7️⃣  Seven Years of Weaving Worlds 🧶

2019 was our most intricately complex year yet. This year is a trying year of organizing tactics, testing our convictions, and sharing our best memes and truths.

We granted excellent artists, photographers, researchers, DJs, activists, performers, poets, filmmakers, and collectives the time, space, and support to travel to China to create something new. We mentored our dozen fellows with wisdom and care across the fiscal sponsorship program and the Residency Knowledge Exchange. We wrote guides, taught workshops, and curated our very first exhibition!

We are amplifying underheard voices and pressing global dilemmas, and are sharing the visions of the artists we’ve supported through concerts, screenings, and creative ways for people to come together to learn, swap, and mend.

We’re working to advocate for an era where creativity is valued, compensated, and encouraged, and to build best practices to properly and deeply support those who help us make sense of the world.

With the continued support of amazing people like you, we’re getting close to our ambitious $88,888 goal to close out our 6th year! We’re close, but not quite there yet, while it’s been our best year of fundraising so far, you can help us close the gap before the end of the year.  All of your donations allow us to provide greater support to the artists we work with,  our team, and our fiscally sponsored projects, and head steadily into 2020!

We’re phenomenally proud of what our grantees accomplished this year, thanks to each and every one of you who continue to help us moving forward.

Here’s a short overview of China Residencies’ projects this past year:

================ HELPING ARTISTS ================

Since we put the website online, hundreds of thousands of people scoped out the opportunities and resources on chinaresidencies.org. And you are tuning in from everywhere! Our stats tell us that 30% of you are are in Asia, 30% are in Europe, 30% are in the Americas, then 5% in Africa and 5% in Oceania. 

FADESCHA Vidisha Saini built a unifying theory to explain safe spaces as our 2nd Nightlife Residency artist at I: project space.

Found Sound China Residencies artists Yehaiyahan, Jam No Peanut, Kayla Briët, and Travon Henry (eu IV) performed at our dumpling party and went on to SXSW! Kayla Briët & Clara Lu demo’d their guzhen skills, and we have the sweetest collaborative track from the Found Sound China mixtape Weixing You Were Here on loop <3

Arvid&Marie remixed WeChat stickers and hauntingly visualized automation in their #SlowtTrainResidency for their project. And Annakai & Brit countered the pressure to Get The Fast, metaphorically embodying their manifesto by planning their next stop on the train routes based solely on the recommendations of their fellow travelers.

For the 6th year of residencies in Crystal’s honor at Red Gate and Three Shadows, Yichen Zhou is currently in Beijing after time spent in Xiamen.

Yichen working on new performances and photographs in the grasslands.

In collaboration with Fresh Milk and Alice Yard, we organized the first Transoceanic Visual Exchange of Caribbean, Chinese & diaspora video art at CACHE space in Beijing.

2019 started with a conversation about Llamas and Bilibili, about tactics of circumvention,  our year of Meme Tactics kicked off with the launch of An Xiao Mina’s book From Memes To Movements. We hosted a deep conversation with Christina Xu and Fei Liu about the playful workarounds needed to talk about devastatingly serious topics behind the Firewall. We talked about how #metoo became a rice bunny, that became stickers by Peach Tao.

 These thoughts then developed into an exhibition at the Center for Media at Risk in Philly & Cuchifritos NYC on the “many styles of memes for civic good.” We’re proud to amplify works by Elyla Sinverguenza, Amy Suo Wu, Sponge Gourd Collective, Xiaoshi Qi, and the Dalit Panther Archive, and collaborate with Jason Li, Ellery Biddle, Laura Kung, Melanie Hoff, BUFU, Beverly’s, the Feminist Joy, Shanghai Community Radio, and meltingwang for performances and meme merch swaps.

========= SUPPORTING RESIDENCIES =========

New residencies abound!

We visited new programs in Changsha - Pl8net & the Advance Museum, Points in Kunshan, Studio Gallery in Shanghai, Lucitopia in the mountains of Jiangxi, Ailleurs in Shenyang, the Dunhuang Creative Center in Lanzhou. We celebrated the longest running residency’s 20th anniversary - congrats, CEAC!


Shaonan at Points Center for Contemporary Art

And we mourned the loss of nearly a dozen independent spaces to bulldozers and evictions, and to ever higher rents and diminishing support. Residency Knowledge Fellow Xu Xiaoyao dove deeply into a report from the field, a state-of-the-residencies that maps out the growth of the field and the challenges ahead.

We’re still working to connect creative people with opportunities worldwide through Rivet, working towards better labor practices through admin, and deepening our ties through networks and conferences on the future of institutions in China at Museum2050, and how to go about decolonizing and dismantling the oppressive systems at Tilting Axis in Guadeloupe.

