PUEBLA, MEXICO: Art History or Cultural Research Residency – Spring and Summer 2020

Explore magnificent southern Mexico’s unique archives and resources from pre-Hispanic to contemporary. Flexible, self-directed sessions of 3 to 8 weeks during Spring or Summer 2020 in the magnificent central historic district of Puebla.   Now Welcoming Applications through Sunday, December 1, 2019 Apply Now: Spaces are limited. Residency applications are evaluated for selection priority when […]

Explore magnificent southern Mexico’s unique archives and resources from pre-Hispanic to contemporary. Flexible, self-directed sessions of 3 to 8 weeks during Spring or Summer 2020 in the magnificent central historic district of Puebla.


Now Welcoming Applications through Sunday, December 1, 2019

Apply Now: Spaces are limited. Residency applications are evaluated for selection priority when they are received vs. after the deadline has passed.





The Art History or Cultural Research Residency is a self-directed, non-production based, non-instructional residency designed for curators, art historians, and researchers as well as art history, visual culture, and cultural studies graduate students. Residents work independently in our spaces and special partnered facilities. As part of Arquetopia’s mission, we promote international experiences in the field of culture by facilitating research addressing Mexico’s rich and diverse, cultural and artistic heritage.


We acknowledge the role of serious academic study in enriching the foundation for all interpretations of art; therefore, we encourage our curators- and art historians-in-residence to make a scholarly commitment to the investigation of identity in art and visual culture examining race, gender, sexuality, and class through visual expression. Our programs are distinguished for their commitment to international diversity in the approach to art history subjects. We are aware that understanding Mexico’s cultural context and complexity is key for a successful cultural exchange; thus, our residency opportunities revolve around researching, learning and creating by addressing subjects that are specific and/or relevant to Mexico.


Each residency is a unique research experience in which residents pursue their own projects free from academic obligations, make use of diverse collections, and participate in the intellectual life of the city. We welcome students and professionals from diverse backgrounds using different methodologies including but not limited to: formalism, social and cultural history, semiotics, and psychoanalysis, interested in immersing themselves in the research of Mexican culture and spending time in the magnificent and historic Spanish colonial city of Puebla.


Access to Archives, Libraries, and Experts

We encourage all residents to develop interdisciplinary investigations for a richer understanding of the subject and artistic practice. Therefore, we provide research guidance and access to experts in the humanities, unique archives and resources such as:


Palafoxiana Library

The libraries of the religious orders of Mexico were located in Puebla, Morelia and Oaxaca. Palafoxiana in Puebla is the oldest library in the Americas, and is the only library of the three that remained intact and authentic, as it was continuously conserved. The origins of date to 1646 when a personal collection of approximately 5,000 volumes was contributed to the Colegio de San Juan y San Pedro by Bishop Juan de Palafox y Mendoza. In 1773, Bishop Don Francisco Fabián y Fuero ordered the construction of the Palafoxiana Library in the historic center of the city of Puebla to house Bishop Juan’s donation. The walls of the 43-meter-long library were fitted with two tiers of bookshelves made of ayacahuite pine, cedar, and coloyote wood. The western wall displays the mid-14th century retable of the Madonna of Trapana, painted by Nino Pisano. Throughout the colonial period large quantities of prints and manuscripts were donated by other bishops, other religious institutions, and private individuals, and the library grew to rival the finest libraries of 18th-century Europe. The library’s collection grew to over 41,000 volumes in the 19th century, requiring a third tier of bookshelves. The baroque cloistered building still has many architectural and decorative elements, including the original 18th-century wooden bookcases.


José María Lafragua Library

José María Lafragua is the main library of the Universidad Autonoma de Puebla BUAP. This University has its origins in the late 16th century at the College of the Holy Spirit of the Society of Jesus, and it was opened in 1885 as the library of the College of the State of Puebla. This library gathers books from some local religious orders and 2300 volumes belonging to the personal collection of D. José María Lafragua and other historical documents. Now, the ancient School is the Autonomous University of Puebla and its Historical Library contains about 90,000 volumes of which over 65% are Rare Books, very important printed books and a collection of newspaper from the 1800s, archival documents and many other heritage objects.


Photo Archive Juan Crisóstomo Méndez

The Photo Archive Juan C. Méndez belongs to the Government of the State of Puebla and hosts a public collection with 230,000 images grouped in 15 funds. The collection includes part of the production of Juan Crisóstomo Méndez: negatives, positives, planners, albums and other objects. The mission of the archive is to continue studying and researching visual culture and the visual heritage of the 15 funds, as well as contemporary photography.


Museum of Religious Art Ex Convento de Santa Mónica

The Museum of Religious Art is one of the largest collections of religious art with a special focus in femininity. It has four main collections from the 1600’s to the 1800’s, originals from the Convents of Santa Monica (Augustinian Recollect), Santa Catalina (Dominican), Sts. Joachim and Anne (Capuchins) and Soledad (Discalced Carmelites). The collection contains art work of important artists including: Juan Correa, Pascual Pérez, Juan de Villalobos, José Patricio Polo, Luis Berrueco, José de Marimón, Miguel Cabrera, Nicolás Rodríguez Juárez, Francisco Castillo, Miguel Jerónimo de Zendejas, Lorenzo Zendejas, Rafael Morante, as well as attributed to Juan Tinoco y Joseph Magón. The collections also include gilded sculptures, paintings, books, documents (including recipes), textiles and objects.



Our customized International Artist-in-Residence Programs offer competitive professional opportunities for emerging and mid-career, national and international artists, designers, curators, art historians, art educators, journalists, writers, and cultural researchers age 20 and over. Our programs are based on a non-exploitative model promoting social consciousness. Residents are strongly encouraged to explore various ways of cultural exchange as part of their artistic and/or research goals and to actively engage in critical discussions as part of their residency experience. Understanding Mexico or Peru’s context and cultural complexity is key for a successful cultural exchange.


