Fellow's Testimonials

In this section read about what the artists did with their awards and what effect it had on their careers both during and after their fellowship.

  • Rachael Champion

  • Sculpture supported by the Yoma Sasburg Estate - Winner 2013

  • It has been a true honor to be a recipient of the Art Foundation award for sculpture in 2013. My experience during the fellowship was extremely productive and has enabled me immensely. The...

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  • Rachael Champion

  • Sculpture supported by the Yoma Sasburg Estate - Winner 2013

  • It has been a true honor to be a recipient of the Art Foundation award for sculpture in 2013. My experience during the fellowship was extremely productive and has enabled me immensely. The fellowship was used in a plethora of ways including equipment, materials, exhibitions, research, and living expenses
    I began my fellowship on April of 2013 and it lasted until early October. At the time I received the award I didn’t have a studio space and was working full time as an artist assistant. In the years since graduating from the Royal Academy Schools, my practice has only moved forward during periods of time where I have had a commission or artists fee. The award enabled me to have a lengthy amount of time where I could solely be with my practice, uninterrupted by the necessity and distraction of employment.
    I was invited to make a solo exhibition for the a project space called Horatio Jr which is located in Rotherhithe and run by the artist Thomas Kitchin. This was an exciting opportunity because the nature of the space lends itself to installation work as the gallery is in an old pub and comprised of unique and varied smaller spaces. Because of the fellowship, I was able to work free of any financial constraints. I worked with many materials I hadn’t before worked with including pebbledash, roofing shingles, and coloured mulch. The exhibition, Chemical Weathering, consisted of three site-specific installations of which one is permanent in their garden, two sculptures and a series of digital images.
    The second project I worked on during the fellowship was for the Wirksworth festival of 2013 in Derbyshire. I was invited by curator Rose Lejeune to produce a site-specific work for the festival. The work I made is called Forced Landscape and was directly inspired by the quarries of the area. The work refers to both the industrial and geological history of the area and the impact mineral working has had on the landscape. The piece is a kind of inverted sculpture, with layers of mosaic tiles and concrete descending and tapering into the ground. It is my most ambitious work to date and my first public artwork. The piece was well received and the Festival decided to keep it in place for another year in its location at the National Stone Centre.
    The Fellowship also facilitated essential practical improvements for my art practice. When the fellowship began in April, I found myself a fantastic, affordable studio, which I still occupy today. It is located in Canning Town through the organization ACAVA. The award enabled me to make all of the down payments required for renting the studio. The studio is just over 300 square feet with three and a half meter ceilings, it has it’s own sink, and is located on the ground floor (which is very important for a sculptor!)
    I also purchased a lot of equipment I couldn’t afford before the award. These are tools that I had always wanted to own and often found myself borrowing from other artists frequently. I purchased a Festool rail saw with rails, a Henry Hoover, an ESAB mig welder, a good jig saw, and a metal cut off saw. I felt that this was the best way I could spend the award, as the tools would still be a part of my practice when the award was gone.
    I appreciate equipment I use for making sculpture and the exhibitions I was able to produce but ultimately, the most rewarding aspect of the fellowship was the amount of studio time it afforded me. It is something that is so immensely valuable for an artist. To be able to return to an idea you were invested in the day before and to continue doing so the day after that and so on is a real privilege.
    I am also pleased to say that I am now represented by Hales Gallery in London. I will have my first solo exhibition with them in June of 2014.
    Thank you.
    Image : Forced Landscape
    Forced Landscape, 2013, 4.6m x 3m x 2.5m, plywood, timber, mosaic tiles, cement. National Stone Centre, Wirksworth, DE4 4LS
    Wirkswirth Festival, 2013. photo credit: artist

  • Marianna Simnett

  • Essay Films - Shortlisted 2017

  • Still from The Udder (2014) by shortlisted artist Marianna Simnett

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  • Marianna Simnett

  • Essay Films - Shortlisted 2017

  • Still from The Udder (2014) by shortlisted artist Marianna Simnett

  • Matt Golden

  • Sculpture supported by the Yoma Sasburg Estate - Winner 2011

  • As an artist who was perhaps recognised more for running a gallery than my own practice, winning this award has helped to redress that balance. It is probably not a coincidence that in the nine or...

