Saari Residence


A record number of artists applied for residency at Saari Residence

Kuva: Otto-Ville Väätäinen

In March 2023, a record number of applications were received for residency at Saari Residence, with 1,064 artists and artistic working groups from 86 countries applying for residency places for 2024. A total of 949 applications were submitted for individual residencies, of which 103 were working partners. 115 working groups or artistic communities applied for group residency.

This year, the number of applications we received was 484 higher than last year; for individual residencies, the number of applications was higher by 442 and for group residencies, by 59. One of our goals is to reach artists coming from outside the Western countries, and this open call actually reached applicants from 13 new countries.

The majority of applications from the field of visual arts

Again, the majority of applications for residency at Saari Residence were received from representatives of the visual arts, and the distribution was very varied when examined by residency programme. Almost 50% of the applications received for individual residencies came from representatives of the visual arts, while the corresponding figure for group residencies was only 15%. The performing arts were the second most represented art form in the total number of applications (19%), and 68% of the applications from the performing arts were for a group residency. The third highest number of applications were received from literature (15%), followed by audiovisual arts (14%) and music (9%). Of the applications for individual residencies, 17% were from writers, while on the group residency side, four per cent of the working groups represented literature. The share of audiovisual artists was 15% in individual residencies and 8% in group residencies. On the individual side, 6% of the applications were received from the field of music, and 5% of group residency applications were from a working group in the field of music.

The purpose of home residency did not open up to applicants

We also offered the opportunity to apply for a home residency. Home residency is a remotely implemented residency, based on reasons related to accessibility and equality, such as physical limitations, family reasons (e.g. being a single parent) or the difficult political situation of the applicant’s country of origin. A home residency was only available for the duration of individual residency periods and it was applied for only for the purpose of remote work. A home residency cannot be applied for as an alternative in addition to an on-site residency period, and the applicant must justify remote work on grounds related to accessibility. Unfortunately, we have not managed to explain the home residency option to applicants clearly enough, as of the 35 artists who applied, only a few artists had understood the residency programme correctly and applied for it on the required grounds.

Most of the applicants from Western countries

Artist residencies are a more familiar way for Western artists to develop their own artistic identity. As in previous years, this year’s round of applications had a western focus, with the highest number of applications coming from Finland, followed by Germany, France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the United States, Austria, Sweden, Italy, Poland, India and Spain.

One of our goals related to accessibility is to reach applicants from outside the western countries as well, and in addition to India, new countries featured in the search statistics include Bahrain, Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Singapore, Uganda and Venezuela.

A majority of middle-aged artists

The majority of the applicants for individual residencies were aged between 36 and 50 (42%) and the second largest age group (37%) was between 27 and 35.  Of the artists who applied for residency, 12% were aged between 51 and 65, 7% between 21 and 26, one per cent were aged over 66 and 0.1% of the applicants were aged between 16 and 20.

Also the gender distribution was similar to that in previous years: the majority of the applicants for individual residencies were women (61%), while there were clearly fewer male (32%) and nonbinary (7%) applicants.

Due to the high number of applications, the award rate for residency places granted for 2024 will be less than 5%.

Thank you to all the applicants for your fascinating applications!

The residency places awarded for 2024 will be announced on 15 June. We will inform all applicants by email about the decisions.