=========== SHARING RESOURCES ===========

Mikail Wright conducted in depth interviews and research to publish Queer China: A Guide (a project initiated by Shaonan Xi), tracing the history and present day LGBTQ+ community spaces.

This year, we also updated our lists of VPN partners almost monthly, keeping up as even the most reliable ones failed us repeatedly. 

And we’re putting our city guides online! Stay tuned for insights into Chongqing, Xiamen, Lijiang, Kunming, Guangzhou, Jingdezhen, Wuhan, Nanjing and Chengdu :)

There is absolutely nothing we love more than seeing the brilliant organizers we mentor in our Fiscal Sponsorship Program run with their ideas and expanded power. We started the fiscal sponsorship for Mei Lum over three years ago, modeled off the independent film and documentary’s system of support, and we’re thrilled at how our team has successfully passed on methods of residency running, grant writing, crowdfunding, growing teams, and budgeting to amplify The W.O.W Projects brilliant visions. And we are overjoyed at Yellow Jacket Collective’s biggest and best queer lunar new year party yet, and BUFUs phenomenal summer of spreading knowledge through the WYFY School! Red Gate's Reciprocal Residencies helped artists from China go on their first ever international residencies in Australia, Iran, and Portugal, and the Shanghai Community Radio is going strong, livestreaming on Bilibili four times a week to support hundreds of underground DJs and artists.

If you'd like to help them out, please consider contributing donations to any and all of our fiscally sponsored organizations:

================= 2020 =================


As much as we feel immensely proud of our accomplishments in 2019, we have to be honest: this year, we’ve had many partnerships leaving us to pick up the tab, and creating opportunities for creative exchange has become increasingly more complicated. So while it’s been our best year to date by far in terms of fundraising, several unexpected bumps along the road mean we're still quite a bit short of where we wanted to be.

This past has also been a year of a deeper reckoning with the planetary impact of creative exchange, and the environmental challenges ahead: with Shanghai and its surroundings now projected to be mostly underwater by 2050, that just a short window of 30 years to turn things around and figure out how we’ll keep going! We’re planning upcoming projects in collaboration with artists who care deeply about watersheds and food histories in Yunnan, and, inspired by the request of Catherine Sarah Young, now offset all of our air travel to work as a truly carbon neutral online & nomadic organization. We look forward to learning from our next temporary hosts in New York, Prime Produce, on sustainable cooperative ways of organizing.

And of course, our love of dumplings is eternal!

On the biggest snowstorm of 2019, you all packed the house for our anniversary party with Yehaiyahan, Eddie Lu, Jam No Peanut, Kayla Briet & eu-iV <3

~~~ mark your calendars for our Meme Dumpling Art Party on Sunday February 22nd at Prime Produce in NYC ~~~


We miss Crystal, always.
If we had better access to healthcare, maybe cancer wouldn’t have shortened our friend and founder’s life so, and we urge you to seek regular care (check those moles!) and support those around you who need care with all the care you can give. The world needs more people like her who create possibilities to support others, who see beyond the structures we’ve inherited, and imagine better ways of going along and then go ahead and make it happen.

We also owe infinite thanks to:
Our fantastic board members Zara Arshad, Jay Brown, Christina Yuen Zi Chung, Samantha Culp, Miles Greenberg, Melissa Karmen Lee, Rachel Marsden, An Xiao Mina, Maia Sert, Adam Short, and Christina Xu; our brilliant team: Josue Chavez, Xiaoyao Xu, Shaonan Xi, Mikail Wright, and Amanda Zhang; web developer Francis Tseng; advising accountant Sebastien Sanz de Santamaria; our exhibition partners the Center for Media at Risk & the Artists Alliance Inc and event hosts Orbital, Mr Rogers, Beverly’s & Cache Space.

Ultimately, none of this would exist without all the hundreds of generous individuals like you who donated to help us keep going, and most of all, without all the creative people who find this website useful and the wonderful residencies who host and nurture creativity by helping to bring individuals' ideas into existence, in increasingly difficult situations.

============== What's Next? ==============

In 2020, we’re rethinking everything.

We’re figuring out how to truly, deeply support the creative people we work with, and the spaces that enable them to create. We’ve got some big questions to answer:
~ What good is a residency if an artist can’t get a visa?
~ How will the people running independent spaces pay their rent and themselves?
~ What’s the best way to work in a place where fewer things can be said?

Help us take the time to refocus, deepen our support, and move forward with care by reaching our auspicious goal of $88,888 by the end of the year. If you can help out, please consider making a tax-deductible donation today:


sending courage, care & light,

Kira Simon-Kennedy
Co-Founder & Executive Director
China Residencies