indecision
Sick, illness

Point 3 – Welcome to your artist residency
Participants where presented with a selection of colourful shapes and asked to select the most important 3. An alternative ‘other’ tag could be added if they wished. The choices where: FUNDED   PRESENT   MAKE   GUIDE NETWORK The most popular choice was MAKE and the least selected PRESENT. This surprised me as I thought that most people would choose PRESENT. However as the main participants where the general public I feel artists may have selected PRESENT. NETWORK scored 2nd most popular which I felt was an encouraging sign that families want to meet other people and not only mix with their own group. FUNDED was third most popular reflecting the importance of money in supporting families to take part in a residency.

Other Labels
A good project I resonate with
Accessible transport –  explore the area
Interesting context
Immerse myself in the culture
Make a difference
Some encouragement
Explore environment

A gentlemen was curious and looking in and around the recording booth where I interviewed artists only and I asked him if he was an artist. He said ‘not a professional one’ as he doesn’t earn a living from his work. We spoke more and I said that just because you don’t earn a living from your work doesn’t mean that your not an artist. I asked if I could interview him and he was happy to take part. This got me thinking about how many other artists are out there who do not class themselves as professional artists based on income from the arts. How many artists are creating a mental barrier based on their own mis-definition of themselves? Does this misconception stop these artists developing their practice and networks? Do institutions do enough to engage with artists outside of the obvious artist networks?

An artist mother of four commented that in an ideal world she would like to go away for 1 month abroad. However realistically there would be too much to organise with a large family and on reflection a domestic destination would be more suitable. After asking her if a 1 overnight residency stay would be of interest she added that a one night stay once a month over a period of a year would be doable to make up a two week residency. Reflecting on peoples reactions and opening up the question I would like to research further residency structures at the university of Salford. For example, What is your dream residency? What is a reality residency? Write your answers down on a postcard.

All 10 interviewed artists where asked if they would be interested in a 1 night residency stay which everyone responded with ‘yes’.

I felt that all the activities where family friendly based on how they generally stayed together throughout and mix of written responses from all ages. Children particularly liked being given their own stickers to decorate the lanyard. The performative ‘explainer’ role and the basic information given to people at the start helped the public get into the idea of being on a residency even though most had no idea of what this was before taking part in the activity.

It’s hard to know what artists want from a residency without asking them first which highlights to me how important it is to nurture relationships with the resident artist well before the stay. Artist parents want lots of detail about the residency structure and how the family will be included. I need to be clear what the residency offer is and create in collaboration with them a programme of family friendly activities during the stay.

Interviews allowed creative conversations about the I am resident lanyards as an intervention into the gallery and ideas for residency structures.

How can I get more artist and artist parent responses? This will allow me to compare responses from the public with them to see if there are any obvious similarities or differences.