Open Call Details

Image of ice from the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, Iceland, melting into the Atlantic Ocean after floating through Jökulsárlón. Image Credit: Claudia Schnugg

Earth Water Sky Residency

Open Call Type 
Open from 
29th October 2018, 9:00am CET to 7th January 2019, 5:00pm CET
Results by 
5th March
Climate Change
Hot and Cold

Earth Water Sky is Science Gallery Venice’s 3-year residency programme for artists interested in the environment and the latest in cutting edge environmental knowledge. Every year there will be an open call for artists from any art form – digital arts, painting, sculpture, dance, performance, music, multimedia, video, film, photography, writing, drawing – to apply for a 2 month fully funded residency in Venice. The winning artist/s will work with leading scientists from Ca’ Foscari University and the Veneto region.

In the first year of the competition, the winning artist will be working with Professor Carlo Barbante and his team at Ca’ Foscari who work on the international Ice Memory project. This extraordinary scientific endeavour is building a library of ice from non-polar regions which will be stored in Antarctica comprised of ice cores drilled from endangered glaciers all around the world. From the ice cores  and the air bubbles trapped in the ice which can be dated in some instances as far back as 18,000 BCE, scientists can reconstruct the Earth’s past climate and atmospheric composition. It is an invaluable record of climate change.

Next year, the Ice Memory project goes to several destinations for expeditions and field trips for their research. Amongst several destinations, the major expedition will be to Mount Kilimanjaro's glaciers which is the last ice left in the African continent. Other destinations are e.g. field trips to the Alps.

We are looking for an artist who is truly inspired by the Ice Memory project and can create imaginative, extraordinary new work which captures the public’s attention and their senses, minds and hearts.

See here for more information about the Ice Memory project.



What makes a good Science Gallery Venice open call proposal for the residency programme? We are especially looking for artists who propose an  imaginative new project connected with the Ice Memory and  that also matches Science Gallery Venice’s three core aims: to Connect, Participate, and Surprise.

Some tips for strong proposals:

  1. We love  artistic works that invite visitors to participate, create and discuss.
  2. Great projects bring together art and science, in a creative way. We  avoid science that is evaluating art or art that didactically illustrates science.
  3. Appeal to our core audience of 15-25-year olds is a factor in curatorial decisions
  4. Defying categories is good. For example, perhaps your piece is “a kind of a hybrid sculpture, event, installation-puzzle, with a crowdsourced edible citizen-science archive, plus a performance component that will portray a speculative future organism… .” We like stuff like this.
  5. However, a true connection to the Ice Memory project is a must. We encourage you to take a moment to consider whether your ideas  and interests fit before committing your valuable time and energy to the application.
  6. Collaborations are great! However, you will have to share the funding which is strictly limited. There will be no extra funding for additional collaborators although of course they are always welcome.



  • Quality of project idea and  work shown in portfolio
  • Quality of interest in  the theme of Earth Water Sky, the ideas of environmental science, and  the Science Gallery Venice mission
  • Quality of imagination and curiosity shown in the proposed project and work
  • Quality of  achievement in making ideas happen within budgets and practical constraints
  • Quality of originality of ideas and approach to  contributing something new and exciting to the arts/science field
  • Quality and ability to communicate and therefore become an ambassador for the Earth Water Sky residencies as well as be involved in any press, internal as well as public events connected with the residencies



The artist has a set fee for two months of 5000 Euros per month. In addition, all travel, accommodation and subsistence are covered for that period on a fixed budget, except for joining a field trip.

At the end of the residency, the artist will be invited to bid for a 26,000 Euro production budget to make an art work inspired by the Ice Memory project and  interactions with the scientists. This final work and the results will be exhibited at Science Gallery Venice and potentially elsewhere. As well as the Ice Memory team, the artist will work closely with the initiator of the project, the  Producer and Curator Ariane Koek who was the founder of the Arts at Cern programme and was Science Gallery Venice’s first director.



