OPEN CALL for CSSM artist-in-residence 2023/2024

The Centre for the Social Study of Microbes is pleased to announce the open call for its second artist residency in Helsinki. Artists are invited to submit proposals that aim to produce collaboratively new ways of knowing microbes with researchers and various publics, opening to non-textual, embodied, and practice-based knowledges.


The CSSM is a hub for researchers and artists working at the intersections of microbes, human and nonhuman animals, and environment. Microbes are not only biological entities but also shape, and are shaped by, social worlds. The Centre explores the profound challenges that relationships with microbes raise for social theory, and which demand new ways for describing and explaining these complex and entwined relations. Not only is this work theoretically motivated, it is critical for developing sustainable methods of planetary co-existence in the Anthropocene. Art has a crucial role in exploring and experimenting with the ways in which these relationships can be known.
Recognising that innovative knowledge requires inclusive and egalitarian ways of knowing, the CSSM puts a strong emphasis on decentralised collaborative practices. The Centre hosts international research fellows and organises social theory and methodology workshops, academic seminars, and a yearly PhD School. The artist-in-residence will collaborate, influence, and be influenced by ongoing methodological and conceptual work at the CSSM.

Who can apply

All lines of artistic work that have a microbial focus are eligible. The CSSM adopts a broad understanding of the term artist, inviting individual projects across any art-related discipline. Proposals can engage a broad range of artistic work, including conceptual work, and need not be limited to any media. We welcome applications from emerging, mid-career and established individual artists who demonstrate a commitment to the Centre’s intellectual and societal aims. The proposed project could be part of an artistic research dissertation or can also be seen as a possibility to develop the artist’s skills at joining art and science.


The residency will be 6 months full-time and can start earliest from December 2023 but latest from February 2024.

Offered by the CSSM

The residency offers artists economic support to work at the CSSM in Helsinki for 6 months at 2.500€ per month, which is meant to cover accommodation and living expenses. If applicable, we will assist you with any necessary visa and travel arrangements prior to your visit. Travel expenses can be covered for artists living outside Finland.
The support can either be paid as a grant that is negotiable with regard to extra costs such as health insurance, or the artist can be employed by the University of Helsinki as non-academic staff. Material and production costs can be discussed depending on project requirements and as needed.
The selected applicant is expected to work in Helsinki, Finland, in order to participate actively in the intellectual and social life of the CSSM, as well as the wider artistic-scientific community across, and beyond, the Faculty of Social Sciences and the University of Helsinki. The working language will be English.
During their stay, the artist will gain access to office space and other university services like libraries and online resources. Other types of working spaces would need to be negotiated case by case. Participants are expected to acknowledge the CSSM in any output arising from their stay in Helsinki. In recruitment, we will use similar selection criteria of commitment, creativity, and collaboration as is used for postdocs and fellows.

How to apply

Please submit

  • a short motivation letter (max. 1 page),
  • a draft project proposal (1-2 pages) including a description of intended forms of engagement with the CSSM aligned with its objectives and ethos,
  • a portfolio of previous works,
  • a CV.

Please send your documents to as a single PDF file.
Deadline: 15.10.2023
Interviews with short-listed candidates will be held approximately 2 weeks after submission date.

Diverse and inclusive recruitment

We seek to create a diverse team. In line with this policy, eligible applicants can be of any nationality and gender. The CSSM particularly seeks to invite applications from artists from the Global South.