“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 for the 2020 Creative Solutions Symposium are not currently open. Please check back later for more information regarding the 2020 Creative Solutions Symposium.

The Creative Solutions Symposium is a weeklong residency dedicated to activists, advocates, organizers and thinkers who are striving to create positive social change in the world. The residency offers 3-4 small groups (no more than 4 participants per group) time and space to work on their initiatives, away from the bustle and noise of their daily lives and in an environment that fosters idea-sharing, networking and collaboration amongst peers.

Time is centered around three farm fresh meals daily. Additionally, each participating group facilitates one workshop for the rest of the Symposium cohort. Each group structures their days to best suit their initiative’s needs and goals. Symposium residents have access to Ryder Farm’s 127 acres of woodlands, pastures and lakefront as well as ample non-traditional meeting and work spaces both indoors and out.

SPACE is committed to supporting a diverse group of organizations and professionals through the Creative Solutions Symposium. Priority is given to applicants 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;

  • Describe how they will structure their time at the Symposium with specific goals and outcomes identified for the week;

  • Express an interest in expanding their work through collaboration with a diverse community of activists;

  • Have a clear plan for sustaining and expanding their work beyond the Symposium.

Past Creative Solutions Symposium participants include 5 Boro Defenders, And Also Too, Brown Girl Recovery, Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement, Chicago Community Bond Fund, The Correctional Association of New York, Fit the Description, The Gathering for Justice, Girls for Gender Equity, H.O.L.L.A. (How Our Lives Link Together), The Kings County District Attorney’s Office, New York Anti-Violence Project, New York City Zen Center for Contemplative Care, SPARK Movement, US Department of Arts and Culture, Urban Justice Center, Urban Leaders Academy, the Vera Institute of Justice Ending Girls’ Incarceration initiative and WITNESS.

The Creative Solutions Symposium is fully-subsidized. Residents cover their travel to and from the farm. If you are traveling from New York City, a round-trip off-peak Metro North ticket from Grand Central Terminal to Brewster Terminal is $29.00. Transportation between the Brewster Terminal and farm is provided by the SPACE team.

If you are interested in a residency at SPACE but are not available during the 2019 Creative Solutions Symposium dates, please consider applying for a Creative Residency.


All Creative Solutions Symposium applicants must be at least 18 years old.

Applicants must be working to address social justice, environmental or human rights issues.

Groups must demonstrate support for their project (institutional or otherwise) that indicates that their project will very likely have a life post-Symposium.

Applicants cannot have previously participated in the Creative Solutions Symposium. Former participants are encouraged to apply for a Creative Residency.


To make sure SPACE will be able to support your project, please take a moment to read about the workspaces available at SPACE

Have further questions? Check out this FAQ.

Still have questions? Write to us at residencies@spaceonryderfarm.org.



“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


The Creative Solutions Symposium is supported in part by the Deupree Family Foundation and the Ellen Mitchell Gallagher Fellowship.