School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa invites applications from photographers or photo-based artists to the SPAO Residency, which offers the opportunity to develop, produce, teach and exhibit within the school’s workshop environment. The Residency provides institutional support and structure to emerging practitioners, helping to strengthen the photographic communities at SPAO, in the Ottawa area, and beyond.
Residencies are typically (but not always) either four months or eight months in duration and can begin in September, January, or May. Residencies beginning in May are preferred for enhanced access to facilities and staff.
Eligibility and selection
Candidates should have experience in the field of photography beyond formal training. SPAO welcomes all visual backgrounds, motivations, and styles.
Applications are evaluated by a selection committee consisting of arts professionals. The committee will base its selection on the artistic quality of the applicant’s work, the potential impact of the residency on the applicant’s career, and the contribution to the Ottawa and Canadian arts communities.
SPAO has significant resources that can be made available to participants. While the Residency is currently unfunded (see Cost section below), SPAO will support all dimensions of the participant’s activities. Please note that while SPAO cannot offer a permanent work space, the resident will be invited to become a part of the SPAO community and to work at the school according to facility availability.
More generally, a wide range of Ottawa-based institutions offer rich photography collections and research resources, including the National Gallery of Canada, Library and Archives Canada, the City of Ottawa Archives and Art Collection, and the Canada Council’s Art Bank.
In addition to developing their own projects, residents may be invited to participate in certain dimensions of SPAO’s instructional courses and programs. Participation may take the form of a guest lecture, contribution to photography critiques, or consultation with students, as is appropriate to the resident’s interests and objectives.
Applicants admitted to the SPAO Residency pay CDN $685 per month. Past participants in our program have successfully received funding from granting bodies to help facilitate the residency.
Application process and deadline
To be considered for the SPAO Residency, send via email a one- or two-page outline of your intentions and objectives for the program along with a detailed CV and 10 digital samples of your work in web resolution (72 dpi). Application materials must be received by SPAO at least three months prior to the proposed residency start date.
Send all materials to:
SPAO Creative Director
168 Dalhousie Street
Ottawa ON K1N 7C4