Residencies with artists, scientists, humanists, and other visiting scholars at the Institute are co‐sponsored with UCSC departments. Residencies are by invitation from facility and Institute staff, and scholars and artists are welcomed to pursue their own work and undertake public projects to engage the broader campus and community.

The Institute launched its first artist residency in Spring 2014, inviting artists Harrell Fletcher, Molly Sherman, and Nolan Calisch, working collaboratively under the name Public Doors and Windows, to creatively rethink the relationships between universities, museums and publics.​ This two year, multi-visit residency culminated in Collective Museum, a campus-wide public art installation that is ongoing until January 2021. Tour the project at 

In 2015, the Institute teamed with UC Lick Observatory, Theoretical Astrophysics Santa Cruz (TASC), and the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art to bring artist Russell Crotty for a multi-visit residency. This residency provides Crotty with unique access to Lick Observatory telescopes and scientific facilities on Mount Hamilton, and research time with the rich trove of historical photographs, astronomical instruments, and observation log books in the Lick Archive. The residency also fosters on-campus collaborations between Crotty and UC Santa Cruz scientists in both astronomy and astrophysics. An exhibitions of the new works Crotty creates over the course of this residency, as well as his past works, archival materials from the UC Lick Observatory, and data visualizations from UC Santa Cruz astrophysicists will open in Fall 2016 at the San Jose ICA.

When the building for the Institute is completed, residents will have studio and office space in the Institute's signature facility, which will thereby serve as a new venue for attracting nationally significant scholars to campus for short- and long-term visits.