The latest round of a-n’s New collaborations bursary scheme has awarded £21,081 to 23 artists to support critical and artistic development through collaborative working. The bursaries of £500-£1,000 enable two or more professional artists, or other professional collaborators, to spend time together to explore issues around collaborative working as part of research into development of a proposal or project.

Bursaries are open exclusively to a-n Artist + AIR members and the successful artists in this round were selected from over 70 applications. Proposals included research into how language in the context of visual art can inform reactions to mental health, a project looking at the relationship between vocal sounds and the landscape, and a study of the ancient practice of Swedish hair working. There were also applications from more traditional areas of practice such as photography, printmaking and ceramics.

Manchester-based artist Angela Davies will use her award of £1,000 to develop conversations and skill sharing with Janet Bezzant, the MFA postgraduate programmes coordinator at Manchester School of Art. They will work together during the ISEA2014 International Symposium on Electronic Art which takes place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates in November.

The pair first met during Davies’ postgraduate study in Manchester. “We discovered commonalities between our practices including a shared interest in developing coding and electronic micro-processing,” said Davies. “The interaction and play on perception also features strongly within each of our research areas.

“Attendance at ISEA2014 will help us to develop our practices co-dependently as collaborators in the field of electronic arts, and offer an opportunity to develop skills and knowledge that we can integrate into textile works to generate interactivity and reflexivity. It will also offer an opportunity to become acquainted with a wider circle of artists and researchers working in this field.”

Embedded technologies

Bettina Fung will use her £1,000 bursary to develop a collaboration with the designer Mike Kann, a PhD researcher at the Royal College of Art. Fung’s work is concerned with rituals, liminality, chance and movements, and predominantly takes the form of drawings that include performative elements. Kann’s interests lie in the field of interactive furniture and installations, tactility and materiality.

Explaining the project, Fung said: “The bursary will enable us to investigate the creative potential within the interplay between design, interactive and embedded technologies and traditional art methods, paying particular focus to the interaction between technology and the art making process, which can at times be spontaneous.

“Our research will look into how the two fields can shape, influence, enhance and even challenge each other – as well as what might happen if the two disciplines merge together to create something new. Through this process we hope to develop new ideas, objects, installations and performances that can embody the interactions between the two different disciplines for exhibitions at art and design shows.”

Artist duo French & Mottershead plan to collaborate with Dr Carolyn Rando, a forensic anthropologist based at UCL, who will act as science adviser for a new work, Afterlife. The bursary of £990 will enable the first phase development of the work that will engage the public through a series of factual audio monologues reflecting on how bodies break down and nourish the environment. The piece will be presented in specific and off-site locations, indoors and outdoors, that foreground our relationship to nature, earth and time.

Speaking about the project, French & Mottershead said: “The narratives for Afterlife will develop through a process of forensic research that will be written under expert guidance – each narrative compresses the decomposition process, which can take hundreds of years, into five minutes. Working with Dr Rando will help ensure that the narratives take into account the variable environmental factors involved in decomposition and lend them the sense of forensic legitimacy needed, as we look to secure new partners and funders for the next stage of the project.”

Further afield

While many of the proposed collaborations are UK-based, a few applicants are looking to develop projects further afield. Stephanie Turnbull from Newport will use the £1,000 award to collaborate with artists in Australia on her alternative printmaking project.

“I’ve been invited to work with expert pulp printer Tim Mosely at his workshop at Queensland College of Art in Brisbane with the aim of learning his sophisticated techniques of pulp printing using the screen-printing method,” she said.

“I’m also planning to travel to Darwin to collaborate with Northern Editions, to participate in their outreach projects with aboriginal artists working in the Australian outback. These experiences will inform my own professional practice, enabling me to adapt printmaking processes for workshops outside the formal setting of the studio.” 

The a-n bursaries programme, which also includes Re:view and Go and see strands, has awarded over £65,000 to 94 artists over the last 12 months. Bursaries are an important part of a-n’s professional development programme along with Airtime information and networking sessions, the Granted seminar programme, and online and expert practical guides

Bursaries are open exclusively to a-n Artist + AIR members – for full details of other benefits, including access to £5m Public and Product Liability insurance, see our Join in section.

More on

Go and see bursaries: 10 artists’ initiatives receive funding

Re:view bursary scheme: 11 artists receive funding in second round

Bursary blogs:

Breaking the shell: A Re-view artist bursary report by Laurence Dube-Rushby.

New Collaboration Bursary by Kim Walker and Sarah Laing.

Denmark-Brighton Contemporary Ceramics Project by J Kay Aplin.

Collaborative Explorations between Sheffield and Helsinki by Victoria Lucas.