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  • Matt Golden

  • Sculpture supported by the Yoma Sasburg Estate - Winner 2011

  • As an artist who was perhaps recognised more for running a gallery than my own practice, winning this award has helped to redress that balance. It is probably not a coincidence that in the nine or so months since collecting the award I have exhibited almost continually internationally, with many more opportunities in the making. As a direct result of the Yoma Sasburg Fellowship I spent some time in Berlin and am now heading to Japan for a collaboration with traditional Japanese musicians that will culminate in a performance and recording. Music as sculpture? Collaboration as sculpture? Nomadism…sculpture? Invented personae…? These are some of the current themes I am exploring within my practice and their development and my understanding of them have been aided with the opportunities The Arts Foundation have provided me. They are lines of enquiry that necessitate travel and extended periods of residence in unfamiliar places and for connections to be made with people who have differing experiences and views to mine. Such opportunities require funds and for most artists these are in short supply. By winning this award six years after graduating from a Masters course I was able to put several years worth of thought and experience into practice and it is this timing that makes The Yoma Sasburg and The Arts Foundation so important for emerging artists to begin to establish themselves and their work in a very competitive field.

  • Isabel Rock

  • Printmaking - Winner 2013

  • The Arts Foundation prize came at the perfect time for me. Five years after graduating from my MA, I had had some success with making, exhibiting and selling my work in the UK and abroad. With...

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  • Isabel Rock

  • Printmaking - Winner 2013

  • The Arts Foundation prize came at the perfect time for me. Five years after graduating from my MA, I had had some success with making, exhibiting and selling my work in the UK and abroad. With two solo shows in London, lots of group shows, artists residencies and regularly showing at The India Art Fair in Delhi I felt had made a strong start to my career as a fine artist. I just wasn’t sure how to make the next step up with my career and I didn’t have the confidence to take action.

    As soon as the money landed in my account I booked a trip to Senegal, West Africa. My proposal for the money said that I would go ‘Searching for Paradise’. I particularly wanted to go to Africa to see some baobab trees. Baobabs can grow from 5 to 30 metres tall and 7 to 11 metres wide. The wood of the tree is not particularly useful and the trees are left alone to grow to huge heights. I didn’t have to look hard for the trees, on the drive from the airport there were plenty along the road. So big you could live inside them.
    Aside from the trees Senegal provided a huge wealth of exciting and bizarre sights to inspire my drawings. Dead goats being eaten by vultures, live goats riding in taxis, crumbling French colonial buildings, an abandoned nunnery, crazy markets, men carrying towers of eggs or chickens on bicycles, women wearing incredible bright fabrics with elaborate hair-do’s. I took part in some fabric dying and batik printing workshops. I love the woodblock prints and geometric patterns on African fabric. The colour combinations they use are also unique to African fashion.I worked on two large drawings while I was in Africa. Story telling has always been a large part of my work but this was the first time I had written a short piece specifically for a drawing.

    After my return from Senegal I decided to re-locate to Berlin and set up my studio there. There is a ‘do it your self’ attitude so there are lots of new ventures, self-initiated projects and the feeling that anything is possible if you want to do it. I found a live/work studio and enrolled on a Japanese Woodblock Printing course. I have always loved the line of Japanese woodblock prints and although I have done a lot of relief printing I was keen to study the traditional Japanese way. After a few months I had enough work for a small show so I found a small, independent gallery who wanted to show it. The show was called ‘Goblin Gold, Blue Banana’ and was a series of drawings telling the story of a goblin kingdom, a pineapple massacre and the shadow warriors.

