CripTech Incubator FAQ | Leonardo/ISAST

CripTech Incubator FAQ

By Vanessa Chang


Recording of 3 May Information Session - we apologize, the ASL interpreter did not record.


As of 4 June 2021, we have moved on to Round 2 and have invited specific artists to submit full proposals.






If invited to Round 2, when can I submit my application? What is the selection process and when will I hear back?

4 June - 19 July: Round 2 submissions will be open for 6 weeks.

19 July - mid-August: Submissions will be reviewed by residency sites and a jury of leaders from disability arts and media art communities. 

Mid-August: Semifinalists will be invited for interviews. 

Early-mid September: Offers will be extended to finalists, and the final cohort announced. 


If I'm invited to Round 2, how many projects can I submit?

You can submit one project proposal for consideration. You can propose to do this project at any/all of the residency sites on offer - if so, please check all appropriate residencies on the proposal form and explain why you think these are a good fit. Your application will be forwarded to all residency sites you check.


Which residencies am I eligible to apply for?

You are eligible to apply for all residency sites that you are available for and that you think resonate with your project. In practice, you should consider your own availability to engage with them and the kinds of resources they might have to support your project. SBCAST (8 weeks, July-August 2022) and ThoughtWorks (16 weeks, Spring 2022, either March-June or April-July) residencies occur within specific timeframes, onsite. If you're considering SBCAST, are you available to travel to Santa Barbara and live there for a period of 8 weeks? Housing is included - apply if it interests you. At this time, ThoughtWorks would like resident artists to be based in the Bay Area for the duration of the residency (and housing is not currently supported for this residency) so they can engage with the onsite resources - even if the team assembled to support your project may be global - this may change depending on the conditions of the pandemic. Beall and Berkeley residencies unfold over a longer time period of a year and can support more remote collaborations with some onsite visits. Beall includes housing for those short visits. For Bay Area based artists, Berkeley can also support more regular onsite engagement (although housing for this residency is not included at this time).


What does "project partners" refer to in the proposal form, and does this mean partners within a residency site?

You have the option of suggesting potential project partners with whom you have an existing working relationship - or would like to develop one. Such a partner, whether a research or production partner, might support your project by bringing knowledge or resources to the table beyond the scope of what a residency site or Leonardo can offer. For example, if you are proposing a mediated performance project, you might suggest working with a dance company or performance space in addition to the residency.


I see that I can upload 3 work samples or link to them? Does that mean I can provide up to 6 work samples?

You should provide up to 3 work samples. This means you can upload 3 files/images, or provide links to 3 works (typically, it's better to provide video links than to upload video).


How long can my video work sample be?

If you're providing a video sample, this should be no longer than 5 minutes long. If you'd like to provide a 5 minute excerpt, you can link to a longer piece and signal in your work sample list the time stamps for the 5 minutes you would like to be considered.




How are you determining eligibility for artists based on disability?

CripTech Incubator is for disabled artists. We are committed to broadly representing crip and disability culture, and thereby adopt an expansive view of disability as a cultural identity and as a way of being. We are interested in being as inclusive as possible, and do not subscribe to a particular definition, medical and/or legal framing of disability. For artists who are new to this space and/or community, we would love to work with artists across the spectrum of bodily, cognitive, and sensory differences and capacities. We will not require documentation or proof of disability. 


Do I have to live in California to be eligible?

No, but since a number of these residencies do not provide housing and take place over longer periods in 2022, artists already local to these residency sites will be better placed to engage with them. Beall Center (Irvine) and SBCAST (Santa Barbara) residencies are best suited to out-of-state residents. Additionally, as this Incubator is primarily funded by the California Arts Council, we have a commitment to prioritize California-based artists in our overall cohort. We are not, however, limited by geography, and believe that out-of-state artists can contribute greatly to the program.


Are you accepting international artists?

