We Only Want The Earth 2021 Residency Award 2

We Only Want the Earth Residency 2 Award

A4 Sounds in partnership with Fire Station Artists’ Studios and Community Action Tenants Union (CATU) Mountjoy-Dorset St & Phibsborough-Glasnevin invite applications from artists who are experiencing or have experienced homelessness – this could be any form of homelessness including living in emergency accommodation, living in hostels, sleeping rough, as well as sofa-surfing – for a 4-month residency award as part of the We Only Want the Earth 2021 programme. The award will run from March to July 2021. The award opportunity aims to support an artist based in Dublin to develop their arts practice.


About We Only Want the Earth

We are living through a time of sudden and unpredictable social change caused by interlinked issues of global warming, the collapse of the neoliberal order, a resurgence of violent misogyny and nationalism, growing inequality, housing and homelessness crises, and the growth of ecofascism. We Only Want the Earth is a 12-month programme of awards, exhibitions, and events that seeks to interrogate the goals and strategies of social change: what kind of society do we want and how should we get there?
More information about our programme here.

About the Award

A central aim of the We Only Want the Earth programme is to give material support and a platform to artists who are often silenced, or who are spoken about rather than listened to. As part of meeting this aim, this 4-month residency award will support an artist who is experiencing or who has previously experienced homelessness to a develop and exhibit a body of work, and will provide the selected artist with an opportunity to make contacts and identify resources that might help them to further develop their artistic practice.

Please note that the artist is free to work on any topic of their choosing; there is no requirement that the work deal with issues of homelessness.

Proposals must respond to the theme ‘We Only Want the Earth’.

What the award involves

The award includes

  • Free 24-hour access to studio space at A4 Sounds.
  • A monthly stipend of €900 towards materials and residency costs (Total €3,600).
  • Artist fees of €690 for exhibiting a body of work and artist talks
  • A dedicated website for outcomes and digital dissemination*
  • Access to a range of professional development, training and technical supports.
  • Access to the facilities at A4 Sounds, including personal and shared workspace, sculpture workshop, photography darkroom, printing suite and equipment.
  • Gallery space and a materials/exhibition budget of up to €1000 will be provided to support an exhibition or series of dissemination events during the last month of the residency.
  • Access to all A4 Sounds public workshops and courses for the duration of the residency.

Throughout the residency, advice and mentorship will be provided by A4 Sounds technicians and curators, a dedicated community engagement worker, and representatives from Fire Station Artists’ Studios (FSAS), Community Action Tenants Union (CATU), and consulting artist Kerry Guinan.

*This residency takes place in a timeframe which may experience changing restrictions and gallery closures due to the ongoing covid-19 pandemic. To ensure that the selected artist is supported to exhibition we will work with them to develop digital outcomes and an immersive website that will act as a standalone body of work in the case of gallery closures, and complementary to a physical exhibition if galleries remain open.

Please note: this residency does not include accommodation as part of the award.

Aims & Expectations of the Residency

The selected artist is expected to

  • Be available to work from the studio for the duration of the residency.
  • Participate in studio life and take full advantage of resources and learning opportunities available.
  • To disseminate their work in at least 2 ways.
  • We will work with the successful artist to document their progress and ask that aspects of the documentation be made available to A4 for use.

Please note: this residency carries a significant workload for the successful applicant and will require a full time commitment. We have included a schedule template with our application form to help you map your time and to ensure what you are proposing is feasible and manageable for you.

However, we do understand you may have additional work commitments to support your living costs. If you do, please keep these in mind when writing your proposal, and describe how you will balance those commitments and your studio time.

Who is eligible?

We invite applications from artists who are experiencing or who have experienced homelessness – this could be any form of homelessness including living in emergency accommodation, living in hostels, sleeping rough, as well as sofa-surfing – who are currently based in the Greater Dublin area.

Unfortunately due to unpredictable changes in restrictions due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are limiting applications to artists based in the greater Dublin area only for 2021.

What what types of proposals are we seeking?

We invite radical, risk taking, bold, mischievous and political proposals. This is a visual arts award, but we welcome proposals from artists with multidisciplinary approaches where the proposed outcomes can be disseminated in a visual ways.

We are keen to hear from artists who use a wide range of approaches to explore their ideas; including but not limited to: socially engaged, collaboration, protest, organizing, writing, sound, conversation, food, performance, video, media, sculpture, research, installation and print.

Please note that during the timeframe of this residency we may be affected by changing restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With this in mind, do consider how your proposal may work with possible changing restrictions.


Unfortunately, the A4 Sounds studio building is not fully accessible. The studio space and bathrooms are accessed via a flight of stairs which may provide difficulties for people with movement impairments. We understand that this may exclude some artists from applying for the award, and we apologise for this. We hope to source funding to make the building more accessible in future.

How to apply

To apply please:
1. Read in full about our programme here.
2. Complete the application form here.

