The 1990s saw a tremendous emphasis, continuing through to today, on artist residency programs, run by museums and galleries, educational establishments or independent foundations and organizations.

While some previous incarnations of these residencies, particularly in the 1960s or in the early years of the 20th century, offered artists a place of tranquility and reflection away from the demands of society, with the new boom it is largely the parallel trend toward promoting artist engagement with a target community or society that is gaining ground.

While these programs are often touted as a way for both the artist to gain fresh experiences and for the host community to benefit from contact with creative minds, the artistic results of short-stay residencies can sometimes come across as superficial. Attempting to address such questions, through talks and presentations from artists, art curators, educators and other art professionals, the Res Artis General Meeting 2012 Tokyo was held in late October. Res Artis is a worldwide network, bringing together more than 300 artist-residency programs from 50 countries, and holding a General Meeting every two years (formerly every year), in a different country each time, to share ideas and information.