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Adobe Creative Residency: Six tips on how to craft your best application

Author: Julia Kahl

The Adobe Creative Residency is the ultimate kick-start for your creative career: Throughout one year you can realize your dream project, travel around the world—and get money for the whole thing. Which seems almost too good to be true could soon become reality for you. You can apply now until February 7th and make your dream come true. To make sure it works, we’ll answer the most frequently asked questions and tell you what to keep in mind when applying. Good luck!

The Adobe Creative Residency is a structured program designed to help you quickly reach your goals as a creative professional. Your project and the Creative Residency is the vehicle that takes you from where you are now to where you want to be in your creative career. Throughout the year, you’ll proactively make inspiring and innovative work, try new tools and workflows, refine your process, and engage with others to share your progress, discoveries, and outcomes. You’ll also attend events, speak at conferences, and collaborate with other leaders in your field.

What are the eligibility requirements?

In general, every artist can apply. Nevertheless, there are a few key requirements to fulfill. You are best suited if you…

  • … live in the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, or Canada (Relocation for the duration of the residency to one of these countries will not qualify you to be elligible)
  • … are of legal age and status to work in their given country
  • … speak and write fluent English (don’t worry, nobody expects perfect English, but you are supposed to travel around the world, give lectures and interviews)
  • … interact with the creative community in the primary language of the country in which they live — e.g., German residents in German, UK residents in English, Japanese residents in Japanese
  • … you apply in English

Anything else?

We talked to Adobe about what makes a good application and the most frequently asked questions. Read the following six answers carefully to be optimally prepared for your application.

1. How much experience do I need? Do I need to have a completed apprenticeship?
“We’re mainly looking for applicants who are early in their creative careers, though we do consider applicants who are switching from one creative field to another or from non-design careers. Applicants should have at least a few years of education, training, and/or experience in the field of their proposed projects. Obviously, you should already have a little experience and knowledge. Whether you have acquired your knowledge and skills in an apprenticeship, training or completely autodidactically is not relevant.”

2. How should the application be structured and what should it look like?
“Surprise us! Be aware that we receive around 3,000 applications—that means you have to stand out from the crowd and convince us in the shortest time possible. That’s why it’s best to keep your PDF short and sweet without forgetting important points: Who are you, where do you want to go, what is your project? These are the key messages. But then there’s a list of important questions here, which you should also be prepared to answer. By the way: When providing the budget details for your proposed Creative Residency project, our main concern is to see whether you have thought through your project and can calculate costs. That doesn’t have to be super accurate, just a rough estimate circled around the question: How much money would you need for an exhibition, a book production, or whatever else you have in mind? This should only include costs related to your project alone. You don’t need to include salary details or travel or living expenses.”

3. Are Creative Residents required to relocate?
“Creative Residents remain in their current living location with their existing studio setup as we want to invest in the local creative scene. Nevertheless, you will get to see a lot of the world: Creative residents visit Adobe’s San Francisco office once a quarter and are on the road for roughly 25% of the Residency year to see conferences such as Creative Jams, Adobe MAX, 99U, and other events. Residents work with the program coordinator to determine which trips are most beneficial for their projects, and travel is spread out over the year.”

4. How is the time commitment? And can Creative Residents work for other clients while participating in the program?
“Caution: If you’re working another job, taking a long vacation, or fulfilling any other commitment that would prevent you from investing yourself full-time during the Creative Residency year (May–April), you are unfortunately not eligible to be a Resident. If you’re a graduating student, you’re eligible only if your tests and coursework are completed by the end of May. We want our Creative Residents to be able to concentrate fully on their project and their long-term goals. Of course, there are always special cases and exceptions, so everything can be talked about!”

5. Who will be the owner of my work? What about licensing?
“Residents retain ownership of all the work they create during the residency, but they grant Adobe a license to use that work in promotional materials, at events, and in other venues. However, Adobe partners with residents to ensure the integrity of their work wherever it’s used.”

6. Is this some kind of apprenticeship? And what about the salary?
“Well, somehow it is: You have one year to concentrate on your career, learn new tools and work with mentors in addition to all kinds of resources and tools. And best of all: You don’t have to pay anything for that, you even get a full salary commensurate with your experience and geographical location, as well as health insurance. All travel and project costs, including hardware, will of course be covered as well.”

The icing on the cake—even more inspiration, tipps and tricks for your application:

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