an inaugural, immersive
residency for artists and writers
As the Pacific Northwest and other regions grapple with the increasing reality of wildfire, the Confluence Lab is working to reimagine shared fire stories.
Alongside the Stories of Fire online exhibitions, it’s our hope that this residency for artists and writers will generate a greater public familiarity with landscape fire that is not catastrophic, while also demonstrating the possibility that non-professionals can and do participate in prescribed fire.
Artist Sasha Michelle White lights at Coyote Prairie outside of Eugene, OR.
photo credit: Paul Gordon
The Confluence Lab’s inaugural Artists-In-Fire (AIF) residency will support up to 10 artists and writers from the Pacific Northwest and adjacent regions as boots-on-the-ground participants in prescribed fire. Participants will train as wildland firefighters and attend an immersive prescribed-fire module as a firefighter. Returning home, artists and writers will be asked to reflect upon this experience through their creative practice and share those reflections with their communities.
Each AIF recipient will be given a one-time $4000 (USD) stipend to support time, travel and material costs associated with training, immersive experience and creative work development.
Participants must be 18 years of age or older, reside in the PNW or adjacent regions, and will be required to maintain their own medical insurance. The Confluence Lab seeks to promote a diversity of voices and applications are encouraged from women, the BIPOC community and others not traditionally represented within wildland fire operations or who would not otherwise have access to such an experience.
Applicants should keep in mind that training as a wildland firefighter demands a high level of physical fitness and this residency will not be suitable for all persons. While all precautions are made to keep participants safe, fire operations include physically strenuous work under stressful conditions and numerous inherent dangers.
Residency participants will be required to complete approximately 40 hours of asynchronous, online training prior to their prescribed-fire boots-on-the-ground experience.
In addition to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) qualifications for a Wildland Firefighter Type 2 (FFT2), participants must be able to complete an arduous pack test, which consists of carrying a 45-lb pack and walking 3 miles on level ground in less than 45 minutes, and a practice fire shelter deployment. Read the minimum FFT2 requirements here.
Prescribed fire is the intentional burning of fire-prone landscapes for ecological and cultural benefit. Prescribed Fire Training Exchanges (TREX) are mentorship-style training opportunities for wildland fire practitioners, organized by The Nature Conservancy, the United States Forest Service, and various other partnerships between tribes, state agencies and stewardship entities. The Confluence Lab is partnering with regional TREX organizers to secure places in 2024 TREX for the selected AIF residents.
TREX training modules vary from location to location. They generally run from 7 to 12 days and are sometimes organized with specific themes, such as the Women’s TREX or Indigenous TREX. They often include presentations on local ecology, participant-led demonstrations and other fire-related training activities. While all activities are dependent on local weather conditions, participants usually have the opportunity to experience all phases of fire operations, including unit preparation, fire implementation, mop-up, and fire effects documentation.
Fire operations at a Prescribed Fire Training Exchange (TREX) outside Ashland, Oregon. photo credit: Sasha Michelle White
& community engagement
Returning home, AIF residents will be asked to reflect upon their experience with prescribed fire through their creative practice and share those reflections with their communities.
Within one month of completing the TREX module, residents will submit a creative blog post to the Confluence Lab.
Within six months of the TREX module, residents will share some portion of the creative work resulting from this experience with their home community. This might be an exhibition, a reading, a community conversation, and/or other creative outreach. When possible, this outreach should be documented in some way and shared with the Confluence Lab. Public acknowledgment of the support from the Confluence Lab, the Just Futures Institute and the Mellon Foundation is also appreciated.
First, fill out the online Application Form. Within it you will be asked to include:
a Short Biography (please no more than 250 words)
Responses to the following prompts:
Why are you interested in this residency? How do you anticipate your experience with fire impacting your current creative work, future projects and professional goals?
Working with fire can be both exhilarating and challenging. Tell us about your experience 1) working as part of a team and 2) working outdoors and/or engaging in strenuous physical outdoor activity.
Tell us about any ecological, botanical, fire, outdoor knowledge or skills you have.
Tell us about your relationship to the Pacific Northwest or adjacent regions. How do you hope to bring your experience of prescribed fire back to your community? (Please be as specific as possible.)
