Artist-in-Residence Program

Established in 2014, the Diefenbunker Artist-in-Residence Program fosters connections between the Museum, local artists, and the wider Ottawa community through the creation and presentation of art inspired by this National Historic Site and its history.

To date, the Museum has proudly welcomed the following artists:

2017: Pixie Cram
The Diefenbunker is delighted to welcome Pixie Cram as the Museum’s 2017 Artist-in-Residence.

Pixie Cram is a filmmaker currently based in Hull, Quebec. Her work includes fiction, animation, documentary, and installation. Pixie studied theatre performance and playwrighting at Concordia University in Montreal before taking up filmmaking. She is co-founder of the Windows Collective, a group devoted to the creation and exhibition of experimental works using film. On top of her own art practice she works as a freelance director, editor and cinematographer.

Artist Statement
Pixie Cram, 2016
Since 2000, I’ve been making experimental films and videos using techniques that include stop-motion animation, puppet animation, and live action, working in formats such as super-8, 16mm, and digital video. I’ve created fiction, documentaries, and site-specific film installations through the Windows Collective, a group I founded along with Roger D. Wilson in 2008. The vision of the collective is to play with the aesthetics of residential and commercial architectural structures in Ottawa, and to re-invent a contemporary and mobile urban art practice built out of the traditions of filmmaking.

A recurring theme in my work is the relationship between nature and technology. Often, the natural world is dominant, and the human characters grapple with questions of responsibility. I describe the style that I work in as rustic futurism, where the systems and machines have largely broken-down, and nature inspires a new approach to old questions — a kind of pastoral science-fiction.

I am currently in post-production on Pragmatopia, a 45-minute fiction film about three young people adrift in the countryside following the nuclear bombing of their city. The theme of war has appeared in two of my previous films, The Factory of Light (30 min., 2007) and Joan (6.5 min, 2014).

Stay tuned for updates on Pixie’s residency plans!

2016: Anna Frlan
The Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum presents The Age of Atomic Anxiety, an exhibition by the Museum’s 2016 Artist-in-Residence, Anna Frlan.

September 18, 2016 to January 31, 2017

“There is something fascinating about going into a building that was once so top secret that very few people had seen it, and even the people who worked there were not familiar with all the areas of the bunker,” said Frlan in a recent article for Canadian Art. Following months researching a wide range of subjects about the Cold War through the Museum’s collection, archives, blueprints, photos and library, Frlan has created a series of sculptures that explore the psychological climate during that era. Occupying several spaces throughout the four storey underground facility, Frlan’s highly detailed works offer a unique perspective on one of the most critical times in the world’s history.

“This is my first experience as an artist-in-residence and my hope is to successfully create sculptures that merge research with artistic vision,” wrote Frlan in another recent article for the Ottawa Arts Council, “And if I’m lucky, the public may, through my sculptures, sense what I have discovered at the Diefenbunker so far – the futility of trying to survive a nuclear war, yet being unable to ignore this constantly looming threat.”

Anna Frlan is a sculptor of steel, dedicated to transforming this surprisingly pliable material through a process-oriented studio practice. The daughter of Croatian émigrés, her recent work has explored the connection between industrial steel and twentieth-century weaponry production. Frlan holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Ottawa. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in Ottawa, Aylmer, Toronto and Croatia, and is found in the collections of the City of Ottawa, Nortel Networks, Deloitte & Touche, and the Canadian Medical Protection Association.

This project is funded in part by a grant from the Community Foundation of Ottawa, and by an award from the Corel Endowment for the Arts administered by the Ottawa Arts Council.

2015: Jesse Stewart
The Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum presents Geometries and Auralities of Survival, an exhibition by the Museum’s 2015 Artist-in-Residence, Jesse Stewart.

July 9 to December 31, 2015

“Vertical lines painted on the circular concrete pillars that jut out into the hallways…red stripes painted on doors…concentric circles drawn on maps to indicate the projected survival rates as we move further from the epicentre of a nuclear explosion”. Jesse Stewart was struck by a “visual emphasis on modernist geometric designs” throughout the 100,000 suare foot facility. These “geometries” are explored in Stewart’s residency exhibition through photography and the introduction of artefacts from the Museum’s collection. The exhibition also incorporates sound through the documentation of performances and sound installation throughout Stewart’s ten month residency.

On the occasion of his exhibition launch, Jesse Stewart will present a free percussion performance in the Museum’s historic cafeteria.

Jesse Stewart is an award-winning composer, musician, visual artist, sound artist, instrument builder, writer, and educator dedicated to re-imagining the spaces between artistic disciplines.

