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What can make or break a residency experience? Jason Eckardt
Both artist colonies and their residents share the responsibility for a residency’s success. To me, one of the most important issues is privacy. Colonies should go to great pains to make sure that their residents are not interrupted by phones, faxes, e-mail, staff, other colonists, or noise while they are working. Even the awareness that others are or could be nearby can be distracting, which is why I always prefer having a workspace of my own that stands apart from other structures on the colony property, preferably a good distance away. While I prize the opportunity to work in isolation, it is also imperative that there be an overall atmosphere that encourages exchange between the colonists. In this respect, the attitudes of the residents themselves are crucial. To create a positive and receptive environment, they must be respectful towards one another and open-minded. My most rewarding colony experiences have included intense interaction with non-musicians, so it is essential that there be opportunities for free interdisciplinary exchange.