Equity in the artist selection process: a zine

At the October, 2018 Alliance of Artist Communities Emerging Program Institute (for new residency programs and folks considering starting programs), Hewnoaks director Nat May and colleague Linda Earle discussed considering equity in the artist selection process.

Here are the notes from that panel, which contain a lot of questions a program might ask in conceiving of and conducting and artist residency program. The document shows the full notes twice, once as a regular one-sheet piece of paper, and also in a format that can easily be folded into a zine as per the directions in this video:

If you have comments or suggestions about this please sent them to info@hewnoaks.org

Download here: Equity in the Artist Selection Process

Full text:

Equity in Artist Selection + Stewardship

Created for the Alliance of Artist Communities Emerging Program Institute, October 2018.

What does it take to make the process of choosing your artists-in-residence an intentional one, and what does equity look like in the selection process.


Artist Selection is at the heart of how residency program express and practice their missions.

Equity is a tool towards a goal of justice.

Thinking about equity can help in accomplishing your mission more fully.

Types of equity to think about could include: gender, race, physical ability and health, experience, access to resources, religious beliefs, culture, age, family, economics …

You can think about equity throughout organizational development and action.

Conceiving of / defining a program

Who is it for?
Who do we want in our community? (Are we ready to work with this community)
Who do we want to serve?
What do we want to achieve?

Developing leadership and structure

Who will understand our mission and can help us achieve it?
Are the perspectives of those we want to serve reflected by our leadership?
Getting buy-in from stakeholders
Who has power, influence and tools to make change?
What does leadership mean for an organization, where are the various place it can take form?

Reaching out for possible program participants

How are we communicating our intentions and mission?
Leaving space vs. making space vs. claiming space
What are the limitations of an open call?
What communities do we want to reach?
What tacit assumptions are impeding our goals?

Inviting applications or nominations

What questions do we need to ask?
What information do we need?
Are these items relevant to our mission or are they just business as usual?
What biases are contained within our process, and how can we be aware of them?

Compiling a jury or selection panel

Does our panel relate to our desired communities?

Preparing the jury/selection panel for their work

Does the panel have good guidelines and goals?
Are they aware of the program mission?
What’s their charge regarding equity?
Should we train them to think equitably? Are they aware of their own biases?

Administering the selection process

Is the facilitator prepared to keep on track regarding mission and equity?
Who is advocating for those that need advocacy?
Is there space for questioning and discussion?
How can assumptions be checked and corrected?

Communicating the results of that process

What level of transparency is appropriate for our program, and are we communicating that?

Administering the program

Is there a process for creating community agreements?
Is there a safe space policy and processes for grievances?
Is the program ready to take care of the community that we desire?

Post-program follow-up

What happens when our participants are finished?
What is our relationship to them and their work?
How are we asking about participants’ experience?
Is there room for the feedback we don’t know to ask for?

Presented by Linda Earle and Nat May.

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