The Advisory Committee of Res Artis had decided in 1995 to launch a project aimed at supporting and guiding emerging artist-in-residence centres and programmes in the former communist countries of Eastern Europe. Künstlerhaus Bethanien, responsible for carrying this project out, applied successfully for the sponsoring through the “Kaleidoscope”-scheme of the European Union.

A conference of members of the Advisory Committee, general members of Res Artis and twelve Eastern European guests, held at Bethanien in the spring of 1996, initiated the “Kalei-doscope”-project. Three days of intense round-table-discussions about how to plan, develop and equip residential centres, how to change and adapt – in some cases – former resort centres of the communist nomenclature to the post-socialist era, and how to organize transnational artist-in-residence programmes were complemented by visiting Künstlerhaus Bethanien, its studios and artists, and by informal meetings and social evenings.

During the two years following the conference, teams of Res Artis’ members joined their new colleagues in Poland, the Baltic States, Czechia, Hungary and Bulgaria, granting them practical advice on-site and sometimes necessary assistance in their conflicts with local or regional authorities.

The “Kaleidoscope”-project proved to be a wonderful experience of mutual learning. It resul-ted in the creation of some new and solid artist-in-residence places and programmes and lasting friendships.

-Michael Haerdter