Navigating the Creative Processes for the Arts and the Third Cultural Space: A Comparative Analysis of Two International Artist Residency Programs

By Emi Nishimura, Hannah Shambroom and Sara Silva.

Published by The International Journal of Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts

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This study explores the relationship between cross-cultural interactions and the creative processes for the arts that occur in international artist residencies, programs that embody the mobility and fluidity of contemporary life. An increasingly globalized world challenges not only the conventional cultural boundaries determined by nation-states but also the notion of culture itself as static. The authors use the notion of a “third cultural space,” an alternative type of metaphorical space that does not belong to any singular culture and embodies the qualities and dynamics of intercultural dialogue. The hypothesis is that the creative processes for the arts and those for a third cultural space are mutually reinforcing, and an artist residency taking place in a neutral zone—such as onboard a ship—would have an advantage in this reinforcement over one with a “host” culture that is based in a country with longstanding cultural traits already in place. The authors use a qualitative methodology, comparing two artist residency programs—one onboard a ship based in the Arctic Circle and the other based in conventional living spaces in Tokyo, Japan. Methods include literature review and theoretical analysis of scholarly papers on relevant theories, interviews with organizers of the programs and participating artists, and analysis of the organizations’ websites and reports. While international artist residencies have the potential for creating a third cultural space, the likelihood of this depends on several key conditions within the residency programs. The findings of this study work as a practical reference for organizations looking to enhance effective intercultural collaboration among artists.

Keywords: Artist Residency, Intercultural Relations, Creative Process

The International Journal of Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp.37-57. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.034MB).

Emi Nishimura

Graduate Student, Arts Management, American University, Washington, DC, USA

Emi Nishimura is an MA student in Arts Management at American University, concurrently pursuing a Graduate Certificate in International Arts Management. She is particularly interested in promoting intercultural understanding through the arts and encouraging creation of the arts through intercultural inspiration in the context of international arts events and artist residency programs. Emi has served as a professional coordinator for international conferences and events held in Japan and several other countries. She holds a BA in Liberal Arts from International Christian University, Tokyo, as well as a certificate in a museum curatorship in Japan. She has lived in Japan, Germany, Switzerland, and the US, and has traveled to nearly 30 countries.

Hannah Shambroom

Graduate Student, Arts Management, American University, Washington, DC, USA

Hannah Shambroom is currently pursuing a graduate degree as an International Arts Management student at American University in Washington, DC. She holds a BA from Connecticut College in Art History and French, as well as a certificate in International Studies in the Liberal Arts. Her academic interests center on cultural policy and diplomacy, and the creation of national identity through contemporary art, particularly in West Africa. She wrote an undergraduate thesis on identity politics and cultural policy in contemporary Senegalese art, and has spent time living, working, and doing research in Senegal, France, and the UK. Currently she is based in Washington DC and works at a private collection of contemporary art.

Sara Silva

Graduate Student, Arts Management, American University, Washington, DC, USA

Sara Silva was born in Lisbon, Portugal. In 2003 she graduated from The National Conservatory School of Dance in Portugal and then at the Rotterdam Dance Academy, CODARTS, having in sight a BA in dance performance. A year later she returned to Portugal to join the Portuguese Catholic University, where she graduated with a BA and afterwards a post-graduate degree in Cultural Management. During her study period, she worked as a freelance dancer with a few Portuguese choreographers. In 2009, she was offered a grant for an internship in Macau through an initiative of the Ministry of Culture of Portugal. In 2010, Sara joined Albergue SCM/ALBcreativeLAB as an Education Coordinator. In 2011 she was selected for a project with the acclaimed Taiwanese choreographer and dancer, Fang-Yi Sheu and she did an artistic residency in Taipei. Sara is now a Fulbright scholar and an MA Candidate in Arts Management at American University.