Questions that applicants have asked us about AIR

(Updated Aug 2018)

Pro tip: Start your application early and always save a version of your application offline!

  • I’m keen to apply for a residency but I am not sure which one suits me best. What’s the difference between the Bellagio Center Residency and the other residencies?

The Bellagio Center residencies are suited for artists who are in their mid to late career stages of their career. The other residencies that are offered through our general call are better suited for artists in the early to middle stages of their careers. We encourage you to read the application guidelines for both competitions to see which one suits you best.

  • What is an early, mid and late career artist?

By our definition, an early career artist is one who has just started out. They have typically been producing art for about 1-5 years. A mid-career artist has been producing work for 5 – 15 years and have a slightly more established practice than an early career artist. Late career artists have been producing work for over 15 years, have a vast portfolio of work and a wide reach.  

An artists age is not always an accurate way to determine the career level because in some cases an individual may be in their 30s but has been producing work for 20 years. However, most successful candidates for the Bellagio Center Residency tend to be more mature.

  • Are all residencies only open to Africans?

Yes, our program was born out of the discovery that few residency opportunities exist exclusively for African artists. Therefore, to qualify for a residency at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, an applicant must be African (by birth or naturalisation). They, however, don’t have to live on the continent.

To qualify for our other residencies, an applicant must be African and must live on the continent for at least six months of the year.  Non-Africans who want to apply to any of these spaces can consult the specific residency websites for information about their open calls.

  • What is AIR looking for in an application?

Africa Centre’s projects explore ways in which the arts may be used to influence social change. This is very important to us. So we seek applications for that respond to some of the social challenges that are facing our continent. The question about your project proposal for the residency is arguably the most important one on the application forms.

We’re looking for clear, well thought out, realistic proposals. Start working on your application early so that you have time to get to know each of these residency spaces and craft your submission well. Both application portals allow you to save your application and return to it later.

  • I applied last year, was shortlisted didn’t win? Can I apply again?

Yes, you may apply to our General Call as many times as you like. There are some restrictions regarding how many times one can apply to the Bellagio Center residency. Applicants who have been awarded through our general call in the past, are encouraged to explore the Bellagio Center opportunity.

  • Can we apply for a residency as a group?

Our general call only awards individual artists.

The Bellagio Center call is open to artists working in pairs, though each of the artists in the duo needs to have significant achievement as individuals, and should be eligible. Both members of the team must apply to qualify. Those who wish to apply as a team should reach out to for further guidance.

  • Do I need to create a Fluid Review profile?

No, this is not a requirement for the 2018 call for applications. All applications must be submitted via this website. Those selected for the 2018 Bellagio Center shortlist will be communicated with and invited to submit the same application to Fluid Review. The Africa Centre team will guide you through this process.

  • When will the shortlist be announced and when do the residencies take place?

The AIR-Bellagio Center shortlist will be announced in Dec 2018 and the winners in May 2019. Winning artists will take up residencies in from 2019 to late 2020

The shortlist for the other residencies will be announced in Dec 2018 and the winners in Jan 2019. Winning artists will take up residencies in 2018.

  • I submitted my application but haven’t received any confirmation? What do I do?

Please send an email to or reach out on Facebook or Twitter and we will track down your submission. We also recommend keeping a copy of your application on a word document as a backup.

  • Can I apply for both the General Call and Bellagio Center Call?

Yes. You will be considered for the residency for which you are most suited.

  • What must I include in my portfolio?

Images –10 digital images should be submitted. Format still images as JPEGs with a width dimension no greater than 2400pixels. Please include the title, size, medium and date of each work.
Videos may be uploaded onto a video channel (i.e. youtube/vimeo) and a link shared. Please limit video clips or excerpts to no more than 5 minutes (indicate length of full video) and submit no more than 3 in total. Acceptable file formats include .mpg, .avi, .mov. Please test your video files to make sure they play on a Mac and PC.
Writing samples of work published within the last five years where you are the primary author (no more than 1,500 words per sample) should be submitted. Writers are asked to submit a maximum of 3 writing samples. Materials must be submitted using GOOGLE DRIVE ONLY. 

Information about portfolio requirements for the Bellagio Center applications is available here.


  • I have another question!

Please write us on and we will be happy to oblige. We get lots of queries so please allow a two-day response time. We will also be updating this page regularly so check back for new information.

And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. We post updates on there every day.


All the best!


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