-What happens now? Artists-in-Residence in Japan –

*The forum will take place in Miyagi Prefecture, where new artist-in-residence activities are expected in the future. Day 1 is at the Shiogama Atsushi Sugimura Museum of Art, which opened in 2014 after renovating the Honmachi branch of the Shiogama City Community Centre.

Post-Covid 2023, those involved in artist-in-residence (AIR) programmes in Japan received bad news. The budget of the Agency for Cultural Affairs, which to date has been the main source of funding for AIR projects, had been significantly reduced. Currently, there are 105 residency organisations in Japan (as of 27 November 2023) listed on AIR_J (a comprehensive website for artists-in-residence across Japan), and the number is increasing year by year, which means that the sustainability of AIR programme operations is being seriously questioned.

In partnership with AIR NETWORK JAPAN, NPO S-AIR are organising an emergency conference as an opportunity to share the current management situation of residency organisations in Japan and to question the sustainability and future of residency projects in Japan.

Date: 20 (Sat) – 21 (Sun) January 2024

Venues: Shiogama Atsushi Sugimura Museum of Art (8-1 Honmachi, Shiogama, Miyagi), various locations in Sendai

Organiser: Non-profit organisation S-AIR; Co-organiser: AIR NETWORK JAPAN

Generous accommodation support by Of Hotel

Funded by: The Ogasawara Toshiaki Memorial Foundation, Grant for Bearers of Culture and the Arts (Exchange Grant)

Format: Face-to-face + online


2-day common ticket: ¥3,000 (both face-to-face and online)

Participation in each section: 1,000 yen (face-to-face + online)

[DAY 1] Saturday 20 January 2024: Shiogama Sugimura and Jun Museum of Art.

Plenary Facilitator: Yuka Keino (Curator, Aomori Contemporary Art Centre [ACAC], Aomori Public University)    

Organiser’s speech: Hisashi Shibata (Representative of NPO S-AIR)

Welcome speech: Aya Takada (Representative of Build Flugas, Shiogama City Sugimura & Atsushi Museum of Art)

◾️ Part 1: “Emergency Meeting – What Will Happen? AIR in Japan” 13:00-15:00 

The current state of AIR in Japan.

What to think about the next second stage?

Measures to be taken

Moderator. Teiko Hinuma (Executive Director, AIR NETWORK JAPAN)

Commentator: Sachiko Kanno (Arts planner/researcher AIR Lab) and others

◾️ Part 2: “What is sustainable fundraising?” 15:30-17:30

A quarter of a century has passed since the Agency for Cultural Affairs started AIR funding in 1997. Today, the number of official AIR programmes has increased tenfold (as of 27 November 2023 on the [AIR_J] website). The forms of each organisation have diversified, and it is likely that the capital has also diversified along with them.

Considering the changing global situation, what should the relationship between this project and funding be in the future?

Hear the opinions of various funders.

◯Facilitator: Hisashi Shibata (Representative of NPO S-AIR)


Masaru Onodera /Director, Ogasawara Toshiaki Memorial Foundation

After graduating from university in 1977, joined Nifco Inc. After working as a planning and sales manager in the automobile and housing equipment-related fields, he became executive officer and general manager of Nifco Hong Kong (general manager of China), where he was responsible for overseas business. After returning to Japan, he was involved in management as General Manager of the Corporate Planning Office and Senior Executive Officer and General Manager of the Sales Division. He later became President and Representative Director of Simmons Beds Inc. and then President and Representative Director of Nifco Inc. In 2010, he became a trustee of the foundation, and in 2012 he retired as president of Nifco Inc. He will become a director of the foundation in 2019.

Taro Inamura / Programme Officer, The Saison Foundation

After graduating from university, Inamura joined Wacoal Art Centre / Spiral Inc. where he was involved in the planning and production of contemporary art exhibitions and the management of artist-in-residence programmes. After moving to the UK, she has been the programme coordinator of the Saison Artist-in-Residence since 2011, supporting numerous artists and arts managers involved in the performing arts in their residencies.
She also worked at the Arts and Culture Project Office of Nissay Research Institute Ltd. from 2011 to 2019, where she was involved in research and studies related to cultural policy and cultural facilities.

[DAY 2] Sunday 21 January 2024: even (in Sendai Fouras)

Welcome speech: Kinya Sekimoto (Representative of Gallery TURN AROUND / even)

◾️ Part 3: “National AIR Organisation Presentations” 10:00-12:00

What kind of AIR organisations are there in Japan today and what kind of activities are they involved in? This is an opportunity for presentations by a wide range of AIR organisations, both public and private, large and small.

◯Presenters: participants from residency organisations from all over the country.

◾️ Excursion 13:00-16:00

Organisers: Kinya Sekimoto (Gallery TURN AROUND / even), Sachiko Kanno (AIR Lab)

(Art Inclusion


Others Visiting art spaces in Sendai

S-AIR (non-profit organisation)

Established in 1999 as an executive committee by private sector volunteers from the arts and community development sectors based in Sapporo, it became a non-profit organisation (NPO) in 2005 and was renamed S-AIR (NPO S-AIR). It is one of the longest-running private AIR organisations.

By the end of FY2022, S-AIR will have invited 105 artists from 37 countries and dispatched 24 Japanese artists to 13 countries, with full support for travel, accommodation, exhibition and documentation costs.


Established in 2012 as a loose network of artists, operators, researchers, students and others involved in AIR activities nationwide. Currently, it holds irregular workshops and forums, disseminates and publishes information on its website and SNS, and distributes email news to registered users.

Written by some of the panelists from AIR NETWORK JAPAN (published 22 May 2023)

The potential to connect towns, people and art

Artist-in-residence (AIR) programmes are increasing and diversifying across the country, with a focus on supporting the creative activities of artists, as well as domestic and international cultural exchange, regional development, cultural tourism and corporate manufacturing. The ‘past’ and ‘future’ of AIR in Japan will be described and verbalised from diverse perspectives based on the experiences of the artists who create new expressions and the operators who share the process of rediscovering the rich culture that lies beneath their feet. The book is packed with important hints and ideas for carving out a future that has yet to be seen.