Goethe Residencies

Photo of a child in a film workshop © Goethe-Institut Toronto

Goethe-Institut Toronto Residencies

The Goethe-Institut Toronto is proud of its diverse artistic residency programs, which offer the opportunity for visiting artists, filmmakers, writers and thinkers to connect with Canadian visionaries and organisations and to develop, produce and present work internationally. Thematically driven and in collaboration with partner organizations, past and ongoing residencies have offered valuable support for practitioners in the fields of film, visual and media arts, photography, fiction and non-fiction writing.

The Goethe-Institut Toronto’s residency programs have proven to be an ongoing and lasting hub for emerging talents and mid-career artists, several of which have gone on to great success in their fields. A few exceptional past participants have included writer Lena Gorelik, whose recent novels have found great international acclaim and a German Book Award nomination, and artist duo Nina Fischer & Maron el Sani, winners at the Rotterdam International Film Festival 2019.

“A unique concept, light-handedly organized, which offered me the most enjoyable teaching situation I have had so far.”

Berlin artist Nina Könneman, who participated in the Goethe-Institut Toronto’s InterMedia Artist Residency in 2013, praised her residency experience, valuing its “unique concept and light-handed coordination, which offered me the most enjoyable teaching situation I have had so far.” The residency, a rare and meaningful case of inter-institutional collaboration between the Ontario College of Art and Design and the University of Toronto initiatied by the Goethe-Institut, included a contextualising series of public events, including a screening, an artist talk, and hotel room-based surveillance project with graduate students.

Creating lasting contacts with the local community

One of the Goethe-Institut’s most successful partnerships has been with the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto, who have hosted a visiting artist every two years since 2012. "The Goethe Institut's support of LIFT's Filmmaker-in-Residence program has enabled us to support some very exciting projects over the last few years,” says LIFT Executive Director Chris Kennedy. “The six artists who have joined us to date have made beautiful films out of the residency and created lasting contacts with the Toronto community -- opening up a strong dialogue between the Toronto and German film communities." The results of the program have screened from Ann Arbor to Oberhausen festivals. Kennedy and Goethe-Institut Toronto Program Curator Jutta Brendemühl, who abjudicate the residency, are looking forward to 2021 and seeing the realization of Benjamin and Stefan Ramirez Pérez’ latest project, about and with Canadian author Lynn Crosbie, coming out of their 2018 Toronto stay.
“I like to approach all of our residency projects as ‘engagement residencies’ – and by that I mean open, critical, forward-looking engagement with people, places, and ideas. It’s intentionally vague (and risky), everyone involved needs patience and faith. For us, it’s not about a ‘product’ or (re)presentation; it’s also never just about an artist’s process --although I will never forget standing next to Dagie Brundert, developing super 8 with coffee grounds; or literally colouring 16mm film strips with a sharpie under Anja Dornieden’s guidance. The heart and huge overall success of our residencies has been to carefully choose a resident who shares our belief in engagement --with other artists, youths, students, diverse communities, as well as our culturally curious audiences-- and then to trust that artist to surprise us, do their own thing, teach & learn, and in the end to expand a residency’s footprint further than we as framers could ever map it out,” comments Jutta Brendemühl on the Goethe-Institut’s long-term development strategy for their residency programs.

From Canada to Germany and back

In addition to hosting visiting talents from Germany in Canada, the Goethe-Institut Toronto has been able to support residencies and other opportunities for Canadians to engage with culture in Germany first hand and filter their experiences back into the Canadian ecology. Such past participants have included Lauren Howes, Executive Director of the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre, who undertook the Living Archive residency at Arsenal Film in Berlin in 2013.
The Goethe-Institut Toronto is pleased to have launched and programmed residencies across the country and across disciplines, including writing residencies in Vancouver, in partnership with the University of British Columbia, and a major planned new residency with European and Canadian arts partners in Toronto. With its thematically- and innovation-driven residencies, the Goethe-Institut Toronto is able to respond to the most immediate concerns in the realms of film, art, literature, and more, working with exceptional partners to support both emerging and established talents realize a collaborative practice, embed themselves in new aesthetic contexts and build lasting global cultural networks to further their work and Canadian audiences’ experiences of it.