Artist Sovay Berriman has been announced as the recipient of the Clore Visual Arts Fellowship 2023.

The fellowship is a bespoke professional development opportunity that works to develop leaders from across a wide range of cultural disciplines and sectors. Berriman is one of 24 Fellows from eight regions across the UK, as well as Ireland, Brazil and Hong Kong, who will embark on the Clore Fellowship programme this autumn in its nineteenth year.

Berriman’s work is rooted in their experience of being Cornish, their culture’s shifting identity, and the mutability yet power of a sense of place. She works across installation, text/audio, moving image, drawing and sculpture, with various fragments working together to create a whole, supportive structure and shared story.

Sovay Berriman, MESKLA, 2022, copper pocket sculptures. © Nick Cooney

Using her practice as a structure and prompt for action and discussion, Berriman questions balances of power. She explores evolution, domestic and industrial use of the natural environment, whilst performance platforms and dance floors inform the abstract and semi-fantastical sculptural structures and events they build.

Berriman is currently one of four commissioned artists making new work for the inaugural Flamm Cornwall, in partnership with Art Night and Counterpoint Arts. Her Flamm commission, featuring a sculptural installation and her first publicly exhibited film, will also be included in Counterpoint Arts’ Platforma 7 programme.

She has also been commissioned as part of Hospital Rooms’ Cornwall Project 2023/24 to deliver workshops and make new work for Cornwall NHS Foundation Trust at Redruth and Bodmin Community Hospitals.

Berriman recently featured, alongside Lucy Harrison, on the a-n and Space Artonomics Podcast discussing how she has sustained her practice by training as a plumber and heating engineer and working in the construction industry alongside her art activity. Berriman’s experiences in this line of work have developed the critical socio-economic and political aspects of her practice, particularly in relation to environment, care and the labour of making.

Sovay Berriman, MESKLA conversation. © Steve Tanner

Sharing her enthusiasm at being awarded the Clore Fellowship, Berriman comments: “I am delighted to be the a-n Visual Arts Clore Fellow this year! I have long admired the programme and am excited by the multi-layered approach to development and learning that it offers. I’m looking forward to meeting my fellow fellows, and making the most of the learning that is to come.

“I am passionate about the transformative power of the arts and artists, and the positive impact they have. Through my work, and my current project MESKLA | Brewyon Drudh (2022-24) – a multi-platform socially-engaged artwork exploring contemporary Cornish cultural identity and its relationship with extraction industries such as tourism and mining, it is my ambition to open dialogues and drive change.

“Through the Clore Fellowship I aim to build upon my existing leadership skills. Growing in ways that will most effectively aid facilitation of practical regenerative responses to future situations. Responses that amplify marginalised voices, the urgency of environmental responsibilities, and which foreground the visual arts.”

Sovay Berriman, MESKLA drawing. © Dom Moore

The 2023 fellows are: Sovay Berriman, Alan James Burns, Rebecca Atkinson-Lord, Jessica Vaughan, Andrew Westle, Charlotte Edmunds, Meneesha Kellay, Kate Mackonochie, Makeda McMillan, Molly Nicholson, Deanna Rodger, Laura Crossley, Matthew Rabagliati, Louise White, Fiona Bridges, Joyce Nga Yu Lee, Katie Villa, Jay Bhadricha, Carolyn ML Forsyth, John R Wilkinson, Lo Wan-Ki, Vicky Fung, Liliane Rebelo, and Leo Menezes.

Moira Sinclair, Chair of Clore Leadership, Chief Executive, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, and herself a #Clore1 Fellow, welcomed the Fellows: “In today’s ever-evolving cultural landscape, it’s never been more important to have strong and dynamic leaders. The Clore Fellowship is a hugely important programme, which empowers and invests in leaders, giving you a unique opportunity to hone the skills, competences and perspectives needed to face these challenges. I can’t wait to see the passion, dynamism and energy I know you will bring to this year’s Fellowship and wish you well as you embark on a journey of learning and leading.”

For more information on the 2023 Clore Fellowship visit

Top image: Sovay Berriman, 2022. © Nick Cooney