What is Time Window?

We get this question a lot. Community-in-residence is perhaps the best description, but we understand that’s not helping either. The thing is, what we do is something new, it doesn’t exist anywhere else. So here’s an overview of our core activities and values. Also check out our FAQ for more.

 Check out our Collective page to see who are our current members.

With 50 people we permanently share 1000m2 of studios, ateliers and offices: our biotope. At Time Window we try to find collective solutions for artists’ individual struggles – affordable housing is just one of them. Our Biotope is a sanctuary to develop and produce independent work.

There’s no hierarchy: nobody’s in charge here. We work collectively to keep up the space, organize events and do our daily business. Taking initiative and responsibility are important, but members never have to do anything alone. 

In committees and project groups we think outside of the box. We develop new methods for organizing feedback, for funding arts, for negotiating as a freelancer, for lobbying, networking & sharing knowledge. And yes, finding your place as an artist within the big city.

The Time Window time line


The Time Window Festival was initiated by Stichting Transistor. The idea: a festival made by the artists, without curators and other gatekeepers intervening. The only restriction would be a time frame (window) for performances. All by the motto: Do it yourself, but not alone. Within committees the artists do all the organizational tasks, finding new creative ways to set up a festival, and sharing each other’s knowledge.


Through a relay system 30 new artists join. Leading up to the festival we can use an empty office building at the Teilingerstraat in Rotterdam ZOHO. During these months we experience how much the access to a physical space means for our practice: we can experiment freely, help each other out, think of new methods and try them immediately. This is something makers, especially in performing arts, would need to have as a strong base. What if we had something like this, but permanently?

In October 2015 the first Time Window Festival took place at the Teilingerstraat for 3 days. Immediately after we have to leave, most of the artists from the festival become a nomadic collective looking for a space to share.


So we’re looking for an empty building: something spacious, with lots of studios and one big communal room, near the city center because we want to be accessible for artists and audiences. Returning to the Teilingerstraat would be awesome… 

After some negotiating we are welcomed back into our beloved offices. Finally: our own permanent residency! We immediately start to renovate offices into studios and build our own kitchen. New members join the collective and we decide to organize another festival, because now we can do whatever we want.


After the biggest renovations are done it’s time to settle in. This is the next step in an ongoing process of figuring out how to run a non-hierarchic, dynamic community, without mimicking existing structures. 

We start to organize some smaller events that are all about sharing, like Time Wednesday and TW.Wiki. We also get a lot of requests to perform at others’ events, which provides a new challenge to stand for our values as a group. 


We expand on our committee model and start to consolidate our working methods even more, like the Value System for fair pay within the arts. The events committee organizes the first Testival, an event that’s all about experimentation and involving the audience in the creative process.

Meanwhile there’s a shift in members and we grow to 50 people. Whatever happens, we stand as a collective, negotiate together and help each other out.


Now it’s getting serious. We’re being noticed by the press and by local politics. Our name starts to pop up at unexpected places. We’re involved in talking about the development of the neighbourhood. We get some funding to continue our research into new forms of collaborating and sharing. And we get noticed outside of Rotterdam.

2020 and beyond

We want to expand on our working methods and consolidate them, so we apply for structural funding from the City of Rotterdam. And then there’s also a pandemic that lays bare the vulnerability of the arts sector… After an awful summer there’s at least one success: we manage to get included in Cultuurplan 2021-2024!

So what will the future hold? How to make our work durable? How to adapt to a new normal and how to keep fighting for fair working practices in times of scarcity? The continuation of the biotope is also on the agenda: can we keep our space in ZOHO or do we need to find something else? But again: Time Window is more than just a space. We’re just getting started…

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