“The Creative Solutions Symposium gave our team time and space for deep, focused work. Being in residence with other artists, advocates and community organizers who were also working on creative solutions to social justice issues helped me feel less siloed while inspiring me with ideas and approaches I hadn’t considered before.”

- Una Lee, And Also Too, CSS ‘15

Applications are currently closed for the 2018 Creative Solutions Symposium. Please note there has been a change to our application cycle: applications for the 2019 Creative Solutions Symposium will open in mid-August 2018 and close in early October 2018. Please check back then!

About the Creative Solutions Symposium

The Creative Solutions Symposium is a weeklong residency for activists and organizers who are creatively addressing social justice, environmental and human rights issues. The symposium seeks to support and nurture individuals and groups who are exploring innovative solutions and advancing positive social change. SPACE offers participants a unique retreat experience and creates opportunities for exchange and collaboration between creative thinkers from diverse experiences and professional spheres.

The 2018 Creative Solutions Symposium offers fully subsidized residencies to 3-4 small groups (no more than 4 participants per group) who represent social justice organizations, and will take place August 20th-August 25th, 2018. Please note that while alum of the Creative Solutions Symposium are not eligible to reapply for the Symposium, they are encouraged to apply for SPACE’s other programs.

The Creative Solutions Symposium is committed to accepting a diverse group of organizations and professionals. We are looking for established as well as new organizations who need the time and space to work on a particular social justice or human rights initiative. Priority in selection will be given to applications that articulate a clear strategy for how their time will be spent during the symposium and a clear plan for sustaining and expanding their work beyond the Symposium.

The Creative Solutions Symposium aims to:

  • Provide participating groups the time and space to work on their proposed social initiative, away from the bustle of the city. Daily work sessions in the morning, afternoon and evening are self-structured.

  • Foster idea-sharing and networking for important thinkers, activists and advocates who are striving to create positive change in the world.

  • Nurture collaborations between activists from diverse fields. Each participating group is asked to facilitate one workshop to the Creative Solutions cohort during the Symposium.

The residency includes:

  • Access to Ryder Farm’s gorgeous 130 acres of woodland, meadow and lakefront

  • Three farm-fresh communal meals daily

  • Housing for five nights in Ryder Farm’s historic structures

  • Non-traditional meeting and work spaces

  • SPACE staff support

SPACE is looking to support organizations, groups and individuals who:

  • Articulate a specific social problem/issue and propose an innovative/creative/non-traditional approach to address that issue

  • Have an expressed need for concentrated time and space, and describe how they will structure their time at the symposium with specific goals and outcomes reached during the week

  • Have a clear strategy as to how to sustain their work beyond SPACE

  • Are interested in expanding their work through collaboration with a diverse community of activists

Feedback from past SYMPOSIUM participants

“I feel incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to attend the Creative Solutions Symposium, because it allowed my group to reflect on the goals of our work and where to locate our energy. The fact that we were so taken care of made it possible to be immensely productive without feeling exhausted or overwhelmed. The conversations I had, the beauty of the physical space and the compassion and generosity of our hosts is something I will carry with me as a reminder of how resistance is possible when we are nurtured.”

-Rage Kidvai, 5 Boro Defenders, CSS ‘17

“It was a deeply thrilling, fruitfully productive, and wonderfully collaborative time for the four of us, and we valued it so very much. Additionally the kindness of the entire SPACE crew was just astonishing. We felt cared for and supported at every moment.”

-Sue Yacka, Anti-Violence Project, CSS ‘16

“What SPACE did for me was re-energized me and help build more capacity within me to do the tough work when it comes to challenging and changing all that is wrong with our criminal justice systems along with the policies, which give them authority to operate the way they do. At SPACE I learned how to heal and create ways to deal with the trauma I face in my work.  Plus the mixture of different people who are in different fields of advocacy is refreshing because one gets to see other perspectives of advocacy work and the methods which are applied in order to get things done.”

-Tyrrell Muhammad, The Correctional Association of New York, CSS ‘15

“During these days of mental and physical relaxation, I've come to realize that there's more work to be done in my arena but not at the expense of not taking care of me. My take away is to ensure  that I create a space at least once a month that allows for me to recharge mentally spiritually and physically.”

-Dr. Vanda Seward, Kings County District Attorney’s Office, CSS ‘16


Brown Girl Recovery, Chicago Community Bond Fund, Vera Institute of Justice, WITNESS

The Creative Solutions Symposium is supported in part by the Deupree Family Foundation.