5 April 2012


Friends of mine bought a beautiful home on a few acres on the Sunshine Coast a couple of years ago. They are now hoping to turn a small cabin on their property into an artist's residence. If that wasn't exciting enough, next week they are hosting a round table/think-tank with artists from various disciplines to talk about what artists across the disciplines need and want in a residency.

Because my friends run The Only Animal theatre company, the invited group is a little more heavy on theatre/performance artists. I believe I'm the only one representing the literary arts.

Now, I've done two residencies which were wildly different--three weeks in East End, Saskatchewan at the Wallace Stegner House and five weeks as part of the Writing Studio at The Banff Centre. I know what I need out of a residency, but as I'm the voice for the poets/novelists/etc out there, I'd love to be able to come more prepared than simply saying what I would like. If you'd like to put your two cents in (while they're still available), please comment below. I'd love to hear what you think.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Marita, for reaching out. Yes, you are the only one representing the literary arts, and we are really curious to know the needs--everything from the very practical to atmospheric concerns, or anything else.


Mari-Lou said...

Hello, this does sound ideal. Will the space be shared? If so, will there be separate studio/writing spaces, or will it be a private retreat place, aka the Stegner House. I've also been to the Banff studio and several Sask Writers/Artists colonies and to a colony in Spain. So, the first questions are: how many people are you planning to host at a time? What is the adjudication process? Will residents do their own cooking? Is food easily accessible? Is there access to the Internet (some will want this) etc. Once those practical concerns are addressed, then you can move on to issues of atmosphere (which is probably amazing as is), retreat versus colony, compatibility. etc.

Carrie Snyder said...

I've never done a writing retreat outside my own home, so this may not be helpful whatsoever, but ... what has helped me on my home writing retreats is to have someone else looking after food/cooking, not having to talk to anyone, and a place to exercise (I go out to yoga classes, or go running). I would need internet access too. And a nice shower. But that's about it.

m said...

Kendra: With pleasure! I'm honoured to be invited to the table and so excited to see what comes to fruition.

Mary-Lou: I believe it will be more on the Wallace Stegner House side of the spectrum rather than Banff, but because theatre is so collaborative, perhaps there will be space for more than one person. Definitely something to chat about.

Carrie: I think you are spot-on about the cooking. I know for me that was one of the best things about Banff--not having to worry about food, but more important than that, not have to worry about the cleanup after the cooking and eating.

Access to exercise is a great point, too.

The talking/not having to talk with people is interesting to me. I loved in Banff how there were so many people to talk with, but how everyone respected the writing/creative time (unlike, say, toddlers?). But when I was at the WSH, the hardest part for me was being so alone. I had thought that being secluded was what I wanted, but the reality of being so alone and so far from my family was really hard. I wonder if there would be a middle ground that would make sense for everyone?

Carrie Snyder said...

Yes, I imagine it's different "retreating" in my own home. I can talk to my husband if I want to in the evenings. But he's (mostly) keeping the kids at bay. Who knows, if I were truly on my own apart from my family I might crave human interaction by the end of the day.