Which BPMplus Residency is Right for You?

Let’s take a look

by Lisa Osborne

We are excited to announce that we have added a fourth residency to our BPMplus Initiative. The new program is a collaboration with the Johnny Carson Center at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. We also are accepting applications for the third cohort of the MIT & Black Public Media Visiting Artist Program. We wanted to take a moment to help everyone understand the requirements and benefits of both programs.

If you have a compelling immersive or emerging-tech project idea, please apply. Both applications are due July 7, 2022. Don’t be intimidated. Neither program requires that you already have emerging-tech experience on your resume. Both programs do, however, require that you describe what you want to create or learn clearly and persuasively. Why are you picking augmented reality or artificial intelligence, for example, as your storytelling medium?

Residencies designed to support Black creative technologists, specifically, are as uncommon as $2 bills. So help us spread the word about these opportunities. A couple of super short social media posts are included at the end of this article to help you help us.

Our program with MIT Open Documentary Lab, which is funded by MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology, is about immersing yourself in a community of peers who are using technology as their medium to tell nonfiction stories. That is the common thread.

The MIT-BPM residency has been an online-only, remote experience thus far, but the 2022 recipient may move to the Cambridge area if they prefer to participate in person and have the resources to fund the move themselves. (Time to hit up cousin Ronnie in Somerville!)

The MIT-BPM program focuses on:

a) Independent study while attending mandatory online talks and events that are curated by MIT OpenDocLab,

b) meeting regularly with BPM immersive producers to develop your original project idea into something more robust, and

c) creating marketing materials for your project, including a hot pitch video for PitchBLACK 2023.

The time commitment is several hours a week for nine months (September 2022 to May 2023). And you’d need to keep your February and April in 2023 relatively light, so you have time to shoot and edit your video. MIT CAST gives each vVisiting aArtist a $7,500 honorarium in two installments. Go here to apply: http://bit.ly/mit-bpm-2022-apply.

The Black Public Media Residency at the Carson Center offers three, main benefits: Studio facilities, emerging tech equipment, and workspace.

If you want to teach yourself motion capture for a week, this is the program. If you need to hog two workstations to render the 3D characters for your VR film, this is your chance. If you want to meet your Unity developer in Nebraska and live off Red Bull and pizza for 10 days to knock out a beta test together, this program is calling your name!

Unlike our program with MIT, narrative projects are eligible for the Carson Center residency. You may apply for a one- to three-week stay on campus, with dorm lodging provided and a free flight from anywhere in the continental United States ($500 USD max) to Omaha, Nebraska. The turnaround on this one is quick; we only have all of July available and 3 weeks in January for residencies. We are accepting applications on a rolling basis, so apply ASAP. We plan to accept two projects for the first cohort (with 2 crew members, maximum, per project).

Both programs accept creatives based outside the United States. Since 2020, filmmakers and artists from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Rio de Janeiro, Toronto, and Philadelphia have participated remotely. Most applicants have a film degree or are working filmmakers, but neither program requires a film background. Coders, fine artists, journalists, and educators are also welcome to apply. You’ll find the application here: bit.ly/bpm-carson-center-apply-2022 .

— Lisa Osborne directs the emerging media program at Black Public Media

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Black Public Media

Black Public Media (BPM) develops, produces, funds, and distributes media content about the African American and global Black experience.