Open Call Residencies Guidelines and Application


A residency may be used to explore a concept, to research artistic or technical feasibility of a certain idea, to develop computer programs or specific hardware, develop part of a project, bring a work to full production scale or document / record an existing work.

The curatorial team, in collaboration with the EMPAC Director, develops the programs, commissions and residencies internally. Proposals are reviewed and discussed on bi-weekly basis. Applications geared towards small-scale or research related projects are recommended to apply 9 months before their desired residency timeframe. Applications geared towards full production residencies are recommended to apply 9-12 months before their desired residency timeframe.


  • If EMPAC is interested in supporting the project, subsequent meetings will be conducted with the curatorial and production teams to discuss content, technology, budget, timeline and overall resources. A project proposal may be adapted and updated based on the outcome of theses conversations.
  • Our mission is to foster the development of new technologies for project-based needs, leverage recent scientific and engineering research directions within the scope of the creative process, and optimally use the complex infrastructure and resources. While there will be work produced at EMPAC that does not utilize “high-tech tools,” EMPAC especially encourages projects which take advantage of EMPAC’s unique capacities and infrastructure.
  • A project developed as part of an EMPAC residency is not automatically scheduled for a public presentation at EMPAC. The decision to include a project in EMPAC’s performance programming is made separately from the decision to support a residency. Applications that are designed to brush up an existing piece, with the goal of having it performed at EMPAC, will not be accepted.
  • A residency is not a commission. Commissions are initiated by EMPAC and entail further funding towards the project.
  • While we are able to provide technical support for the use of infrastructure at EMPAC and curatorial support for the development of a work, we do not perform matchmaking between artists and/or programmers, designers, etc. Applicants should select their main collaborators independently before applying.


  • Any artist working in experimental media and performing arts is eligible to apply. EMPAC welcomes great diversity in applicant’s background, projects, goals and discipline.
  • Applications are open to individuals or interdisciplinary teams.
  • An Artist or team may only apply once per year. An Artist may apply with different collaborators on a different project more than once per year.
  • EMPAC does not accept residency applications from full-time students. In addition, faculty, staff, and students of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are not eligible to apply for this residency.


We will provide the technical infrastructure and staff to fulfill the project goals. Applicants must secure funding for travel, lodging, materials and fees associated with their project. On-campus accommodations may be available, but are not guaranteed.

Research, Production, and Performance Venues

  • EMPAC has four full-scale production venues and a number of smaller support spaces:
  • Concert Hall: 1165 fixed seats (some removable seating), and 108 loose seats, chain hoist positions in ceiling for hanging truss, screens, etc. Concert lighting package with 373 sine wave dimmers, 3DLP projector (3D capable, 30K lumens, 4096x2160), 50’x30’ projection screen, multi-channel audio and video infrastructure.
  • Theater: 400 fixed seats, 40’x80’ stage, resilient flooring, 60’ fly tower, computer-controlled rigging: movable line sets, 8 spotline winches, orchestra pit. Computer-controlled rigging with performer flying capability. Theatrical lighting package with 468 sine wave dimmers, 3DLP projector (3D capable, 30K lumens, 4096x2160), 50’x30’ projection screen, multi-channel audio and video infrastructure.
  • Studio 1—Goodman: No permanent seating or staging. 66’x51’ floor area, resilient flooring. Walkable grid at 32.9’, 8 spotline winches, additional chain hoists possible. 3DLP projector (14K lumens, 1920 x 1080). Computer-controlled rigging with performer flying capability. 192 sine wave dimmers, multi-channel audio and video infrastructure. Adjustable acoustical banners.
  • Studio 2: No permanent seating or staging. 44’x55’ floor area, resilient flooring. Walkable grid at 18’, 12 chain hoists. 3DLP projector (14K lumens, 1920 x 1080). 192 sine wave dimmers, multi-channel audio and video infrastructure. Adjustable acoustical banners.
  • Venues are accessible 24/7 to artists-in-residence.

Production and Research Support Spaces

  • Audio and Video Production Suites: Ideal for recording, editing, post-production, and broadcast. Audio and Video suites can be connected to each other and to the production venues via EMPAC’s dedicated fiber optic and network systems.
  • Residency Studios: Dedicated, isolated spaces for an artist, researcher, or group while in residence. Based on the needs of the residency, they can be configured as a study, office, or technology workspace. Residency studios can be connected to each other and to the production venues via EMPAC’s dedicated fiber optic and network systems.
  • Support spaces are accessible 24/7 to artists-in-residence.

Equipment: Audio, Video, and Theater Technologies

  • EMPAC has high-end audio and video equipment available, including HD video cameras, HD & 3D video projectors, microphones, mixers, loudspeakers, computer and computer interfaces, and other select audio and video production equipment.
  • EMPAC has an extensive lighting inventory of ETC Source Four ellipsoidal fixtures and various other theatrical and film lighting fixtures. Control infrastructure (ETC Eos/ION) is shared amongst the facility network, which encompasses all four venues and most public spaces of the building. 
  • EMPAC has an inventory of fixed or modular staging systems, platforms, truss, and an array of small and large projection screens.
  • On its premises, EMPAC has a wood and welding shop with capacity for small-medium scale fabrication, however EMPAC does not have a large, permanent scene-shop or dedicated fabrication space for artists.
  • EMPAC has a selection of musical instruments including four unique grand pianos, (Fazioli, Bosendorfer, Hamburg Steinway, Yamaha Disklavier), concert bass drum, vibraphone, standard drum kit, various gongs and select smaller percussion instruments.
  • Production equipment at EMPAC is a shared resource among the venues and various projects that may be happening at EMPAC concurrently. Equipment is allocated to specific projects in discussion with the EMPAC project manger, curator and production team leads.


  • EMPAC has a full-time staff of experts to support projects including audio and video engineers, lighting specialists, rigger/ carpenters, information technology specialists, research engineers and the curatorial team. We encourage applicants to seek their own team of artistic collaborators or technical experts for their work at EMPAC, in addition to utilizing our staff support.
  • When feasible and desired, EMPAC, as part of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, can connect artists with faculty, staff, and students at the Institute who may be interested in the project. Similarly, if community involvement is integral to the artist’s project, EMPAC can work to create an appropriate situation.

How to Apply

Please observe the time an application should be made, before the desired residency timeframe. To submit a residency proposal, please send us a packet of materials to introduce your work and concept. A proposal must include the following:

  1. A completed Applicant Information form.
  2. A letter of intent.
  3. A Project or residency description and supporting materials that might help describe the project more fully (visuals, sketches, diagrams, videos, models, scores, algorithms, etc.)
  4. Documentation of up to five previous works on a flash-drive (preferred), website, or CD/DVD. Please include a hardcopy list, which describes the works and how they relate (or do not relate) to your proposed project.
  5. Information on upcoming performances or shows, if applicable.
  6. A digital copy of all the printed material (flash-drive preferred or DVD).
  7. Please note, that applications materials will not be returned to the sender.


Send your physical application by mail to:

EMPAC Artist in Residence Program
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
110 8th Street Troy, NY 12180

OR email us:

We will notify you by email once your residency proposal has been reviewed.