In the past half-decade we’ve seen art publishing revivified: both better attended to and better contested. Evolving into a discourse that increasingly looks to the scaffolding behind art – to the ethics of representation and the tenets of institutional integrity – art publishing is a field that still struggles to reflect those same values. Further, a recent surge in evaluative and stake-holding criticism is largely hosted online, which means the field has never been so precarious for those working within it.
As of 2019, Momus began hosting twice-annual Momus Emerging Critics Residencies in its effort to attend to both the heightened stakes, increasing potential, and renewed challenges for art criticism. Providing guidance and support for emerging critics, editors, audio producers, and publishers as they enter the field, each residency is led by a deep network of esteemed critics, publishers, curators, and educators. Beginning with the two August 2020 residencies, and in every year going forward, BIPOC leadership will be prioritized. Together we speak to the lived realities of our professional and personal experiences in this field. In holding these intimate residencies one at a time, we are working to strengthen and galvanize the next generation of art writers, editors, and audio contributors while helping address the industry’s severe lack of representation.
In attending to the vitality and multiplicity of our art discourses, the Momus Emerging Critics Residency demonstrates its mandate to augment keen editorial guidance with conversations around industry access, entry, etiquette, and survival. The residencies spotlight issues like: freelance endurance tactics; successful pitching; biographical inclusion and self-marketing; cultural translation; budgeting; time management; the distinctions of online and print publishing; and the work of establishing trust and taking risks with your editors. The residency also attends to the vagaries of ‘professionalization’ within art publishing and offers clear directives onto its multitude potentials and pitfalls. With nearly 150 applicants to the second and third iterations of the residency, both held online, our residency leaders were able to both witness this dearth of transparency and encouragement within our field, and attend to it.
The tremendous success of this program has confirmed that there is real demand for industry access, encouragement, and advisership within art publishing – a notoriously opaque and exclusionary industry. We’ve been further encouraged that the online format we had to adapt to, this year, has been a credit and a boost to this program’s accessibility. The focus of the residency program is increasingly to encourage a multiplicity of voices, and we’re able to reach further and include more by hosting this in a digital space.
Our 2020 editions – held at OCAD University and Concordia University, respectively – featured such talent as Rahel Aima, Daisy Desrosiers, Osei Bonsu, Aliya Pabani, Saelan Twerdy, Tammer El-Sheikh, Mark Mann, Nora N. Khan, Tausif Noor, Andy Patton, and James Oscar, among others, and were hosted by Sky Goodden, with leadership assistance from Lauren Wetmore.
The Momus Emerging Critics Residency is an intensive residency program intended for a spectrum of participants, including current students, alumna, and working professionals arriving from any number of fields. It helps foster the next generation of art writers through mentorship and practical skills development. Participants from year one have already gone on to publish with Momus, Canadian Art, C Magazine, and The Brooklyn Rail; edit for C Magazine, Canadian Art, and Momus, and several have won national writing awards.