The Rijksakademie offers a two-year international residency programme to around fifty artists that provides space for research, experiment and production of new work. Residents are supported with a studio, a work budget and a stipend and can seek advice from leading art professionals from a wide variety of cultural and creative backgrounds. In addition there is a rich research and production infrastructure, consisting of various technical workshops operated by specialists, a library and a historical and contemporary art collection. Within the interdisciplinary environment of the Rijkskademie there is complete freedom in research and working methods.
The technical workshops at the Rijksakademie have been a site of innovation and experimentation for decades. Led by specialists who work closely together with the residents, the workshops facilitate the exchange of expertise and create the possibility of interdisciplinary projects involving both new and traditional materials and techniques.
In addition to the technical workshops, the Rijksakademie provides the residents with a number of other practical facilities such as several project spaces, a performance studio, a kitchen and a vegetable garden.
In the fields of graphics and photography new techniques are continually emerging. Large format digital printing, silkscreen and Riso are popular techniques, as well as developing photopolymer combined with film negatives. Residents have the possibility to work with traditional - non toxic - printmaking techniques such as lithography, woodcuts, etching and bookbinding. The workshop is regularly used for creating publications and frequently collaborates with the other workshops, for example to experiment with inks or to create ceramic transfers.
In the screen-printing department, there are 2 tables to print on, 1 medium and 1 large, there are many sizes of windows to use with various mesh, both for paper and textiles, actually there can be screen-printed on every conceivable surface material. Printing is done with water-based paints or inks developed in-house.The screen printing includes a large vacuum table for lighting, a rinsing cabin, a drying cabinet and drying racks.
There is room for traditional graphic techniques such as etching and lithography, these techniques are applied as 'green' as possible. Usually polymer plates (Toyobo) are printed instead of copper or zinc in acid baths. There is a Van Ginkel etching press with a width of 120 cm and a Karl Krause with a roller of about 55 cm.Lithography can be applied in the classic way with porous limestones but also on other types of material such as aluminum or polyester (True Grain). For this flattening method there is a hand press and a motorized lithographer.High-pressure techniques such as lino and/or woodcut can be printed on the large Van Ginkel press (120 x 200 cm) or on a fine VanDerCook letterpress (max 50 x 70 cm) or a smaller proofer.Letters, stamps or other relief material for printing can also be developed using the laser cutter.
There is an old A3+ Riso RP3700 with 6 colour drums to experiment with printing layers in soya-ink on uncoated paper. An OKI graphic printer with white ink is available. Both machines can process up to A3+ size paper. It is possible to bind or glue or staple books yourself. There is also a large Wholenberg cutting machine. When print runs become large, we seek contact with binders to have the graphic finishing carried out mechanically.
Large format printing can be done with a Canon Pro-6000, starting from rolls up to 152cm / 60 inches wide. This high-quality printer uses colourfast pigment inks and can print on a variety of media including film, polyester, canvas and paper. These media range from glossy, lustre, metallic and baryta photo papers, to fine art cotton watercolour and canvas matte. For sheets up to A2 size a similar printer is available, the Canon Pro-1000.With these printers also negatives can be made for screen printing, Toyobo and other photo techniques where UV is needed to expose. The mounting of larger photo prints is outsourced.
Ways of printing photographs from the 19th century, such as cyanotype, gum printing, salt printing and carbon pigment printing can be done in a cleaner way nowadays. These historical photographic techniques invite experimentation.
A professional Roland cutter can cut in vinyl, polyester, polyurethane and sandblasting film. This so-called sign making tool is useful for, for example, lettering on walls or adhesive film (such as flex or flock) that can be transferred to textiles with an iron or heat press.