CfP: Artistic Residency: A Conference to Mark the 50th Anniversary of the Anwerbestopp, University College Dublin, 2-3 December 2023

Maria Roca Lizarazu Discussion

Artistic Residency: A Conference to Mark the 50th Anniversary of the Anwerbestopp

University College Dublin

2-3 December 2023

Keynote Speaker: Dr Onur Suzan Nobrega (Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main) Keynote Artist: Cem Kaya, Director of films including Liebe, D-Mark und Tod (2022), Remake, Remix, Rip-Off: About Copy Culture & Turkish Pop Cinema (2014) and Arabeks (2010).


2021 saw numerous events take place across Germany to mark the 60th anniversary of the Anwerbeabkommen [bilateral recruitment agreement] between the Federal Republic of Germany and Turkey, signaling its importance within Germany’s post-war history. As historians such as Rita Chin (2007) have shown, however, it was the Anwerbestopp, the German government’s decision to unilaterally end its guest worker programmes on 23rd November 1973, that paradoxically led to greater pressure on individual foreign workers and their families to settle in West Germany. Despite restrictive citizenship laws, this resulted in longer term diasporic residency, which has significantly shaped and been shaped by the FRG today.

This two-day conference marks the 50th Anniversary of this turning point by exploring the cultural political implications of ‘residency’. Residency as a legal status can both precede and preclude citizenship. Its ambivalent relationship to twentieth-century assumptions of a singular national identity invites alternative ideas about what it means to be at home in and to access the state in transnational times. Its temporal aspect calls teleologies of integration and assimilation into question. These ambivalences are reflected not only in artistic work which situates itself in relation to experiences and practices of residency in Germany, but also in the use of artistic residencies within the cultural sector (programmes in which artists have the opportunity to work in a different institutional environment for a time limited period).

Critical migration scholars and artists (Haacke 1999; Terkessidis 2010; Langhoff 2016) have drawn attention to the ways in which long-standing residents of Germany can both transform and be excluded by the conditions of production there. More recently, heated debates around the 2022 Documenta raise questions of how the work of artists from outside Germany comes to take up residency in German institutions (see Doughan/Toukan 2022). Who is invited, where to, for how long, under which conditions? What can “non-citizen participation” (Partridge 2022) or “acts of citizenship” (Isin 2008) in/through art achieve? What does taking up residency in particular artistic spaces and institutions enable and demand (cf. Puwar 2004), in terms of sociability, labeling, networking, but also the unfolding and direction of artistic practice? Our guiding research question throughout will be: what does it mean to think about artistic practice and cultural participation or production in Germany in terms of residency, rather than nationality or ethnicity? The Anwerbestopp as a formative moment will remain a touchstone for the conference, however contributors are invited to explore the intersecting fields of residency and artistic practice in the two Germanies, as well as in the present-day Federal Republic.

This will be a two-day event: the first day will include a closed workshop element for all speakers, as well as a public screening of the film Liebe, D-Mark und Tod (2022) with a Q&A with the director Cem Kaya; the second day will comprise panels and the keynote.

Possible themes/questions might include:

- How did the historical Anwerbestopp make itself felt in terms of the biographies and practices of artists? Where is it registered in cultural production and cultural policy?

- What are the effects of the status of residency, as opposed to more ‘secure’ modes of citizenship? How does the language and practice of e.g. Duldung (‘tolerated stay’) figure here?

- How does residency (as opposed to citizenship) affect access to public funds and the material resources required for cultural production?

- What are the possibilities of residency in a particular locality, artistic space or institution in terms of the sociability, labeling, networking, unfolding and direction of artistic practice?

- What happens when creative practice is framed as a kind of dwelling rather than in relation to migration and border crossing?

- How do residencies inform or engage with ideas of a ‘culture industry’ in relation to more precarious ‘creative industries’?

- How and to what extent does the concept of artistic residency enable exploration of novel and alternative approaches to co-existence, conviviality and togetherness?


This conference will look to foster exchange and discussion among a diverse set of participants across fields that include, but are not limited to: literary studies, film and media studies; sociology; history; histories of art and architecture; visual culture; critical studies of race and ethnicity; disability studies; and migration studies. We invite proposals for scholarly papers, audiovisual presentations, experimental writing, and performances that engage with, as well as extend beyond, the topics/questions listed above. We welcome proposals from thinkers and makers working outside academia.

Please submit a 300 word abstract and a short biography to by June 30th, 2023. Academic contributions should not exceed 20 minutes, but we are open to discussion in terms of the length of creative contributions. Presenters will be notified in July.

We are grateful to the UCD Humanities Institute, the UCD College of Arts and Humanities and the Goethe Institut, Dublin for their support.