Artist in Residence – Cape Breton Centre for Craft & Design

Artist in Residence


Since 1972, the Centre has become an integral and leading force in the education, promotion, and development of the craft sector in Cape Breton-Unama’ki. Over the past 15 years, the Centre has developed multiple residency opportunities for craftspeople to hone their skills, build community connections, and establish or maintain their craft businesses.  

Whether located within our Sydney facility, or through our various partnerships, each program is tailored to the needs of the craft community and provides space for participants to focus on their individual practice goals. You can find general information about the offerings below. 


Customs House Artisan Incubator 

Are you interested in relocating to Cape Breton-Unama’ki to start or grow your contemporary craft business?  

The Customs House Artisan Incubator might be the opportunity you’re looking for.  

In partnership, the Centre and the Town of Port Hawkesbury offer long-term 24hr access studio rentals (1 year minimum) that cushion participants from the risks of starting a craft business as a part of a thriving creative community.  

Fully equipped studios (textiles, ceramics, metals/jewellery & undetermined), combined with business and technique guidance, mentorship, sales, and marketing opportunities can help support your dream from the start-up stage all the way to a full-time craft business reality. The program is specifically designed to help you develop your practice into a sustainable business. 

Deadline: Open until full 

Did you know? The Customs House is named for its original purpose – as the customs house and post office for the town.  


Sydney Summer Residency 

Open to practicing artists and craftspeople, the Summer Residency provides the unique opportunity to use the studios during their quietest time of the year. With no regular courses or workshop programming, residents will have access to the studios during opening hours to focus on their projects within a state-of-the-art facility.  

The Sydney Equitable Access Program provides free studio space to local practitioners who might not have the financial resources to pay the associated residency costs OR have other barriers to accessing studio space. This program aims to lower these barriers so that makers can begin their craft business journey, and hopefully become full members over time.  

Applications are accepted in line with the seasonal deadlines and are considered on a case-by-case basis, so please ensure that you have clearly outlined your goals for the residency if you are applying for this program.  

***Your privacy matters to us. You will not be identified as being a participant in the Equitable Access program outside of the jury deliberation session.*** 

Apply now for Summer 2023!

Did you know? Cape Breton is home to five First Nations communities: Wagmatcook, Membertou, We’koqma’q, Eskasoni, and Potlotek. 


Sydney Teaching Residency 

Open to applicants interested in offering 2-12-week workshops and classes within the Centre’s studios during the Winter, Fall and Spring semesters. Instructors are paid for their classes, and they have the option to add studio rental time to work on their craft outside of class time.  


Fall Teaching Residency – July 15th, 2023
Winter Teaching Residency – October 15th, 2023 
Spring Teaching Residency – January 15th , 2024 

Did you know? Lines from the popular Bob Marley song “Redemption Song” were taken from a speech given by Marcus Garvey in Whitney Pier in October 1937. 


Parks Canada 

In partnership with Parks Canada, the Centre offers two annual programs that allow participants to engage with local communities in unique ways.  

Up to two artists are invited to live in a three-bedroom house in Ingonish for a six-week Residency during the Fall season. Projects must include a plan for engagement with the local community. Open to individuals or collaborative pairs.  

Deadline: Closed for 2023

Ground Rules  

Fourteen artists live and share ideas for four days in oTENTiks at the Chéticamp Campground, nestled in the serene Chéticamp River valley between the river and mountains. Returning home, they are tasked with creating work for a group exhibition to be held at the Centre, with the potential to tour.  

Deadline: Closed for 2023

Did you know? If you are in view of Cheticamp Island at the right time of day, you can catch a glimpse of the cows taking their daily dip on the beach before they head home for the evening.  

If you are interested in applying to any program, please be sure to read the detailed information sheet provided to ensure that the program suits your needs. 

All applications are subject to a screening and selection process.  

For more information, please contact Vicki Clough at or 1-902-539-7491 ext 116.