Artist in Residence Application

Cape Breton University invites Applications for its 2025 Artist-in-Residence Program

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.

Each year, CBU hosts 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.

The central role of CBU’s Artist in Residence is to create an active and lively environment on campus. Our academic programming, arts facilities and student societies are all conduits into the on-campus creative community, and the Artist in Residence should plan to be involved in these ways. Therefore, the strongest applications will be those that offer specific detailed plans for student engagement on campus.

CBU is located in Sydney, Nova Scotia’s second largest city, on the eastern-most coast of Canada’s Maritime provinces. Nationally and internationally acclaimed 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 and 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. Artists in Residence will be particularly interested in engaging students on campus.

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; there are opportunities for showcasing work through public readings, public art, festivals, exhibits, performances or other appropriate mechanisms. Local and international artists are encouraged to submit an application with a brief letter of interest, artist CV, examples of work and contact information for references (see below for details of required application 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, from January to April each 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).

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 CBU 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 CBU in work arising from the fellowship, and notify the university of any such works. The artist should plan to be actively involved in the thriving academic and social life of the university.

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.

Applications are accepted once a year via email, addressed to the Chair of the CBU AIR Committee – and sent to the Office of the Vice President Academic and Provost.

Applications shall include the following:

  • An artist’s statement (1 page)
  • Project description (1 page)
  • Proposed campus and community engagement (1 page)
  • A current CV
  • Up to five samples of the applicant’s work (with the total length not exceeding 10 pages, including images, links to short videos, and links to online resources)
  • Contact information for two references – scholars, curators, established artists, or other professionals in the cultural sector.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact committee for guidance on developing proposals.

All proposal materials shall be submitted via email to the AIR Committee indicating attention to the AIR Committee’s Chair, Todd Hiscock.

Candidates are responsible for ensuring their applications are complete.

Application submissions 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 2024-25 Academic Year:

  • Call for applications launched January 15, 2024
  • Application submission deadline: May 31, 2024
  • CBU AIR decisions, applicants notified: June 30, 2024
  • Residency begins January 1, 2025

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.

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