Watching the Sun: Virtual Arts-Science Residency; Open Call - Round One

Deadline: 15/11/2020

Country: United Kingdom  |  Mayes Creative

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Watching the Sun: Virtual Arts-Science Residency. Delivered in partnership with the Royal Astronomical Society (Nov 30th to Dec 4th 2020). This residency offers an opportunity to be inspired by a rich mix of creative provocations, with input from astronomy specialists, archaeoastronomers and astrophysicists alongside multidisciplinary artists, all of whom are connected, via their practice, to the theme of watching the universe. This residency will take place virtually, offering opportunities to workshop, discuss and share ideas with a group of like-minded people.

About The Residency

This group residency takes place virtually between Monday 30th November and Friday 4th December 2020. The main input and sharing days are planned to be Monday, Tuesday and Friday of that week, with a mix of daytime and evening sessions, delivered over Zoom, with Slack providing a secure channel for communication and collaboration (see FAQ for details).

We will run a creative follow-on meeting on Thursday 10th December, and will meet again in the new year to discuss outcomes and next steps. During the course, participants will have access to a relevant collection of assets from previous residencies and projects and the opportunity to converse with fellow participants. 

We welcome all art forms - there will be lots of opportunities for sharing work/ideas with others on the virtual residency and we encourage everyone to bring ideas, enthusiasms and any relevant research to share. We are also keen to include researchers/enthusiasts of all disciplines; if you know anyone who you think would be interesting to include (collaborators perhaps?), please encourage them to apply. 

No outcomes are required, but we will create a publication of creative outputs to which participants can submit work. This folio will be printed in a limited run, and will be lodged with the Royal Astronomical Society Library. 

Alongside this, we will invite participants to contribute to our online blog, which will be shared across our social media platforms. If taken up, each artist will have a section on the Mayes Creative website dedicated to their work on this residency. Participants will also be eligible to submit work to future physical exhibition/collaboration opportunities, which are in the planning for when Covid-19 restrictions ease. 

Participants will be invited to join the Mayes Creative Artists Network (for a subscription rate of £10 per year); designed to continue working relationships and collaborations, provoke conversation and discussion, and offer informed advice on funding, project development and working in the arts-science-heritage cross-section. The asset collection will also still be available to the network, allowing for further exploration on your part. 

Further details:

We start by watching a Lunar eclipse, where the earth comes between the moon and sun, followed by the opportunity to gain inspiration from Cornwall's amazing heritage of solar-aligned ancient monuments and eclipse predictions, learning about the discovery of the Solar cycle and contextualising with contemporary astrophysics (astronomer Schwabe's original research notebooks are held in the RAS library).

As part of our working relationship with the Royal Astronomical Society, we are delighted to be able to offer participants exclusive opportunities including a live tour of the RAS Archive, access to which is usually reserved for members only. And, in the publication, your own work could be housed in this very same archive and in the RAS Library for years to come. 

Alongside the RAS talk and tour, we are excited to host artists and scientists, side by side, to deliver a mix of practical learning and sharing opportunities, as well as inspiration for your practice. 

Confirmed for the 2020 virtual residency:

** Successful Art Science Collaboration: A conversation between Dr Joanna Mayes and Carolyn Kennett FRAS about their approach to working together and their perspectives on making successful art-science collaborations

** ’The Sun is a Star’ - a talk and discussion on the life and death of stars with Dr Sheila Kanani of the Royal Astronomical Society

** A talk and opportunity for questions with artist Mel King (Lumen Studios, Super/Collider, London Alternative Photography Collective) around her work focused on astronomy

** ‘Watching The Sun’ - an interactive talk on the story of Cornwall's solar watchers by Carolyn Kennett FRAS and Cheryl Straffon 

** An exclusive tour of the Royal Astronomical Society’s archive with Librarian and Archivist Dr Sian Prosser (Covid-19 restricitions allowing)

** Artist Peter Beeson will talk about the ‘Seventeen Suns’ project he began in lockdown, which has expanded to hundreds of paintings of the sunrise

** Discussions with film and sounds artists Joanna Mayes and Justin Wiggan about how they work at the cross section of arts and science and how they have developed their working practice

** A talk and discussion with artist Steve Geliot on his role as Artist Ambassador for the Earth art-science Project and his ongoing campaign for the protection of dark skies 

** Plus, a live heritage walk streamed from Cornwall to your home; daily check-ins and sharings of creative responses; and collaboration opportunities during the week, along with a supported network that will continue after the residency has ended 

** A curated publication of participants’ work, made and produced in collaboration with participants themselves, to be lodged with the Royal Astronomical Society’s Library and Archive

Your practice is your own; if you want to create as you take part, please do, but there is no pressure to do so. As part of the residency, we will be offering a back catalogue of assets from Mayes Creative, including films, research, information, and outcomes from years of working in this field.

For more information please visit

Submission dates:

This is a call for the first round of submissions for everyone and final deadline for Cornwall residents. Deadline midnight on Sunday 15th Nov 2020.

Second round deadline (please watch out for separate call), if places are still available, will be midnight on Sunday 22nd Nov 2020.

This residency is produced by Mayes Creative, supported with CLLD funding from EU.


£120 full price, and we have a few supported places available for Cornish residents at £50 - please get in touch if you fit this brief.


Contact the curator
Who is eligible for this opportunity?
Artists, creatives, thinkers, researchers
When is the deadline?
The first round of submissions and final deadline for Cornwall residents is midnight on Sunday 15th November 2020.

NB: Second round deadline (separate call), if places are still available, is midnight on Sunday 22nd November 2020.
This residency is produced by Mayes Creative, supported with CLLD funding from EU.
How much does it cost?
£120 full price, and we have a few supported places available for Cornish residents at £50 - please get in touch if you fit this brief.
What publicity will be provided as part of the opportunity?
Any work which is created from residency themes will be shared online via Mayes Creative's social media and web channels. Alongside this, each participant will be invited to contribute to an online blog. The resulting publication will be housed in the RAS Archive and Library, and there will be a press coverage around this once it is printed.
What happens if my proposal is chosen?
We will let you know that your proposal has been chosen and we will send you a link to our bookings site.
What kind of proposals are you looking for?
Those which show an interest in the residency themes and also participants who would be potential future collaborators. We are especially keen on meeting people with a related research interest.
What are the selection criteria?
We have a wide selection criteria for this residency - so long as this residency is relevant to your practice/you have a creative reason to attend. We are also looking for a mix of creative practice, so that everyone can benefit from considering alternative approaches to the thematic material.

We especially favour those with relevant research interests.

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