His music has been performed at festivals throughout Canada, the United States, and Europe and is documented on over 20 recordings. He has been widely commissioned as a composer and artist.

He has exhibited visual art in over a dozen solo and group exhibitions at public and private galleries including the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, the Karsh Masson Gallery, the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, the Thames Art Gallery, the Glenhyrst Art Gallery, the Peterborough Art Gallery, and the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre.

He is the recipient of numerous awards and honours including the 2012 “Instrumental Album of the Year” JUNO award for his work with genre-defying trio Stretch Orchestra. In 2014, he was named to the Order of Ottawa, one of the city’s highest civic honours. He is an Associate Professor of music at Carleton University and an adjunct faculty member in the department of visual arts at the University of Ottawa.

2014: Gail Bourgeois
The Diefenbunker is proud to present the first exhibition of its inaugural artist-in-residence program. To warn other Canadians is the outcome of Gail Bourgeois’ artist residency at the Museum and National Historic Site.

April 26 to September 28, 2014

“This type of program allows for deeper reflection based on prolonged exposure to the site, it’s messaging, and it’s people”, said Diefenbunker Executive Director, Henriette Riegel. “Gail has gained profound and intimate knowledge of the Diefenbunker through extensive research in her six months here, consultation with our archives, and knowledge of the construction, engineering and architecture of this unique underground piece of industrial heritage. Gail’s art has been created specifically for the Diefenbunker and as a direct response to her experience here.”

Artist Statement
To warn other Canadians is a research and exhibition project that will present art works among the museum’s exhibition spaces. The title is borrowed from something said by tour guide and museum Collections Manager, Doug Beaton: The bunker was here to warn other Canadians. This refers to the role the bunker played in housing elements of the federal government in the event of a nuclear attack.

Signals are a human element. The Cold War, a sustained state of global political and military tensions between East and West Blocs of power, is often given beginning and ending dates that nicely contain a still existing nuclear threat. Named by George Orwell after the dropping of the first atomic bombs in 1945, “cold war” describes the experience of nuclear destruction held in delicate suspension by the avoidance of direct military combat. The atmosphere of fear and suspicion of the post-war period has re-emerged in the form of an unseen but keenly felt enemy. My reflection on this takes the form of art pieces meant to create a space for reflection; another look at what is familiar.”

Artist Bio
Gail Bourgeois holds an MFA from Concordia University. She is a founding member of Powerhouse Gallery (La Centrale) in Montreal and founded or formed part of a dozen artists’ collectives. Her multidisciplinary practice is drawing-based. Her themes and methods of working express the tension between academic knowledge and more experimental forms of knowledge based on her interest in collective practices and community engagement.

Please visit the Museum’s Pinterest and YouTube pages for a selection of images and videos of work from the Artist-in-Residence program.


The Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum invites artists to submit applications for its 2018 artist residency.

The Museum welcomes one artist per year for a period of 3 to 6 months. The program is open to artists working in all media living within a 100 km of Ottawa. Works produced through the residency must have a connection to the Diefenbunker, the Cold War or related themes.

The residency is not a live-in opportunity and artists must have their own means of transportation (there is no public transit to Carp). Artists are given full access to the Museum, its library, collection and archives, and on-site work can be discussed.

The residency will culminate with an exhibition or a presentation of work completed during the residency as well as an artist-led tour of the exhibition or talk.

A project fee will be paid to the artist.

Submissions should be sent digitally via to and must include the following:

  • A current CV (maximum 3 pages; please include your name, phone number, and email address).
  • An artist statement (maximum 500 words).
  • A clear and concise description of what you propose to do during the residency (maximum 1000 words).
  • 10 images of work completed in the last 10 years. Each image must be saved as a .jpg or .tiff at 72 dpi, and be no larger than 2 MB. Use RGB with maximum 1,240 pixels (length or width). Files must be named with the image number, artist name, and title, each separated by an underscore:
    Up to three tracks of audio or video clips of work completed in the last 10 years (maximum 10 minutes total). Files must be named with the track number, artist name, and title, each separated by an underscore.
  • A numbered list of the works indicating artist name, title, date, material, metric dimensions, and duration for audio or video samples.
  • Examples of support materials (maximum 3).

Please include only the requested material in your proposal package. Packages that do not include all of the above will be deemed incomplete and may not be considered.

Applications must be received by midnight on Saturday, November 18th, 2017. Receipt of applications will be acknowledged by email. The selection will be done by committee and the successful applicant will be notified by Monday, January 15th, 2018.

Contact Nic Clarke, Curatorial Manager at 613-839-0007 x227 or .