Selection process

Selection will be made by a panel that includes representatives from A4 Sounds, Fire Station Artists’ Studios, Community Action Tenants Union (CATU) Mountjoy-Dorset St & Phibsborough-Glasnevin and our consulting artists. The open call will be advertised through usual visual arts channels as well as other networks such as through agencies who support people affected the homelessness crisis.

Applications will be accessed on the following criteria:

  1. How the proposal responds to the theme We Only Want the Earth
  2. Artistic quality of the proposed work
  3. Artistic quality of previous work
  4. Potential of the artist to develop their artistic practice and how the award will benefit the artist
  5. Feasibility of the proposed work within the timeframe of the award (3-4 months)

The Assessment Process and Timeframe

Proposals received are processed as follows:

  1. Proposals acknowledged by email
  2. Proposals checked for eligibility – all eligible proposals then progress to the assessment stage
  3. A selection panel reviews all proposals, associated materials, then scores and makes decisions
  4. Decisions are communicated in via email to applicants by Mar 12th
  5. Applicants may seek feedback on their applications for two weeks after receiving the panels’ decision.

About A4 Sounds & Our Partners

A4 Sounds

A4 Sounds is a non-profit artist-run workspace and gallery in north-inner-city Dublin. It is one of the biggest artist-led spaces in Ireland, currently providing facilities and professional development supports to 80 artists. Its mission is to transform the means by which cultural works are produced, accessed, and understood in Ireland, and by doing so to contribute to the development of a more just society. Guided by feminist, anti-racist, anti-capitalist, and LGBT-inclusive politics, A4 Sounds supports artists and activists who fight for change.

Fire Station Artists’ Studios

Located in north-east inner city Dublin, the Fire Station Artists’ Studios was established in 1993 to provide support for professional visual artists. Fire Station Artists’ Studios is a living and working environment where communities of professional practice, place and interest meet to develop art practices of quality and integrity. A key policy of the Fire Station is to contribute to the debate on collaborative and socially engaged arts practice, through processes that incorporate critique and commission . As an organisation they have a deep commitment to collaborative and socially-engaged practice that has developed sophisticated models of contextual art practice.

Community Action Tenants Union (CATU)

The idea of Community Action Tenants Union, CATU Ireland, is simple; a union for people outside of their workplaces. CATU want to take the basic ideas of membership, collective direct action, and grassroots democracy from where people work to where they live. CATU strongly believe that real power lies in the hands of ordinary people – tenants, communities, and workers – and change can only come when we act together. They want to facilitate all people to defend their communities and housing (as long as they don’t directly profit from the commodification of housing/communities). CATU is for renters, council tenants, mortgage holders, and those in emergency & precarious living situations. Their vision is of an organisation in cities and towns across this island, uniting communities in a coordinated struggle on issues we all share.

Consulting Artist for the residency: Kerry Guinan

Kerry Guinan is an artist, researcher, and curator exploring the relations of art, place, and capital in a neoliberal context. She is a graduate of Fine Art & Visual Culture at the National College of Art & Design, Ireland (2014) and is currently undertaking a Masters by Research to develop the practice of ‘relational socialist realism’ at the Limerick School of Art & Design, Ireland (2021). Guinan’s work involves interventions, social experiments, and performances in the contested public sphere. These have included the purchase of a gallery’s identity (126 ©Kerry Guinan, 2014), a performative candidacy in an Irish General Election (Liberate Art, 2016), and an intervention supported by the A4 Sounds Artist-in-Residence Programme, which led to the artist being questioned by Garda Síochána (the Irish police force) (Presenting the Cultural Quarter, 2017). Her research has included The Impact and Instrumentalisation of Art in the Dublin Property Market (2016), a monograph demonstrating art’s impact on Dublin property prices. As a whole Guinan’s work considers the unseen, oppressive implications of contemporary art practice, including the practices of socially engaged art. Guinan was awarded the Arts Council of Ireland’s Next Generation Award in 2018 and is Curator of TULCA Festival of Visual Arts: TACTICAL MAGIC in Galway, Ireland, 2019.

Data Protection
A4 Sounds acknowledges its responsibilty to safeguard the personal data of applicants to and beneficiaries of the residency award. Privacy and data protection rights are important to us and we are committed to protecting the privacy of individuals in relation to processing of personal data that we may seek, collect, and use or disclose. A4 Sounds will treat all personal information volunteered or sought with the highest standards of security and confidentiality, in accordance with data protection law and regulation and best practice approaches.

Data Management
A4 Sounds may seek, collect, and use or disclose personal information as part of its management of the We Only Want the Earth Awards. Information collected through the application process is used soley for the purpose of the management of the awards. Personal data will not be disclosed to any external third party, without consent, except where it is necessary to comply with statutory requirements. Application forms and supporting materials will be deleted after the selection process is complete.

We Only Want the Earth is kindly supported by The Arts Council’s Art Grant Funding 2021.