    The money has enabled me to lay the foundations for changes and new developments in my work, as well as develop strategies for where I aim for my work to be seen and how and where to sell it. I am making new contacts with artists and galleries in Berlin, the up and coming centre of the contemporary art world.

    Conclusion.

    The Arts Foundation money gave me an incredible opportunity to continue with my work at a time when it is becoming harder and harder to survive as an artist. Although I haven’t followed exactly what I said I would do in the proposal the money has set me free for a year and given me time to develop my work further. I know that the idea of paradise and the search for something other than this reality is a theme that will always be present in my work.
    This year has provided me with a lot of leads, contacts, experiences, and developments to enable me to move into the next stage of my career.

  • Mervyn Millar

  • Puppetry - Winner 2010

  • The Fellowship has allowed me a chance to breathe and take a look at what I do and why.
    I’ve been able to spend valuable time in exploration – and have had a piece of equipment made to help...

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  • Mervyn Millar

  • Puppetry - Winner 2010

  • The Fellowship has allowed me a chance to breathe and take a look at what I do and why.
    I’ve been able to spend valuable time in exploration – and have had a piece of equipment made to help this. My shadow table combines various techniques of animation and shadow puppetry and links them through video projection to make a different grammar for silhouette and shadow production. Ordinarily it would be very difficult for me to make this sort of experiment without harnessing it to a deadline-led project, shutting down avenues of ideas because of the imperative to produce results quickly. The breathing time offered by the fellowship brings a feeling of entitlement to follow a hunch and discover what emerges.

    The other stand of the work I’ve been using my Fellowship time on has turned out to be even more fundamental. My idea was to draw up a plan for a book (for a general readership) that would serve as an accessible introduction to puppet manipulation. It’s impossible to attempt this without drawing up an anatomy of the different approaches that I’ve used over the years – and of those approaches I’ve never had the chance or the courage to attempt. Each group of new actors or learning puppeteers demands a slightly different perspective on the work, and each project suggests a different way into the animation of the object. Again, in a pressured commercial context, a quick analysis might well lead to a lazy or reductive one. The Fellowship time means that I can challenge myself to rewrite and question my first assumptions on what the first steps are in relating to performance with objects.

    I’m engaging with these two strands of work alongside existing and ongoing projects which exist with the normal pressures of the real world – notably War Horse and Or You Could Kiss Me for the National Theatre. The gear-change when I move from a typical rehearsal day to an Arts Foundation day serves to emphasise what’s so valuable about the Fellowship. Not introspection, but a re-orientation with reference to one’s collaborators; the opportunity to really challenge and question the basis of one’s work, and the chance to build a solid platform for the future of it.

  • Sarat Babu

  • Materials Innovation supported by The Clothworkers' Foundation - Winner 2015

  • In my original application to the Arts Foundation Fellowship, I considered my nomination as an opportunity to build greater discussion around the conceptu- al premise of my work. The idea of...

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  • Sarat Babu

  • Materials Innovation supported by The Clothworkers' Foundation - Winner 2015

  • In my original application to the Arts Foundation Fellowship, I considered my nomination as an opportunity to build greater discussion around the conceptu- al premise of my work. The idea of advancing manufacturing technologies as methods of not only reshaping form, but material in a way that would question how we think and shape synthetic objects. In reflection, the award has provided a critical springboard for not only conceptual practice but also for tangible com- mercial endeavours.
    This year has been about creating technological foundations. Continuing my recent work, the focus this year has been on metal materials, primarily alloys of steel, titanium and aluminium. Working closely with UK manufacturers Renishaw and their selective laser melting (SLM) based metal forming technology, I have focused my company, Betatype, on creating software tools that can realise the complexity that additive technologies can offer. As such it has been a period of substantial growth for Betatype doubling our permanent staff count from 2 to 4.
    The award has been primarily used to fund public case studies and collaborative projects. These include our collaboration with Uniform Wares building new Ad- ditive fabrics in Aluminium and Titanium for watches, and a series of self com- missioned scale studies that demonstrate the capability of our philosophy and technology on design and materials.
    With my continuing engagement at Imperial College London, our software tools are now being used by a range of researchers working in developing materials for medical applications as well as innovations in energy storage and energy ab- sorption from impact. In addition to academia, I have continued to engage with commercial clients developing architectured materials, products and compo- nents, some of which are now beginning to see past conceptual experiments and are instead focusing on the route to manufacturing. With one of these clients and in collaboration with Renishaw, Betatype hopes to spearhead the creation of one of the worlds largest additive manufacturing centres in Wales brining new jobs to the UK.
    Architectured Aluminium Fabric, 2015 In Collaboration with Uniform Wares SLM of AlSi10Mg (20x20x20 cm) Left: As built Right: Macroscopic detail
    
