CAST Distinguished Visiting Artists
Eligibility, Process, and Selection Information
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Evan Ziporyn, Faculty Director of CAST and Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Music
Leila W. Kinney, Executive Director of Arts Initiatives and CAST
Danna Solomon, Assistant to the Executive Director of Arts Initiatives
Katherine Higgins, Senior Producer
Susan Wilson, Producer
Lydia Brosnahan, Assistant Producer
The Distinguished Visiting Artist residency program is designed to support artists who have pre-existing collaborations with MIT faculty, departments, labs, or centers that would benefit from further development and longer duration. With an appointment at the Institute for an academic year, and the possibility of renewal once, the artist recipients have the opportunity and time to pursue sustained, in-depth research and development, and to shape substantial creative projects in collaboration with MIT faculty, students, and researchers.
CAST appoints two Distinguished Visiting Artists, typically every other year:
The Dasha Zhukova Distinguished Visiting Artist Program is open to creators from across the disciplines of art, architecture, and design.
The Koerner Distinguished Visiting Artist Program is open to creators from any performing arts discipline.
Distinguished Visiting Artist appointments are designed to advance pre-existing collaborations between external artists and MIT that would benefit from further development and longer duration. Proof of concept for an ongoing project with MIT, or previous collaborations with MIT faculty, departments, labs, or centers that hold promise for developing new artistic work is a prerequisite.
For the artist, the appointment will provide creative time and an enriching environment to generate new ideas and explore new mediums and processes, and/or to develop work-in-progress.
For students and the broader MIT community, the residency will offer behind-the-scenes exposure to the artist’s creative process in a significant way, which can include (but is not limited to) workshops, demonstrations, seminar, classroom, or studio visits, internships in artists’ studios, etc. The program places a priority on research and development of artistic work rather than a specific commission or outcome; however, we anticipate many possible public outcomes from the residency, including creative work exhibited or performed at MIT, or in national and international venues, and documentaries, essays, and publications about the evolution of the project. A public manifestation of the residency at MIT will be scheduled at a mutually convenient time.
Annual grants are $50,000, which includes honorarium, travel, accommodations, materials, and programming. They are not designed for full-time teaching or
permanent residence during the academic year, unless special arrangements are made with a co-sponsoring unit.
CAST will allocate additional funds for documentation and publication of the results of the residency.
Budgets will be developed for each individual recipient and will vary according to travel and project costs.
Nominators: MIT full-time faculty, instructional staff, or program directors.
Nominees: Visiting Artists with pre-existing collaborations with MIT faculty, departments, labs, or centers that would benefit from further development and longer duration. The pre-existing collaborative work need not have taken place at MIT, but the proposed continuation of the project must be based at MIT.
Criteria for Selection
- The artist must have previous experience or collaboration with MIT faculty, departments, labs, or centers (see eligibility).
- CAST is committed to equity of opportunity with regard to diversity, inclusion, and accessibility. The curatorial committee will ensure diverse representation in the nominations.
- The artist has the capacity to interact successfully with MIT in its role as a leading research university, not only with the Institute’s creative arts units, but also with faculty, students and researchers in science, engineering and emerging technologies, in ways that are mutually enlightening for the artist’s practice and for the MIT community.
- The artist’s practice engages concepts, themes, technologies, or materials that may be significantly enhanced by exposure to the research and innovation at MIT.
- The artist, faculty nominator, host department, lab or center, and CAST agree that it is feasible for the proposed project to be carried out successfully within the limits of available resources from all parties.
- The artist’s schedule can accommodate a significant commitment of time to the MIT residency, on a schedule that is mutually agreeable (typically, visits to MIT will occur while classes are in session, from September to early December and from February to May). Depending on where the artist is based, this usually means 2-8 visits, ranging from 2 days (if more frequent) to 2 weeks (if less frequent).
Nominations are reviewed by a small multidisciplinary committee composed of members who have previously worked on CAST projects, and at least one external curator or advisor. The committee will rank nominations and make final selections based on interviews, proposals, and determination of feasibility with sponsoring faculty and host departments, labs, or centers.
COVID-19 introduces uncertainties regarding planning, programming, and travel. CAST will work with applicants to creatively and flexibly address these uncertainties.
Nominations for 2023-24 Distinguished Visiting Artist Appointments are open.
Previously appointed CAST Distinguished Visiting Artists
2016-18 CAST Mellon Distinguished Visiting Artist
Cellist Maya Beiser premiered a new arrangement of David Bowie’s Blackstar by composer Evan Ziporyn in March 2017 and Stillness Moves in December 2017.
2017-18 Dasha Zhukova Distinguished Visiting Artist
Mexico City-based artist Pedro Reyes created Manufacturing Mischief, a puppet play that uses comedy to address political discourse and the dilemmas that Artificial Intelligence and late capitalism pose in the Anthropocene era.
2017-21 Dasha Zhukova Distinguished Visiting Artist
Contemporary artist Matthew Ritchie created a multi-part transmedia artwork, The Invisible College, revealing hidden narratives in the informational landscape of the MIT Campus.
2019–20 CAST Mellon Distinguished Visiting Artist
Acclaimed Irish actress, producer, and director Lisa Dwan developed her explorations of the intersection of text, live performance, and technology.
2022 CAST Mellon Distinguished Visiting Artist
Czech avant-garde violinist, singer, and composer Iva Bittová explores themes of space, nature, and survival with MIT students, ensembles, and faculty during her residency.