Intro

The GRASP Lab at The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Weitzman School of Design invite you to apply for a four week residency program that will bring together faculty and students to explore the use of robotic technologies in addressing contemporary social, cultural, and environmental challenges. Three artists, designers, engineers or creatives from any discipline will spend four weeks at the  GRASP Lab at PERCH, during which each will develop a creative project with resources offered by PERCH and the Department of Fine Arts and Design.

The residents will receive mentorship from Penn faculty, use the fabrication facilities at PERCH, and interact with students across the campus through lectures and workshops. The residency application is not open to students. However, Penn students will be able to work with the residents and get involved during the research, production and exhibition of their work.

The outcome of each residency will culminate in a group exhibition at Esther Klein Gallery and a digital form of dissemination (i.e., website,  and possible subsequent publication) which will allow them to share the results within the broader community. 

Our residency focuses on developing an artwork using robotic technologies. While robotics, here, is broadly defined, we are looking for creatives who would explore the use of robotic technologies in addressing contemporary social, cultural, and environmental challenges. These could be any type of physical system (kinetic or static) that can exhibit autonomous behavior. 

Application Details

As a conceptual framework, the applicants are invited to think across different material embodiments, aesthetic paradigms, capacities of agency, and utility—and submit their application that address one of the following themes:

1. Future of Labor, productivity and agency: How will robotic technologies extend the understanding and value of work beyond substituting human or animal labor?

2. Education inequality and social empowerment: How can robotics be used to increase  the participation of underrepresented people in public discourses around careers within STEM, and empower under-represented people already in STEM communities gain more agency and influence?

3. Environmental emergencies: How can robotics provide a framework to engage with broader and intersectional/ overlapping questions related to the climate and other environmental emergencies?

Across these themes, we encourage applicants who explore alternative forms of making, knowing, and decision-making associated with non-canonical/hierarchical, BIPOC, queer, feminist, and non-Western perspectives. 

Once the three residents are selected, we will arrange meetings with faculty to form a mentorship committee that will help the residents orient to the resources at PERCH, Fine Arts and Design, and the broader University. The committee will also help the resident schedule a public lecture and workshops with the students, as well as develop peer and leader mentorship opportunities for the residents while they are in post. 

Each resident will be expected to interact with the student community with Penn by participating with a lecture or a workshop. Due to pandemic, our residents will start engaging with the residency in an online form and eventually come on site as the conditions permit.

The culmination of the residencies will be a group exhibition by the three participants in the Robotics Art Residency. 

The residency should take place sometime between September 2021 and June 2022. Please indicate your preferred timing within the proposal. The residency requires a 30 hr/week commitment for 4 weeks and includes: 

Stipend: $2,000
Materials and Fabrication budget: $1000
Housing: $1,500 for an apartment in West Philly (if housing is not needed, the funds could be used for travel or fabrication)
Total: $4,500

The application deadline is February 15, 2021 (May 15, 2021) June 15, 2021


Please view the recording from our information webinar on Feb 3, 2021. 5PM (EST)