School of the Photographic Arts

The SPAO Residency
Apply for the 2019 SPAO Residency: Deadline December 7, 2018
One of the most unique residencies in North America

The School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa (SPAO) invites applications for the Artist in Residence for Photographers and Photo-Based Artists. This extended photographic mentorship and residency is one of the most unique residencies of its kind. This residency is designed for visual artists who have previously completed formal training in visual arts and/or lens-based media and are ready to intensely focus on an aspect of their existing career or on a specific upcoming project. As a self-directed residency, artists are afforded the time and environment needed to research, experiment, and produce an on-going body of work as a professional working artist. Through an extensive residency, we provide the physical space and regular mentorship consultation designed to meet the individual needs of our participants.

Residency Dates:

January 2019 – August 2019 (inclusive). Application deadline: December 7, 2018


Surrounded by an immersive photographic community, artists are given access to SPAO’s studio and multi-format darkroom for both silver gelatin and alternative printmaking. Industry standard lighting, inkjet printmaking facilities and a selection of 35mm film and digital, medium and large format film cameras are available.

*Please note: SPAO facilities will be available to residency participants according to facility availability. SPAO does not offer individual, permanent studio space.

SPAO’s Residency Coordinator and the Director of Education uphold SPAO’s creative and collaborative principles and extend our creative philosophy to our artists in residency.

SPAO’s Director of Education will lead a weekly group lab session for artists, and the Residency Coordinator will meet with artists individually on a weekly basis. These sessions will provide support, technical assistance, and facilitate networking opportunities with SPAO faculty, visiting artists, curators, and other arts professionals. Further mentorship assistance will be available to support residents in refining professional skills such as grant writing, artist statements, exhibition planning and artist talks.


The residency will culminate in an exhibition of the artist’s work, a public artist talk or in the production of a catalogue or photo book. Residents may also be invited to participate in SPAO’s instructional courses and programs. Participation may take the form of a guest lecture, contribution to photography critiques, or consultation with students, as is appropriate to the resident’s interests and objectives. SPAO invites each participant to donate a single artwork to our archive at the completion of their residency.

Professional Memberships

Residency participants will receive a one-year membership to the National Gallery of Canada, which houses the new Canadian Institute of Photography.

Research Resources

A wide range of Ottawa-based institutions offer rich photography collections and research resources, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Institute of Photography, Library and Archives Canada, the City of Ottawa Archives and Art Collection, and the Canada Council Art Bank.

Eligibility and Selection

Candidates should have completed formal training in the field of photography, visual arts or equivalent. SPAO welcomes all visual backgrounds, motivations and styles.

A selection committee consisting of arts professionals will evaluate the applications. The committee will base its selection on the artistic quality of the applicant’s work, the potential impact of the residency on the applicant’s career, and the contribution to the Ottawa and Canadian arts communities.

Residency Fee: $5500

In addition to the residency fee, participants are responsible for all costs associated with their stay such as living expenses, materials and supplies, including but not limited to photographic chemistry, printing, paper and any specific facilities fees.

Accommodations are not provided by SPAO.

Funding Opportunities

Applicants that demonstrate financial need are eligible for the Jason Michaels Memorial Bursary. For more information about this bursary, please email

Past participants in the residency have successfully received funding from granting bodies to help facilitate their residency.

How to Apply

After completing the Artist-in-Residence form on the website, please submit the remaining documents and images via email to (see below). The next deadline for applications is December 7, 2018; however, space is extremely limited and we encourage early applications.

1) Fill in the Artist-in-Residence form online:


2) Send remaining documents to via

  1. Artist Statement (PDF)
  2. CV/resume (PDF)
  3. 10 digital samples of work saved as .JPG, 72dpi, sized to 1200 pixels on the longest edge. Files should not be larger than 2MB.
  4. Images should be accompanied by an image list (PDF); provide the image number, title, medium, and date. Use this document to clarify image details.

IMAGE SAVING FORMAT EXAMPLE: 01_untitled_inkjet_print_2018.jpg

The School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa (SPAO) was established in 2005 as an alternative for study in the photographic visual arts offerings students an intensive, community-oriented and collaborative learning experience. SPAO’s Artist Residency has been put into practice in order to provide support and structure for working photo-based artists and photographers in the Ottawa area, and beyond.

For more information contact:

School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa

77 Pamilla St.
Ottawa, ON, K1S 3K7
tel: 613 562 3824


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