Artist in Residence Application

Cape Breton University (CBU) acknowledges that it is built on and operates in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaw People. This territory is covered by the “Treaties of Peace and Friendship” which Mi’kmaw and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) people first signed with the British Crown in 1725. The treaties did not deal with surrender of lands and resources. They recognized Mi’kmaw and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) title and established rules for what was to be an ongoing relationship between nations.

Cape Breton University invites Expressions of Interest for its 2022-23 Artist in Residence Program

Each year, CBU will host an Artist-in-Residence (AIR) to join its community of diverse students, scholars and artists. We welcome applications from artists working in any media, modality or genre who are interested in participating in our dynamic interdisciplinary campus community. The CBU AIR Committee encourages applications from Indigenous and racialized artists. In this flagship program, artists are in residence at the scenic CBU campus for a 4-month academic term to pursue creative interdisciplinary projects, connect with diverse members of our campus and wider communities, and engage with Cape Breton Island’s distinctive cultural and natural environment. Artists-in-Residence (AIR) may also have the option to teach an interdisciplinary course based on their area of interest.

CBU is located in Sydney, Nova Scotia’s second largest city, on the eastern-most coast of Canada’s Maritime provinces. A national and international presence in the arts, Cape Breton musicians, writers and artists have burnished the island’s artistic reputation and CBU reflects that presence.

CBU houses the Boardmore Theatre, a fully equipped, 337-seat theatre that hosts an active campus and community theatre scene. The CBU Art Gallery has a permanent collection of some 2000 works of art and hosts nationally significant exhibitions and engagement events throughout the year. The Centre for Sound Communities is a world-class digital arts and humanities research lab that fosters interdisciplinary collaboration and community engagement on sound, movement, and performance toward the exchange of knowledge and the production of creative, critical research. The Rotary Music Room in the Centre for Cape Breton studies is a recording studio and digitization lab capable of professional quality audio and visual recordings for research purposes.

All of these units work in collaboration with one another, with wider Cape Breton community and industry partners, reflecting the special relationship that the university enjoys with the island’s people who advocated for its creation and continue to engage in vital ways with the institution. Key institutional partners include local schools an educators, diverse cultural groups including Mi’kmaw and African Nova Scotian communities and organizations, LBGTQ+ organizations, provincial and municipal culture/heritage programs, youth centres, arts and culture industry organizations.

“Visiting CBU was an invitation to engage with the stunning landscape and cultural histories of Cape Breton and Membertou First Nation. I was hosted by Marcia [Ostashewski] at the Centre for Sound Communities which meant I was immediately welcomed by community to collaborate on  their theatre project and that I was connected to other like-minded researchers.”
Marnie Badham, artist-researcher (2018) RMIT University, Australia


The AIR program seeks to create mutually beneficial lines of exchange between students, faculty and artists who share an interest in enriching the campus and community life of CBU by promoting engagement with the creative arts by supporting artists in researching, developing and sharing their practice in pedagogic contexts and broader audiences.

The AIR program is available to artists working in one or more modality, visual arts, literary arts, performing arts, design, sound art, art in public space, socially engaged arts, community theatre, curatorial practice, new media or other practice, whose creative work can work within the university environment. CBU campus provides a congenial retreat-like setting with regular opportunities for cross-disciplinary engagement with faculty and students from around the world; and opportunities for the showcasing of work through public readings, public art, festivals, exhibits, performances or other appropriate mechanisms. Local and international artists at all career stages are encouraged to apply with an EOI including brief letter of interest, CV, examples of applicant’s work and contact information for references (see below for details of required EOI materials).

We also welcome applications from a pair of artists or a collective group of artistic collaborators who wish to work on a common project. Resources will be shared among the group of collaborators as a collective entity.

The AIR program is granted for one four-month term, beginning in either September or January of each academic year.

Please note: past AIR recipients are eligible to re-apply after an interval of at least five years.

FEE: As an example, the successful candidate could be awarded funds toward travel (to a maximum of $3000), materials and project expenses (to a maximum of $5000), and housing/accommodation (to a maximum of $4000), and a stipend (to a maximum $8000) for a four-month residency. The stipend will be prorated according to the length of term. The amount for each of these expenses can be adjusted according to the artist’s needs.

TRAVEL: Artists travelling internationally may be offered additional funds to offset the costs of travel.

MATERIALS: Additional funds toward the costs of materials may be negotiated. CBU’s creative arts offices and facilities may also provide resources and technical support toward the documentation of creative processes, activities, outreach, outcomes and works associated with the AIR.

