Material Transformations

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Material Transformations

Visual Arts Thematic

Material Transformations invites a collective investigation of the radical potential embedded in organic matter. Led by Candice Lin with Mel Y. Chen, Beatriz Cortez, and Kristine Thompson, this residency will think with the histories latent within natural materials used in artistic production, such as the extractive legacies of different insects, minerals, and clay.

Open to visual artists working across mediums, the program will also look at the way in which plants have been used as modes of healing or resistance to dominant systems of power, examining links between plants, nature conservation, colonial bioprospecting, and discourses of hygiene and eugenics.

Embracing what Mel Y. Chen has described as queer inhumanisms, Material Transformations questions what constitutes the human and non-human and will explore connections between matter and mattering.¹ By utilizing natural materials in a variety of modalities that change over time or offer surprising outcomes based on chance, the residency will reflect on de-centred notions of mastery and authorship, opening up the processes of making to aspects of transformation beyond one’s artistic control.

Alongside talks and studio visits with faculty and guest lecturers, the program will also incorporate a series of introductory workshops in various materials-based processes which may include natural ink-making; anthotype photography; lost wax bronze-casting; and soda-fired ceramics. Through these collective experiments in material transfiguration, participants will be invited to expand their knowledge in, and through, materials; expressing new relationships to both entangled histories and potential futures.

¹ This phrase is drawn from Jasbir Puar’s essay, “I would rather be a cyborg than a goddess: Intersectionality, Assemblage, and Affective Politics, philoSOPHIA: A Journal of Continental Feminism 2, no. 1 (2012): 56.”

What Does the Program Offer

Residencies offer a structured program where visual artists, curators, and other arts professionals come together to create work and discuss pertinent themes. Through peer interaction, discussion groups, studio work, formal lectures, and studio visits from world-renowned visiting faculty, artists and curators, participants gain new ideas and insights that can be applied to creative exploration and professional development of their work.

Who Should Apply?

This residency is for visual artists with an exhibition/publication record who have completed formal training in visual arts at the post-secondary level, or who have equivalent experience and recognition from their peers. Collaborative groups of no more than two are welcome to apply.

Application Deadline: March 9, 2022
Program Dates: June 13 – July 15, 2022

For more information and to apply online, visit

Financial aid of 100% is available to cover tuition, and 50% is available to offset food and accommodation costs.

Photo of art work from the Banff Centre regarding Material Transformations

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