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Thread Residencies 2016

Thread, Sinthian, Senegal

Thread Residencies 2016

 “What counts here—first and last—is not so-called knowledge of so-called facts, but vision—seeing. Seeing here implies Schauen (as in Weltanschauung) and is coupled with fantasy, with imagination.” Josef Albers, Interaction of Color

Thread accepts applications from artists and writers of any medium or style. Residencies will last at least 4 weeks with the specific duration determined on a case-by-case basis. There will be two artists in residence at a time.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Thread covers the following expenses for all resident artists:
–    Food and Board
–    All travel within Senegal (from arrival to departure).
–    A modest materials budget (further funding can be discussed with the Director)

Travel to Senegal can be arranged with the help of Thread’s team. Whether this means our sponsorship of travel grants, or other third-party funding.

It has always been our belief that the residency should be available to artists of any medium, and any attitude towards the role that art can or should play in people’s lives. People often assume that all artists coming to Thread will have a highly specific project in mind that involves the community there. This is not the case. The residency is a sponsorship of artists to spend time in Sinthian, not to create a certain kind of project or have a certain kind of impact. That said, we believe it is necessary for all residents to have a desire to engage in some way with the Sinthian community, whether that be through their artwork, their workshops, or a form of exchange we haven’t thought of. There are ongoing workshops at Thread that artists will feel free to engage in, and our General Manager is on hand to help execute any workshops or projects designed by visiting artists that involve the Sinthian community.

Contexts and Conditions

Those applying should be aware that French and Pulaar (along with a few other West African dialects) are spoken in Sinthian. While Moussa Sene, who will be available at most times, is fluent in English, very few other Sinthian residents speak English. See below for our view on language proficiency.

Applicants should also be aware of the climate in Sinthian. The months of residency during Sinthian’s dry season (November – May), depending on the time of year, temperatures can get very high (near to 115° Fahrenheit). It is a dry heat, but it is certainly very hot. In the rainy season (July – October), it rains tumultuously but briefly most days, riveting to behold but a challenge too.

Finally, Sinthian is a remote village. If arriving in Dakar, artists will be driven the seven hours to the Tambacounda region and to Sinthian, which is one hour from the nearest city. This isolation is one of the great luxuries of Thread, and while residents will have the opportunity to go to town for supplies, cell phone service, and internet whenever they need to, Thread is not the residency for those that need to stay “in-touch” at all times.

For this reason, please provide a brief statement about whether the language barrier, heat, or remoteness will be an issue for you, or any plans you may have to ameliorate these conditions.


Each residence contains a bedroom, bathroom, kitchenette, and private indoor studio space. This is in addition to outdoor studio space, and the main, public area of the building.

There is plumbing and electricity in each residence, though these utilities should be used modestly. The building is designed using local techniques to create airflow and natural air conditioning.

The studios are blank spaces upon artists’ arrival, though some materials or furniture may be provided on a case by case basis.

Applicant Criteria

This residency enables artists to spend time in Sinthian for reasons of their own choosing, in regard both to their own work and their engagement with the local community.  We are looking above all for enthusiastic artists open to new ideas and perspectives; they need not have a highly specific project in mind that involves the community there. Time at Thread is available to artists of any medium, nationality, or ethnicity, with far-ranging attitudes towards the role that art can or should play in the world. The primary requisite, rather, is the openness implicit in Josef Albers’s statement above where Albers specifies that “Schauen” (to see) is the specific seeing that incorporates a deep consideration of the world;” “Weltanschauung” or “world view”.

We have left the programming of Thread open so that it can be adapted to needs as they arise. We want the people of Sinthian to be in control of how their cultural center functions, and greatly look forward to collaborating with them on adjusting the artistic program so that it palpably enhances their lives.

A note on Language

When considering whether French language proficiency or knowledge of local African tongues should be a requirement for artists, we recalled that when Josef Albers was invited to and arrived at Black Mountain College in 1933, he did not yet speak English. He nonetheless managed to  revolutionize art education in America and worldwide. A willingness to expand one’s personal frontiers in possibly daunting circumstances helped infuse both of the Alberses’ work with its vitality and strength. Willpower and energy, more than a mastery of the local tongue, are what counts for great artists to advance in their own work and have an impact on others.


Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Currently, the first available residencies begin in February, 2016

Please provide:

•Approximately 10 images (or 3 videos) of your work, including most recent work.


•Artist Statement

•Statement of Intention (your plans for potential projects or pieces, objectives during the residency, and/or expectations for your relationship to the Sinthian community while there)

•Desired dates for residency

•Two references, and/or statement on relevant previous endeavors

•Link to website, if applicable



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