HOUSING/ACCOMMODATION: Artists may choose to find housing in a local community (and will be provided support to find accommodation beforehand), or in student residence on campus.

TEACHING: Based on mutual interest of the applicant and the university, a part-time teaching employment contract may also be arranged over and above the AIR program (facilitating greater connections with students and faculty, offering additional professional development opportunities for the artist, and augmenting remuneration for the artist).

STUDIO/ OFFICE: As part of the residency, CBU will provide a centrally located private office/studio space on the scenic Cape Breton University campus, and library privileges.

COMMUNITY LIASON: As well, a CBU-based community/cultural liaison will be appointed to welcome the AIR Resident Artist to the campus community, and to foster connections between the Artist and the AIR Committee, faculty, students and wider communities.

It is expected that artists will have 50% of funded time for their own work and 50% of funded time for faculty, student and community engagement (e.g., talks, consultations, mentoring, etc). The artist is expected to take advantage of the private office space provided, acknowledge the support of Cape Breton University in work arising from the fellowship, and notify the university of any such works. The artist is encouraged to be involved in the thriving academic and social life of the university.

Per standard employment agreements, CBU retains ownership of intellectual property (IP)  related to course-based instructional materials and outcomes. The AIR artist retains ownership of (IP) related to their creative work, however, artistic works that are created collaboratively (e.g., community partners, or multiple artists), ownership must be formally negotiated.

Interested applicants must first submit 1.) an Expression of Interest (EOI) and once approved, 2.) submit a full AIR proposal.

1.) Expression of Interest (EOI)

EOIs are accepted once a year, via email. EOIs should include:

  • a letter of interest, including a very brief overview of potential project ideas within the parameters outlined above (maximum 3 pages)
  • a current CV
  • up to five samples of the applicant’s work (with the total length not exceeding 5 pages single-spaced pages, several images or short videos, links to online resources)
  • contact information for two references – scholars, curators, established artists, or other professionals in the cultural sector.

Your EOI should be addressed to the Chair of the CBU AIR Committee  and sent to the Office of the Vice President Academic and Provost.

The EOI submission deadline for 2022-2023 is September 30, 2022.

Based on the EOIs submitted, a short list of applicants will be chosen to work with CBU’s AIR Committee to develop a full CBU AIR proposal. Candidates will be matched with AIR Program Committee members, and faculty working in similar disciplines and affiliated CBU offices. Candidates will work with committee members and faculty to:

  • Tailor their proposals (creative projects and experiences) to their interests and local resources;
  • Establish a relationship with and secure details of an agreement for an appropriate AIR host within CBU;
  • Develop funding applications that leverage AIR resources to greater effect (if they so wish);
  • Outline potential course offerings based on the candidates’ and faculty/program needs.

2.) Full AIR proposals will then be submitted and adjudicated by the CBU AIR Committee. One successful proposal will be offered a residency.

Full AIR proposals should be submitted to The AIR Committee via AIR Committee Chair, Todd Hiscock.

The proposal submission deadline for shortlisted applicants is November 15, 2022. Candidates are responsible for ensuring their application is complete.

EOI submissions and full AIR proposals are adjudicated by the CBU AIR Committee, which includes members of each CBU creative arts offices and departments: The Boardmore Theatre, the CBU Art Gallery, and The Centre for Sound Communities and, normally, other members from among CBU’s staff, and member(s) from Cape Breton’s wider communities. The AIR Committee may also solicit feedback from additional subject experts.

For the 2022-23 Academic Year:

  • Express of Interest (EOI) submission deadline: September 30th, 2022
  • AIR Proposal submission deadline: November 15, 2022

All artists who submit an EOI will be contacted by October 30, 2022 and either invited to submit a full proposal, or advised of an unsuccessful application.

All artists who submit a full proposal will be notified of decisions by November 30, 2022.

Unsuccessful, shortlisted applications may also be invited to collaborate on projects via the Centre for Sound Communities (CSC) and will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis. This residency may be used to facilitate a creative project, develop relationships with CBU faculty, explore possibilities with local communities, and/or workshop CBU AIR proposals for (re)submission at a later date. The CSC will host the resident artist(s), while supporting connections and collaborations with other creative arts programs and facilities relevant to the artist’s interests and needs.

Any unsuccessful submissions will be notified by October 30th, 2022.

The AIR Committee welcomes and encourages artists to reach out with any questions or for discussion, prior to submitting an Expression of Interest. CBU AIR Program Chair, Todd Hiscock, is a first point of contact (