We are open to receiving proposals from international artists. Of our residencies, SBCAST and Beall Center are best equipped to support international artists. CripTech Incubator and our residency partners cannot sponsor visas, but we can provide supporting documents such as letters of acceptance and certificates of participation. Due to current budgetary restrictions, we cannot cover international travel, although all participating artists will receive a stipend.


Do artists need to have existing knowledge and/or practice with technology and media arts?

While you do not have to be an expert in the technologies you’d like to work with, it is helpful if you have some basic understanding and some level of experience or familiarity with them in order to frame your proposed project and the technical skills and equipment you might need to realize it. If invited to submit a more detailed proposal in Round 2, we’ll ask you to discuss your project, the skills you already have and the skill you would need. That said, this is an artistic residency, not a technical one. We are here to support the development of art works, not products. What is most important is to articulate your creative vision in a compelling way - if we’re excited about it and have the capacity to support it, we’ll work with you to make it happen.



Will there be a point in the application process where I can send in or upload files of my work for consideration?

Yes! We will be inviting artists after this Round 1 Call for Interest to develop detailed proposals for particular residencies they are interested in. There will be an opportunity to share additional materials that best represents your art practice and works in progress.


In Round 1, what do I need to submit to describe my creative practice?

We invite you to submit a link to an existing website and/or to any relevant social media accounts that showcase your work. We are only asking for a brief 200-word or less description of your practice that describes your present work and/or any relevant practice or experience that you think aligns with the goals of CripTech Incubator.


Will this Incubator support the development of an entirely new project, or do I need to have a work in progress?

We are encouraging proposals for entirely new works, or even early works in progress. One of the objectives of the Criptech Incubator is to support a full-cycle engine in the development of the artistic process from conception to execution, to exhibition and publication.  


What will you cover in the Q&A Session? 

We will provide an overview of CripTech Incubator and the fellowship, outlining its objectives, individual residency sites, application process, and 2021-2023 fellowship timeline. We will set aside ample time to address individual questions about any aspect of the fellowship, application process, residency sites or artist eligibility.


What happens if I can’t attend the Q&A Session?

We will record the session, and plan to post it on our website. We will also share the video link to anyone who requests it. 


How will you be selecting applicants? How many applicants will be awarded residencies?

After the Round 1 open call, we will invite eligible artists to submit a more detailed proposal. In consultation with residency sites, these proposals will be evaluated by a jury of leaders in disability arts and art and technology. We plan to award fellowships to a total of four or five artists, two of whom might possibly be a paired collaboration.



How does CripTech Incubator understand or define “disability innovation”? 

We recognize disability innovation as a practice that can fundamentally reorient art making and aesthetics. First, CripTech Incubator centers disability in art and technology practice and seeks to create new avenues of access for that engagement - supporting the creation of artworks built on the diverse embodiments and perceptions of the lived experience of disability. Second, we aim to sustain innovation in aesthetic access. By centering access as a core creative engine (not as a function of compliance or retrofit), our platform supports the development of  art works that can communicate the aesthetic experience in as many ways as possible.


Will residencies be in person or remote?

For the time being, we are planning for these residencies to be in person, but want to leave open the possibility that remote options may work better for some folks especially in light of the ongoing pandemic, safety and accessibility concerns. Some of this will depend on the kinds of projects proposed, resources needed, and residency capacity.


Can I apply for more than one residency site?

Yes, we encourage you to apply for as many residency sites for which you are interested and available. This helps us to best match artists and residencies. Your application will be forwarded to all residency sites you select.


How are residencies structured?

Each of our four residency sites have different models, resources, capacities and potential timelines. Some of the timeframes for these residencies are set: SBCAST (Santa Barbara) is an intensive live-in residency unfolding over 8 weeks in July and August 2022. ThoughtWorks Arts (San Francisco) is a 16-week intensive taking place from Feb/March - May/June 2022. Berkeley Disability Lab (UC Berkeley) will unfold over 2022, with specific remote and onsite engagements determined in collaboration with residency leaders. Beall Center for Art and Technology (Irvine) will be conducted, in large part, remotely over 2022, with some onsite engagement for 2-3 weeks (which may be in one visit or in separate visits). 