    The Materials Innovation Fellowship has played a very real and critical part in my endeavours this year to push further than I would have otherwise been able to. The fundamental work that has been achieved this year will likely have a rolling impact upon the rest of my career and those that I work with.
    This year the Creative Industries KTN asked me to join a panel at Innovate 2015 on the subject of how creative practices such as my own can be supported. The reality is that there are very few opportunities for creative practitioners to be judged on the value of their thinking rather than solely through an economical lens.
    Awards such as those provided by the Arts Foundation are both rare and sorely needed forms of support for the artists and entrepreneurs of today. For their focus lies on the most valuable strength of any creative practice, its ability to conceptu- ally innovate.
    As such I would like to offer my sincerest thanks to the Clotherworkers Associa- tion for their forward thinking typified by their support of the Materials Innovation award and through it, my practice this year.

  • Pippa Cleary

  • Composition for Musicals supported by the Lionel Bart Foundation - Winner 2013

  • Winning the Arts Foundation Award for Composition for Musicals was one of the highlights of my career. It gave me a tremendous confidence boost and has had a fantastic impact on my last year....

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  • Pippa Cleary

  • Composition for Musicals supported by the Lionel Bart Foundation - Winner 2013

  • Winning the Arts Foundation Award for Composition for Musicals was one of the highlights of my career. It gave me a tremendous confidence boost and has had a fantastic impact on my last year.
    In February 2013 my co-writer Jake Brunger and I discovered that our show British Boy in Brooklyn had come very close to being selected for the ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop in New York run by Stephen Schwartz. Out of 300 musicals 4 were chosen and we came 5th. We were invited to observe the workshops as we had come so close and normally I would not have gone but due to the Arts Foundation I decided to go as I had never been to New York and it was a rare opportunity. The four musical theatre workshops I attended were fascinating and taught me a lot about the craft and structure of musicals. Over the course of the workshops there were various panelists joining Stephen to critique the musicals, and I was lucky enough to meet writers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (Edges, A Christmas Story), Dana P Rowe (Witches of Eastwick, Zombie Prom) and of course Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pocahontas). The ASCAP workshops are run by Michael Kerker who supported me a lot during my trip and was extremely helpful.
    In addition to the ASCAP workshops my agent set me up with some meetings in New York which were highly valuable. First and foremost was my meeting with Ben Famiglietti and Jane Abramson at Disney Theatricals who were both extremely positive and impressed with the music I had sent and told me to keep in touch. During my stay I also met with Drew Cohen at MTI, which has now proved invaluable as there are currently publishing my show Red Riding Hood in conjunction with Josef Weinberger, and Branden Huldeen at NAMT (National Alliacne for Musical Theatre).
    My next exciting venture was being selected for the Jonny Mercer’s Songwriting Project, which took place in Chicago in June. Jake and I spent a week writing songs and learning from the best in the business – our three mentors John Lind (awardwinning songwriter and A&R man), Laurie White (country singer) and Craig Carnelia (musical theatre composer). John Lind especially was extremely supportive and helpful. We were reimbursed for half the travel costs so I spent £1,000 of my award money on the rest of the flights and accommodation.
    Over the summer I had a very enjoyable week with YMT composing and devising music for The Capeman, one of their summer skills courses in Hemel Hempstead. The workshop was directed by Andrew Loretto and choreographed by Miriam Faura who were both incredible to work with.
    After the summer life became extremely busy as I had three projects on the go at once. The first and most important was finishing our musical The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 133⁄4 in preparation for a London reading in October. We’ve been working on the musical for the last two years and this was the final presentation. We spent six weeks working round the clock making changes and improvements, and then were given the amazing opportunity of working with a West End cast for a week in order to present the musical to the industry. The workshop could not have gone better and there was a really positive industry reaction and lots of interest from producers. Leicester Curve have now penciled in the show for March 2015 and we are currently in discussions about the rest of the creative team. The most exciting thing for me is the prospect of handing my music over to an experienced Musical Director and Arranger, as scoring and arranging has always been problematic for me due to my eyesight. I am really looking forward to the process getting started and will be working very hard this year in getting the show to production stage.
    At the same time as Adrian Mole, Jake and I were working on Red Riding Hood, a new commission by Singapore Repertory Theatre. It was an hour-long show for small children and it ran for 6 weeks in Singapore over Christmas and did very well. We are now delighted to say thatt it is being published by Josef Weinberger here and MTI in New York and we hope the show will have a prosperous further life.
    The third project was a new venture for us - The Snow Gorilla, which ran at The Rose in Kingston for 4 weeks over Christmas. For this show I composed songs and Spanish instrumental music, which was a challenge as it took me outside my comfort zone. Unfortunately the writing process became very stressful as it clashed with Adrian Mole and Red Riding Hood but in the end we were very pleased with the show. I ended up spending about £500 of my Arts Foundation money on a transcriber to help with the arrangements as time becoming a problem so I was grateful to have that option.
    In November last year I was contacted by West End producer David Pugh who is commissioning me to write music and lyrics for a new musical version of Fat Friends, a very successful television series by writer Kay Mellor which ran in 2000. Kay and I met and worked well together and we’re going to start working properly on the show in May this year so I am extremely excited.
    In the end half of the money I have actually spent on a new piano which arrived last week and is the best
    thing that money could have bought me. I can now continue to write with Jake in my home without having to hire out a space with a piano. I have also spent about £1,500 on new recording equipment for making demos etc which has been invaluable.
    It has been one of the busiest and most exciting years of my career and I cannot thank the Arts Foundation enough.

  • Leah Capaldi

  • Sculpture supported by the Yoma Sasburg Estate - Winner 2014

  • Winning the Yoma Sasburg Sculpture Fellowship in 2014 gave me the opportunity to challenge my practice in ways I had only dreamed of. Initially I felt overwhelmed with the responsibility of making...

