Point 4 – Interview Booth

The final point was an opportunity to interview artists/artist parents/creatives to see if there were any commonalities in there response to the previous questions and ask them specifically about their professional development needs. This is an area I want to expand on which requires me to gather more responses through an emailed survey.

Generally the artists selected   FUNDED   MAKE   NETWORK

What would be your no.1 Professional Development need at your artist residency?

Some examples:

Exhibiting work publicly

Critique of ideas from an artist peer or curator

Time and space for discovery


Cultural Exchange

Research & Development

Develop a meaningful art practice-exchange

Overall the individual artists professional development needs are very different to each other, which would need a personalised and supportive approach from the residency facilitator to realise. One fit will not suit all artists. Listening back to the artist parent interviews it is clear that they need flexible residency structures to be able to participate in this activity.

Finally the artist was asked if a 1 night over stay residency would be of interest and why?

All participants responded with YES.

Some responses:

This would work for me as I have children and I could manage that in the evening.

Anything different and creative to spark inspiration is worth doing.

It would still be worthwhile to gain the experience, and gain any relevant networks/skills/opportunities to engage with others on many levels.

I could do that now with a young baby but what would I get out of it?

I’d be open to doing a shorter over-stay residency but I’m wondering what purpose it could serve.

I emailed a short evaluation to the ‘Explainers’ who worked at the event.

What was memorable for you from the event?

The sense of taking people on a journey and how people got involved in the idea of being on a residency through that performative idea.

It was great to have the opportunity to talk to different people (ages and professional backgrounds). Those who I spoke to understood the notion of a residency even if they didn’t class themselves as an artist or creative. What struck me is that most people who didn’t class themselves as an artist could easily benefit from a residency period (one Mum collected driftwood and natural materials to create bespoke up-cycled pieces for an art market and homeschooled her children, another was a writer wrote a blog for somebody else (and not having as much creative freedom and time to experiment. Another Mum talked about the difficulties for women continuing their professional lives/business as opposed to men and how having children could be a barrier to doing something like a residency (lack of childcare, free medical facilities abroad).

To see my own family go through the guided tour and put themselves in the shoes of an artist engaging in an artist residency opportunity (my husband and 2 kids aged 5 and 3 (and to have actually offered them that tour). This gave me an idea of how they might respond in future potential residencies that I may come across.

Any other comments about the day?

Great to see such a wide and varied response from people of all walks of life.

Was great to be involved and to help people to engage in the process.

It was an interesting event to be a part of, particularly in relation to the context of the Clore Art Studio, being placed near gallery spaces. Most people were visiting the galleries to view art and objects or to find a space to engage their children (away from the commercial parts of the city centre). I think more space could and should be given for gallery visitors /members of the public to meet real ‘local’, practising artists to dispel the myths and stereotypes about what an artist does and who an artist is.


43 participants including adults and children

33 General Public   10 Artists/Creatives

Point 1 – Suitcase
People where asked if they wanted an International or Domestic residency and noted their responses on luggage labels. The scores for this where International – 24    Domestic – 12. I was surprised to see that families where open to longer periods of travel than I expected for example months or even up to a year. Although I wonder if the explainers indirectly influenced their response by informing them at the start that a residency could be for 1 day or up to a year. Going for months would be the middle answer in that scenario and the popularity of 1 year as it had already been suggested as a maximum stay.

After continuing along a pink line on the floor to the next point people where suddenly stopped at a sign and told before you continue on this journey I want you to stop and think about a barrier that may stop you taking part in a residency. Comments where written down on a postcard and posted into a box. It will be no surprise that the biggest barrier for people is MONEY. The word ‘family’ frequently came up which makes me feel a bit sad. Other responses included different family relationships such as elderly parents or siblings.

