Research Residency for Artists

We invite local artists and designers working in any medium to apply for the 2023 RISD Museum Research Residency for Artists (previously known as the RISD Museum Artist Fellowship). This opportunity combines expansive research methods, artistic practice, and an openness to experimentation within the context of an arts institution. One selected artist will receive a stipend of $10,000, professional development support, and the opportunity to work closely with Museum collections and staff.

Please note: housing and/or studio space is not provided.


The research residency, which will run from January–December 2023, is intended to provide the artist with resources to deepen their creative interests and their relationship to artistic research. Through providing meaningful access to the Museum’s collections and staff, our hope is that this opportunity will:

  • Inspire growth and innovation in the artist’s practice and research;
  • Activate the Museum’s collections in new and artist-led ways;
  • Build the artist’s insight into museum practices and institutional settings;
  • Foster dialogue between the artist and museum staff that will shape the museum’s approach to supporting artists and designers in the future.

We envision that the resident artist will carry out work which may include, but is not limited to:

  • Investigating Museum collections, with support and mentorship from curatorial staff, conservators, and educators;
  • Conducting research that benefits their personal practice and delves deeply into ideas, materials, and processes;
  • Engaging with museum practices through open invitations to participate in staff meetings, projects, and activities that help build a diverse and inclusive creative community.

Additionally, the artist may choose, but is not required, to create artwork or public programming as part of their research residency.


Research can take many forms and be experimental in nature. As such, the goals and expectations of the Research Residency are loosely defined by design; previous years of the residency have proven that an open-ended structure can create opportunities for organic shifts in perspectives between the artist, museum staff, and audiences. Our hope is that the artist can feel empowered to shape the focus and trajectory of their experience

Logistically, we envision that the resident artist will:

  • Allot approximately 16 hours per month of residency-related work. Time dedicated to the residency can fluctuate throughout the year depending on the artist’s external work and commitments; schedules and timelines can be developed in collaboration with museum staff.
  • Spend a significant amount of those hours in-person at the RISD Museum building, unless accessibility or mobility needs require otherwise.

In addition to a $10,000 stipend, the artist will receive:

  • Access to research resources, including the RISD Museum Collections and RISD Fleet Library;
  • Opportunities for mentorship from RISD Museum staff;
  • Ability to attend select RISD Continuing Education courses;
  • Artist-related professional development; and
  • Opportunities to share their creative process with RISD Museum audiences.
  • Additionally, a modest project budget is available should the artist choose to create a project, artwork, or public program as part of their research.


  • Applicants must be local, residing in the Providence metropolitan area for at least one year prior to the application deadline.
  • Artists and designers working in any medium are eligible to apply.
  • Applicants must be 18+ years of age.
  • Applicants should be able to articulate a critical shift, transition, and/or change in their practice. This could mean an emerging artist establishing their practice or an established artist at a significant moment of creative or professional development.
  • Applicants should be interested in infusing their creative practice with research, and in exploring objects from varied times and cultures.
  • Applicants may not be enrolled in a degree-seeking program, either part-time or full-time, at an institution of higher learning at the time of the application deadline or during the year of the residency. Because RISD employees already have access to many of the resources provided by this residency, they are not eligible for this program. RISD CE Certificate Students are eligible to apply.

Selection Process

A panel of Museum staff and arts professionals will review applications and conduct interviews with a selection of candidates.  For 2023 the committee is:
Christina Alderman, Director, Family & Teen Programs, RISD Museum
Chenoa Baker, independent curator and writer
Kate Irvin, Curator, Costume & Textiles, RISD Museum

Important Dates

Application period opens: November 1, 2022 
Optional VIRTUAL office hours available during the day on Tuesday, November 29. Applicants may sign up for 20 min. time slots to virtually ask questions of museum staff before submitting their application. Sign up for a time slot in this link.

Application deadline: November 30, 2022, 11:59 pm
Interviews for finalists: Weeks of December 12 and 19, 2022
Notifications: Early January 2023
Start date: January 30, 2023
End date: December 31, 2023

To Apply

Applicants are invited to respond to Questions 1, 2, & 3 either written or orally via audio file. Audio files accepted: mp3, wav, m4a. These responses should be 1 1/2 to 3 minutes or less in length. Selection committee members will listen only to the maximum time limit.

  1. Share what has been crucial to your development as an artist. (maximum 400 words or 2 ½ -3 min audio file) 
  2. Share how the research residency might impact your work and career in 2023 with a focus on a shift, transitions, or changes at this time. (maximum 400 words or 2 ½ -3 min audio file) 
  3. If you had unlimited resources and no restrictions, what would you want to do in/to/with the RISD Museum for 24 hours? (maximum 400 words or 2 ½ -3 min audio file)
  4. Identify your interest and curiosity in different types of museum work. (Select up to 3 types with option for additional comment)
    • Object research and provenance 
    • Public programming and teaching
    • Writing articles for publications
    • Optional space to comment on your interests. 
  5. Resume (two pages maximum. .pdf)
  6. Portfolio of 5-10 representative images or samples of your artwork from the past 5 years, with a numbered list including title, date, materials, and dimensions. These samples may include up to 5 audio and/or video files that are no longer than 10 minutes each. If the work was a collaboration, please list the names of all collaborators. (File formats - pdf; .gif, .jpg, .png, .tif; .m4a, .mp3, .wav; .avi, .mov, .mp4)

Apply here


Goals & Expectations

Will I get a studio or an office?
The museum can offer a shared workspace. This can be scheduled for computer-based research during public hours. Housing and/or studio space is not provided.

