Iaspis is part of the Swedish Arts Grants Committee, which is a government agency. Its activities are financed through the remuneration for works in public spaces – a financial resource allocated annually by the government to the Visual Arts Fund.
Iaspis has played a vital role in the internationalisation of Swedish art by awarding grants for international exchange and by initiating and accomplishing international networking processes between artists, writers and curators. The project Craft in Dialogue, initiated in 2003, was the starting-point for a more focused development of the endeavour to internationalise the field of applied arts, that is, design, craft and architecture.
Iaspis has a public programme of lectures, seminars and exhibitions both in Sweden and abroad. The public activities are an essential part of Iaspis’ work of disseminating information internationally about Swedish art, design, architecture and craft, as well as discussing topical issues in contemporary theory and practice.
In addition, Iaspis seeks to initiate and support collaborations between Swedish and international visual artists and designers both in Sweden and abroad. Every year Iaspis arranges a number of visits by international and Swedish curators and critics to facilitate international networking and domestic collaborations. The aim is to establish a platform for meetings between practitioners in the Swedish art world and Iaspis’ international artists and other guests.
Iaspis has twelve studios in Sweden, nine of which are located in Stockholm, and three courtesy of Iaspis’ collaborative partners in Gothenburg, Malmö and Umeå. Studio residences for Swedish artists are allocated as grants. Only applicants who are Swedish citizens or whose main artistic practice is in Sweden are eligible for grants. Two of the studios are reserved for artists who have recently graduated from a Swedish art academy. International artists are invited by Iaspis. In the design area, various models of residencies will be tested in the next few years. Swedish practitioners will be offered the opportunity to work abroad for a period of time, and international designers, architects and craftspersons will be offered residencies in Sweden.
Iaspis has five studios abroad for Swedish artists. Grant recipients are offered the use of a studio, a furnished apartment and a grant to cover costs for subsistence during their residency. Presently, Swedish artists can apply for a studio residency in Berlin, London, New York, Rio de Janeiro/São Paulo, Cairo and Tokyo. Some of the studios abroad welcome applications from visual artists as well as designers.
The Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s premises at Maria Skolgata on Södermalm in Stockholm is the hub of Iaspis’ activities of liaising with grant recipients in Sweden, invited international guests, interested colleagues and the public. This is the work place for Iaspis’ staff, which consists of the director, two project managers, two co-ordinators and an assistant. Maria Skolgata is also home to Iaspis’ archive where visitors may obtain information on Swedish contemporary art and previous Iaspis grant recipients.
The activities are led by the director in close collaboration with the Iaspis delegation. The delegation, which consists of members of the Visual Arts Fund’s board, is the body that takes the decisions on the allocation of grants for international cultural exchange and the studio programmes in Sweden and abroad. The Iaspis delegation is also a discussion partner for the director in the development of proposals for policy and planning documents and the various studio programmes.
Lisa Rosendahl and studio grant holder Anna Sandgren, Open Studios, September 2011
Cecilia Widenheim and Hinrich Sachs at the seminar Why Exhibit?, 2009
Maria Lind together with the artists in the exhibition Formalities, 2007
ReShape!, The Venice biennial 2003, curators: Sara Arrhenius and Karina Ericsson Wärn
Green River av Olafur Eliasson, 2000, curators: Daniel Birnbaum, Karen Diamond and Mats Stjernstedt.
Studio presentation with Johan Thurfjell and Karina Ericsson Wärn and others, 2002