Residence NRW⁺ is a fellowship programme launched in 2020 to support especially gifted emerging talents from the field of contemporary visual arts. The programme is associated with the Kunsthalle Münster and aimed at visual artists and curators with ties to the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia, as well as curators from Switzerland. Built on four programmatic core elements – dialogue, practice, mentoring and networking – Residence NRW⁺ offers optimum conditions for further developing each person’s potential in their respective fields of work. The bedrock of the programme are the residency fellowships that for over 40 years have been awarded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Kunststiftung NRW, as well as, since 2020, by Pro Helvetia, the Swiss Arts Council.
Each year Residence NRW⁺ awards four 12-month fellowships to visual artists, as well as four 6-month fellowships to curators. Amounting to 1,700 Euro per month (1,500 Euros living, 200 Euros support production costs), the stipends for artists are supported in equal parts by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Kunststiftung NRW. Amounting to 1,500 Euro per month, the stipends for curators are supported by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and Pro Helvetia, the Swiss Arts Council. The City of Münster provides the infrastructure as well as the for scholarship holders to live and work together in the residence: here, each artist is given an individual work space with a separate bedroom. The curators each have a living respectifly bedroom and a shared office. All rooms have basic functional furniture and are equipped with their own bathroom. Kitchen and living room facilities are shared. The specially renovated property of the fellowship programme is located in the former Heerde-Kolleg at the Hoppengarten, a cultural area of the city of Münster, which forms a central and prominent production site for Münster's art and culture scene, where local, national and international creative artists meet. In addition to the fellowship programme, it hosts several artist’s studios as well as the accomodation and rehearsal stages of the Theater im Pumpenhaus.
The grant is not dependent on a concrete project proposal. Rather, the shared facilities for living and working made available to the six fellows – four artists and two curators at any one time – offer the possibility of intensive interaction within the group. For twelve (respectively six) months the residency fellowship creates an environment conducive to concentrated reflection on and consolidation of one’s own practice, to refining approaches or exploring new avenues. Flanking this, Residence NRW⁺ offers guidance by a professional with many years of experience in the field of promoting emerging artists. If required, this person can be consulted in all questions relating to practice and content. Such issues might include advice on formulating and submitting applications, preparing exhibitions, studio visits, accompanying measures for projects by curators and artists that are to be implemented within the programme. Excursions, workshops and roundtables with limited numbers of participants offer opportunities for networking.
In addition, the programme is distinguished by its close relevance to practice. The artists exhibit at the end of their fellowship in an institution in North Rhine-Westphalia. The two curators who are concurrently present work in tandem and will, in general, jointly carry out two projects in different partner venues throughout the NRW region. Previous associated locations for Residence NRW⁺ were Kunsthaus NRW Kornelimünster in Aachen, Marta Herford, Museum Kurhaus Kleve, as well as the joint project space of Westfälischer Kunstverein and LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur in Münster.
A further special feature of the programme is that this mentoring can, if needed, be prolonged beyond the period of the fellowship. Guidance and mentoring are a unique feature of Residence NRW⁺, the outcome of many years of project work at the Schloss Ringenberg art-in-residence centre. Here, over the years between 2001 and 2018, a practice-based programme for artists – and from 2009 on, Germany’s first residence programme for curators – was gradually developed and tested. The long-standing experience and established networks (of former fellows holders and collaborations) have been channelled into Residence NRW⁺.
As a residence centre, Münster offers artists and cultural producers wide-ranging opportunities for individual development. With the University of Fine Arts Münster, various artist studio complexes, as well as the Kunsthalle Münster, the Westfälischer Kunstverein and the LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur, the city boasts an array of renowned places of production and presentation where contemporary art of the highest calibre is shown, the latest currents in present-day culture are discussed and which foster dialogue with a broad audience. Münster is also host to works by artists such as Daniel Buren, Martin Boyce, Claes Oldenburg, Donald Judd, Hans Peter Feldmann, Jenny Holzer, Rebecca Horn, Ilya Kabakov, Per Kirkeby, Maria Nordman, Susan Philipsz, Rosemarie Trockel, Oscar Tuazon and Silke Wagner, in addition to one of the foremost collections of art in public space worldwide. Having grown over many years, a large part of this collection has come about through Skulptur Projekte, which since its launch in 1977 has been held in Münster every ten years.
Responsible for the conception and thematic implementation of the fellowship programme is Marcus Lütkemeyer who has been working in the field of promoting young artists and curators in NRW and the Netherlands since 2001. In addition, the programme is accompanied by the director of the Kunsthalle Münster, Merle Radtke, and the team at the Kunsthalle Münster.