Featured organisation: Lumen Studios

Lumen is a collective of three artists - Louise Beer, Melanie King and Rebecca Huxley. We work across disciplines in themes of astronomy, light and environment, and together curate exhibitions, residencies and seminars and create art commissions. Our aim with these activities is to raise a dialogue about how humanity understands existence, and through this, encourage awareness of human imprint on Earth and inspire positive action to remedy this impact.

Our organisation was inaugurated in December 2014 on Winter Solstice, and since Spring 2015, we have established a gallery and studio space in the crypt of St John on Bethnal Green in East London. Lumen strive to make the experience and wonder of science accessible to everyone through the lens of art, which can help us develop a greater understanding of the wonders of the natural world immediately in front of us, as well as promoting mindfulness and planet-wide thinking from the ground beneath our feet.  

From the initiation of Lumen, we have worked hard to help create a national and international community of interdisciplinary artists and researchers. The residencies we run in locations such as the UK and Italy, provide opportunities for us to work reciprocally with artists on an international scale. Through curating different types of events, exhibitions and residencies we get to learn and pass on skills as well as collaborate. 

Legacy and long-term collaborations are important to us as we enjoy supporting the artist community. To do this we regularly collaborate with artists such as Natasha Sabatini and Becky Lyon to curate residencies and exhibitions, we invite residents to participate in further exhibitions in our gallery, and we also commission artists in our network for publications and funded opportunities. On our website is a directory of artists we have worked with over the last five years - all with the aim of promoting their work directly.

We invest a lot of time and effort into curating, organising and managing projects. Everything we do is done in our spare time - we all have day jobs and self-fund the collective’s overheads as needed. As with many collectives, it is challenging to find financial security whilst also sticking to the overall aims and mission. As hard as this can be, the benefit of being three and able to collaborate with others in our network, means that tasks can be shared and we can take on more exciting opportunities, which all has a cumulative effect and benefit for our community.

We are always scouting for funding opportunities for larger projects that would enable us to offer bursaries and financial aid for participants, to help offset their costs. Additionally, we would love to access funding to help renovate a hidden space with the crypt that is currently off limits - this would mean we could offer workshops and engage more with the local community. In the short term, we are currently working on an exciting new residency for 2020 which we will announce early next year.

Our current exhibition is Natural Light, showing at AIR Gallery Altrincham until 27th November. The exhibition and open call were set up to highlight processes that harness and interpret ‘natural light’, whilst aiming to raise awareness of the light and air pollution that is currently impacting our understanding and appreciation of the environments around us.




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