The Waaw residency serves as a base for artists and other creative professionals wishing to stay in Senegal doing creative work. The minimum residency time is one month.
We regret that we are currently not able to make plans for the future, and we have no open call. Please do not send us applications for the time being.
Waaw's main focus is on visual arts, craft and design, but practitioners in all art disciplines, curators, researchers and journalists are welcome. Projects with relevance to the Senegalese context and the local creative community are especially appreciated. Guidelines for application can be found here. NB: No grants are available, but selected candidates will be issued a letter of support for seeking finance individually. We normally host 5 artists at one time.
The studio building contains five studios (12 - 24 sqm) intended for work. They are furnished with tables or workbenches, shelves, seating and lights. Extra workspace for special purposes can be rented outside the building for an additional fee. The library doubles as a room for artists' meetings and language classes. The Waaw hosts' office is on the first floor. One studio is occasionally used as an exhibition space. In order to for you to be able to concentrate on your work, the building will not be used for non-residency purposes during your stay.
End-of-residency exhibitions, performances or workshops are welcome but not obligatory. For these, we charge no rent, but artists will cover costs for materials and equipment and, if applicable, contribute to costs for a gallery assistant. We sometimes organise open door events at Waaw where artists can present their work in progress.
On a non-profit basis, Waaw offers accommodation and workspace with wifi access. We provide some project assistance and mentoring prior to and during your stay, contacts in Saint-Louis and language assistance if needed - in other words, you don't necessarily have to speak French. (French and Wolof tuition is available, though.)
Accommodation is arranged at a bed and breakfast at walking distance (2 km) from the studios. Bedrooms (12-16 sqm) contain beds (with mosquito nets), a fan and basic storage facilities. You can choose betwen an ensuite bathroom or a bathroom across the corridor. Bed linen and towels are provided and simple breakfast is included. At your disposal is also a shared kitchen, equipped with refrigerator, gas cooker and kitchen utensils. You are welcome to make use of the rooftop terrace. There is a laundry service for a small fee. No drugs are allowed at the house, including alcohol. Photos here.
There are several restaurants close to the Waaw studio building where meal prices start at 1,500 fcfa/ €2.30.
A non-refundable registration fee of €200, which counts towards the total amount, should be paid to Waaw upon acceptance onto the programme. The payment of balance should be made three months before the start of the residency. We will also ask for a deposit of €100 (to cover any damages to equipment etc), which is normally paid back at your departure.
We organise transfers from and to Dakar, as well as pick-up at the airport and, if needed, accommodation for one night in Thies, (conveniently situated en route for Saint-Louis). This is not included in the residency fee. The price for the whole transfer package ranges between €60 and €110.
Residency fees (as of 4 February 2023)
Please note that the residency fee is not just for rent for your room and studio. It comprises a whole package of services and exchanges in a professional framework.
including standard single room 390 000 fcfa / € 600
including shared standard double room, per person 300 000 / € 450
including single room with ensuite bath 490 000 fcfa / € 750
including shared double room with ensuite bath, per person
370 000 fcfa / € 560
Unfortunately, longer stays are not possible during this season.
If agreed beforehand, family members or other guests are welcome to stay in your room for an additional 10,000 fcfa / €15 per night.
Studio building, rue Blaise Diagne, Île Nord
Out of the Waaw guestbook:
”This is a wonderful, creative sanctuary.”
“Coming to Waaw has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I’ll be honest; I knew virtually nothing about Senegal before I came. I wanted to go somewhere that would challenge the way I think about the world and life in general and I can safely say that I am utterly confused in the best possible way.”
Annie May Demozay
“My experience here has been transformative, bordering on ecstatic and I have the utmost appreciation and gratitude for all of the behind the scenes work that has gone into creating this space.”
“The true gift of Waaw is a rare balance of support and independence.”
“The colors of Saint Louis, Senegal… Where the light of the sun casts a hue of yellow, making everything brighter and more vibrant. I’m grateful for this feeling that this light is now in me, that it will continue to illuminate my journey.”
“Des peintures qui s’envolent dans le ciel de Saint Louis, des objets qui emportent leur histoire… Le temps est passé trop vite à Waaw! J’ai aimé ce lieu paisible, propice à la création, les rencontres et les amitiés partagées.”
Waaw is not just a place to stay. It is a non-profit, dedicated, planned residency programme, including orientation and assistance. Having over 10 years' experience of hosting artists in Senegal, we pay special attention to project content and providing a quality experience.
The Saint-Louis atmosphere is inspiring: peaceful and picturesque but still rough around the edges. Saint-Louis is a gentle version of urban West Africa, with an interesting historical dimension. We can organise excursions in and around Saint-Louis: to the Djoudj bird reserve, for instance.
See our Facebook page for pictures.
What is special about a residency at Waaw?
Workshops or private classes in silver jewellery making, textile dyeing, glass painting, drumming and dance as well as language courses (French, Wolof, Pulaar) can be arranged.
When it comes to working methods, equipment and basic materials, be prepared to improvise - this is Africa! Much that we take for granted may not be available, or costly - wood, for instance. Plastic and other trash is an environmental problem in town, but at the same time offers opportunities for creation.
At Waaw, there are basic woodwork and leatherwork tools at the disposal of the residents. Our little library contains books on Senegal, mainly in English (and is therefore a rarity in Senegal) and French. No computers are available at Waaw, so please bring your own laptop.
Working professionally with local artists and artisans is possible. For instance, music and dance, traditional craft trades like woodwork, metal work, jewellery and tailoring are well represented in Saint-Louis. However, don't expect much in the way of an avant garde contemporary arts scene.
Can I visit Waaw?
If you are interested in our residency activities, you are welcome to book a visit in advance. Waaw is, however, not a cultural centre open for the general public. Our gallery Éthiopiques will be open for occasional exhibitions in the autumn of 2023.