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  • Leah Capaldi

  • Sculpture supported by the Yoma Sasburg Estate - Winner 2014

  • Winning the Yoma Sasburg Sculpture Fellowship in 2014 gave me the opportunity to challenge my practice in ways I had only dreamed of. Initially I felt overwhelmed with the responsibility of making the right decisions about how to spend the award. I bought badly needed filming equipment – this equipment will help me make work for years to come. I also rented a big studio space for a few months.
    I took the award over 12 months. This helped me to take time away from my teaching role alongside planning and attending a research trip to USA, a place I had sought to visit since I began watching Western films as a child. I remember writing my proposal thinking that it was helpful to get my ideas together and if I wasn’t selected then gathering my thoughts was a worthwhile act. The months of preparation that went into my trip were essential, as was the time on my return to process my thoughts and outcomes.
    Initially I began an investigation into the process of objectification that the body undergoes through the death process. I am interested in the transformation which takes place so I wondered if I could induce the same response of objectification through a living body.
    I am keen to also understand space within this question. How do we understand the body in space? What does it mean to be or view a figure on a horizon. Through this I developed my interest in Western films, researching and documenting the icon. I was keen to investigate the frontier and the change that happens to the body and the landscape when in it. I wanted to document the transformation that occurs, you learn to adapt or you perish.
    I set out to travel to the mid west of America and camp with 3 pieces of iconic land art, Double Negative – Michael Heizer, Spiral Jetty – Robert Smithson and Sun Tunnels – Nancy Holt, over three weeks. I then visited Joshua Tree and the High Desert Test Sites sculpture park to see how a wider idea of sculpture in a national park could influence the viewers perception of the landscape and their place within it. I visited Andrea Zittles A-Z WEST camp to observe the makeshift community which arrives every winter for a few months to make art and discussion on the edge, in the desert. This has lead to the beginning of a residency project in Joshua Tree which I am currently developing with a group of other UK based artists.
    In the UK I had taken 3 months of riding lessons before my trip, this was to enable me to direct and shoot a Western film with a cowboy and horse whisperer in Utah called West Taylor. Myself, West and our cinematographer traveled on horseback through the Utah desert finding iconic wild west shots for West to ride through in the landscape. I had taken shots from well know Westerns so was choreographing my own film from the language of its history. I am interested in how the landscape influences peoples movements within it. Spaghetti Westerns changed projected films aspect ratios in order to give the scenery more impact with the audience. Early cinemascope even built crescent shape screens to envelop the audience in the landscape. I wanted to re-create and better understand the role of the screen but also of landscape in activating an audience. Utah taught me more about my own process. I found riding a horse similar to making work – something I am keen to expand on in future projects and workshops.
    Since then, based on the work that I had made in USA, I have been offered a solo show at a London gallery for 2016. In this project I have the opportunity to experiment with space and material in a different way. Previously my work has been ephemeral and transitory, with the research funded by The Arts Foundation and the support of this gallery I can challenge this part of my practice and investigate these themes from a different space and tension.