Contact Information for 2 References
Next, email the following to firstname.lastname@example.org:
CV (.pdf please)
Sample Portfolio of Recent Work
visual artists: submit images of up to 5 artworks, please do not exceed 10 submission images total.
writers: submit up to 5 writing samples, please do not exceed 10 pages total.
interdisciplinary artists: submit up to 5 samples of a mix that best represents your practice.
AIF requirements at-a-glance:
Complete 40 hours of online training
Complete an arduous pack test and practice fire shelter deployment
Participate in a regional TREX during 2024 (a 7-12 day commitment)
Be 18 years or older and maintain medical insurance coverage during TREX module
Acquire personal protective equipment including fire-proof boots, natural fiber underwear, tee shirts, socks, and leather gloves (Other equipment will be provided by TREX module)
Submit creative blog post to Confluence Lab within one month of TREX module completion
Share creative reflections within six months of TREX module completion
optional: RX-310 “Fire Effects” course offered online in April and November
AIF residency recipients may be invited to participate in future Confluence Lab opportunities.
this deadline has passed.
submission process is now closed.
Dr. Penelope Morgan is Professor Emerita with the Department of Forest, Rangeland, and Fire Sciences at the University of Idaho. She taught Fire Ecology & Management, Prescribed Burning Laboratory, and Science Synthesis and Communication. She and her students participated in multiple TREX events in prairies and forests. Her research focused on the how, why, when, where and so what about fires and their effects. She coauthored a textbook about fire science, with examples of successful integrated fire management from around the globe and the implications for the future. For two of her favorite projects, she collaborated with Stacy Isenbarger and others using art to communicate about fire, for we need innovative ways for people to learn how to live with more fire and smoke in our future. Since retiring 4 years ago, Penny is actively involved in the Idaho Native Plant Society, Palouse Land Trust, and other organizations. Penny grew up in Wyoming, and she has lived in Idaho since 1986. She enjoys hiking in the mountains and wilderness, sharing time with family and friends, gardening, and traveling.
Sasha Michelle White is an interdisciplinary researcher whose work is informed by art, herbalism, field ecology and prescribed fire practice. Her creative investigations center the coloristic and medicinal properties of fire-adapted plants as a way of understanding human and other-than-human relationships with fire and fire-prone landscapes. Sasha studied printmaking and book arts at Bowdoin College, Maine College of Art and Cranbrook Academy of Art, has held fellowships at the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica in Venice, Italy and the Lloyd Library and Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio, and earned a master’s degree in Environmental Studies at the University of Oregon in 2021. She is a member of the Fuel Ladder art research group and a Mellon Foundation Predoctoral Fellow with the University of Idaho’s Confluence Lab.
Alexandra Teague is a writer and editor with an interest in interdisciplinary collaboration. Her books include Spinning Tea Cups: A Mythical American Memoir, as well as three books of poetry: Or What We’ll Call Desire, The Wise and Foolish Builders, and Mortal Geography, winner of the California Book Award. Her writing has also been published in anthologies including Dear America and Cascadia: A Field Guide Through Art, Ecology, and Poetry, and she has co-edited Bullets into Bells: Poets & Citizens Respond to Gun Violence and Broadsided Press: Fifteen Years of Poetic and Artistic Collaboration. A professor at University of Idaho, she co-directs the MFA in Creative Writing program, as well as the Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies program. Alexandra will serve as juror for writing based submissions.
Stacy Isenbarger’s artworks provoke viewers through dynamic interplay between media, perceived tensions, and open space. Isenbarger simultaneously investigates ideas and materials, transforming the familiar into forms that challenge our assumptions of our environment and cultural barriers we build for ourselves. Her sculptures, installations, & mixed-media drawings have been shown throughout the United States and in India. Stacy Isenbarger is an Associate Professor of Art + Design at the University of Idaho. Currently she shares her time between Moscow, Idaho, USA and Cardiff, Wales. When she's not teaching or making—and sometimes when she is—she's usually dancing since the act continuously validates her joy of community acceptance and shaking up space. Stacy will service as juror for visual art submissions.
For more information, please contact email@example.com