Tips for Hewnoaks applications

Start by thinking about what you are working on this year and why having a week or so will be important to your progress. If you aren’t sure why the residency will be helpful or what you need, your application won’t be as competitive as compared to other applicants.

Question 1: Please tell us about your artistic practice

Please tell us generally about your CURRENT relevant practice, what projects you have been working on recently, and anything else that will give the jury a sense of your current work that relates to what you want to spend time on at Hewnoaks. Your answer should be related to your work samples as well.

Please focus on your creative practice rather than your life circumstances. Many of our applicants use this space to tell us about their families, their health, their jobs … and they miss the chance to actually explain something about the creative work they are doing, which is what the jury needs to know.

Question 2: How do you plan to use your time at Hewnoaks?

Our residencies are unstructured and process-oriented, meaning there’s no expectation of presenting a finished work at the end of your time. If invited, you’ll be free to use your time at Hewnoaks however you see fit; some create new work, some edit and finish a work in progress, others might be researching a new project. While our residencies are open-ended, it helps our jury to know how and why time devoted to your creative practice would be beneficial to you at this juncture. How might you spend your time? Do you have goals for what could happen?

You don’t have to propose a specific project, but we want to know what you hope to gain from the experience. There’s no wrong answer, except maybe that you haven’t given it any thought. We suggest keeping things relatively simple; don’t get too complicated or multifaceted with your answer.

Work Samples

Here’s another chance to tell a story about your practice and what you are working on. Share work that is current from the last year or two that aligns with how you have written about your practice in question one and how you talk about using your time in question two.

Writers may submit up to ten pages of material, and the juries tend to prefer fewer samples rather than a bunch of excerpts.

Works in progress are allowed but ought to show promise and progress, and should be accompanied by finished work that relates somehow.


Please submit a CV that relates to your creative practice, saved as pdf. This gives the jury context for where you are in your career. It usually isn’t helpful to list your occupational history, so just focus on your creative practice and include your exhibition/performance/publication history and any related education. Your CV must also include your artist residency history.

We shared these general tips at our event “Meet the Residencies”.

Additional tips for applying to residencies in general (not just Hewnoaks)

1) Think about what you want to do / what you need

(hint: don’t apply just because you think you’re supposed to)

  • What’s important for your work now / this year?
  • Do you need solitude or community, or both?
  • Will you do research or will you be producing, or both?
  • Do you need to be fully supported, can you afford to pay for a program?

2) Look for opportunities

3) Closely read the details and the guidelines

  • Are you eligible?
  • Can you afford it? (are there fees? Can you miss work?)
  • Who else has participated, do you fit in that group?
  • Fully read the information provided
  • AFTER you have read the information, if you still have questions, reach out to the program staff

4) Put together a winning application

  • Write thoughtful, concise answers to the questions
  • Be honest and truthful
  • Provide well put together quality work samples
  • Make sure to follow all requested conventions
  • Have a peer or mentor read and give you feedback
  • Honor the deadlines

5) Once you’ve been invited

  • Be professional
  • Stay in touch and communicative, provide additional info on time, read all the material
  • Honor your commitment to participate
  • Play by the rules
  • Do what you said you would do in the application
  • If you need to change something, talk to the program staff first

6) If you did not get invited

  • Ask for feedback (there may or may not be any available)
  • Positive note: getting your work in front of jury

7) After the residency

  • Be thankful for participating (largely)
  • Give constructive feedback to the program
  • Credit the program when possible / appropriate
  • Think about ways you can be supportive in return:
    • Encourage others to apply
    • Volunteer
    • Show up to  / participate in alumni events
    • Stay in touch with the program, let them know about your work
    • Make a donation if you can