Artists’ research trips to Chernobyl and Pripyat in Ukraine, Hong Kong and Jingdezhen in China, and Los Angeles, USA are among those being funded in the latest round of the a-n bursary scheme. In total, £32,000 has been awarded through 35 bursaries supporting 38 artists.
a-n Travel Bursaries are offered to artists who wish to travel in order to develop relationships and networks, and to create opportunities. The awards of £500-£1,000 support travel, accommodation and subsistence costs.
Teesside-based artist Claire Baker will spend three days in Chernobyl – the site of perhaps the most infamous nuclear power plant disaster in history. She plans to produce video documentation as she creates new work inside one of the area’s abandoned homes over a two-hour period, representing the time a family would have had to gather a few belongings together before leaving for good.
“I will leave part of myself there,” she explains, “stitching a hand embroidery to mark that evocative passing of a short yet poignant period of time.”
Travelling with a personal guide and a group of artists, she will also gain access to rarely visited sites including the abandoned ghost city of Pripyat and the nuclear power plant itself.
Speaking about the importance of the bursary to her practice, Baker adds: “The bursary is pivotal, allowing me the opportunity to make this new work in situ. It will enable me to take this extraordinary trip and cement my ideas firmly in reality, which will be both poignant and timely on the 30th anniversary of the disaster.”
The Porcelain City
Norwich-based Lisa Selby will use her award to part fund a project she is undertaking in Hong Kong. Already in receipt of support from Colchester’s Firstsite to produce a solo exhibition at WING Platform for Performance in the Chai Wan district, the a-n bursary will further enable a research trip to the ‘Porcelain City’ of Jingdezhen in China. She will visit the city’s master potters and meet educational activists, philosophers and other artists.
Selby said: “I often work with porcelain as it has a soft vulnerability and holds associations with the home and the internal. Jingdezhen potters have been exploring the material since the 14th century… The bursary means I can go there and actually watch and learn techniques that have been handed down and refined over generations.”
Maurice Carlin, who is co-founder of Islington Mill Art Academy (IMAA) in Salford, will use his award to deepen his knowledge of alternative education models. He will travel to Los Angeles to visit the first comprehensive museum exhibition devoted to the experimental and liberal arts institution Black Mountain College.
Known for its interdisciplinary approach to arts education, in its brief history (1933-57) the college attracted a number of leading artists including Robert Rauschenberg, John Cage, Josef and Anni Albers, and Merce Cunningham, who either studied or taught there. Carlin will visit the exhibition Leap Before You Look at the Hammer Museum and also meet its curator Helen Molesworth.
Speaking about the trip, Carlin said: “Black Mountain College has been uniquely inspirational for myself and my work. Since deciding to explore an alternative route to becoming an artist 10 years ago through co-founding Islington Mill Art Academy, it has been a reference point that I have returned to time and again.
“The award will enable me to both deepen my understanding of this important chapter in arts education and to share this understanding with members of IMAA – and other artist communities – back in the UK.”
The full list of recipients is: Emily Allchurch, Fabio Lattanzi Antinori, Claire Baker, Lara Luna Bartley, Mark Bleakley, Nathalie Boobis, Sandra Bouguerch, Henny Burnett, Maurice Carlin, Sarah Caputo and Brenda Unwin, Lisa Creagh, Christina France Crews, Caroline Douglas, Alex Evans, Jessa Fairbrother, Rachel Gadsden, Asya Gefter, Maddy Hearn, Julie Henry and Debbie Bragg, Tracy Hill, Heidi Hinder, Clive Hunte, Robert Good and Rebecca Ilett, Catriona Leahy, Zanny Mellor, Marina Moreno, Charlotte Rodgers, Lucy May Schofield, Lisa Selby, Amy Sharrocks, Sneha Solanki, AJ Stockwell, Karen Wallis, Kate Walters and Jeff Zimmer.
a-n’s peer-reviewed bursaries have awarded £70,000 across two rounds this year, with the Professional Development bursaries – which were announced in March – already supporting 45 artists. In total, 235 artists having been awarded £184,000 since the scheme began in 2013.
Recipients of both Travel and Professional Development bursaries will be blogging on www.a-n.co.uk about their activities, sharing learning and progress with the artists’ community – follow them on a-n Blogs over the coming months.
Bursaries are open exclusively to a-n Artist members – see the Join section of a-n.co.uk for full details of other benefits, including £5m Public and Products Liability insurance.
1. Claire Baker, Kiev Ukraine
2. Claire Baker, Fabric Wall
3. Lisa Selby, Something Equally Bleak, 2016