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.

Applications Now Closed

Applications for the 2019 artist residency is now closed!

We would like to thank everyone who submitted an application. The selection will be done by committee and the successful applicant will be notified by January 31st, 2019.

About the 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 radius 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 selected artist.

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Annette Hegel, 2018

September 20 to November 30, 2018
The Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum presents Now You See Me, an exhibition by the Museum’s 2018 Artist-in-Residence, Annette Hegel.



Ottawa-based multimedia artist, Annette Hegel, selected as Diefenbunker Museum’s 5th Artist in Residence The Diefenbunker Museum is delighted to announce the results of its Artist in Residence for 2018. Annette Hegel, a multi-media artist who has exhibited her work in Canada and Europe, was selected from several applications from both national and international artists. “We’re really looking forward to having Annette at the Museum,” said Nic Clarke, the Diefenbunker’s Curatorial Manager. “Both her work and as well as her experiences growing up on the frontlines of the Cold War, make her an amazing fit for the Diefenbunker.” “It is a great honour, to be selected and join the ranks of artists in residence at the Diefenbunker,” says Hegel. “For me, particularly, as a politically engaged artist, research and refelction at the Museum cannot come at more opportune time, considering the world-political climate of the last 24 months that should give a certain sense of déja-vu to those of us who have come of age during the Cold War.” Annette grew up in Cologne and Düsseldorf, West Germany and moved to Toronto in the early 1980s to study at the Ontario College of Art (now OCAD University) in the experimental arts department. She returned to West Germany in the mid-eighties and moved to West Berlin at a time of great cultural and political flux that eventually led to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. She co-founded the artist collective that ran the “Weiße Gallerie” (White Gallery), a group of artists that made it their focus to comment on the plethora of political and social issues of the decade that were amplified by the circumstances of Berlin’s role in German and World politics. Annette moved back to Canada in 1987 and is now based in Ottawa, where she was founding member of the Slipstream Collective in 2014. In addition to being a member of the Slipstream Collective, Annette has been a catalyst and facilitator of many community-based public art projects, particularly engaging children and youth. As well as her daily art practise, Annette is engaged in the ongoing collaborative trans-atlantic project “HEGEL,HEGELcontemporary,” which is an experimental visual dialogue with her curator brother Martin who lives and works in Cologne. 

Anne Frlan, 2016

September 18, 2016 to January 31, 2017
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.






“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.

Jesse Stewart, 2015

July 9 to December 31, 2015
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.






“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 square foot facility. These “geometries” are explored in Stewart’s residency exhibition through photography and the introduction of artifacts 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.

Gail Bourgeois, 2014

April 26 to September 28, 2014
The Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum 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.






“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.