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Voice-Off Artist Co-Learning Program

Image Description: The grunt gallery logo, a distressed rectangle of paint with the letters grunt in negative, sits atop the words Voice-Off Co-Learning Program. 4 icons below L-R: A mobile phone with a speech bubble, a no-speaking icon with an open-mouthed head crossed out, an ASL interpreter logo with two hands one on top of the other, and a Deaf emoji of a face with a index finger pointing from ear to chin.

Submissions due: November 30th, 2023, Midnight or 11:59 PM PDT

Accessibility information:

This information can be listened to in English

Below is a video of the information presented in ASL:

You can apply by email in writing, in a recording (video) or a separate text file, or by using Google Forms. Email

This program is limited to the Greater Vancouver Regional District and Lower Mainland artists. We appreciate the interest of artists living outside this area, but we still lack the funds to support artists outside our local area. If you still want to be in contact with us, feel free to email us, but only local applications will be considered.

What is the voice-off artist co-learning program?

Our co-learning program is an opportunity to support up to two guest artists, makers, explorers or knowledge keepers to continue exploring their own ongoing practices while providing a space for sharing and learning with the grunt gallery team.

The Details

This program focuses on voice-off participation. For this, we are inviting Deaf, deaf, hard of hearing or non-verbal artists to participate in our program. Any artists who apply must have ongoing creative practice and space for making, but artists may use the fee from this program to help them secure their own making space during the program if they choose.

The purpose of the voice-off co-learning program is a dynamic opportunity that provides paid time for participants to explore their own non-verbal, silent, or signed practice while also working with grunt gallery to deepen our understanding of non-verbal accessibility and Deaf culture within contemporary arts. Artists are invited to create something in response to grunt gallery.

Artists will be paid a fee to either pursue their own ongoing projects or to begin a project related to the gallery during their co-learning program. This is not an exhibition opportunity but a knowledge-sharing and supporting program where artists will receive a fee to continue their own explorations and development within an ongoing non-verbal, non-auditory, silent, or Deaf (De’VIA) practice while being in conversation with grunt gallery about what it means to produce work for a hearing and speaking world.

The co-learning program allows artists to be paid to work on a silent or signed project (either new or ongoing) and have their process documented on-site at grunt gallery or have an archivist visit their studio to document their work. Artists will be asked to consider what it would mean to have their practice in a gallery, the barriers they face as a silent, non-verbal, or Deaf artist, as well as give feedback on some of grunt’s practices to provide non-auditory and silent access in their shows.

We acknowledge that practicing silence, being non-verbal, and being Deaf are very different. This is a call to a broad range of art practices, and while there may be some overlap, we acknowledge that being deaf is not the same as being Deaf and that one can be Deaf and have a practice not connected to Deaf culture. Someone can be hearing and process audio but not being able or willing to speak. This co-learning initiative is designed to be expansive, and we hope to host it again in the future (pending funding) and continue learning from different artists over the coming years.

Artists are expected to commit to up to 8 hours of co-learning sessions with grunt staff, where they will share and chat about barriers and challenges facing non-verbal, deaf or Deaf artists and brainstorm ways to better support their practices within formal gallery spaces. An opportunity to meet with grunt gallery’s program director, curator or exhibitions manager will be made available. The artist can discuss their practice and receive feedback on how they can present their work when applying for exhibitions and other programs within contemporary gallery spaces. Artists are asked to visit at least one exhibition at grunt gallery and respond to the space in conversation or making. Any travel costs and access support for this will be paid for by grunt gallery.

The program is designed to be spacious and allow participants to shape the program. 

grunt gallery offers the non-verbal or Deaf artist co-learning program as an opportunity for their staff and our community to explore how silent media and De’VIA can exist and play out within predominantly hearing/verbal spaces where silence or signing is discouraged, forbidden, not considered or not funded. Time is built into the residency to allow artists to share and participate in grunt staff and committee meetings, and members of the AEPE department at grunt will be available to support throughout the program as needed.

