We run two residency programs to generate and produce innovative ideas in and around Palermo. 

Generative Residencies allow an artist, collective, activist, or thinker to familiarise themselves with Fondazione Studio Rizoma and Palermo and to develop a joint project idea on-site for approximately 2-4 weeks. 

Production Residencies build on the results of the generative residencies and enable the resident to return to Palermo for a more extended period to produce the devised project. 

Generative Residents will be invited and accompanied by the Rizoma team to meet people with relevant expertise or possible cooperation partners and to get to know the city of Palermo and the region of Sicily. Residents can arrive in Palermo with a concrete project to develop, or they can let the city guide them to develop one. Residents receive a per diem of €300 per week plus travel and accommodation.

Residents deal with issues and have developed practices that can be fruitfully connected with Palermo and the working focus of one of the Nodes of Rizoma. The generative phase of project development jointly makes a project tangible, fostering the opportunity for a longer-term collaboration with the resident. In this sense, the generative residency scheme also opens up the definition of Rizoma’s work program enabling participatory co-design.

Where deemed of mutual interest, and depending on the financial requirements and funding availability, residents may return to Palermo as Production Residents. In this case, they will be engaged in producing the generated idea, normally in collaboration with Rizoma and with local partners, they have identified during their first, generative stay. We place particular value in tandem or cooperation with Palermo-based individuals or groups. Production residencies are assessed and planned on a bespoke, individual basis, with a dedicated production budget additionally made available.

Residencies emerge organically out of the work and partnerships of Fondazione Studio Rizoma, and there is no advertised open call. However, if you have a specific idea in mind that would require a residential period in Palermo you are invited to get in touch by email and briefly present yourself, your idea, and your timescale in a one-page word attachment.

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Current and past residents

Eliza Collin

July 2022—Designer, UK

Eliza Collin

July 2022—Designer, UK
Contacts

Eliza Collin (Plymouth,1993) is a British designer and researcher. Her practice spans areas of ethnography, art, co-design, curation, and education. She develops bodies of research and methodologies focussing on new systems, perspectives and ways of relating to material, resources and the environment. Delivering design-led, third party projects from Cornwall to Kuching, she’s worked as a Project Manager and Community Director in the ongoing Palestine based cross-cultural collaboration Samak Bilab Bi Delo and been commissioned to develop research projects from Studio Rizoma (Sicily, 2020), LIPA festival (Makassar, 2020) and Narratives of Soil (Kuching, 2021) with architect Wendy Teo for the British Council to name a few. As well as being an active member of the United Matters collective she holds an MA in Material Futures from UAL Central Saint Martins.

She was first inspired by the accounts of Sicilian farmers on how deforestation and overuse have rendered the water cycle unpredictable. She collaborated with researchers in Ghana and Jersey to design the regenerative water recycling kitchen, Aqua Dentro (2021). This work on the displacement of water, its consumption and recycling, stemmed from a body of ethnographic research carried out in Sicily, highlighting the potential of design to affect human perception and in turn promote best practice. She accomplished this through international expert engagement and researching indigenous systems and technologies. She explored their potential for laying the foundations of advanced contemporary methodologies through the focus on challenging how we see water, how we understand it as a resource, how it moves through the land and is pulled into the cities, and how it is expected to be used and disposed of. The work challenged old inflexible and hierarchical systems and produced community projects providing strategic support, direction and navigation to achieve excellent, relevant and long-lasting outputs.

Since then she has been working on water-related projects within the government design team PolicyLab, collaborating on a rainwater harvesting system for the BlueCity Rainwater Hackathon (Rotterdam, 2022) and is currently in residence in Utrecht for Gemene Grond: Water is what we make it (Utrecht, 2022).

Lena Chen

September 2022—Artist, US/China

Lena Chen

September 2022—Artist, US/China
Contacts

Lena Chen is a Chinese American writer and artist creating performances and socially engaged art. A recipient of Mozilla Foundation’s 2022 Creative Media Award and “Best Emerging Talent” at the 2019 B3 Biennial of the Moving Image, her work has appeared at Transmediale, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Färgfabriken, Baltimore Museum of Art, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Sheffield DocFest, Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, among others.

She has been awarded grants and residencies from Sundance Institute, Millay Colony for the Arts, Burning Man Global Arts Fund, Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, Pittsburgh Foundation, and Arthur Boskamp Foundation. She has spoken at Oxford, Yale, Stanford, and SXSW. She is founder of Heal Her, an expressive arts initiative that supports survivors of gender-based violence.

Currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, she earned a B.A. in sociology from Harvard University and a M.F.A. from Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Art. 

Hervé Youmbi

June 2022—Artist, Cameroun

Hervé Youmbi

June 2022—Artist, Cameroun

Born in Bangui, Central African Republic, in 1973 and raised in neighbouring Cameroon, Hervé Youmbi studied art theory and developed an interest in installation art, which he later pursued, through both practice and research, in France at ESAD (Ecole Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs de Strasbourg). 

Youmbi often integrates traditional Cameroonian sculpture techniques within his installations and into performance and video. This allows him to juxtapose indigenous African art traditions with contemporary global art conventions, and destabilise what is regarded as “traditional” versus “contemporary.” Youmbi’s series Visages des Masques/Faces of Masks transgresses these established categories in several ways. His departure point is to insert mask forms that diverge from the Western stereotypes of “African Art” for this region of Cameroon into “traditional” Bamileke ritual performances, thus embodying them with efficacy and authenticity.

Youmbi’s Les Trônes Célestes is an installation of beaded caryatid thrones “traditional” for rulers of the Cameroon Grasslands, each seat of power supported by an animal traditionally symbolic of idealized leadership—except for the tortoise that Youmbi has slyly inserted here to suggest that the deliberate creature might epitomize better leadership than, say, the leopard, a stealthy killer. His series Totems to Haunt Our Dreams confronted how difficult it was for artists to travel and network within Africa, despite shared aspirations and similar subordination to commodification, which reflects the globalisation of capital that nevertheless serves to constrain African artists within parochial silos. 

Hervé Youmbi is a founding member of Cercle Kapsiki, a collective of five Cameroonian visual artists established in 1998. The K Factory, the collective’s home, based in New Bell, one of the poorest but also one of the most dynamic districts of Douala, is a flexible space, experimental and open to a wide range of collaborations.