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Residencies at ISTA

Explore new ways to make research accessible

Residencies at ISTA

Once a year, the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA) offers creative professionals the opportunity to intensively engage with scientists at the Institute, to gain inspiring insights into cutting-edge research, and to work on their own exciting projects.

During a three-month residency at the Institute, all doors on campus are open to our guests. They get the unique opportunity to work closely with our research groups, exchange ideas and are able to participate in all Institute events.

The ISTA Journalist Residency will take place at the same time as the ISTA Artist Residency and some programming will happen co-joined to encourage exchanges between journalists and artists. Both residencies will conclude in an event where participants get the chance to present their work and share their experiences.


Journalist in Residence

The Journalist in Residence program aims to promote high-quality science journalism, to enable exchange between journalists and researchers, and to explore new ways to make research findings more broadly accessible to the public.

Over a three month period, science journalists are invited to accompany two research groups at ISTA. They get the chance to take a deep dive into the cutting-edge interdisciplinary research on campus while pursuing their own independent science journalism projects.

The submitted applications are currently under review.

Artist in Residence

Insights from the fields of basic research often take years until they reach the day-to-day of the general public.

Therefore, ISTA opens itself up to a new generation of interdisciplinary collaborations: Convergences between art, science, design and technology create new discourse and access to cutting-edge 21st century science.

The program invites established as well as emerging Austrian and international artists for up-to-3-months residencies, to realize projects engaging in deep conversations with the research of the Institute.

The submitted applications are currently under review.


Your residency at ISTA:

The ISTA team is happy to assist residents with any formalities (e.g. documents needed for a visa) in order to ensure a good arrival on campus. Housing directly on campus is also possible. In addition, resources such as the Institute’s library are available to residents.

Within walking distance from the campus area, you will find the Museum Gugging, a few restaurants, a supermarket, and the bus station for the free ISTA Shuttle Bus and the public bus lines that take you to Klosterneuburg, Vienna and Tulln. The Error Bar Café + Pub, located in the central building, offers snacks, drinks and games and is an excellent meet up point with researchers. As a resident, you will be free to use the campus gym as well as the sports courts (football, volleyball, traditional bowling – equipment can be borrowed from guest house reception).


Past Residents

2023 Journalist in Residence - Jackson W. Ryan

Name: Jackson W. Ryan
Nationality: Australian
Form: long-form journalism

Australian science journalist Jackson Ryan was the inaugural Science Journalist in Residence at ISTA. He has been nominated for three Eureka Prizes for Science Journalism, winning in 2022. He also serves as a committee member of the Science Journalists Association of Australia.

During his stay, he provided assistance and ideas to the ISTA Communications team, presenting workshops and sharing knowledge with ISTA’s chief science writing team. His time at the Institute was predominantly spent working with researchers from Life Sciences and exploring the stories of ISTA’s newest discipline, astrophysics.

During his residency, he presented various workshops for groups from ISTA’s Life Science area, sharing his experience of the digital science journalism landscape and teaching researchers how to tell their science story to the world. He also produced three stories about research at the Institute and is hoping to publish a narrative nonfiction book that includes experiential storytelling about his time hunting for ants with members of Sylvia Cremer’s lab.

“Being the first Science Journalist in Residence at ISTA was an honor and it’s an experience I’ll hold dear for the rest of my life. The fledgling program demonstrates the importance of having journalists and scientists share the same space, learning from each other to strengthen the way science is communicated to the public. It presents the opportunity for journalists to step away from the daily grind and focus on big picture thinking. For me, that meant trying to understand how we can work together to ensure the public understands the importance of the scientific process and the search for truth in a world filled with uncertainty.”

Jackson can be reached on twitter and at his website.

2023 Journalist in Residence - Mark Belan

Name: Mark Belan
Nationality: Canadian
Form: scientific illustration

Mark is a trained scientific illustrator and visual communications specialist, having completed his Masters in Biomedical Communications at the University of Toronto in 2017. Since then, his work has been seen largely online in scientific media spaces, as well as educational centers and museums. He has worked for clients including Visual Capitalist, NASA, Scientific American, Nautilus, and the Naturhistorisches Museum Wien, among others.