We invite expressions of interest in the program from community members working on Coast Salish land within the colonially named Metro Vancouver and Lower Mainland area. This residency is limited to creative people who self-identify as non-verbal, deaf or hard of hearing artists who do not speak (but may use tools to communicate besides signing) and d/D/HOH individuals. We recognize that wellness, ability, and identity are a spectrum, and we ask you to share how you position yourself within your communities and how your practice is engaged with a non-verbal and Deaf arts discourse.

grunt gallery hosts and makes work on the unceded and stolen ancestral territories of the Hun’qumi’num (hǝn̓q̓ǝmin̓ǝm̓) and Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) speaking peoples, as uninvited guests on Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil Waututh lands. We will prioritize applications from Host Nation creators when reviewing with our jury. We will also encourage and prioritize experiences by Black, Indigenous, and racialized individuals. Please let us know when you apply if you are a part of one of the many Coast Salish families and nations, are an urban Indigenous guest on these lands, or identify as a racialized individual.

The grunt gallery 2023 voice-off program will involve a selection process following an application. The selection will be made by the current grunt gallery AEPE department, grunt accessibility committee, and 1-2 community assessors. 


Selected artists will receive a fee of $2000, with an expectation of about 10-15hrs/week of artistic labour over six weeks (including the initial discovery phase and project introduction—2 hours maximum), with any hiring of interveners/interpreters/translators, time spent in additional meetings, and any workshop, community gathering, and research costs covered by grunt. Artists will work offsite, although space may be available at grunt gallery depending on the artist’s practice. Most of the artist’s work is expected to be done offsite (or in their home spaces). Selected artists will coordinate with the Exhibitions and Accessibility Manager, Kay Slater, and, on occasion, the Accessibility and Events Manager, Keimi Nakashima-Ochoa. Invitations to additional staff and committee meetings are optional and up to the artist to decide their capacity.


Call for artists: October 2023. 

Deadline for submissions: November 30th, 2023

Jury/Assessment Panel: Week of December 11th, 2023

Notice of selections: December 18th, 2023

Successful applications will begin the program in January 2024.

Submissions can be submitted in text or ASL. When submitting computer voice recordings, please indicate the language used in the recording. ASL questions are available in our Google Drive.

If Google Forms are not accessible, these questions are available in Word Doc, Google Doc, and Plain Text and can be copied from here into an email.

If a Google Form format works for you, please visit the Google Form with the following questions:

  1. Name:
  2. Email or Phone:
  3. This residency is limited to artists, makers, and knowledge keepers who are non-verbal, are deaf or hard of hearing, have a non-verbal or silent practice, or are Deaf or Hard of Hearing with a non-verbal practice. Tell us how you self-identify.
  4. Are you a member of MST (Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil Waututh) host nations and families?
  5. Are you a person of racialized experience?
  6. Do you identify as Trans, Queer, Deaf/deaf/hard of hearing, neurodiverse, mad, or otherwise excellent? Tell us about your intersectional identity (if you want)!
  7. Which city or territory do you live in within the colonially defined province of BC?
  8. Tell us about yourself. (250 word limit)
  9. How does non-verbal communication, De’VIA, or silence show up in your practice and work? Why do you explore silence, non-verbal communication or De’VIA? (250 word limit)
  10. What would you like to explore in the residency if you were to participate? (250 word limit)
  11. Please attach your CV (1 page )
  12. Please attach support materials (maximum of 10 images, 5 minutes of video or audio, and seven pages of written materials at 14 pt or higher). If support materials are supplied in languages besides English, please indicate the language in the file name or your application comments.


grunt has wide automated double entrances and an automated door for their washroom. Here is a video walkthrough of the space, which includes a visual description. For full access details or to discuss needs and inclusion, please email

If you would like to have a meeting to discuss your application or for any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to us.

Please let us know if you require a translator, intervenor, or other access support. Service dogs with certification are welcome in the space. Please note that non-certified support animals cannot be supported in the space for staff and visitors and their access needs. Please contact us with any questions.

How can I support this initiative?

If you are not eligible for this residency but still wish to support it, we ask that you share this with your networks, directly invite people that you think would be interested, and if possible, donate to grunt gallery to help us sustain these programs.

Share our invitation on social media, and be sure to write image descriptions in your media captions should they be erased when shared.

Written support can also be sent to for us to use in grants and to help us better our programming and calls for submissions in the future.

Financial support can be provided by donating or by contacting to become a funding partner for our Accessible Exhibitions, Public Programming and Events initiatives.

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