The Arts Initiative invites University of Michigan graduates (current and previous academic year) Masters-level creative disciplines to join the pilot cohort of the Creative Careers Residency. The Creative Careers Residency is a transitional program providing support for full-time, self-directed creative practice in architecture, art and design, performing arts, intermedia arts, or creative writing.

Pursuit of an advanced degree in a creative practice provides support, structure, and most importantly, the time necessary to develop and execute creative work in visual art, music, architecture, or writing. Upon graduation, many practitioners lose these networks of support necessary to develop significant work, posing a significant barrier to the transition from degree to sustained work. The Creative Careers Residency seeks to reduce these barriers to creative practice post-graduation, by providing the time, structure, and funding support to transition from academia to post graduate endeavors.

Goals of the Creative Careers Residency Program:

  • The arts do not have a parallel scaffolding to the academic disciplines to transition from “graduate student” to “scholar” or “academic.” We seek to take this step toward modeling this kind of institutional support for graduates in the arts (culture change).
  • Set up U-M graduates of creative disciplines for success in a deep creative practice by providing the infrastructure of support necessary to do so. Teaching as a track to support one’s artistic practice has not rebounded in the past decades, and most grads will have to take administrative or unrelated jobs to support themselves. Creative Careers enables student-artists to create a significant project that will bridge them to the next art-making opportunity.
  • Reduce barriers to artists without generational wealth to develop sustainable careers as artists.
  • The Arts Initiative seeks to increase the presence and interactions of artists-in-residence across campus. Support for early career artists in these roles models pathways toward the national-level engagements the Arts Initiative also supports.
  • Prospective residents apply with a project proposal and work toward a public engagement that showcases creative work outlined in the proposal. Up to three residents will form the pilot cohort, engaging with each other, the Arts Initiative and its partners, and the wider arts ecosystem of Southeast Michigan. Proposals should address how they align with the Arts Initiative’s mission “to illuminate and expand human connections, inspire collaborative creativity, and build a more just and equitable world through the arts.”

Benefits to the Residents:

  • Cohort of fellow creative residents
  • Regular check-ins, ideation and feedback sessions
  • Stipend of $40,000 for a 9.5 month residency period (June 15-March 30)
  • Grad Care Health Insurance
  • Supplementary allowance for supplies (up to $5,000) and travel ($2,000)
  • Support for an engagement with the public (i.e., talk, exhibition, performance)
  • Media support
  • A desk space
  • Campus engagement (up to 5 hours per week):
  • As Mentor for the Arts Initiative Creative Fellows interdisciplinary group of U-M students (Fall)
  • Development of up to two workshop or equivalent for U-M students through one of our partner units


  • University of Michigan December 2021-May 2023 master’s level graduates (MFA, MM, MA, MArch, MS, MUD) of Art & Design, Architecture/ Urban Design/ Digital and Material Studies, MMs/ MAs/ MFAs in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, Creative Writing.
  • Creative Careers Residents must be available to be “in residence” throughout the duration of the program (travel time should be pre-approved and not conflict with campus engagement obligations).
  • Contact with any questions about eligibility.

Application Timeline

Launch: Oct. 2022
Deadline: Feb 28, 2023
Decisions: by March 22, 2023

How to Submit Via Slideroom

  • CV
  • Portfolio (up to 5 projects; projects can be related sets of images or other work examples)
  • Proposal for the residency project (up to 2-page narrative, can include visuals or other supplemental media).
  • Unofficial transcript (proof of expected graduation date), and, if selected, an official transcript that indicates completion of the degree program.

*The residency does not provide housing or a studio workspace (a desk space is available).