Artist in Residence: Indigenous

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Artist in Residence: Indigenous

Applications for this residency have been extended until February 5, 2021.

The Calgary Public Library invites applications for the three-month, paid position of Indigenous Artist in Residence for February 2021 to April 2021.

Additionally, in partnership with Calgary Arts Development, the Indigenous Artist in Residence will also receive the Indigenous Artist Award, sponsored by TD Bank Group, which includes a cash prize.

This residency aims to recognize the contribution of Indigenous artists, craftspeople and knowledge keepers to Calgary. In response to the calls of action in The City of Calgary’s White Goose Flying Report, the library seeks to honour Indigenous cultures and to promote intercultural understanding, perspective-taking, and communication between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

The residency aims to create a supportive environment for artists in Calgary to have time and space to create their own work while introducing lLibrary patrons to artists and art forms they may not otherwise experience. Community engagement events, such as lectures and workshops, and regular open studio hours provide the public with opportunities to meet artists, observe the artistic process, and participate in artmaking.

Description of the Position

The library seeks emerging or mid-career, self-identified First Nations, Inuit, and Métis artist and artist teams working in any artistic discipline and who enjoy working with people. An emerging or mid-career artist is identified as one who has not been internationally shown and does not have regular representation by an agent or gallery.

The artist(s) should:

  • Have a connection to Calgary. Those with connection to the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Kainai, Piikani) Stoney-Nakoda (Chiniki, Wesley and Bearspaw), and TsuuT’ina Nations and Calgary’s urban Indigenous community, Métis Nation Region (MNA) 3 are especially encouraged to apply.
  • Bring knowledge and understanding of the significant cultural heritage and legacy of Indigenous people especially the rich histories, stories and customs inherent in the land. We invite artists to bring their Indigenous identities, histories, cultures, languages, traditions, principles, worldviews, relationships, and ways of knowing to the public through the library.
  • Create learning opportunities that support the Calgary Public Library’s journey of reconciliation and commitment to respond to The City of Calgary’s Calls to Action of White Goose Flying – A Report to City Council on the Indian Residential School Truth and Reconciliation. The Calgary Public Library has an important part to play in the reconciliation process by bringing Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities together in a culturally safe space.

Description of the Residency

The residency is based in a glass-walled studio in a public space, depending on COVID-19 restrictions (see below), which means, while the artist’s practice and privacy are to be respected whether in the studio or in the public space of the library, we do expect the artist to be comfortable and open to engaging with patrons. Artists are encouraged to make their creative process visible in the studio space so that the public can look in through the windows when the studio doors are closed. Experience working with communities, large groups, and/or children and youth is an asset.

The Indigenous residency runs for three months, February to April annually. The artist will be required to take part in an artist talk at the beginning of the residency and, at minimum, two public workshops and/or school programs, all set in collaboration with the library.

The artist will determine and hold regular, open studio hours at new Central Library for a minimum 7.5 hours per week, culminating in a May/June exhibition or performance. The artist in residence studio is available to the artist during opening hours to work on their own projects. As a result of COVID-19, there is a possibility that some or all of the residency will take place online.


The library acknowledges there may be restrictions related to COVID-19 and is committed to ensuring a safe experience for all participants. This may require flexibility related to deadlines and timelines (to be decided in consultation between the artist and the library) and the use of online tools for meetings, workshops or programs.


The artist in residence honorarium is $50 per hour to a maximum of 100 hours per residency. This amount includes offsite preparation time and onsite program delivery time, and any other project expenses incurred by the applicant, except for materials specific to community engagement events.


Artists may not apply as an individual and are part of an organization or collective applying in the same competition.

If the applicant is an individual artist, the following eligibility criteria apply:

  • Must not be currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program.
  • Must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Self-identify as an artist/illustrator/performer/craftsperson and is recognized as such by artists/illustrators working in the same artistic tradition.
  • Actively practices their art.

If the applicant is an organization or a collective, the following eligibility criteria apply:

  • A collective is defined as two or more artists working together under a group name with at least one of the members self-identifying as Indigenous, either on a single project (ad hoc) or on an ongoing basis.
  • For collectives of two artists, both must not be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program and be 18 years of age or older. For collectives of more than two artists, most members must not be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program and 18 years of age or older.

Additionally, the successful applicant must be willing to:

  • Work collaboratively with library staff and other residents, if applicable.
  • Follow public health guidelines and the library’s health and safety plan.
  • In every case, the library and the resident or a residency group’s representative will sign a formal written contract which will detail the rights and responsibilities of each party.
  • Successfully meet the criteria of their residency under the budget, residency schedule (co-developed with library) and timelines set out in their contract.
  • Express desire to create artwork for and in the public realm.
  • Engage and catalyze people and places.
  • The artist should feel comfortable creating programming to contextualize their work and ideas in the library for the public, as it becomes necessary.
  • Be available for press events/media interviews, and be open to discussing their work with library patrons when engaged (within reason).
  • Participate in library-initiated projects, such as video interviews, for the library’s archives.
  • Artists are encouraged to make their creative process visible in the studio space so that patrons can look in through the windows when the studio doors are closed.
  • Document and share their residency with the library and the public (ie: blog, social media feed, written account, photographs etc.…)
  • Provide a short bio (50 words or less), an artist photograph or organization logo in high resolution JPG or PNG format, suitable for print reproduction and a short description of the artist’s work (150 words or less). This information will also be used to create in-library signage and to introduce the artist at community engagement events, as well as for additional publicity opportunities.
  • Provide a booklist for the library’s website on a topic related to their artistic practice
  • Showcase their work, at the close of their residency. Visual or sound exhibitions may be displayed for a one to three-month period.
  • Sit on the selection committee to choose the 2022 Indigenous artist in residence (Winter 2022).

Application Criteria

  • Artistic Practice narrative (500 words or fewer, PDF or video/audio submission):
    • An explanation of what you want to investigate during the residency and a description of the form/s the work might take in the context of a final exhibition or performance.
    • Describe possible public programming, collaborations with the public and/or other methods of engaging the public.
    • Describe how your artistic practice is particularly suited to The Calgary Public Library’s values of inclusion, curiosity, reconciliation and/or collaboration.
  • Artist statement/bio (250 words or fewer)
  • Resume or CV (PDF) including full mailing address, email address and phone number.
  • List of possible technical and other needs (PDF) during the residency i.e.: smudging, projector and screen
  • Attach any combination of work samples to sufficiently support your proposal. If uploading files, please include artists last name in the file name.
    • Up to five JPG images (no larger than 2MB each)
    • List of work (PDF) with title, medium and dimensions. There is room for two to three additional sentences if necessary.

The successful candidate will be selected by a committee of library employees and Indigenous community members. All applicants will be notified once the committee has made its selection. The successful candidate will be notified, but their name will not be announced until the residency has been secured.

Please submit applications to:

Service Design: Artist in Residence Program
Central Library
800 3rd St. SE
Calgary, AB T2G 2E7

Or electronically to

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