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The Art of Stillness Residency

Reflecting on artistic practice in an accelerated world

Program archived

Program Information

The Art of Stillness residency

A selection of surreal landscape photography from w.i.p. [work/witt] in progress by Jessica Wittman.


Explore what internationally renowned writer, thinker and residency faculty Pico Iyer calls ‘the art of stillness.’ This interdisciplinary residency provides writers, visual artists, dancers and musicians the opportunity to work with expert faculty whose work explores stillness and its relationship to the creative process, while also providing the time to slow down, reclaim mind space and hone their practice. 

We live in a world of constant motion: individual and collective relocation and dislocation, changing political movements, and the acceleration of information and data in a digital age. In this residency, participants will engage across disciplines on what this increased speed of life means for practicing artists and what value we can gain in slowing down.

Step away from the pace of everyday life and discover what insights may be gained from being grounded firmly in physical location and rooted in the present moment. 

What does the program offer?

Artists will attend seminars, workshops, a public summit, and experiential activities including slow walks and daily meditative practice. They will have the opportunity to consult with all faculty members (regardless of discipline) on their practice and the direction of their work. There will be time for reflection, contemplation, and exploration of artistic practice and the surrounding landscape. Creative projects that are large in scope with a specific focus on production will not be achievable during the program, please inquire about self-directed residency options.

Who should apply?

Artists who are exploring what it means to decelerate in an accelerated world and/or are seeking the time and space to reflect on their practice, work on a specific project, overcome an artistic hurdle, or learn how to better integrate aspects of stillness into their daily lives should apply for this residency. We welcome applications from Canadian and international artists at all levels. Participants are expected to attend all seminars and be open to engage with faculty and participants across all disciplinary backgrounds. 

Visual artists and curators should have an exhibition/publication record, received formal training in visual arts, or equivalent experience and recognition from their peers. 

Writers will normally, but not necessarily, have published a body of work (in book-length form or substantial publication in magazines and/or anthologies). Writers with less experience may be accepted to the program based on merit, the proposed project and writing skill. 

Musicians will have the opportunity to delve into a personal project, as well as workshop Music for Heart and Breath with Richard Reed Parry. Musicians applying to the program may come from any musical background, but will have a wide-ranging knowledge and interest in a variety of musical genres.  

Dancers at various stages of artistic practice are encouraged to apply, whether they are at the conceptual stage, ready for development and production, or preparing for presentation. 


Sample of workshops and lectures offered as part of The Art of Stillness:

Stillness as a way to counterpoint and complement movement - facilitated by Pico Iyer

Hearing the unheard - facilitated by Richard Reed Parry


What's Included

Single and Shared Rooms Read MoreClose

When applying, choose between staying in a single or a shared bedroom on Banff Centre campus for the duration of your program. All artists will also be provided with a separate studio space.

Get connected with other artists on campus and focus on your projects in a creative environment while we take care of the day-to-day essentials. 

Regular Meal PlanRead MoreClose

Using a credit-based system to dine on campus, our flexible meal plans allow you to select meals according to your own needs during your stay.

The Regular Flex meal plan includes $29 credit per day, equivalent to lunch and dinner in Vistas Dining Room.

Studio, Rehearsal Space and Facilities Read MoreClose

Visual artists can create in their own studios and utilize shared visual arts production facilities in printmaking, ceramics, sculpture, photography, digital media and more (subject to additional fees). Musicians can practice and create in our studios and huts and rehearse in our music building and studios. Writers will have their own hut and dancers will have access to a dance studio. Collaborative groups share studio space.

Lectures and Talks Read MoreClose

Faculty will hold seminars, workshops, and experiential activities and all faculty will be available to all artists for consultations and/or studio visits. All artists are expected to attend all planned activities and be willing to engage with faculty and participants across all disciplinary backgrounds.

Gym MembershipRead MoreClose

Your program fee includes free access to the swimming pool, climbing gym and fitness suite as well as discounted rates for classes at the Sally Borden Fitness and Recreation Centre.

Paul D. Fleck Library and ArchivesRead MoreClose

Access a wide range of publications, books, music and films in the Paul D. Fleck Library and Archives, open 6 days a week.

Box Office DiscountsRead MoreClose

Enjoy special artist rates for ticketed performances or complimentary access to events.

Participant ResourcesRead MoreClose

Enrich your experience and get to know other artists on campus by taking advantage of the activities and support provided by our Participant Resources team.

Fees & Financial Assistance

Program fee (shared room - subject to availability)
$1 656.26
Program fee (single room - subject to availability)
$2 052.60

Application fee: $60 for each individual or group application. Individual group members must pay an additional registration fee of $35 on acceptance.

