In less than two weeks I will be winging my way home after nearly three months of being based in Norway doing an artist-residency at Drammen Kommune.

Yesterday and today were big days – I gave a presentation in the form of a meditation at the Kulturhuset Hovtun in Klokkarstua and today another presentation at the Drammen Library in the exhibition space in Dramn.

At the Hurum Gamle Kirke © Tracey M Benson 2017
At the Hurum Gamle Kirke © Tracey M Benson 2017

It is always a curious thing to consider what being “in-residence” actually means. It is certainly the meeting of many energies and potential expectations. Some expectations come from the artist and others by the host organisation. Sometimes these meet in the middle and sometimes not. It is also a steep learning curve for the artist to negotiate a new place and new people.

What I have learnt is that it is important to allow the process to ‘be’. To use the time to learn and grow creatively in whatever way that manifests. It is also useful for an artist to define what the outcomes and outputs were  – measured against the initial proposal.

My proposal was very much based around exploring my family history, my family tree, through Anton’s story. It was also an amazing opportunity to be based in Europe for an extended period of time and to use that time to explore collaborations and events in nearby places. So against this information what can measured? This is where my project manager’s hat comes on. On this note, let’s look at the outputs and outcomes taking into account this definition from Deborah Mills-Scofield It’s Not Just Semantics: Managing Outcomes Vs. Outputs

In the non-profit world, outputs are programs, training, and workshops; outcomes are knowledge transferred and behaviors changed. In the for-profit world, the distinctions are not always so clear. Let’s define outputs as the stuff we produce, be it physical or virtual, for a specific type of customer—say, car seats for babies. And let’s define outcomes as the difference our stuff makes—keeping your child safe in the car.


  • Video presentation and artist talk at Balance UnBalance
  • Cross media workshop in Volda
  • Performance/ceremony in Crawick
  • Runes masterclass
  • Meditation presentation at Klokkarstua
  • Exhibition and presentation at Dramn
  • Expansion of DNA Music work into phone based VR
  • Numerous blog posts
  • Travel within Norway.


  • Increased knowledge of family history to explore via Anton’s sisters
  • Increased knowledge of Norse culture
  • Increased knowledge of 360 camera technologies
  • Expansion of professional networks
  • Expansion of practical knowledge of Norwegian landscapes, culture and language
  • Expansion of work into the realm of ‘earth healing’ and ‘earth energy’
  • Expansion of the *Ignite* work with Lee Joachim and Josiah Jordan
  • Broadened concept of the landscape and trees as visual motifs connecting to the ‘spiritual’ and ‘universal’.

The lists above are measurable in project management speak but do not express the ways that such an experience expands you as a person. I have ‘stepped forward’ in ways I never thought possible and been gifted some very special connections with people who I know will be lifelong friends. That stuff you can’t put on your CV and yet it is those aspects where the true richness of artist residency process lies.

Journey to Urke © Tracey M Benson
Journey to Urke © Tracey M Benson

Another reality for many artists doing residencies is that the world does not stop just because you are ‘in-residence’. Other work on projects continues, applications need to be submitted, responsibilities to family, work, study and professional activities do not go away. This is modern life.

Looking after yourself when on residency is also really important – physically and mentally – I have learned from experience. It is easy to withdraw and get caught up in your own head space and thoughts and making. This for me is a problem as I can get depressed. It is important to maintain social contacts and to get outside – walking in nature and meeting up with people.

© Tracey M Benson || bytetime
© Tracey M Benson || bytetime

At the moment I am tired but elated, it has been a big journey and it’s not quite over yet. New energies are stirring and who knows where they might lead ❤

Sleeping in tomorrow 🙂

2 thoughts

    1. Hi Aunty Bev – it has been amazing. I also have some updated information on which you might want to link to as I now have Bernt Nilsen’s (Bend Benson’s) father’s name and the record of his marriage certificate. Lots of love xx

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