presenting local cultural heritage

thematic residency

waaw centre, saint-louis, senegal

winter & spring 2017/18

1 November – 15 December 2017 (1.5 months)

15 February – 15 May 2018 (between 1 and 3 months)


How can cultural heritage be documented and presented in a post-colonial context? Can transmission of culture to younger generations be enhanced? What links can be made between traditional orality and contemporary media? Can and should such efforts benefit the existing, small-scale tourism industry?


The colonial city of Saint-Louis has a rich cultural topography. There are strong local traditions in folklore, music, cuisine, fashion etc. While many of these are celebrated locally, often in the form of recurring events, they are rarely accessible in a visitable physical space or presented online.


Saint-Louis has a state-run centre for research and documentation, linked to the local university, but no regular museum has been open for years. Would such an institution be the best way of communicating heritage, or are there more interesting modes of presentation? What can be done on a next to zero budget?


Waaw artists have recently been involved in exhibitions on local heritage, as transmitted by members of the community: one presentation of traditional sabar drum rhythms and one exhibition based on local stories. There are more treasures out there that deserve a larger audience. We would love to hear from applicants with an interest in developing audio material, but visual and other media are equally interesting.


We are now calling artists and designers, exhibition designers, museologists, anthropologists, journalists and educators for this thematic residency season 2017 – 2018.


You can come either for the period 1 November - 15 December (in which case we prefer that you stay the full period) or during the period 15 February - 15 May (stay for 1, 2 or 3 months, arrive on the 15 February, March or April).


Selected participants will work together with members of the community to develop material on Saint-Louis that can be presented in various forms for locals and visitors alike. Throughout the season, at least two Waaw residents will be working on this theme. You will gain an insight into the inspirational Senegalese and Saint-Louisian culture – and you will have an opportunity of doing something that can benefit the community as a whole.


If you are not familiar with the country and the culture, we suggest you do a little bit of online research. It does not mean that you have to plan your project in detail beforehand. Knowledge of French is an asset, but it is not necessarily a criterion for selection.


Waaw provides individual or shared work space and some project assistance and mentoring, including assistance in establishing contacts locally. Accommodation is provided in the Waaw residency building (November-December) or with a Senegalese family in a building at walking distance (February-April). There is free wifi, but the connection is often rather poor.


Please see the Waaw residency page (links on the right) for practical details on costs etc. We offer no grants, but selected candidates who have paid the registration fee will be issued a letter of support for seeking grants elsewhere.


This residency period falls in the dry season. Expect afternoon temperatures between 25 and 30 degrees and night temperatures between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius.


To apply, send an informal letter to the address info(át) Please tell us why you would like to come to Waaw, why you are interested in this thematic residency and how you would like to spend your time. Please keep it short. Answer these questions and link to relevant work or documentation of it online. We are not interested in detailed cv's or artist's statements. If you must attach files, please limit yourself to one single relevant work. Please make sure that your email message is not heavier than 10 MB - otherwise we may not be able to take your application into account. Thank you for your understanding.


We would like to hear from you as soon as possible and by 19 August at the latest. The selection committee will announce its list of selected participants by 1 September.


Hope to see you at Waaw!