Funded 1 Month Artist Residency in Rural Northumberland - Unison Colour
Deadline: 11/10/2019 | Published: 12/08/2019 | Region: Northumberland | Country: United Kingdom | Visual Arts in Rural Communities
A one-month residency with Visual Arts in Rural Communities (VARC) hosted by Unison Colour based in rural Northumberland, May 2020. Part of a two-year multi-partner programme ENTWINED: Rural. Land. Lives. Art. This vibrant programme will comprise 6 unique artist residency opportunities culminating in an exhibition and publication in 2021. This one-month residency forms part of Year 1.
When: 1 May 2020 – 1 June 2020
Where, access and accommodation:
This VARC artist residency is hosted by Unison Colour who hand make artists’ pastels. Unison Colour was founded by artist John Hersey in the early 1980s who, after many years of being dissatisfied with the artists' pastels then on the market, decided to make his own. Unison Colour is based in the old coach buildings of Thorneyburn Rectory in the North Tyne Valley, surrounded by the landscape that first inspired John to make his pastels - the hills, fells, forests and rivers and the clarity of light and subtlety of colour in Northumberland. John Hersey experimented for a number of years with texture of pigment mixtures, colour sequencing and methods of production and there are records of these experiments still held in the company's offices. The range has grown from John's original 117 colour pastels to over 400, each one hand made in the workshop. The pastels are now sold worldwide, see www.unisoncolour.com for more information.
The artist selected for this residency will be able to use the Unison Colour materials and spend time in the workshops and packing house.
The artist will live and work at VARC's base at Highgreen, Tarset, Northumberland, NE48 1RP, about 3 miles from Unison Colour. See www.varc.org.uk for more about the charity. Tarset is a sparsely populated rural part of Northumberland where land is mostly devoted to hill-farming. See www.tarset.co.uk for information more about the area.
Highgreen is made up of a collection of early to mid-19th Century buildings. Whilst the studio and site is generally on ground level with no steps, the buildings have access limitations. The artist’s flat is in part of a restored stable block and is accessed via a steep flight of stairs. We realise this isn’t ideal and makes the residency unsuitable for artists who use wheelchairs or find stairs difficult to manage. You can see photos of the studio and entrance to the living accommodation in the Gallery photos. The local shops are in Bellingham, some 8 miles away and Newcastle is 40 miles away so the artist will need to have his/her own transport.
What is provided:
A free studio and living accommodation plus a fee of £1,000 paid to the artist. The artist is responsible for their own personal costs eg materials, transport, food, access needs etc. In addition, there will be agreed travel expenses paid including travel to attend the Sharing Day end of programme conference (see below).
There will be an exhibition at the end of the ENTWINED: Rural. Land. Lives. Art programme that VARC staff will support.
VARC will produce a publication that will include work from the entire ENTWINED: Rural. Land. Lives. Art. programme.
Please note that contact with VARC staff will be limited due to staff working part time hours and therefore it is important that the artist is able to work independently. The artist will receive support with engagement, events and promotion.
About ENTWINED: Rural. Land. Lives. Art.
A multi-partner project comprising 6 mixed length artist residencies. With an engagement programme of workshops, open days and sharing days the programme will culminate in 2021 with an exhibition and a publication.
Through the artists’ practice, different aspects of what makes a ‘place’ will be explored and the interconnectedness of rural land and rural lives revealed. Artists are open to respond to the theme in the broadest sense and could investigate people, animals and the landscape (that link in to current research conversations around 'human' & 'non-human' relationships), marks left by old industries and new technologies, issues such as sustainable energy, access and re-wilding, changes in farming practices, skills and traditions, current expressions of culture and community and how new environmental conditions affect people and nature alike.
Artist residencies based in a number of venues in the community of Tarset and North Tyne (Kielder Village, Unison Colour, Tarset Village Hall and The Heritage Centre at Bellingham) as well at VARC (Highgreen) will encourage closer, direct working with people and material. The hosts and venues are as follows:
Based at VARC, Highgreen 10 months (June 2019 – April 2020) Artist appointed and in residence.