    The Arts Foundation Sculpture Fellowship gave my practice confidence, time and breathing space, this was exactly what me and my practice needed. 2014 has so far been the best year of my life. Winning gave me more than financial support. It has shown me a new plane to look at my practice from. It taught me to have the confidence to let your environment influence your process, to trust in yourself. I found clarity in the desert and a quiet confidence. Ironically it was only when I was sat in desert burying hot dog sausages with a shovel that I realized that I can make work anywhere. Being a good artist is about being able to listen to your environment and respond to it – it takes some people a lifetime to come to terms with that.

  • Andrew Cranston

  • Painting - Winner 2014

  • Receiving the Arts Foundation Fellowship has been the biggest single boost to my career to date and instigated a new confidence in my practise. It was especially pleasing to be recognised by a...

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  • Andrew Cranston

  • Painting - Winner 2014

  • Receiving the Arts Foundation Fellowship has been the biggest single boost to my career to date and instigated a new confidence in my practise. It was especially pleasing to be recognised by a panel of judges who are so important in this field. Even though I have participated in major exhibitions (such as EAST International, John Moore’s, and the Mostyn Open) It felt something of a public vindication for the years I have spent developing a certain practise in private, and often wondering what value it had to others elsewhere, or what it could communicate in the wider world.
    My intention with the Fellowship was that it would “ ‘buy’ me a sustained period of quality time, without the usual financial pressures, and allow me to develop a wholly new body of work in the fellowship period.”. This was fully the case as it transpired.
    I used the money for living costs, invested heavily in materials and moved to a much bigger studio to especially focus more on new larger format paintings.
    The work made in this period of the Fellowship (Feb- Nov 2014) was shown in a timely solo exhibition called ‘Who is this who is coming?’ at Display Gallery, London in November 2014. This was an extensive solo exhibition, curated by John Maclean and Peter Doig, and consisted of work made in the last 8 years. The bulk of it was new work made in the period of the fellowship.
    The exhibition generated a really good response critically and featured in the Guardian (Saturday Guide) on Nov 8th 2014 with a review by Skye Sherwin. There was very positive feedback from art writers such as Tim Hyman, and Sean Ashton and particularly gratifying was the response I got from other painters whose work I value highly; painters such as Nigel Cooke, George Shaw, Peter Doig, Elizabeth Magill, Neil Gall, Paul Housley and Kaye Donnachie.
    A follow up book/catalogue documenting much of the work is due to be published by Aye-Aye books in June 2015. I also hope to secure gallery representation and am currently in discussions with a prominent London based gallery. This is all a direct result of the Arts Foundation fellowship.
    The easing of financial pressures afforded me the time and mental space to focus on paintings without distraction. Roman Polanski once said that the best actors had to be at the same time relaxed and concentrated. This paradox is true of painting too; that you need to on the one hand care deeply, and on the other hand not care at all, that is to be able to take risks. So In this period I was able to have a sustained period of time to develop new images and it led I believe to the production of my best work yet.
    This award of the Fellowship came at a pivotal time in my career, when I am increasingly finding an audience for my work. The fellowship raised my profile nationally and since the award I have been invited to talk on my work and other subjects by various institutions: the Tate Gallery, Ulster Festival of Art and Design, Edinburgh College of Art and Glasgow School of Art.
    In the period of the fellowship I was selected for the first Mac International Open at the Mac Arts centre, Belfast which ran Oct 2014- Jan 2015. I made the most of this opportunity and feel at the end of it in a much stronger position as an individual practitioner and a contributor to the wider visual art community, nationally and internationally.

