Artist Ashley Ortiz-Diaz looking at Pioneer grave stones

grave rubbing
Residents make rubbings of local graves

Artists on a tour of the Beechwood Cemetery

A look at death in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada

A look inside a mausoleum

Artist Sharron Stevens tries on a casket at the Pike Vessels workshop

Ayatana residents document birds killed in collisions with buildings

Ayatana residents look into a fresh grave

Ayatana residents visit a taxidermy studio

Art historian Stephanie Williams explains Memento Mori in art history

Ayatana residents explore the archives of the Museum of Nature

Artist Erin Williamson listens to the inside of a whale ear bone

Residents explore the vault at the War Museum's archives



Mortem: For artists to study death
November 2021
Application deadline: July 28

Mortem Online Death School is a two-week program for artists to pursue their curiosity of death and to explore and develop their identity as a death-curious artist. The virtual residency will involve daily live video lectures with international death care and funeral industry workers, historians, biologists and artists on a range of death related topics, one tethered international field trip in a graveyard near you and several short one on one meetings with artists who make art about death around the world. Built in to the 2- 2.5 hours of daily programming are discussions, recommended assignments and show and tell. The program is designed to give insight into death knowledge and ritual from a wide range of perspectives.

Ayatana death residencies facilitate talk about death. It is not grief therapy and won't ask you to dwell on pain from your past, although it will be an opportunity to share past experiences in a death positive context and most likely will be therapeutic. It will help you identify as an artist who works with themes of death and give you tools to talk about your work and to get involved with non-art professionals who also work with death.

Ayatana residencies focus on experience and research by visual and conceptual artists. Artists, writers, poets, musicians and dancers are invited to apply. This residency will host six or seven selected international artists. No previous experience related to death is necessary but a portfolio showing your creative practice is required to apply.

All activities are subject to change depending on ecological conditions, expert availability and other uncontrollable variables. Outings will go ahead rain or shine.

Death in the hands of the artist:

Residents are invited to give a private artist talk to share your work with the group.

Kirlian photography and life left in the body.

Body disposition options:

History of Embalming chat with an eco-casket builder

History of international death rituals with the director of the Museum of Morbid Anatomy  


Palliative care and vigiling: Chat with a death doula.


What happens when you die? A chat with the Anatomy Laboritory at the University of Ottawa

Non-human mourning rituals with author Barbara J King


Haunting: History of haunting and commuicating with the dead


$550 USD
Residency places are limited to 6 artists. Official invites will be given to accepted applicants to help find grants and funding.


How to apply:
Send the following material to ArtLovesScience@gmail.com
1. Artist CV
2. Artist statement (about 200 words)
4. Portfolio 5 – 10 examples of your work

Only applications that follow these guidelines will be considered.

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Check out past Death residencies on Fb

Death Rituals, 2019

Death Objects, 2019

Mortem 2018