The Bag Factory is a professional artist studio space, located on the border of the vibrant suburbs of Fordsburg and Newtown in Johannesburg. We have been operating for almost 30 years and have a stable community of artists from a wide variety of backgrounds. The studio space and its community strive for an open, non-hierarchical creative environment that promotes exchange and experimentation. Visual artists from all over the world have come to the Bag Factory to work alongside our talented artists and to meet, work, and grow within and experience the vibrant visual arts scene of Johannesburg. As the economic capital of South Africa, Johannesburg has one of the busiest visual-art hubs in Africa. Apart from averaging three gallery openings a week, the city is filled with the bustle and momentum that infects artists and audiences alike.
The Bag Factory offers up to eight visiting artist residencies and four visiting curator residencies per year, that are open to early and mid-career visual artists and curators, located anywhere in the world. This is a partially funded programme, dependent on international partnerships and access to funding. Unless otherwise specified, participants must be able to cover their own travel expenses, visa and health insurance costs.
We do not accept unsolicited applications for this programme and ask that you keep an eye on our Opportunities page and apply when a call for applications is opened.
Should your application be successful, you will participate in a three-month programme working at the Bag Factory in Newtown, Johannesburg. You will get to know the resident artists at the Bag Factory, the city of Johannesburg and something about the art world in South Africa. Artists should not expect to profit financially from their stay in South Africa, as this is a cultural development programme.
VISITING ARTIST RESIDENCIES
As a visiting artist you will be expected to
- spend the majority of your stay working at the Bag Factory, interacting with Bag Factory and local artists, and experiencing the city
- produce new works that will be exhibited at the Bag Factory in an Open Studio event
- stay for the full period (three months)
- complete a written report on your visit
- donate one of your artworks created during the residency to the Bag Factory, which will be used by the organization to ensure its sustainability.
VISITING CURATOR RESIDENCIES
The Bag Factory’s curatorial residency programme was formalised in 2019 as the first international curatorial residency programme in South Africa. The programme provides emerging to mid-career curators with the opportunity to research, network, and interact with Bag Factory artists, as well as other local artists, curators and creative professionals.
Should your application be successful, you will participate in a one to three-month programme working at the Bag Factory. The selected participant will have the opportunity to research, develop and realise a curatorial project such as an exhibition, talks programme, or series of outreach events.
SELF-FUNDED ARTIST IN RESIDENCE PROGRAMME
The Bag Factory Artists’ Studios now offers a self-funded Artist in Residence programme. Artists from all over the world have come to the Bag Factory to work alongside our talented artists and to meet, work, and grow within South Africa’s economic capital.
This package offers preferential space for professional artists who are able to finance their self-directed studio residency at the Bag Factory for two or more months. The price for this residency starts at R7500 (approximately US$500 at current exchange rate) per month. This includes studio space at the Bag Factory and a facilitation of your stay whilst in the city. The artist is expected to cover all other expenses including flights, visas, health insurance, local travel, meals and subsistence, as well as their own accommodation. There is an additional R2500 ($150) for an open studio event at the end of the residency.
We do not accept unsolicited applications for this programme and ask that you keep an eye on our Opportunities page and apply when a call for applications is opened. To request more information, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
About our Studios:
Our visiting artist studios measure approximately 23m². The studios have good natural light during the day and LED tube lighting.
Studios are strictly non-residential and are accessible 7 days a week.
There is WiFi access and artists have access to all communal facilities in the building including a shared kitchen.
We are located on the border of the vibrant suburbs of Newtown and Fordsburg, next to the Oriental Plaza and close to Newtown Junction. Our local area is renowned for being a multi-ethnic area, and a major centre of Indian and Pakistani culture, with a large number of halal restaurants to choose from. We are in walking distance to other cultural spaces such as the Market Photo Workshop, Market Theatre, Museum Africa, Worker’s Museum, and Artist Proof Studio.
*Please keep in mind that the Bag Factory building is an old converted factory warehouse. We do not have good insulation and temperatures in the studios can be extremely cold in winter and hot in summer. We are unable to provide effective heating/cooling as the building has high ceilings and the studios are partitioned with drywalling that does not go all the way to the ceiling.