The specific nature of these collaborations will depend on the artists and projects selected. Each residency site has varied approaches to developing and supporting projects, and are flexible as to how these take shape: ThoughtWorks Arts is a not a production shop but a co-exploration and development incubator to expand inquiry with a deep dive into results, and agilely supports a project as it sharpens; Berkeley Disability Lab facilitates research into a project, and depending on its needs, connections and collaboration with faculty within and beyond the Disability Cluster, as well as opportunities for presenting work at UC Berkeley; SBCAST provides a shared creative environment of multidisciplinary residents that often collaborate, with the technical support of its leadership in using its onsite tools and media environment; Beall Center for Art and Technology facilitates a working collaboration with a resident and faculty in development of a project, and the nature of this relationship and its contact are responsive to an artist and project.


Here are more detailed descriptions of residency sites. After reading these descriptions, we encourage you to research and explore these residency sites in greater detail.  


  • ThoughtWorks Arts Residency, San Francisco. 16-week intensive, Spring (Feb/March - May/June) 2022: ThoughtWorks Arts is a global co-exploration technology research lab and development incubator directed by Ellen Pearlman and Andy McWilliams, based within the global agile software company ThoughtWorks. They will support resident artists to develop a plan and assemble a team of software and design specialists of ThoughtWorks engineers best tailored to the artist’s project needs. The residency builds on the company’s software expertise as past projects have explored artificial intelligence and deep learning, data science, creative coding, and web applications (e.g. building and hosting interactive systems online).  ThoughtWorks Arts is well-positioned to support artists to develop and produce existing ideas or alternatively just develop proof of concepts, and is open to extended collaborations. Resident artists will work both online and onsite at ThoughtWorks’ San Francisco office. If you already have a research or production partner to bring to the working relationship that could assist in  conceptualizing and/or working on technical production issues surrounding your project, those partners' inputs are welcome. Some examples of previous technical partners for ThoughtWorks Arts have included CounterPulse (networked performance project) the Cyborg Foundation, (volumetric film) and The Consortium for Research and Robotics/Pratt Institute (mechanical movement/robotics project). At this time, housing is not included with this residency. It is recommended that applicants be resident in the San Francisco Bay Area.


  • Berkeley Disability Lab (Berkeley, CA). Year-long in 2022: Founded and led by Professor Karen Nakamura, the Berkeley Disability Lab, also known as the RadMad Lab, was formed as a nexus for disability research, media and design in the Bay Area. It combines the functions of a purposefully-accessible and cross-disability inclusive makerspace, research lab and teaching space.  The lab’s projects are driven by a group of students in the Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (URAP), who represent intersectional approaches to disability justice and design. Depending on an artist’s project, the Lab will provide the resident with one or two Undergraduate Research Apprentices who have the skills they want or need for their projects. Student expertise ranges from computer science to mechanical engineering. Additionally, the Lab will support the resident artist being a university research associate so they have access to institutional resources. Depending on the nature of the project, they will support faculty collaboration with the appropriate departments at UC Berkeley. If you’re interested in this residency site, explore Berkeley’s departmental directories and suggest potential collaborators In your application. They will also connect the resident with the robust disability community at UC Berkeley, including the Disability Cultural Center. Level of residency is flexible, ranging from shorter site visits with most of the collaboration conducted remotely to an extended residency with in-person collaboration. At this time, housing is not included with this residency.


  • Beall Center for Art and Technology (Irvine, CA). Mix of remote and on-site collaboration over 2022: Located at UC Irvine, the Beall Center for Art and Technology is dedicated to interdisciplinary research and exhibitions in contemporary media arts, from digital art to interactive art, robotics, science and biotech. It supports interdisciplinary collaboration between artists, scientists and engineers. The structure of this residency is flexible, contoured to the specific project proposed by the CripTech Incubator fellow. Unfolding over 2022, this residency will be largely remote collaborations between faculty and/or graduate students, facilitated by the Beall Center. The resident would visit Irvine for 2-3 weeks at critical points in the collaboration - this could take place at one go, or over separate visits. On-campus housing will be provided during these visits. If you’re interested in this residency site, Beall advises that you explore UC Irvine’s faculty directory for potential collaborators. While that faculty member may not be available, that initial inquiry usually leads to other generative encounters with faculty and/or graduate students.


