The project was advertised as a residency, calling for an artist to be embedded into the community and to explore with them what it means to be from their particular location. Its contract stipulated 70 days of work (plus a materials budget) to be spread over the year (2016). Upon being offered the position, I proposed a schedule that started with small, week-long visits that slowly increased to an intensive period of activity over the summer. As a residency, I had assumed I would have a place to live ‘in residence’, but when I started in January I was advised that, until a more permanent situation could be found, I would be staying with Viv, a friend of a friend of one of The Institution’s employees living in the area.(20)
Viv lived in a perfectly suitable house, and I stayed with her for the first five week-long visits. She was a good host, but the situation was not conducive to any long-term arrangement: I could barely turn around in the small room she had available. I also felt I was imposing on the kindness of a random stranger: she was being remunerated for hosting me, but it was fundamentally her house, and I was uncomfortable in taking up her already cramped space. I therefore spoke with The Institution to explain that I really did need a place of my own to be in residence, and perhaps the practicalities of where an artist-in-residence was going to reside should have probably been arranged before the residency started?
20 – Name changed to protect her identity.