“Between the months of March and July, I was extremely fortunate to immerse myself at ISTA’s campus and experience first-hand the exciting research being conducted there. Though I was working alongside the Kicheva and Heisenberg groups and their embryological studies, my time at ISTA expanded into the realms of asteroseismology, social immunity, and quantum physics. It was a real treat to have this exposure to real-time science in a variety of fields, and I’m so grateful for ISTA giving me the opportunity to expand both my knowledge and network in these spaces,” says Mark.

“A great aspect of the Journalist in Residence program is that as much expertise as I took away from ISTA, I was also able to contribute back to the community. I gave talks, administered workshops, networked across campus, met people locally- and peripherally-affiliated with ISTA, and even supported press releases with a few custom graphics as well. These positive experiences have set me up in good standing to write (actually, draw!) about the work and science I’ve come to know from my time at ISTA,” concludes the scientific illustrator.

Now, back in Canada, he is piecing together his notes to create impactful visuals that will help explain and demystify some of the unique projects at ISTA to a larger, more global audience. “There’s some neat stuff in development, and I can’t wait to share it with the world very soon!”

Mark can be reached on twitter and at his website.

2023 Artist in Residence - Daniela Brill Estrada

Name: Daniela Brill Estrada
Nationality: Colombian

Daniela Brill Estrada tackles complex topics with minimalist abstractions and narrates wonderful bridges between the different research topics she has engaged with at the Institute. From origin of life to stellar dynamics and soft matter physics, Daniela’s works are looking at the boundaries of materiality and information and at which points we consider matter to display life-like behavior, or not.

Based on exchanges with researchers from diverse fields, such as soft matter physics, self-organization of matter, stellar dynamics, and root development Daniela brought together aspects from these fields and proposes to look at bodies and architectures of matter as trajectories of information.

With her installation, Daniela explored concepts like life-like behavior of matter, the influence of natural forces, such as gravity and magnetism on bodies and materials. She is inviting us to investigate our perceptions of boundaries between inanimate and living matter. Handmade graphite spheres wander across a plane – driven by Brownian Movements, a complex random motion usually displayed by particles suspended in liquids or gasses – leaving behind a trajectory as the visual proof of informational processes, appearing life-like to the human eye.

“How are astrophysics, molecular biology, and artificial intelligence related through our sensed experience of the world, and what does aesthetics have to do with this? How can aesthetics and artful research enrich and strengthen scientific knowledge? I find it exciting to talk about, discuss, and even maybe rethink the importance of aesthetics in scientific investigations.”

2023 Artist in Residence - Shailesh BR

Name: Shailesh BR
Nationality: Indian

Raised in a small village in India and formerly trained as a monk, Shailesh BR comes at science and technology from an unexpected angle: His playful machines blend the spaces between philosophy, poetry, function and reflection. During his stay at ISTA he specifically focused on plant research and imaging technologies and has translated his fascination into sculptures that reference experiment-setups, Indian film making and playful metaphors.

During his residency, Shailesh brought together the origins of Indian film making, histologic microscopy and scientific
observation. His installation functions as a poetic recreation of a common experiment: Seven plates of seeds get each exposed to solely a certain wavelength of light– a move that not only allows to test which color of light the plants react best to, but also playfully introduces a fragmented “rainbow”. He utilized this metaphor of the rainbow as a way to describe us as observers of nature – phenomena like a rainbow will exist whether there is an observer or not, yet it is a matter of perspective and timing whether one can witness it.

He created another variable to the installation by adding a sensor that can be triggered by the audience: observers occasionally have an impact on the results.

“Creation happens as an instinct or as an expression at first, be it in any form or medium. Once visualized, it can be understood by anyone. Technology and Science are dominant parts of our lifestyle now, whether we choose it or not, making me more curious to know in depth about technology. It is almost like a magic, but it is factual and achievable with research and accuracy. This tempts me to use it as, both, a medium and subject in my practice.”


Read the residency stories:




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