  • Santa Barbara Center for Art, Science and Technology (Santa Barbara, CA). 8-week onsite intensive, July-August 2022: Founded and led by Alan Macy, Santa Barbara Center for Art, Science and Technology (SBCAST) is an independent residency site in Santa Barbara where a community of both full-time and visiting residents, artists, scientists and engineers co-exist in a creative encounter. With a wide array of software and hardware tools, including a maker and fabrication workshop (3D printers, laser cutter, sewing machines, tool shop), and labs such as the Emotional Affect Media Center and the Human IO Lab (physiological amplifiers, tactile transducers, haptic floor, computational interfaces), SBCAST has incubated a broad spectrum of projects in art, science and technology; examples of resident artists, integrators and scientists can  be found at SBCAST is well networked in the broader community (such as the Museum of Contemporary Art and UC Santa Barbara) and based on a resident’s project, aims and preparatory conversations, will facilitate appropriate connections with the CripTech resident to support that work. Housing for one artist is included with this residency. 


I notice Berkeley Disability Lab and Beall Center for Art and Technology residencies include potential opportunities to work with a faculty member. How do I find out more about the faculty at this institution, or is there a list of interested faculty and engineers?

We do not at the moment have a list of faculty specifically committed to CripTech Incubator. We invite you to peruse UC Berkeley’s website (you are also encouraged to check out UC Berkeley’s Disability Studies Cluster) and UC Irvine’s website to search faculty by department or interest. If you are invited to Round 2, we recommend identifying potential faculty to work with, although this is not guaranteed -- we will work closely with our residency partners and you to find your community in advance of your residency. Additionally, previous residents at Beall Center have often found the most generative collaborations working with graduate students, often under the umbrella of faculty supervision. A residency at Berkeley Disability Lab might operate similarly, with its community of mechanical engineers, computer scientists and others supporting your project, with faculty member(s) part of the larger conversation.


Will I get a chance to know other artists in my Incubator cohort?

Yes! While artists will be distributed across different residency sites, we will be holding regular virtual meetings to build community, infrastructure for feedback and workshopping, and offer and develop conceptual tools for deepening artist engagement with aesthetic access. 


Will you be able to provide support for my access needs?

Yes! Access is a fundamental design principle of this residency program, and we are committed to working with you to the best of our abilities and within our budgetary capacities, on a case by case basis. We have earmarked accessibility funding for the artist cohort to support access needs throughout the trajectory of artists’ projects and fellowship. 


Can I apply with a partner or collaborator?

Yes. Our residency program can accommodate one artist partnership - please list your collaborator in your Round 1 submission. At this time, each project will be awarded an $11,000 stipend in total. While we are fundraising and hope to boost stipends for collaborations, funding remains project specific at this time, though we will continue to work with artists to support access needs.



Will I get a chance to exhibit my work?

Yes. We are planning a group exhibition for CripTech Incubator projects in 2023.


What else will I produce as part of my residency?

In 2023, we will produce a special issue of Leonardo journal, dedicated to CripTech Incubator. We will work with resident artists and other contributors for this publication. In addition, we plan to develop an online course showcasing insights about creating accessible media art, which artists will have the opportunity to contribute to.


What plans do you have in case travel is still not posssible in case of COVID-19? Is a remote residency possible whether due to the pandemic, or specific artist needs?

At this time, we plan for residencies to take place in person. However, we remain in dialogue with residency sites and interested artists about the possibility of remote residencies. Ultimately, it depends on a particular project whether a residency can be conducted remotely.