Examples of ‘Barrier’ postcards
How would the family be involved?
Work disapproving while away
Being away from my sister
Caring duties of parent
Doesn’t want to leave family
Social anxiety being with the same people
Fear of flying and indecision
Sick, illness

Point 3 – Welcome to your artist residency
Participants where presented with a selection of colourful shapes and asked to select the most important 3. An alternative ‘other’ tag could be added if they wished. The choices where: FUNDED   PRESENT   MAKE   GUIDE NETWORK The most popular choice was MAKE and the least selected PRESENT. This surprised me as I thought that most people would choose PRESENT. However as the main participants where the general public I feel artists may have selected PRESENT. NETWORK scored 2nd most popular which I felt was an encouraging sign that families want to meet other people and not only mix with their own group. FUNDED was third most popular reflecting the importance of money in supporting families to take part in a residency.

Other Labels
A good project I resonate with
Accessible transport –  explore the area
Interesting context
Immerse myself in the culture
Make a difference
Some encouragement
Explore environment

A gentlemen was curious and looking in and around the recording booth where I interviewed artists only and I asked him if he was an artist. He said ‘not a professional one’ as he doesn’t earn a living from his work. We spoke more and I said that just because you don’t earn a living from your work doesn’t mean that your not an artist. I asked if I could interview him and he was happy to take part. This got me thinking about how many other artists are out there who do not class themselves as professional artists based on income from the arts. How many artists are creating a mental barrier based on their own mis-definition of themselves? Does this misconception stop these artists developing their practice and networks? Do institutions do enough to engage with artists outside of the obvious artist networks?

An artist mother of four commented that in an ideal world she would like to go away for 1 month abroad. However realistically there would be too much to organise with a large family and on reflection a domestic destination would be more suitable. After asking her if a 1 overnight residency stay would be of interest she added that a one night stay once a month over a period of a year would be doable to make up a two week residency. Reflecting on peoples reactions and opening up the question I would like to research further residency structures at the university of Salford. For example, What is your dream residency? What is a reality residency? Write your answers down on a postcard.

All 10 interviewed artists where asked if they would be interested in a 1 night residency stay which everyone responded with ‘yes’.

I felt that all the activities where family friendly based on how they generally stayed together throughout and mix of written responses from all ages. Children particularly liked being given their own stickers to decorate the lanyard. The performative ‘explainer’ role and the basic information given to people at the start helped the public get into the idea of being on a residency even though most had no idea of what this was before taking part in the activity.

It’s hard to know what artists want from a residency without asking them first which highlights to me how important it is to nurture relationships with the resident artist well before the stay. Artist parents want lots of detail about the residency structure and how the family will be included. I need to be clear what the residency offer is and create in collaboration with them a programme of family friendly activities during the stay.

Interviews allowed creative conversations about the I am resident lanyards as an intervention into the gallery and ideas for residency structures.

How can I get more artist and artist parent responses? This will allow me to compare responses from the public with them to see if there are any obvious similarities or differences.


MILK up to 1 month

Fee – None

Travel – None

Accommodation – None

Expectations- North East based artist. Make work in gallery space


Resartist, Open Roads, 3 weeks

Fee – None

Travel – None

Accommodation – $750

Expectations – Free to work on their own project

Penrhyn Castle, National Trust – 1-3 months

Fee – £8000

Travel – unknown

Accommodation – unknown

Expectations – Develop new work in response to the place or relate to specific themes. Engage with staff and the public. Maintain an online presence.

Parent Residency Grant, 4 week residency

Childcare Stipend – $1000

Travel – $250

Accommodation – Free

*Production assistance

Expectations – Print based artist.

Cove Park – Visual Arts Residency, 1 week up to a month

Fee – £400 per artist per week

Materials – £250

Travel – None

Accommodation – Free

Expectations – Research + develop work, present talk, and contribute to public programme.


Art@CERN Geneva Award

Fee – unknown

Accommodation – unknown

Travel – Free

Sustenance – unknown

Expectations – Respond to a specific theme. Artist must be Lithuanian.


