A New Performance Residency about Slavery, Justice and Freedom

2019 Application


A New Performance Residency that addresses Slavery, Justice and Freedom


The 2019 Black Spatial Relics (BSR) Residency will support the development of two new performance works that address and incorporate the public histories of slavery and contemporary issues of justice.

The artists-in-residence should pay particular attention to land -based histories of both the slave trade and its legacies on the Eastern seaboard of the United States as well as histories of chattel slavery, fugitivity and liberation.  Applicants are invited to apply with performance projects that may traverse or engage dance, theatre, performance installation and/or ritual, spoken word, music/sound and or any multidisciplinary constellation of the aforementioned. Artists with both new and developing performance projects are welcome to apply.

To the end of supporting Black artists making work and life in spaces they call home, this residency endeavors to provide resource to support performance development processes that center dreaming and public/site-responsive performance. This residency is about making space for Black artists to stay in residence where they are and make this work. The residency will enable selected artists to develop works that engage the public history of slavery and bridge or incorporate systemic and inherited connections with contemporary issues of injustice.

In addition to development of their performance works between May 2019-November 2019, artists in residence must be available to convene in Philadelphia in mid November 2019 for three days of workshops, convenings and artist talks. Artists are not expected to complete their performance works in this time frame but some (however experimental) iteration of the performance work must be publicly shared between May – November 2019.

Selected artists are encouraged to identify a partner institution in their home city that is interested in the local longevity of the project and can provide support to the selected BSR Artist(s). This support may include rehearsal space and other project development needs over the course of the year and beyond. Partner institutions will be credited in all residency printed and digital materials.



  • April 1: Application closes + Application Panel (comprised of activists, artists and scholars) reviews applications

  • Early - Mid May 2019 : Award Notification + Payment

  • November 2019—May 2019: Development of performance project.

  • During this development period, BSR artists-in-residency will check in with the Black Spatial Relics team (via Skype or another similar medium) twice.

  • November 14-17 2019: Three Day Residency in Philadelphia

  • This three-day residency will include workshops, convenings and artist talks that are open to the public. This three-day residency will include travel, housing and community meals.


DEVELOPMENT SUPPORT: An award in the amount of $2,500 will be granted to each artist or each group of artists selected as part of this residency. The award will be paid over two installments (May 2019 and November 2019)

RESEARCH AND DRAMATURGICAL SUPPORT: Selected artists will be supported with research and dramaturgical support as requested.

THREE DAY RESIDENCY (Philadelphia): Selected artists will be invited to a three-day residency in Philadelphia in November 2019. 


Project proposals from individual artists or from groups are welcome.

Applicants must:

  • Live in the United States;

  • Identify as Black and/or be of African descent;

  • Be artist(s) engaged in the practice of making performance;

  • Be available to participate during ALL program dates in Philadelphia;

  • Be available to develop new work based on the BSR Residency criteria and within the scheduled outlined above;

  • Be in conversation with local land histories with ties to the transatlantic slave trade (see the illustrated maps at the Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project website for further information), chattel slavery, fugitivity and liberation


  • Be additionally supported by a host not-for-profit organization or institution that will help develop and continue the presentation of the new work;


The BSR artists-in-residence will be selected based on criteria that includes, but is not limited to, the following requirements:

  • A demonstrated ability and commitment to developing new performance work around public histories of slavery and social justice concerns;

  • Strong collaborative work history as represented in work samples

  • Strong relationship to research (of all forms)

  • A track record of partnerships with local entities (coalitions, collectives, businesses, places of worship, organizations and/or cultural institutions in home region)

Black women, queer folks, trans* and gender non-conforming people, and people with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

DEADLINE: All application materials must be submitted via the Black Spacial Relics website by April 1st, 11:59 EST

QUESTIONS: If you have questions prior to submission, please email

To include preferred and/or professional name
First and last and professional name (if different from previously listed)
Township/City, State
Phone *
Include a brief description (50 words or less). Include the address of the organization and contact information for a sponsoring individual at the organization.
Link to resume, digital portfolio, LinkedIn profile, etc.
Links to video, text and/or collection of photos of the works, or website; and at least one (1) work sample that must be a video (max. 5 minutes).
Include three (2) references with name, affiliation (if applicable), and phone/email
• How do you locate your lived experience in relation to histories of slavery, justice and freedom? • How do you describe the art that you make? • What is your proposed project? • How is this project related to local social justice issues in your area that concern Black communities? • How are you currently/hoping to be in conversation with local Black communities through this work? • How do you plan to research and integrate the public histories of slavery into your work?
• What is your documentation plan for this work? • What portion, if any, of the artist stipend will be allocated to documentation? • How is this documentation process in conversation with public history, histories of slavery, justice and freedom? • How is this documentation process in conversation with the form and shape of your work?

Optional Letter of Partnership

A letter of partnership from a local cultural organization or institution that will provide space or other support for the development of this performance work. Letter of Partnership must be submitted to (with an email subject line: Letter of Partnership for (your first name, your last name).