Rucka Artist Residency was established in 2013 by Latvian documentary film director and photographer Kaspars Goba and documentary film producer Ieva Ūbele.  Residency is run by Rucka Art Foundation (previously – foundation Elm Media), which was established in 2007 with the aim of drawing society’s attention to environmental and social issues through documentaries and documentary photography projects.  In 2012, our team decided to move out of Riga, the capital of Latvia, to Cēsis, a small town an hour’s drive from Riga, aspiring to become a cultural capital of Latvia. While looking for a space for our film studio we came across Rucka manor, municipality owned building, which has been standing empty for almost 10 years. We first visited Rucka on a beautiful autumn afternoon and we were fascinated by the place but it was way too big for the studio’s needs. Yet it crossed our minds that the building could be turned into a great artist space. 

One thing led to another and six months later we presented the idea of developing Rucka Artist Residency to a local city council. In June 2014 the first event – the summer school of Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art took place at Rucka. Since then Rucka has hosted students of visual communication, young architects, film directors and cinematographers, photographers and anthropologists. In 2016 we announced the first open call for residencies, which attracted over 250 applications from all over the world. The same year the US based Format Magazine named Rucka Artist Residency among Top 10 residencies for photographers. 

Cesis region has historically been known for its intellectual capacity as many writers, artists and politically and socially active people come from this area. Therefore, the aim of the Rucka Artist Residency is to continue the well-established intellectual traditions and to create a space that serves as a meeting point for artists coming from various disciplines to create cross-disciplinary projects dealing with social and environmental issues.

The activities of Rucka Artist Residency are  based on ideas of green living, community involvement and downshifting as a way of life. The food served during the summer events is prepared using the locally grown produce and residency runs a small eco garden. The residency centre is providing open lectures and documentary film screenings, residents and summer school participants are working on projects that ensure interaction with local community.

In spring the artist residency is open to individual residents, while from June to August the building serves as a venue for different summer events aimed educating and bringing together young architects and urbanists, filmmakers, theatre directors and actors, contemporary art critics, anthropologists and many others. Autumn and winter seasons are reserved for organising various educational events as well as development of new projects.