  • Wilkie Branson

  • Choreography - Winner 2012

  • Its really important for me to begin this report by saying just how special and unique the Arts Foundation award is. The opportunity to take time to focus on the foundations on which artistic work...

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  • Wilkie Branson

  • Choreography - Winner 2012

  • Its really important for me to begin this report by saying just how special and unique the Arts Foundation award is. The opportunity to take time to focus on the foundations on which artistic work is built is both rare and valuable. This time and space coupled with the recognition that the award offers to emerging artists not only opens up doors but validates the work of the artist. It was a great honor and the highlight of my career to have received this award.
    In my original proposal for the award I expressed how I wished to use the money to start developing my ideas and ambitions to create a feature length dance film. Having created several short films I wanted to use the time and space to explore the necessary development I recognized I needed to achieve this.
    In my experience of making films in the past I have struggled with the equipment I have had to complete the preproduction tasks I need to before the production phase actually begins. When I work on new locations to design camera movement and choreography its really important to have good photos and film of the ideas I develop for the shoot. I used some money for the award to purchase a digital camera which has enabled me to take images and short films on location so I could work effectively when I’m not on location – this is so important when you are unable to spend a lot of time on location. To support this I also purchased a laptop computer so I can work and more effectively in the field.
    Both of these items were necessary to make the most of the most significant part of my award proposal, which was a location scout to the Isle of Skye. However I have used them across my work. The best example of this is the Video podcasting I was able to do when my previous work, White Caps, toured to India. I filmed and edited 4, 10-minute podcasts whilst we were on tour (online at www.wilkiebranson.net).
    In the spring following the award I used some of the money to develop my ideas for the film I’m developing, ”To Dream a Highway”. This process started with me meeting with a Dramaturge and culminated in a trip to Brussels with my associate Joel Daniel. The trip to Brussels was to work for a week in a studio with the three performers with whom I worked with in my previous films – one of whom is based in Brussels and has access to studio space. We explored some of the choreographic principles that will underpin and present challenges in a feature film where dance is the principle language. Again the value of the award became obvious working on something which was of great importance but that couldn’t really yield any significant products, outcomes (i.e. performative works, videos etc.)
    Following on from this in the summer I travelled to Skye in Scotland. During the 2 weeks I stayed I was hoping to both research the area as a possible location for some for the film but also to use the time to further develop the narrative of the

