Ayatana residents explore with entomologist Fenja Brodo

Ayatana residents explore with entomologist Diane Lepage

Residents catch insects with entomologist Andrew Young

Ayatana residents visit the Ottawa Community Beekeepers' hives

Residents hold a wrigling Altas moth pupa (photo Melissa Smith)

Entomologist Jeff Skevinton shows the group around the
Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes

Residents examine moths in the field with
entomological photographer Jim des Rivières

Ayatana residents learning to catch insects with entomologist Hume Douglas

Artist Laura Williams looks at flies at the CNC


















































Swarm: Insects and Entomology for Artists
Gatineau Hills, August, 2020
Application deadline April 10, 2020

Swarm is a specialized residency for artists to pursue their curiosity of insects. The immersive research retreat allows artists to interact with the living natural world over a week in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada in August of 2020. With the help of a team of professionals with diverse entomological expertise the residency will facilitate daily excursions into nature for collection of materials and exploration of a wide range of Canadian wildlife habitats as well as visiting private laboratories and curated collections. Daily expeditions into forests, bee yards and research labs will be enriched by biologists, naturalists and experts. This action packed research residency leaves little time free for making art, so developing ideas and collecting material is encouraged at all times.

Ayatana residencies are designed to facilitate first hand experiences that will enrich visual and conceptual artists' practice within a group of like minded creative people. Artists, writers, musicians, film makers and dancers are invited to apply. The jury will select five or six international artists based on their portfolio rather than how they fit into any description of an artist.

At least half of all Ayatana field trips are spent outdoors and some involve gentle hiking.


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

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

A lesson on identifying insects with the Ottawa Field Naturalist Club

We will set up a moth lure to observe the local moths.

A walk in the field to see local butterflies with a lepidopterist.

Visit a lab at Carelton University where audible caterpillar communication is studied.

We will hike out to catch fireflies with a local entomologist who will describe the 8 local species and their distinct flash patterns.

A guided hike through Petri island with expert entomologist to learn about the many local dragonflies and damselflies.

A visit to a local honey farm to look at the hives and to learn about colony collapse and urban bee keeping.

A visit to a bee physiology lab at Ottawa University.

Invasive species:
A walk through the forest to look for evidence of bark beetels and to talk about insect tree relationships.

Art in the Dark:
Insects in Contemporary Art.

Insects in Art History.

Pinning and preservation:
Visit to the Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes, and a tour of one of the best collections of its kind in the world, with approximately 16 million specimens.

A meeting with a national entomological illustrator from the CNC.

Macro Photography workshop

We will spend an afternoon with a progressive exterminator who will teach about local pests and cutting edge methods of dealing with them.

The Ayatana Moth Observatory houses a small collection of live showy moths each year. If you would like to work with a specific species it may be possible for Ayatana to import them so they are available to you during your residency.



Residents will be picked up in Ottawa, Canada and driven to the Ayatana Residency House, near the small town of Chelsea, Quebec. This culturally vibrant town, surrounded by the Gatineau Hills is nestled between Gatineau National Park and the Gatineau River.


$1300 USD
Residency places are limited to 6 artists. Official invites will be given to accepted applicants to help in the procuration of grants and funding.


What is included:
All activities.
Transportation to all activities.
Supplies, equipment and technical gear.
A comfortable bed in the Ayatana residency house.
Most meals will be provided, cooked by our resident chef. *Residents will be responsible for paying for their own meals from restaurants, which will happen 2 or 3 times during the week.


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 work

Only applications that follow these guidelines will be considered.


Disclaimer: Those who do not like the outdoors or to talk about art, need not apply.


Friend us on face book for future calls for applications and posts about other art/science opportunities fb

For more images of past adventures see our face book albums

Swarm 2019, Chelsea Quebec

Swarm 2018, Chelsea Quebec

Swarm 2017, Chelsea Quebec

Creep 2016, Chelsea, Quebec

Biophilia July 2015, Wolfville, Nova Scotia

Biophilia Sept 2014 Wakefield, Quebec