Based at Kielderhead Wildwood Project (Northumberland Wildlife Trust) 1 month (April 2020)
Based at Unison Colour 1 month (May 2020)
Based at VARC, Highgreen 10 months (June 2020 – April 2021)
Based at Tarset Village Hall 1 month (May 2021)
Based at The Heritage Centre at Bellingham 1 month (June 2021)
ENTWINED: Rural. Land. Lives. Art. will encourage artists to draw on and contribute to the rich and previously under-explored sources of material and wealth of knowledge held by the many groups and organisations supporting the programme. Whilst the focus will be on an examination of Tarset and the North Tyne, artists’ exploration will be rhizomatic in methodology as artists follow threads of investigation accessing archives, libraries and collections locally and across the region. Skill sharing and partnership working is crucial and artists selected will affirm this approach.
Public of all ages will share in and contribute to a conversation about an ecology of place with regard to Tarset and the North Tyne but also, through connections, that is larger than the local with potential to link to similar projects and communities elsewhere in the UK and world-wide.
The programme is supported by many organisations both locally and regionally and the artist will be able to work alongside and access expertise and resources of the following to aid his or her research and development of artwork as well as the extensive knowledge of local residents and farmers:
- Natural History Society of Northumbria
- Northumberland Wildlife Trust
- Northumberland Archives
- Tarset Archive Group
- Kielder Water and Forest Park
- Northumberland National Park Authority
- The Heritage Centre at Bellingham
- Newcastle University Centre for Rural Economy
The two-year programme of which this residency is part, is funded by Arts Council England National Lottery Funding, VARC, Newcastle University (Institute for Creative Arts Practice), Northumbria University (Visual Arts and Material Culture Research Group), Sunderland University (Walking, Art, Landskip and Knowledge Research Group), Northumberland County Council and Community Foundation Trust.
VARC seeks an artist that wishes to spend 1 month living and working at Highgreen, exploring the ecology of place; the relationships and impact between people and nature in the widest sense and drawing upon the resources of Unison Colour.
Students are not eligible to apply. Artists for this post will be asked to apply for advanced DBS clearance, the administrative fee for which VARC will pay for. Artists who have not lived and worked in the UK in the past will be expected to provide their country’s equivalent certificate. The artist must have a driving licence and car.
The selection criteria are:
- Permission to live and work in the UK for one month
- Quality and strength of work in any media
- A demonstrated passion for research into the ecology of place, particularly with regard to nature, and a desire to link with Unison Colour
- Evidence that this research informs their artwork
- A desire and willingness to be part of the ENTWINED: Rural. Land. Lives. Art. programme, to share skills and research methodology
- Through the engagement activities, be committed to work with members of the public of all ages
- Demonstration that this residency will benefit artistic practice and professional development
The artist will research and make work around the theme as outlined above and will be committed to:
- Live and work at Highgreen during the residency period
- Work in a spirit of mutual knowledge and skill sharing with residents and supporting organisations
- Lead up to 2x 1/2 day creative workshops with groups of local people/families/students (with support from VARC staff)
- Make artwork* for display at the conclusion of the residency in May 2020 and for inclusion in the Exhibition at the end of the programme, Autumn 2021
- Aim to take part in the sharing day in the summer of 2020 and at the conference at the end of the programme (Autumn 2021)
- Feature in a short artist film documenting the programme
*The residency can be used as a period of research and therefore the 'artwork' produced can be process based.
The deadline for applications is Friday 11th October. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified by 29th November 2019. Due to limited staff resources, we are unable to provide feedback to unsuccessful applicants.
Interviews of shortlisted artists will be held by Skype. These will take place on Monday 18th November 2019. It will be the responsibility of shortlisted artists to make sure they have a good Skype connection.
The selection panel for this and all residencies in the programme is made up of curators, arts academics and researchers and arts professionals of the partner organisations and VARC itself.
A visit to Highgreen is possible for shortlisted artists only. Unfortunately, there is no funding to arrange travel or accommodation for visits.
Please see the list of FAQ and contact the curator for any other questions.
Contact the curator
• Quality and strength of work in any media
• A demonstrated passion for research into the ecology of place, particularly with regard to nature, and a desire to link with Unison Colour
• Evidence that this research informs their artwork
• A desire and willingness to be part of the ENTWINED: Rural. Land. Lives. Art. programme, to share skills and research methodology
• Through the engagement activities, be committed to work with members of the public of all ages
• Demonstration that this residency will benefit artistic practice and professional development
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