As an artist parent the most appealing opportunity is the Parent Residency Grant and I was really pleased to see this being specifically aimed at parents as so many exclude them simply by the language used in the advertising and minuscule fees. I have seen a few artist parent residencies although they always seem to be in America it appears that they are leading the way by creating artistic opportunities for them. Although I would not apply for this as it is aimed at specific practices such as printmaking and photography also I wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving my child in full time day care as I would want my husband with me as a support. With all these adverts if I enquired further maybe alternative arrangements could be possible although as a busy working mum I don’t have time to find out, I need to know now, simply and clearly what is on offer.

I feel with most of the residencies advertised there are so many wow words used it can sometimes be difficult to understand what is expected of the artist. I am aware that I am being very reductive in my treatment of the original residency info however I feel it helps me cut through the glossy language and basically see essentially whats on offer. Although there is no artist fee I do like the simplicity of the MILK advert and even though the Open Roads residency is a paid retreat it is clear what it is. Clearly the best paid residency was at Penrhyn Castle however upon further inspection the never ending brief with many requirements doesn’t appeal to my working practice and the higher pay bracket makes me think that they are looking for a wow artist. This is just a feeling but I do question if the better paid opportunities are really an open call and whether artists are already pre-selected which is why I would never apply.


As part of my research into artist residencies I have been talking to SWAGGERJACK who where Samarbeta artists in resident in the club space at Islington Mill from 11/01/15-18/01/15. SWAGGERJACK are artists John Powell-Jones http://www.johnpowell-jones.co.uk and Callum Stephen Higgins http://sacredtapes.bandcamp.com who have been developing new work together and have studios at The Mill. Samarbeta is a Music Residency Programme which offers time for reflection and creativity away from everyday obligations. What does Samarbeta mean? To collaborate, to cooperate, to pull together. The residency programme is curated by Emma Thompson (Fat Out till you Pass out) and Rivca Burns (Sounds from the Other City) from their experience of supporting artists work led them to question why a specific music residency doesn’t exist, and thus Samarbeta was born in late 2013 http://www.samarbeta.co.uk/residencies/4586893838.

The appeal of this opportunity for SWAGGERJACK was to have dedicated time and space and to be as experimental as possible without any external pressures such as showing the final work or public release. I heard about the residency on Facebook and as soon as I read that you could not hear the final work made me want to find out more. In most cases residencies tend to showcase the work created or images quickly posted on social media however that was not the case with SWAGGERJACK. Instead what they launched was a printed work book titled SAMARBETA RESIDENCY 002 that documents the working process including printed emails, drawings, photographs and collage with the actual final record archived at the British Sound Library in London http://sounds.bl.uk. I feel the book No22 of a first print run of 50 was a steal at £10 with a free A3 print included. The paper stock feels grainy, soft to the touch which makes you want to spend time looking through it.

Callum commented that the original idea came out of a discussion about how musicians work will always be influenced and twisted to fit with what is expected of it, even on a subconscious level people would be aware of their peers hearing their output and judging it and as such even if not intentionally the result would be tainted with that in mind. The idea to make an album that would have a vastly limited number of people hearing it was an attempt to counteract this. By letting none of our friends or family hear it, or having no reviews.

When I interviewed John at the Mill he went into great detail about how the dub plate was made of a lesser quality than a record and intended to be used as a test that will degrade after 100 plays. He was very passionate about how by using the internet to listen to audio or look at images it’s easy to just flick through and not really give the work the time it deserves. Artists often are too quick to put material out without reflecting on whether it’s any good or not and he questions does it take something away from the work? Speaking with John reminded me of what an artist residency should be and used to be which was making art for the artist which I feel has been lost along the way in many residency programmes.

Apart from writing about my own work its completely unique to comment on an artists work where I have not experienced the final piece in some way. I guess this is what I feel is the magic about this, how often do the audience see the process before the final work? Although the work is never final as another twist in this ongoing live process is how with each listen will be a unique experience every time. I love the fact that the original work is archived at the British Sound library and it is digitized although can only be heard by becoming a member, what an innovative way of not only sharing your work but opening up a whole world of sound. It could be argued that the work is being a bit precious, but I would say why not be precious with your work? I feel I have stumbled across a secret and I am sharing it with you.


