We Only Want the Earth Residency Award 4

We Only Want the Earth Artist Residency Award 4

A4 Sounds in partnership with Create: National Development Agency for Collaborative Arts and Movement of Asylum Seekers Ireland (MASI) invite applications from artists who are seeking or have sought international protection in Ireland, for a four-month residency award as part of the We Only Want the Earth 2021 programme. The residency will run from November 2021 to March 2022. The residency opportunity aims to support an artist based in Ireland 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 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 seeking or has sought international protection in Ireland, to 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 seeking international protection or the direct provision system.

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

What the award offers

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 Create: the national development agency for collaborative arts, and Movement of Asylum Seekers Ireland (MASI), and consulting artist Kate O’Shea.

*This residency may experience changing restrictions and gallery closures due to the ongoing covid-19 pandemic. To ensure that the selected artist is supported to exhibit 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.

Aims & Expectations of the residency

The selected artist is expected to

  • Be available to work from the studio for the duration of the residency. We understand that there are restrictions in place for artists living in direct provision. We will work with the successful artist to develop a manageable studio schedule.
  • Participate in studio life and take full advantage of resources and learning opportunities availble.
  • 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 seeking or have sought international protection in Ireland.

Unfortunately due to unpredictable changes in restrictions due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are limiting applications to artists based in Dublin and border counties; Louth, Meath, Kildare and Wicklow.

Due to the significant workload of the residency, artists who are currently in full-time undergraduate or post-graduate education cannot apply.

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 (approx 22 steps) 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.

The studio itself is private but shared with two other artists. It has LED lighting, a comfortable chair and is generally quiet, but at times there may be loud sounds leaking through the building from our workshop. Members of staff will be available on weekdays to offer in person support. If you have specific accessibility needs and are concerned about the suitability of the award please get in touch with us via residency@a4sounds.org and we will be happy to discuss with you.

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, Create, MASI 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 the campaign to end direct provision in Ireland.

Applications will be accessed on the following criteria:

  1. How the proposal responds to the theme We Only Want the Earth
  2. The artistic quality of the proposed work
  3. The 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 applications then progress to the next stage
  3. Eligible applications will be shortlisted.
  4. A selection panel reviews shortlisted proposals, associated materials, then scores and make decisions
  5. Decisions and feedback will be communicated via email to applicants by Oct 29th.

About A4 Sounds & Our Partners

A4 Sounds

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.

Create: National Development Agency for Collaborative Art

Create is the national development agency for collaborative arts in social and community contexts. Create supports artists across all artforms who work collaboratively with communities in different social and community contexts, be they communities of place or those brought together by interest. They seek to foster current and future potential for collaboration between artists and communities, encouraging art projects that reflect the exciting ways in which collaborative arts represent a complex range of ideas and approaches.  As a resource organisation we offer supports for artists working in social and community contexts. These include professional development, mentoring, project development support, commissioning and project opportunities as well as research and training. Create believes that by working together, artists and communities can purposefully explore how collaborative arts engage in distinct, relevant and powerful ways with the urgent social, cultural and political issues of our times.

Movement of Asylum Seekers Ireland (MASI)

MASI seeks justice, freedom and dignity for all asylum seekers. MASI is a platform for us as asylum seekers to join together in unity and purpose. MASI came together after the protests in the Direct Provision centres in 2014. They believe that speaking together in one voice, moving together in one direction, they are much stronger, their voices much louder and more difficult to ignore and dismiss. For them, MASI is a way to take back their power and demand freedom, justice and dignity for all asylum seekers. MASI demands an end to direct provision, the right to work and education, residency for all in the system, and an end to the brutal deportation regime.

Consulting Artist for the residency: Kate O’Shea

Kate O’ Shea is an artist with a social practice which includes printmaking, the production of ‘social spaces’ and publishing. Kate is currently co-producing Art Architecture Activism with Eve Olney in Cork. She recently published the book Durty Words with graphic designer Victoria Brunetta. Kate has just completed an MA by Research in Printmaking as a space for solidarity and dialogue at Limerick School of Art and Design. In 2009 Kate converted an old farmhouse and barn located outside of Kenmare, Co. Kerry into a ‘social space’, NomNom Café and Gallery. She ran this space for seven years. In its final year, NomNom Cafe culminated with NomShtock, an arts, music and well‐being festival that took place during the summer of 2014.Kate initiated and co-produced eight community events entitled ‘Volxkuche’ (The People’s Kitchen) at Sample Studios, Cork, between 2015 and 2017, and two community events entitled ‘The People’s Kitchen, Limerick’ after that. These events use food, conversation and performance as a platform for social solidarity. In 2018 Kate worked with poet Sarah Clancy to produce ‘Running the Gamut’, an anthology of creative writing from Galway and Lisdoonvarna funded by Amach LGBTQI and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. Kate regularly exhibits nationally and internationally. Most recently, she exhibited her large-scale print installation work in Bern, Switzerland.
Website: Kate O’Shea

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.