The Jury will comprise Claudia Schnugg Creative Director of Science Gallery Venice; the Earth Water Sky Residency programme’s producer/curator Ariane Koek; one representative from Fondation Didier et Martine Primat; Carlo Barbante or one of his team members as scientific representative from the Ice Memory Project at Ca’ Foscari University; and an external curator or artist who is an international specialist in the environmental arts field.

The Jury sessions will take place shortly after the end of the submission deadline. The selected artist will be informed immediately after the Jury decision has been reached. You should be reachable via e-mail by end of January/beginning of February  to provide further documents and to discuss further proceeding.

The Jury’s decision will be final, and the artist will be expected to take up their residency in 2019 any time between April-December. The residency may be split into a maximum of 4 parts if needed and only if agreed by the residency partners.


Have a question about this open call? Ask us below or contact



The Earth Water Sky residencies are generously supported by Fondation Didier et Martine Primat.

The Didier et Martine Primat Foundation is a swiss-based registered charity. Its purpose is to foster critical and creative thinking among adults and children from a very early age, whereby each one can enhance its individual capacity of discernment and reasoning and adopt more responsible societal choices and behaviors. To meet its objectives, the Fondation encourage scientists, scholars and artists and supports the programs of competent organizations to speak up and stand for a more sustainable and conscious ways of living for the present and future generations.


"At the end of the residency, the artist will be invited to bid for a 26,000 Euro production budget to make an art work inspired by the Ice Memory project and  interactions with the scientists. This final work and the results will be exhibited at Science Gallery Venice and potentially elsewhere."

The above text sounds like the 2 month residency is mroe about learning/working with the scientists. Do I apply with a specific project going in or is that done more at the end in the "bid"? Also, what type of facilties are avail;able for use during the residency period (ie: studio, equipment...)

Hi Mia -  You are quite right. The first step of the residency is basically research with the scientists, although you will be expected to give talks and/or workshops about work in progress. The second step is bidding to produce the work based to make a piece based on the two months research during the residency.

However for the application for the programme, we ask you to suggest a project so we get a sense of your imagination, interest and approach. We totally understand and accept that if you are selected, that the  project you apply with  is highly likely to change once you begin working and researching with the scientists. 

There are no equipment or  desiginated facilities available for use during the residency period.



During the residency, what  facilities might be be available (studio)? Is there any opportunity during the residency to tag along on a field trip and how is the funding for that handled? 

Hi Mia - You will see the answer to your question in the rest of the forum. Opportunities for participating in a field trip depend on timing, logistics and the quality of the relationship the artist builds with the scientists. Therefore a field trip is not guaranteed.  There is a fixed travel budget which may not cover the costs of a field trip. In which case, the artist could of course use their 5000/month fee to  fund it if they wished to.

Hello, Under the Budget for the Residency it states "the artist has a set fee for two months of 5000 Euros per month."  Is this paid to the artist, or is the artist paying 10000 Euros for participating in the residency?  Thank you for the clarification, the second statement about travel and accommodation being covered on a fixed budget made me unsure of which way the fee goes. Thank you.

Hi Kate

The artist is paid 5000 Euros per month. The artist may use this payment if they wish for additional trips or a studio for example which are not covered by the fixed travel and accomodation budget which is managed by the organisers.

There is a separate budget for the artists travel and accomodation which is fixed. 


Hello, I am interested in some clarification between the expectations of the artist resident during and after the residency period vs the opportunity to bid for a 26,000 Euro production budget. Is the artist expected to come out of the residency with a finished project? If so, is the production budget an opportunity to make a wholly different work? 

Additionally, what are the working conditions during the residency? Will the artist have a studio space? Or will it be mostly shadowing the Ice Memory scientists, with time for documentation and note-taking/sketches? Will the scientists have the freedom to collaborate with the artist, or will they need to focus on their specific tasks?

Thank you in advance!

Hi Amanda  - The artist is not expected to come out of the residency with a finished project. The production budget is to make a work inspired by the two months residency and research.

There is no designated studio space, but the artist could if they wished always hire a space if they wished using their 5000 Euros/month fee. Up to them how they use that.

Access is given to the Ice Memory project and the scientists. The  quality and tupe of collaboration and work is defined by the relationship the artist builds with the scientists.