FLDWRK x DesignTO Residency



How _____________________________________ ?

will you shape 6 feet from within and beyond its boundary


2020 surfaced many challenges in our society that have called for systemic change. In hand with the pandemic, these systemic issues (of racism, inequity, climate crisis, polarization, displacement, mental wellness, food and housing insecurity, and violence) have become more apparent and more urgent.

Being apart from one another has highlighted our interdependence and connectedness. As communities begin to optimistically strategize what post-pandemic life could be after more than a year of living 6 feet apart, we ask designers to reconsider, reframe and remake what’s around us to have a positive and long-lasting impact on society. ‘6ft (a)part’ calls for a new spatial contract that will reshape our everyday life.

6 feet is as much a spatial definition as a social and political notion of an invisible boundary within society. This distance between individuals has always been there. But the fact that it is now quantified behooves us to address its conditions and consequences. As much as it is a quantitative measure of distance, it is also a qualitative measure of our immediate environment. It dictates how we are to be in relation with others.

How will you shape 6 feet from within and beyond its boundary?


Design is fundamentally projective and generative. The design process leads us to observe, question and propose alternative realities, positing ideas that, with purpose, can confront the status quo and inspire change or resilience.

This residency invites designers to propose ideas that can meaningfully impact their communities, through investigation, speculation and production. These ideas can be small or large, intimate or urban, digital or analog. They can stem from ongoing research or a new line of inquiry.

How can reframing the space between us address social inequities? What political and social impact can be made through the generative process of design? How can the shared and inherent hopefulness of design and activism be manifested into real change for the better? How can design help us envision new systems of relations? What part do we play in these possible futures?

Residency Details

The residency will take place from mid-October 2021 to mid-January 2022, culminating in a public presentation as part of the 2022 DesignTO Festival (January 21-30, 2022). Residents will come together online, meeting every 3 weeks with their cohort of 3 designers and representatives of FLDWRK and DesignTO. In between meetings, residents will be working independently on their proposed projects. Residents will participate in the program remotely, providing their own computer and internet access.

All submissions must include the following:

  • A description of your proposed residency project as it connects to the context and brief (max. 500 words);
  • A description of the format of your proposed public presentation (e.g. research paper, online article, public presentation/talk, installation, website, podcast, photo series, drawing set) (max. 250 words);
  • A short bio on you and/or your creative practice (max. 150 words);
  • 3-5 visuals of your work (max. 1MB per image)
  • Up to 2 links to a video or websites; and
  • Your contact info (name, email, phone number, mailing address), a CV, and website URL.


All applications are due Friday, September 24, 2021 by 11:59pm EDT.

How much does it cost to apply?

There is no fee to apply. A residency stipend of $1,500 CAD will be paid to successful applicants. A production allowance will be available to successful applicants.

What happens next?

Successful applications will be notified by email in mid-October 2021. Details will be provided and a schedule of interaction will be mutually agreed upon.


Email any questions to Robyn Wilcox, Head of Programming, at robyn@designto.org with the subject line: Residency + your name.


Fieldwork is a research and design collective investigating current systemic transitions of our society. We believe that our current societal context calls for a need to engage physical space through new lenses. We establish co-labs to apply design thinking and research to holistically respond to society’s challenges. We produce narratives on how to best operate in and help mold our changing context with the aim to design new strategies that fully support our collective aspirations for positive futures.