Funded 1 Month Artist Residency in Rural Northumberland – Kielderhead Wildwood Project

Deadline: 11/10/2019  |  Published: 12/08/2019  |  Region: Northumberland  |  Country: United Kingdom  |  Visual Arts in Rural Communities

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A one-month residency with Visual Arts in Rural Communities (VARC) hosted by Northumberland Wildlife Trust in response to the Kielderhead Wildwood Project based in rural Northumberland, April 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 April 2020 – 30 April 2020

Where, access and accommodation: A VARC artist residency, hosted by Northumberland Wildlife Trust that will focus on the Kielderhead Wildwood Project.

Kielderhead might be considered one of the wildest and remote spots in England.  It lies at the uppermost stretch of the North Tyne Valley in Northumberland and reaches almost to the Scottish border.  It is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and one of Northumberland’s National Nature Reserves.  With upland moorland, blanket mire, wet heath and dry heath the area supports a wide range of plant communities and variety of upland birds but has suffered from afforestation.

Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s Kielderhead Wildwood Project aims to establish a low-density self-sustaining upland woodland with a mix of native tree species and open habitats that will promote a much more diverse eco-system than currently exists.  As well as restoring the natural heritage, the project will also focus on the cultural and historical heritage of the area.  Access to the Wildwood Project is via forest roads and then walking over uneven ground, therefore this residency is unsuitable for those with mobility issues. In April, there are volunteers planting trees at the Wildwood Project two days a week.

See www.nwt.org.uk/what-we-do/projects/wildwood for more information. 

The artist will be based in a self-contained ground floor accommodation with attached studio in Kielder Village (NE48 1HX), about 5 miles from the Wildwood Project (see photos in Gallery).  Kielder is a small village in remote west Northumberland surrounded by Europe’s largest forest at the northerly tip of Kielder reservoir, Europe’s biggest man-made lake.   Whilst there is a small village shop, the closest amenities are in the village of Bellingham about 18 miles away. There is no public transport and therefore the artist needs to be a driver with his/her own car.  See www.visitnorthumberland.com/kielder-village and www.visitkielder.com for more about the village and the area. 

See www.varc.org.uk for more about the charity.

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 e.g. materials, transport, food, access needs etc.  In addition, there will be agreed travel expenses paid including travel to attend the Sharing Day and the 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 staff from VARC and Northumberland Wildlife Trust 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:

Year 1: 

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)

Year 2: 

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.

Selection:

VARC seeks an artist that wishes to spend 1 month living and working at Kielder, exploring the ecology of place; the relationships and impact between people and nature in the widest sense through the Kielder Wildwood Project.

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 a 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, with particular focus on the Kielder Wildwood Project
  • 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 Kielder 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 April 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.  

Visiting:

A visit to Kielderhead Wildwood Project is possible for shortlisted artists only. Unfortunately, there is no funding to arrange travel or accommodation for visits.

Please read the list of FAQ and then contact the curator for any other questions.

 

Contact the curator
Who is eligible for this opportunity?
All professional artists able to live and work in the UK for 1 month. Students are not eligible.
When is the deadline?
5pm Friday 11th October 2019
How many works can I submit?
You can upload up to 10 images, a list of image details and a CV, plus audio and video files if relevant.
How much does it cost?
The artist pays nothing but needs to cover his/her own personal expenses, food and any support costs.
Are there payments to artists?
Yes; £1000 fee for the 1 month residency. The artist residency fees are augmented by provision of free studio space and living accommodation with utility bills paid and broadband provided. The total package for a 12 month residency would be worth £27,500. The residency fees of £1000 per month are based on the expectation that artists will spend up to one day per week planning, preparing and undertaking engagement with the community. This time valued at £250 per day is in line with A-N The Artist’s Information Company recommended for established artists. The remainder of the artist’s residency time is for them to develop their artwork and is supported by the provision of the accommodation etc plus staff support. The artist residency fees are augmented by provision of free studio space and living accommodation with utility bills paid and broadband provided. The total package for a 12 month residency would be worth £27,500. The residency fees of £1000 per month are based on the expectation that artists will spend up to one day per week planning, preparing and undertaking engagement with the community. This time valued at £250 per day is in line with A-N The Artist’s Information Company recommended for established artists. The remainder of the artist’s residency time is for them to develop their artwork and is supported by the provision of the accommodation etc plus staff support. Any expenses incurred through engagement including travel, are paid to the artist. Travel to attend any of the Sharing Days, are also covered by VARC.
What are the exhibition opportunities?
There will be an Open Studio event at the end of your residency, a chance to show work at the Sharing Day in Summer 2020 and a group exhibition that will include work made during your residency early in Autumn 2021.
Does the location have disabled access?
The studio and flat has reasonably level ground with no steps. However it does not have accessible facilities and sadly would exclude wheelchair users or those with limited mobility. The Kielder Wildwood Project is located in a remote part of Kielder Forest with no footpaths and is therefore unsuitable for those with mobility issues and those who would find working/living alone a problem.
What publicity will be provided as part of the opportunity?
VARC staff will promote the artist's work through social media and e-newsletters. The artist will feature in an exhibition and a publication.
Do I need to be present?
The artist needs to live in the accommodation provided.
What happens if my proposal is chosen?
Shortlisted artists only will be invited for interview. The interview will take place via Skype on Monday 18th November 2019.
What are the selection criteria?
• 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, with particular focus on the Kielder Wildwood Project
• 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
Can I apply for more than one of the residency opportunities?
Yes. However you must make a separate application on CuratorSpace for each of the residencies you wish to apply for and make clear why you feel your work is suited to the particular residency.
Can a partner join me?
Yes. The accommodation allows for a partner to live with you for the duration of the residency.
Do I need a visa?
If you are applying from overseas, you will need to be able to work in the UK for 1 month.
What is in the studio?
The studio has electricity and wifi and can be accessed from inside and outside of the flat. VARC has a small selection of tools and equipment. However any specialist equipment will need to be the artists’ own.
What support will I receive?
VARC has 2 part time members of staff so contact time will be limited. The staff do not live on site and so it is important that the artist can work independently. You will have contact with part time staff from The Northumberland Wildlife Trust. The VARC Director will ensure you have relevant introductions with partner organisations and will coordinate events. The Engagement Manager will help to arrange workshops and volunteers can also support you. Any specific support needs should be discussed with the Director in advance of the residency.

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