Arquetopia is distinguished worldwide for its array of unique, customized residency programs with substantial content. Our residency spaces function exclusively for productive art professionals, writers, and researchers and include structured, informative programs; a network of collaborative workspaces, institutions, and studios; and individualized project support.



For profiles, feedback and testimonials from many of our outstanding past resident artists, art historians, and writers, don’t miss this page on our website: Arquetopia Foundation: Our Resident Artists



  • Selection decisions are based on quality of applicant’s work and proposed project. Candidates at all stages of their careers (emerging and established) must demonstrate a clear sense of potential.
  • Our pool of applicants and residents is diverse in all aspects.
  • Our residency programs are competitive opportunities for artists and researchers to pursue their own work, free of pressure (especially work that in their particular circumstances would normally be difficult to produce).
  • The creation of community with fellow residents and staff during the residency period is important.



Founded in 2009, Arquetopia is an internationally established, award-winning nonprofit arts and cultural foundation with a social scope that emphasizes critical thinking through artistic practices. Our academic International Artist-in-Residence Programs are the largest and most reputable in Latin America, with an array of contents anchored in a solid structure of collaborations with prominent cultural institutions, renowned experts, and notable artists. We are invested in approaching art and art history with a critical perspective by understanding Mexico and Peru’s complexity in context and incorporating nuances in narratives and interpretation especially of the 3,000-year heritage of visual culture of these two countries. Since its founding, Arquetopia has raised the bar in the residency field, becoming a reference to every residency program in Latin America and influencing most of them in approaching artmaking with more rigorous practices, critical perspectives, and high standards.



A spectacular, four-story 1939 Mexican Colonial California-style compound conveniently located in Puebla’s central historic district and close to the Zócalo (city square) accommodates the offices, residency space for up to 12 artists-in-residence, and numerous production spaces of Arquetopia. Recently renovated and expanded, the residency offers a large, natural-light studio; a darkroom; a printmaking studio, a ceramics firing facility with a medium-sized gas kiln; a natural pigments laboratory; a multi-room public gallery space; ten furnished bedrooms; a large dining room; an open-access kitchen; furnished outdoor terraces and viewing decks; a small botanical garden; a research library; and a rooftop lounge with panoramic views of the city.



Accessible via two international airports in Puebla (PBC) and Mexico City (MEX), Puebla is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that lies 136 km (84 mi) from Mexico City and has approximately 5,000 colonial buildings. With a population of 2.7 million, Puebla is famous for a deep cultural identity, delicious cuisine, Talavera ceramics, and traditions rooted in the 16th-century baroque and enriched by a blend of five pre-Hispanic/indigenous cultures, Arab, Jewish, French, and Spanish influences. Puebla lies 45 km (28 mi) east of the Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl volcanoes, giving the residents a magnificent view of their snow-topped peaks. At an elevation of 2,200 m (7,200 ft), Puebla features a temperate subtropical highland climate, resulting in an average of only three days per year seeing temperatures above 29°C (84°F).



Our residencies are academically oriented professional programs that are customized to each artist-in-residence. Our programs include weekly meetings with our directorial and curatorial staff for individualized research assistance and resources, project guidance, and critique; 24-hour access to large, shared studio with natural light, personal workspace, large tables, wall space, and some tools; wireless Internet; furnished, private accommodation and use of shared indoor and outdoor common spaces; home-cooked meals, locally grown coffee, and stocked kitchen for 24-hour resident access; shared bathrooms with modern fixtures and showers; utilities and housekeeping. For our self-directed residencies, artists bring their own materials and supplies or obtain them locally. Arquetopia provides carefully detailed trip preparation materials, arrival transportation instructions, and orientation materials to all incoming residents.


Staff Support:

  • Each resident meets weekly with our directorial/curatorial staff for individualized research assistance/resources, project guidance, and critiques
  • Our residencies are process-based; residents are not expected to give talks, exhibitions, or workshops

 Accommodation and Meals:

  • Furnished, private bedroom
  • Meals and 24-hour access to the kitchen and dining room
  • Wireless Internet
  • Use of Arquetopia’s residency spaces including 4th-floor lounge and outdoor terraces
  • Shared bathrooms with modern fixtures and showers
  • Housekeeping


  • Personal workspace with desk or table
  • Access to special facilities (such as our partnered museums and other research facilities) provided



Session Length: Flexible, 3 to 8 weeks during Spring or Summer 2020. Dates are not predetermined; applicants may nominate their own approximate range of start dates.

Program Tuition: USD $529 per week. Deposit of 25% of Residency Program Tuition due within 1 week of selection. Tuition balance due by 90 days prior to residency start date. Partial tuition waiver options; e-mail us.



E-mail Chris at info@arquetopia.org

Visit the Arquetopia website at www.arquetopia.org
Complete and submit the Arquetopia Artist-in-Residence Online Application Form, following the instructions on the web page.

Following selection, applicants are notified immediately via e-mail.


Arquetopia is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our diverse local and international community. Arquetopia’s resident artist and staff backgrounds vary in all aspects. As part of Arquetopia’s mission is to promote diversity, Arquetopia actively fights discrimination by offering access to its programs and activities without regard to race, color, gender or gender expression, national origin, age, religion, creed, or sexual orientation.


Arquetopia on the Webwww.arquetopia.org

Arquetopia on Instagram: www.instagram.com/arquetopia

Arquetopia on Facebookwww.facebook.com/arquetopia

Duration of residency

Flexible sessions of 3 to 8 weeks


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Disciplines, work equipment and assistance

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Studio / Workspace

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Fees and support

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Expectations towards the artist

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Application deadline

Residency starts

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