Call for Applications: Multilingual Artist and Writer Residency in Sicily

Residency Quick Facts

Where: Otium cultural association in Marsala, Italy

When: Sept 20 – October 21, 2024

To apply: Send a Letter of Interest, an Artistic/Literary CV, and a Project Proposal (each document, max. 2 pages long and in English) to and

Who: Three multilingual artists and writers based in one of the 40 Creative Europe countries, except Italy (no limitations on nationality)

Deadline: June 1, 2024

Funder: Culture Moves Europe, funded by Creative Europe programme of the European Union, implemented by Goethe Institute

Expenses covered: Accommodation, travel allowance of €350–€700 per person, depending on distance, and daily allowance of €25/day (contribution to food, local transport, etc.). Top-ups are available for disability support, families, etc. (details below).

Residency Description

Otium is seeking to host three multilingual artists and writers for a one-month residency in Marsala, Italy, from Sept 20 – October 21, 2024.

The two primary objectives of this unique residency include:

1) The artists and writers create and present new multilingual artistic or written works, both individually and collaboratively through workshops with youth and other community members, and a public event at Otium.

2) The artists and writers promote a creative and intergenerational maintenance of minority heritage languages (e.g., Sicilian, Romanian, Arabic, Spanish) among youth and adults in Marsala.

What is Otium?

Otium is a cultural association in the Sicilian city of Marsala that thrives on community-building and multidisciplinary learning. We have a public library, Ex Libris, that is recognized by the Italian Ministry of Culture. 

From 2013-2023, we hosted 242 events, including 148 readings, 40 creative workshops, 13 artists in residence, & 10 youth projects. We are perfectly suited to host artists and writers. 

This residency project aligns with our mission to be a social and living library (biblioteca sociale e vivente), as we respond to the linguistic and creative needs of our community in Marsala. 

Who can apply?

Multilingual artists and writers over the age of 18, based in one of the 40 Creative Europe countries, except Italy. 

Please note; Nationality is not taken into account, only the place of legal residence will be considered an eligibility criteria. If you are a national from Italy, where the residence takes place, however a legal resident of another Creative Europe country, you are eligible to apply.  

The chosen artistic or literary media is open and can be: poetry, prose, photography, painting, multimedia, and more. We define “multilingual” as creating art in more than one language, including hybrid work that code-switches between two or more tongues.

What are the two main goals of the residency?

1. You will CREATE:

International artists and writers—immersed in the rich cultural and linguistic tapestry of Marsala for an entire month—will be inspired to create new works alongside youth and adults that not only reflect their own art practice and heritage languages, but also engage with local languages such as Sicilian and Italian, and immigrant languages, such as Romanian, Spanish, and Arabic. The collaborative environment between artists and writers, Otium, local youth and adults, and the mentor, will encourage the exploration of language itself as a dynamic and living element within the artistic creation process.

2. You will TRANSFORM:

The project aims to contribute to societal transformation by placing a high value on the creative use of multiple languages while making art (poetry, photography, collage, etc.), especially among younger generations, which is our primary expected audience. This reflects our value at both Otium and The Polyglot (the partnering publisher) of inclusiveness, or encouraging a dialogue across cultures, generations, and disciplines.

What will you do?

1. Interactive Workshops & Collaborative Art

You, as artists and writers, will deliver 1-2 interactive workshops each (or collaboratively), targeted at local youth, adults, and/or seniors. These workshops are aimed at promoting art/language skill development in multiple tongues (English, Italian, and participants’ heritage languages). They will allow for an unforgettable cultural exchange between artists and writers and the young residents of Marsala, as the community members will have the opportunity to collaborate with artists and writers in the creation of new artistic works. This collaboration not only strengthens the ties between the international participants and the community but also contributes to the development of a collective artistic narrative that reflects the cultural diversity of Marsala and Europe as a whole.

2. Public Event at Otium

A multilingual public reading / presentation event will be organized, providing a platform for the residents of Marsala to directly connect with the three international artists and writers and the youth involved in their workshops. This event will foster a shared appreciation for diverse linguistic and cultural expressions and open up the eyes of the public in Marsala towards valuing all the languages in their community and beyond.

3. Publication in The Polyglot

The final collective work produced during the Otium residency, including individual work by artists and writers, as well as their collaborative work with community members, will have the chance to be published in The Polyglot, an international literary and arts magazine and publishing house, founded by Dr. Adriana Onita, one of the mentors of this project. This publication extends the impact of the collaboration beyond Marsala, showcasing the city’s cultural richness on an international platform. This is an important aspect, as it will be crucial to highlight the importance of youth and community members maintaining their heritage languages on a world stage, including the Sicilian language, which has the risk of disappearing within a few generations.

Benefits for artistic ecosystem

Based on our research, few arts-based multilingual residencies like this exist in Europe. We have not yet witnessed projects and publications in Italy that combine heritage language maintenance and creative self-expression. This project will benefit the local and broader ecosystem in showing that the arts and languages are for everybody. Every human is creative. We all live, think, dream, and feel our way through this world. As the mentor for this project Dr. Adriana Onita says, languages need to stop being viewed as mere utilitarian tools for performing tasks or acquiring content knowledge, and start being viewed as creative sources of emotional self-expression, joy, healing, motivation, confidence, and a catalyst for meaningful societal changes. Language is art. Art is language. Through this project, we can reorientate language itself—from a dehumanized, decontextualized, utilitarian learning process—towards a one that is anti-oppressive, collaborative, immersive, inclusive, multimodal, transformative, and well-being focused.

Longer-Term Outcomes

To help you with your proposal letter, we’ve defined some longer-term outcomes for this residency project:

1. We hope that this residency will refine artists and writers’ collaborative skills and methodologies, influencing future projects and contributing to a more inclusive, culturally and linguistically-infused arts practice.

