Call for Participants: ADA-DADA Residency 2020-2021
Curated by María Alejandrina Coates Apply by 24 September 2020 SAVAC is seeking participants for the 2020-2021 ADA-DADA Artist...

Curated by María Alejandrina Coates
Apply by 24 September 2020

SAVAC is seeking participants for the 2020-2021 ADA-DADA Artist Residency: a collaborative production residency and learning community asking how artists can reclaim and reposition data as a form of counter-culture. The program is curated by Maria Alejandrina Coates.


The ADA-DADA Residency begins by addressing today’s data-driven, device-oriented and networked economy. The access, collection, and use of data as the building blocks for both digital and physical spaces underscores its material presence in daily life. As the market floods with so-called smart devices where ubiquitous objects are now connected within contemporary capitalist paradigms, the flow of data becomes a central tenet for investigation. Within this context, The ADA-DADA Residency aims to provide a place for artists to critically engage with how data is used and its role as material, currency, knowledge and power. The role of the artist, and particularly that of artists operating within a plurality of experiences and ways of knowing, is fundamental for a critical and tactical engagement with the networks, interfaces, and systems through which data flows and operates. This residency will build a community of learning that centers the perspectives of womxn, people of colour and people from the global south as a way to increase the access, capacity, and agency of artists who have been systematically marginalized from having ownership and creative power over different technologies.

As a platform combining elements of learning, sharing, and making informed by the theories of critical pedagogy and constructivism – the ADA-DADA program is a collaborative production residency that places special focus on the intersecting realms of data literacy, feminist thought and artistic practice. The residency intends to be a critical provocation for participants to ask whether we can reclaim and reposition data as a form of counter-culture. At a moment in time when our traditional learning experiences are being disrupted by a global pandemic caused by the novel Coronavirus, this initiative prioritizes the significance of digital media and arts both as a medium and as an engine for generative learning that is critically engaged with technology.

The Residency

The residency will offer participants a series of workshops, mentorship sessions, and technical assistance designed to support the creation of new work between October 2020 and May 2021, culminating in a public presentation. The program will be open to creative community practitioners across disciplines, including artists, activists, designers, creative technologists and developers (among others) interested in exploring the role of data as material for cultural and artistic production. As a collaborative production residency, the program will take up the framework of an extended hackathon with an ethos of collective learning, thinking, and making that prioritizes peer-to-peer skill and knowledge sharing.

In creating an environment for practitioners to engage with each other, share skills and build capacities through a series of programs that move through critical thinking, speculative design to hands-on creation – the residency’s focus is to inspire and build a community of multiple and nuanced voices to shape the narrative of data and technology as it intersects with other structures of power through collaborative artistic responses.


Participants will receive an honorarium of CAD $2,500, and a materials budget of $700. As a collaborative initiative, participants are expected to work together and co-produce artwork within the context of data addressed throughout the residency.

Participants will receive support through:

  • 6 scheduled workshops,
  • Access to IT/Programming support (programmer),
  • Mentorship and support from curator, guest facilitators and SAVAC
  • Peer to peer exchanges

Participants will be required to:

  • Attend all workshops
  • Share your work/practice with peers
  • Collaborate with fellow residents to produce new work
  • Participate in a public presentation of new work
  • Be available for biweekly cohort meetings throughout the residency


The residency will take place from late October 2020 to May 2021. Workshops will take place between November 2020 and January 2021, while cohort meetings and production will take place throughout the entirety of the residency. Public Presentations will take place in April-May 2021.

Expressions of Interest

To apply for the residency, please email your expression of interest to with the subject line “ADA-DADA 2020” and include the following separate documents as attachments:

  • Your bio (250 words max) AND a link to your website, portfolio and/or CV
  • Cover Letter indicating why you would like to participate in the residency

Deadline for submissions: Thursday 24 September 2020

María Alejandrina Coates is a Uruguayan born media arts curator currently based on Michi Saagiig Territory, in Lindsay, ON. Her interests are in technology, feminism and socially engaged art practices. Her curated exhibitions include Terraforming, presented by the South Asian Visual Arts Centre and Trinity Square Video (Toronto); Voz-a-Voz at YYZ Artists’ Outlet (Toronto); and Feelings, presented as part of the aluCine Latin Film and Media Arts Festival (Toronto). Coates received a bachelor’s degree from the University of British Columbia and a master’s degree in Art History and Curatorial Studies from York University.

SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Centre) is a non-profit, nomadic artist-run organization dedicated to fostering imaginative thought among artists and curators of colour and integrating them into the Canadian contemporary arts ecology through frameworks of self-representation.


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