How to...get involved in an international art project

Fancy taking a year abroad while you're studying? Want to do an artist residency where you can take yourself to a brand new place (and headspace)?

How to...get involved in an international art project

So, let's say you've got this idea, that you want to be involved in something big. Something massive and it kind of feels a bit unattainable. You want to be involved in an international arts project! Nothing is unachievable, if you don't aim high, you wont get anywhere. So the first step is, decide if you really want to take this adventure on, and if the answer is yes, then tell yourself that you will make it happen. Well done, step one complete.

Now then, when I first started wondering if I could maybe go abroad to study or work in the arts, I began limiting myself immediately. I considered how far I wanted to go, which languages I could speak, and all of a sudden it became less exciting. Do not do this. The world is your oyster and octopus and purple flying unicorn and whatever else you want it to be.

for those of you that are looking into going to university, that may well be the answer for you. There are many courses that offer years/semesters/summers abroad with places they have partnerships and exchange programs with, you can do it in a structured way as a part of achieving your qualification. Sounds great right? It is a fantastic way to go about it, especially if you don't have much experience in travel or the world of work. So that's one option.

For me, this isn't something I was interested in. I have stayed close to home for university and am not up for long periods of time in another country where I don't know anyone, it's a daunting prospect for me, and many others like me. However this doesn't mean that I have to miss out. Artist's residencies are something I have looked into, and I find them hard to describe but if you ask google you will be told: 'Artist-in-residence programs and other residency opportunities exist to invite artists, academicians, curators, and all manner of creative people for a time and space away from their usual environment and obligations.' They provide a time of reflection, research, presentation and/or production.

This is what I want to do. This site is a great source of information and ways to apply for these residencies. There is such a huge and beautifully tempting list of where you apply to, and all the details of it, some can be very long or very short, a matter of weeks, which suits me just fine. Depending on the hosts, you are sometimes allowed to bring a companion with you, (partner, children etc.) for the duration of your residency. I once had a lecture by a person who had managed to live rent free for an entire year by simply going on back to back residencies that herself or her partner had secured, and coming along as each-others' companion. I see this as a perfect way to explore different places and avenues of work, to find new inspirations and to enrich your creative processes without a huge amount of stress or the pressure of being part of your degree. However, again, this may not be ideal for everyone.

Perhaps you are thinking; "I know exactly where I want to go though!" well great, what's stopping you? If you know where you want to go, or what you want to do, chances are, you already know exactly which organisations can facilitate you going there, so contact them and just ask them where to start. If you don't know this, research the heck out of it until you find some answers, don't be afraid to call places and send emails, get people to point you in the right direction.

Go forth people!


Meridith Dickin

Meridith Dickin Youth Network

An Arts Award Youth Network Associate from the East Midlands. A visual arts student.

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