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DemCP colloquium - KATHRYN ROBERTS & SARA STRANDVAD: "Artist Residencies as Creative Ecologies: Proposing a New Framework for 21st-Century Cultural Production"

When:We 25-05-2022 16:00 - 17:30

Research colloquium of the Centre for the Study of Democratic Cultures and Politics

Kathryn Roberts and Sara Strandvad (University of Groningen)
Artist Residencies as Creative Ecologies: Proposing a New Framework for 21st-Century Cultural Production


Artist residencies are key sites of artistic practice today, which open up processes of creation and career development to scholarly analysis. Since the 1990s, these sites have proliferated globally, but have attracted no systematic research. Beginning from classic approaches to the sociology of cultural production, this presentation demonstrates the residency’s role as a site of creative autonomy, and one where social conventions are negotiated. Yet these approaches tend to neglect questions of what is made, as well as how  hyper-mobility, technological mediation, and mass education shape art production today. Drawing on two interviews with young artists who have both attended various residencies, we introduce “creative ecologies” as a term that captures the unstable and porous features of art production today, and the role that art objects play in stabilizing artistic careers. Based on this initial investigation, we propose a large-scale, multidisciplinary study to investigate artist residencies as a global and multifaceted phenomenon. The project aims to rethink artistic production as a social activity in which art constitutes a central agent.

About the speakers

Kathryn Roberts is a Senior Lecturer in American Studies at the University of Groningen. As a scholar of U.S. literature, culture, and media, she focuses on the dynamic relationship among institutional support for the arts; ideologies of race, class, and gender; and the form and content of art works. Her current book project, The New Monastics: Creative Community and Literary Form, is the first large-scale literary history of early-twentieth century writers’ colonies in the U.S. such as Provincetown, Yaddo, and the MacDowell Colony. Chapters have been published in Modernism/modernity and American Literary History.

Sara Strandvad is an Associate Professor in Arts, Culture and Media at the University of Groningen. A sociologist of creative work and artistic production, her research uses a socio-material perspective inspired by Science and Technology Studies. She has examined a wide range of topics, such as development processes in Danish film production, valuation processes in a Design School entrance exam, cultural entrepreneurship among Dutch artists, and market creation among social media performance artists. Her work has appeared in Cultural Sociology, Cultural Studies, and The International Journal of Cultural Studies.