To learn more about artist residencies I went to London for a research trip and visited Gasworks and Shape Arts. I had tried to make an appointment with Gasworks although with the building only just re-opening this month after a 2.1 million make over it wasn’t possible http://www.gasworks.org.uk/events/gasworks-reopening-2015-09-23/. The building is a short walk from the Oval tube station and is instantly recognisable from the top of the street. When I entered the building it felt very white and new a little unnerving, although I was greeted by a friendly receptionist. She was extremely informative about the current exhibition by South African artist Kemang Wa Lehulre titled Sincerly yours and she let me know about the international residency program which has accommodated 250 artists. Gasworks have supported artists working at the top level including Yinka Shonibare, Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Song Dong, Tania Bruguera and many more. The residency programme is specifically for International artists although there is early discussion about the possibility of a national residency. I was surprised to hear that the artists didn’t actually reside within the building they stayed in a shared house close by. I did think if you where just visiting like myself or a member of the public how would you know who is the artist in resident? Regular open studio events are programmed to showcase the artists work although I wondered if some sort of sign with the name of the artist could inform people of who they are. The reception and gallery is a succession of highly finished white cubed spaces ideal for showcasing gallery art although I did wonder what about all the other work outside of that such as socially engaged practice, performance and events. I was delighted to see that the building had incorporated a new participation space for events and workshops with an impressive past programme of activities http://www.gasworks.org.uk/participation/. Within the studio complex are spaces rented out to London based artists and when they become available an open call is advertised.

I first heard of Shape Arts through an advertisement for the Shape Open themed open call exhibition for disabled and non-disabled artists to showcase work at their London gallery in Westfield, Stratford http://www.shapearts.org.uk. The organisation supports disabled artists contemporary art practice through the tiered structure of their Youth programme, Shape Open and Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary that supports a mid career artist to make new work with a high profile art gallery http://www.shapearts.org.uk/Pages/News/Category/adam-reynolds-memorial-bursary. Programme Coordinator Fiona Slater kindly met me at their Kentish Town offices where I got warmly greeted by the team, its not often you get to visit the back offices and we spoke for over an hour about Shape and the Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary. Shape Arts gallery in the past had provided artist residencies by offering free studio space when the building was bigger although this was a temporary opportunity.  Previous recipients of the annual bursary have been Carmen Papalia at the V&A, Aaron McPeake with Spike Island and Simon Raven working with Camden Arts. The main drive behind the bursary is to develop the relationship between the artist and gallery to support the project development that may be a final show, event or research period. Generally the artists do not reside with the art gallery as they may already live in London or they would book alternative accommodation.

I was interested to find out more about Adam Reynolds and I was told that the artist was very much respected in the London art scene that led to the successful long-term partnerships with art galleries. Sculptor Adam Reynolds was an artist, teacher, advisor and had his own gallery in South London in an old cobblers shop. The aim of his gallery was to have a workspace and to share it with other artists in a supportive environment, to learn more about the artists life and work follow this link: https://www.shapearts.org.uk/adam-reynolds. The different levels of participation that Shape offers is a way for the artist to progressively develop their practice from emerging to mid career with the Adam Reynolds bursary. Although my question is how do you select an individual artist for the bursary, surely all artists deserve the opportunity to develop their work? Fiona commented that this is why they feel that there is no ‘winner’ as such and that the selected artist is chosen based on the strength of the work, timing for the individuals career and match with the art gallery with all three shortlisted artists presented in a group show. The 3-month bursary open call clearly states what gallery the artist will be working with ensuring a level playing field with artists proposals. I was pleased to hear that by working with galleries in the selection process they can ensure that artists aren’t judged by what art school they went to and to take into consideration that not everyone gets the same opportunities in life. I was delighted to hear that the organisations long-term aim is to raise the artist bursary from £5,000 to £10,000 which would really help support the artist for a short time beyond the 3-month residency.