2. We hope that you will establish meaningful and lasting collaborations with Otium, with the participants, and with the mentor, leading to joint projects, publications, and exhibitions beyond the residency.

3. We hope that this residency will shape future programming at Otium, to make our space even more dynamic and diverse. As the host, we hope to gain new skills and perspectives through collaboration with artists and writers, acquiring fresh ideas for innovative programming and enriching our curatorial abilities. 

4. We hope that your residency will inspire the local population in Marsala, especially youth, to engage more in language learning and innovative art-making. We hope that both youth and adults can value their own regional language of Sicilian, as well as other languages of their peers and of the world.

5. We hope to exalt Marsala itself as a cultural and artistic destination for writers and artists. 

Selection Criteria

We hope to attract artists that are diverse from a cultural, linguistic, and artistic standpoint (working in many media, many languages).

Here are three selection criteria we will employ:

1. Does the artist have a multilingual practice or understand/value the importance of linguistic diversity?

Objective: Assess the applicant’s incorporation of different languages, or valuing of linguistic diversity in their artistic, written work, or educational projects.

Indicators: Submission of a portfolio that demonstrates the use of multiple languages. A statement outlining the applicant’s connection to and appreciation for heritage language maintenance in their artistic or community work would be a bonus.

2. Does the artist frequently collaborate with others in a multidisciplinary approach?

Objective: Identify artists and writers who embrace a multidisciplinary and participatory approach, integrating various forms of art and storytelling techniques into their work.

Indicators: Previous experience or projects that showcase an interdisciplinary and community-based approach. A testimonial or letter from someone with whom they collaborated would be a bonus.

3. Is the artist committed to intergenerational community engagement and teaching?

Objective: Select individuals who are dedicated to intergenerational community programming, and have a genuine interest in contributing to the broader cultural and linguistic community for societal transformation.

Indicators: Evidence of past involvement in community projects or events. A clear articulation of the applicant’s vision for how their work can positively impact and engage with diverse communities in Marsala would be a bonus.

These criteria aim to ensure that the selected writers and artists not only possess the necessary skills and expertise but also align with the multilingual, collaborative and community-oriented nature of this project. The combination of linguistic diversity, interdisciplinary collaborative artistry, and a commitment to community engagement will contribute to the richness and success of the collaborative endeavour.

Funding allocated to each participant

Allowances allocated to each participant

Daily allowance

€25 per person per day. It is a contribution to food, local transport, etc.

Travel allowance

Travel distance under 5,000 km: €350 per person for round-trip.

Travel distance from 5,000 km: €700 per person for round-trip.

For short distances of under 600 km, travelling by airplane is only allowed in exceptional and well justified cases:

  • for persons with disabilities
  • for travelling from or to an island with no ferry connections
  • due to force majeure or grave personal circumstances

The distance between the participant’s place of residence and the host’s location is calculated automatically in the online application process. Check the distance calculator for more information.


Green top-up

€350 per person for choosing not to travel by airplane (round-trip). Only applicable for distances of 600 km and more.

Overseas Countries and Territories or Outermost Regions top-up

€150 per person for travelling from or to Overseas Countries and Territories or Outermost Regions.

Visa top-up

€80 per person for expenses related to visa processes.

Family top-up

€100 per person for persons with children below the age of 10. The amount is fixed, regardless of the number of children.

Disability support

Up to €75 per person per day. For people whose disabilities affect their ability to carry out the mobility project. Budget to be agreed with the Culture Moves Europe team according to individual needs.

The top-ups can be added cumulatively: one person can receive several top-ups at the same time. Justification and proof for the required top-ups will be asked

Where will you stay? Casa Otiosa

Your accommodation will be in a shared house in the centre Marsala, hosted by the president of Otium, Barbara Lottero. It is walking distance from Otium cultural association (approximately 6-7 minutes). There are three bedrooms, with shared bathrooms. To see more photos, please visit this album

Bedroom 1: Pomelia

Bedroom 2: Gelsomino

Cultural Liaison Mentorship for Artists and Writers

Our project mentor, Dr. Adriana Onita, a Romanian-Canadian artist, poet, educator, and researcher living in Marsala, is happy to design and implement mentorship activities tailored to your specific needs and goals. For example, guidance and feedback in creating and delivering community workshops, translation help in the workshops, multilingual creative sharing sessions between the three international artists, and more. Our other mentor, Dr. Nicolò Messina, Otium vice president and professor honorarius at the University of Valencia in Italian Studies, will consult on cultural nuances and experiences in Marsala and Sicily.

Residency Timeline

Week 1: Welcome & Orientation

  • Introduction to the host organization of Otium, its mission, and values.
  • Orientation on project goals, logistics and timelines.
  • Icebreaker activities to facilitate connections among artists, writers, Otium, and mentors
  • Explore and work on your own art

Week 2: First workshops

  • Explore and work on your own art
  • Artists and writers work on collaborative projects with youth and other community members that integrate their diverse skills
  • Reach out to mentors as needed

Week 3: Second workshops

  • Explore and work on your own art
  • Artists and writers work on collaborative projects with youth and other community members that integrate their diverse skills
  • Reach out to mentors as needed

Week 4: Project Showcase, Reflection and Feedback

  • Artists and writers present their work, discuss their experiences, and offer feedback to young artists and Otium
  • We will organize a public showcase at Otium of your collaborative and collaborative projects
  • Publication in The Polyglot’s blog, Pensieri.
  • Explore and work on your own art

Throughout the month, there will be ongoing communication channels, such as weekly check-ins and a dedicated online platform for all artists and writers to share progress, ask questions, and collaborate effectively (WhatsApp). 

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