Residency Unlimited

New York City Safe Haven Residency

Led by, Artistic Freedom Initiative, Residency Unlimited and Westbeth Artists Housing, the New York City Safe Haven Prototype is a multi-organizational artist residency program launched in 2018 designed to house, integrate and nurture artists at risk. These are artists who are persecuted on the basis of political affiliations, ethnic, locational, religious, and/or gender-based persecution; forcibly displaced; artists who need a respite from dangerous situations; or artists from countries experiencing active, violent conflict.

No single institution or service provider can fully encompass the complex responsibilities that come with supporting an individual at risk, particularly when geographical, political, cultural and temporal challenges create complex situations where artists working on the frontlines of social change are subject to multiple, intersecting forms of repression. In response to those challenges, the NYC Safe Haven Prototype was formed over several years of informal case management. It is a composite group of organizations that are experienced and well-positioned to apply a unique skillset and collectively respond to the intersecting needs of persecuted artists, including: housing, medical care, psychosocial support, immigration and legal services, professional development and community engagement.

The objective of the New York City Safe Haven Prototype is to activate up to six safe haven residency apartments within the Westbeth Artist Community over the coming three years. Located in Manhattan’s West Village, the Westbeth is a non-profit housing complex that provides affordable live-work space to New York City’s artists. Each residence will be developed in partnership with an organization working towards free expression in the social justice and human rights contexts, including:, Artistic Freedom Initiative (AFI), Residency Unlimited (RU), International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) and PEN’s Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) to start.

List of participating artists and related programs since 2018:

2017: Hadi Nasiri (Iran)

2018: Rashwan Abdelbaki (Syria)

2019: Khaled Barakeh (Syria)

September 19, 2019, Panel: Artist Safety Hosting, A Discussion on Practice: Presentation of a hosting guide that offers reflections on the rise of artist safety hosting and the best practices for its use in New York City and elsewhere. Speakers: Tania Bruguera, Laura Raicovich, Prerana Reddy and others.

2020: Faten Gaddes (Tunisia)

2021-2022: Nazanin Noroozi (Iran)

2022-2023: Alejandro De La Guerra (Nicaragua)

This program benefit from the support of The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Wilhelm Family Foundation. 


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