The Institute for Provocation (IFP) is a Beijing-based workspace and think tank hosting residencies, research projects, workshops and lectures. IFP aims to be a crossway between disciplines and attitudes in the realm of art, architecture, design and urban studies. Through its wide network of actors, makers and researchers in China and beyond, IFP can provide intelligence to our residents and collaborators who themselves become a part the network. Together with these, IFP is constantly investigating both theoretical and practical issues about the city and its structure, its history, its way of working as an organism.

IFP is the collaborative intelligence of architects/researchers/curators Chen Shuyu and Max Gerthel (Beijing) and editor/curator Els Silvrants-Barclay (Brussels). As an organization, IFP shares their generalist approach to both theory and practice, emphasizing the possibilities offered by interdisciplinary strategies and work modes. As a workspace, IFP focuses on the thinking process before or even beyond the actual creation of an artwork: the collection of dramaturgical information, the testing of different architectural scenarios, experimenting with new media or disciplines, and so on.

Eligible Applicants

IFP has long-term relations with Dutch, Swedish and Danish art organizations through which artists can apply for residency. In addition IFP also accepts application from artists, architects and designers from anywhere with specific proposals which share interest with IFP and can be a match with our research-based, interdisciplinary agenda. Proposals related to space, territory, urbanity, architecture, design and the environment are firstly considered, linked with performativity is a plus.

Application Process

As the mission statement suggests, IFP has a specific interest in research that proposes cross-disciplinary strategies to collect information, read or produce work or artistic/architectural experiment. IFP also opens up for research in disciplines other than the arts that can provide the contemporary arts with new insights, modes of thinking and/or research strategies. Residency proposals should show a link with the local China/Beijing context without being limited to it.

Length of stay vary from 2 to 6 months, but if the proposed residency is part of an ongoing project, artists can also apply for shorter term. IFP currently only review applications through the application procedures of our respective partnership organizations, or through recommendations.


Located in the heart of Beijing's Dongcheng district in between the touristic nanluoguxiang area with its souvenir shops and snack bars, and a very local hutong area, IFP forms a part of a small but growing cluster of non-commercial art spaces within boundaries of the old city. The location provides an insight into the convergence of an ancient dwelling typology and its contemporary incarnation, rapidly transformed into depleted versions of 'cultural industry'.

In a large, well-preserved Beijing courtyard, IFP disposes of a studio space of 80 sqm, shared by 2-3 artists, IFP staff and collaborators. Next to the studio is a 65 sqm house with two bedrooms and a shared living room/kitchen. Across the yard there is also a guestroom of 15 sqm with its own bathroom. All rooms are equipped with a queen-size bed, storage and a small desk. In the studio, there is a 6 m long shared working table, archive, reading corners, printers, hand tools, tea kitchen and toilet with shower. All facilities have access to wifi.

Program Fees

For all residencies, IFP provides a complete infrastructure which includes accommodation, studio, assistant(s), artistic supervision and support. IFP currently only review applications through the application procedures of our respective partnership organizations, or through recommendations. For more information please contact us directly.

Additional Information

As of April 2014 IFP now also has its own project and exhibition space located in the same courtyard as the rest of the facilities. The space is 40 sqm with a generous ceiling height (4,5m) and is offered as an open laboratory to our resident artists to present their research, conduct spatial experiments or performances.