*Significant financial assistance is available for this program.

Financial Aid of up to 50% of the program fee is available. If you would like to be considered, please complete the Financial Aid section when uploading your supporting materials.

Help fund your experience at Banff Centre. View a compiled list of national and international opportunities here

How to Apply

It is important to be aware of all steps included in submitting your application.
Learn more.

Artists may apply as individuals or collaborative groups. For the latter, a group leader must complete a single application and upload supporting materials on behalf of the whole group. Portfolio materials should be provided for the collective, whilst individual resumes and bios should be provided for each member.  

All applicants

Cover Letter 

  • In 500 words or less, outline the basis of your artistic practice and frame your work within a larger context.  Describe why you wish to attend this The Art of Stillness program, what you hope to contribute, learn, and what impact it could have on your practice.


  • A one-page resume or C.V. describing academic, professional, and other relevant experience. (If applying as a collaborative group, please provide a resume or C.V. for the group, as well as one for each member of the group.)

Biography & Summary

  • A 100 word biography and 100 word summary of what you hope to accomplish while in residence. If accepted, these summaries will be used as a narrative for administrative and public use.

Financial assistance

  • Be sure to complete the Financial Aid section to be eligible for financial assistance.

Additional requirements: Visual Artists

Project Proposal 

  • In 500 words or less, describe what you hope to work on in relation to the residency theme, the mediums and practices you propose to use and your level of knowledge in the processes required.  Please note due to the short time frame of this program, the emphasis (particularly in the first week) is on contemplation and incubation over visual art production.


  • Include 5 samples of your work. Audio and video files should be no longer than 2 minutes in length. Exact file sizes and specifications are available in our upload tool. 

Resource Request 

  • Outline any studio, equipment, software, facility, or staff support required. Final resource allocation is at the discretion of Banff Centre.

Additional requirements: Musicians

Project proposal

  • A one-page description of your proposed music project that you will work on during The Art of Stillness. Please note due to the short time frame of this program, the emphasis (particulary in the first week) is on contemplation and incubation over production.


  • Performers: A sample of approximately 20 minutes of your work on audio or video (three files maximum). You should aim to demonstrate the full scope of your capability by selecting contrasting works. Pre-formed ensembles must submit group recordings. 
  • Composers: Scores of two of your compositions and if possible a recording of these works. Indicate performance history if applicable. Compositions submitted should have been completed no more than five years prior to the application deadline. 
  • Music researchers: Two to three essays/papers whose topics are closely related to your residency project at Banff Centre. If published, it is recommended to indicate the date of publication as well as the periodical(s) it has been published in. 

Resource Request 

  • Outline any studio, equipment, software, facility, or staff support required. Final resource allocation is at the discretion of Banff Centre.

Additional requirements: Writers

Project Proposal 

  • A one-page description of your proposed writing project that you will work on during The Art of Stillness. Please note due to the short time frame of this program, the emphasis (particularly in the first week) is on contemplation and incubation over production.


  • Provide a segment from the work-in-progress that you will work on during the program (maximum 20 pages). Plus samples of additional published or unpublished work (maximum 20 pages in total). 

Additional requirements: Dancers

Project Proposal 

  • In a one- to two-page document include a brief description of the project (one to two sentence summary), as well as a description of your goals, objectives, and requirements for the residency. Please note due to the short time frame of this program, the emphasis (particularly in the first week) is on contemplation and incubation.

Audio/Visual materials 

  • You may submit audio or visual material that you feel will support your application (maximum two in total). This is an optional requirement. 

Uploading Materials

Artists may choose to upload their materials to one of four streams: 

  • The Art of Stillness – Visual Artists  
  • The Art of Stillness – Musicians 
  • The Art of Stillness – Writers 
  • The Art of Stillness – Dancers 

If you are unsure as to which stream best suits your application, please contact the Office of the Registrar for guidance.


Participants are selected by impartial adjudicators on the basis of their submitted material. In addition to artistic merit, consideration will be given to the likelihood that the artist's work will benefit from the program.  

Applicants will be notified of their status as soon as adjudication is complete, approximately 3-4 weeks following the application deadline


All programs, faculty, dates, fees, and offers of financial assistance are subject to change. Program fee is subject to applicable taxes. Non-refundable fees and deposits will be retained upon cancellation. Any other fees are refunded at the discretion of the Banff Centre.

Contact the Registrar

For questions on preparing your application, please contact the Office of the Registrar:

Toll Free Number (Canada + USA)