Inspiration and encouragement galore at residency meeting


Photo by Alexander Brenner

On the 7:th of September the Nordic Culture Point (“NCP”) hosted a residency meeting, which takes place every other year, at their offices on Suomenlinna Island in Helsinki. The meeting’s purpose was to allow for the various representatives of the artist residencies to get to know each other, exchange ideas and meet the staff at NCP as well as two of the four experts for the Residency support program, which the Nordic Culture Point administers.

These two, Maija Rudovska (right) and Merete Jankowski (left), are professionally involved in the artistic and cultural community and have for the past three years mandated which projects are allowed support. We sat down with them to get their thoughts on the day’s residency meeting and to hear what the last three years have been like for them, since soon a new group of experts will be taking over.

Merete, who is currently the director of Overgaden – Institute of Contemporary Art in Copenhagen, Denmark – tells us how she and Maija’s job today has been to moderate the meeting and to give feedback to the residency representatives.  “Today is our last meeting, in a way”, Maija tells us, who is an independent curator based in Riga, Latvia. “We don’t know how the next expert group will work”, she continues. “But the experiences had we’ve had [with being experts for the residency program] will go on in our future work – and we can share those experience elsewhere.”

Considering the day’s activities both Merete and Maija are quite pleased so far. “Today we’ve seen that meeting like this are really needed”, Maija explains. “The participants can build new networks and come up with ideas for collaborations. They want to share their experiences and ask questions. Not to mention that is important for us as experts to meet the people who have applied to the program, as opposed to just reading their applications.”

As for the question of how Merete and Maija believe that they, and the other experts, have influenced the programme in the last three years, Merete’s says that they have tried to encourage the residences to be more ambitious and to specialize more. “In the beginning the artist residencies were more like artistic retreats”, Merete tells us. “But lately we’ve seen different residency approaches and higher quality applications.” Maija agrees with this statement and concludes: “We [the experts] will go away, but the next group will come in and the work will continue.”

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