What do you mean by research? Do I have to write papers?
Research can take many forms, and no, we don’t expect research papers. We envision artists engaging in research that benefits their personal practice; delves deeply into ideas, materials, and processes; and can be shared with the public through the RISD Museum. Your research could be made evident through its impact on your work, the ways you formulate ideas, and other approaches we haven’t imagined.

I’m shy. What kind of public engagement might you expect from me?
Public engagement is optional, although it is encouraged and supported. Any type of sharing should be true to the artist and their practice. Formats for sharing could include a short demonstration, a low-key sharing of works in process, a talk, interview, performance, interactive program, or digital project.

Do I have to spend the money I receive in a specific way?
There are no specific parameters for how you spend the stipend. We are interested in how this funding will support you and your work.

How can I tell what objects are in your collection?
You can browse our entire collection at You can explore works not on view, past exhibitions, objects without images, and more. If you have questions that are not answered through online research, consider attending one of the scheduled office hours listed above, or feel free to contact

What hours will I have access to the RISD Museum, and how frequently am I expected to visit?
You are welcome at the Museum during all public hours as often as you like. Meetings with staff and use of resources will be by appointment during working hours. The schedule can be set and changed by you throughout the year. We envision the artist will allot approximately 16 hours per month to residency-related work.


Can academics apply?
This research residency is intended for individuals who consider themselves artists or designers first and foremost. RISD faculty and staff are not eligible for this opportunity.

Will you give preference to RISD alumni?
We consider all applicants equally, regardless of whether they attended RISD.

I work collaboratively. Can two or more people apply together, as a group?
You may apply as a group if collaboration or collective work is central to your creative practice and you and your fellow group members have a history of successfully working together. If you plan to apply collaboratively, please be sure to describe/demonstrate how your collective has a sustained practice together, to include resumes from all members, and to address how this opportunity would benefit all parties of your group.

Application Process

What are audio responses?
A few questions offer audio response options for applicants who are more comfortable communicating their ideas through speaking. The application indicates which questions can be answered by uploading an audio file. Audio files accepted include mp3, wav, m4a. 

Do I have to submit both audio and written responses to the questions in the application?
Applicants are welcome to respond through writing OR speaking per question. You can choose which option works best for you per question, meaning you are welcome to write an answer for one question and submit an audio file for another question. Please note audio recordings will be reviewed up to the maximum time limit only. 

How do I make an audio file? 
Many smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers have built-in audio recording capabilities which vary depending on the device. There are also third-party audio recording apps available. We recommend searching online for your specific device’s instructions. Audio files accepted include mp3, wav, m4a. Please note audio recordings will be reviewed up to the maximum time limit only.

What is your review process?
Following an internal review, selected candidates will be invited for an interview. All applicants will be notified of decisions in early January.

Museum Resources

What are examples of RISD resources I would be able to access?
The artist will have access to a range of resources at RISD, including support from Museum staff. Additionally, there is access to RISD’s Fleet Library, Nature Lab, and the ability to take select RISD Continuing Education courses during the year.

Will I get a RISD Museum ID?
Yes, you will be provided with a RISD Museum ID, giving you access to the RISD Museum and RISD Library and a 10% discount at the RISD Store. This ID will also get you reciprocal free admission to most museums nationally.

Will I have a solo show? Will I have my work acquired by the RISD Museum?
The parameters of the research residency do not include the Museum’s exhibition or acquisition of works. This program is focused on supporting the development of artistic processes.

Will I get a parking spot?
There is no reserved parking, however there are several nearby parking options available at a discount to those visiting the RISD Museum. Public transportation to the RISD Museum is also available.

Are there other opportunities for artists and designers?
Yes, the RISD Museum offers programs focused on critical and creative thinking and making. Check the calendar for professional development programs for artists and designers as well as public programs for all audiences. The Museum also offers artist memberships, which are free for Rhode Island artists; benefits include admission to the Museum for one year, discounts for RISD Store purchases and Continuing Education classes, and more.

Can I still do object-based research in your collection, even if I don’t apply or don’t receive the residency?
Yes! See the question above to learn more about how to browse our collection online, and take advantage of free membership for Rhode Island-based artists to visit the galleries any time, at no charge. Interested in public programming? Submit a proposal here.

For further questions or inquiries, please contact

Apply here

RISD Museum is supported by a grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, through an appropriation by the Rhode Island General Assembly and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and with the generous partnership of the Rhode Island School of Design, its Board of Trustees, and Museum Governors.