    film. It was an amazing opportunity to do this work. Before arriving I purchased all the necessary books and maps I needed as well as researching all the possible locations I would need to cover whilst there. The trip was very fruitful in terms of both the development of the narrative for the film and for specific locations.
    When I returned I was able to use the material I had gathered to further develop ideas for To Dream A Highway. This took to form of a rough first draft screenplay for the film that I then took back to the dramaturge. We discussed the work and outlined areas where it needed to be developed, which is what I am in the process of doing now. This really illustrates the vaule of the work I have done as the reflection and subsequent development I am doing now is something I would never have had the time, and positioning to do with out the time and resources I have available to me now.
    Currently the ideas I have for my films are nearing the stage where I am ready to submit applications for production funding. This will be perhaps the most difficult part of the project, trying to manage and justify the ambition of the project, securing funding. I do, however, feel that the opportunity the Arts Foundation bursary has given me has made it possible for me to reach a stage where I feel confident in embarking on this next stage. Without the time, support and opportunity to scout I never would find myself in the position I am in today. But as equally as important as this is the confidence and belief the award has instilled in me. I suppose the work of most artists happens in a largely isolated environment, the support the award offers in demonstrating the belief others have in my work is invaluable.
    Thank you. Wilkie Branson

  • Kate Brown

  • Graphic Novels - Winner 2010

  • I'm working hard on completing my book. I've got just over 10 pages left to draw out of the 128! I'm looking forward to getting the whole project fully-lettered and coloured, and I'm also looking...

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  • Kate Brown

  • Graphic Novels - Winner 2010

  • I'm working hard on completing my book. I've got just over 10 pages left to draw out of the 128! I'm looking forward to getting the whole project fully-lettered and coloured, and I'm also looking forward to designing and putting together the book itself, which is something I've not done before. It seems like just yesterday that the project itself was a bunch of scrappy papers and ideas. The dim light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter!

    Due to the space the Fellowship has allowed me, I've felt able to spend time to really hone aspects of the book that I know I would have otherwise rushed through, and consequently been unhappy with further down the line. Amongst other things, it has been an amazing emotional support – comics can be a rather lonely business, and just being able to think about the Fellowship has been really helpful!

    I think that, had I not received the Fellowship, there would be a strong possibility that I would not be working on this project at all by now. I'm sure I would have had to put it aside and focus on other things. It's one of my life-time ambitions to be able to have the space and time to fully dedicate myself to completing my own book, from scratch to finish, to publish it myself and distribute it myself. Having the chance to do so is very precious.

  • Sam Lee

  • Folk Music - Winner 2011

  • The Arts Foundation year was a very incredible one. The process of applying in many ways had the one of the most galvanising affects on me focusing on my musical aspiration; for the first time i...

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  • Sam Lee

  • Folk Music - Winner 2011

  • The Arts Foundation year was a very incredible one. The process of applying in many ways had the one of the most galvanising affects on me focusing on my musical aspiration; for the first time i had to construct the manifesto on why i want to be an artist. all the energy i put into the wider cause of singing and promoting the music i love had to be qualified and to a certain extent justified. i had to crystallise my motivations for my making music and also the ideas i have in my artists process. The Foundation hit just as i was reaching the end of my studio journey of constructing my first album and afforded me the ability to look objectively at what i had been making and see how the quality of it needed upping. The foundation acted as a quality control here. i was granted a level of credit that had never been bestowed on me as an artist and essentially justified the need to up my game especially on the sound of the album and the quality of the mixes. the AF judge Joe Boyd passed my work on to his long time colleague John Wood who agreed to re mix and lend a very timeless and masterly sound quality to the whole record which i think has been invaluable in making the album's sound to the standard it deserves.

    The finances helped cover this extra work as well as the Mastering of the album both pricey processes to achieve.

    The Foundation award brought some healthy awareness to me as an artist in the wider folk world who know me better as an animateur. where i have yet to be seen in such a artistic light
    Although this attention was not always entirely positive as some people may have deemed my winning not substantiated by a long time playing and music making. however i think the AF is clear in its remit to support artists in my very situation. i think also there is a personal pride in this award as it is one that has arrived from the outside and as an 'outsider' artist i am pleased to be bring the attention of a new community to the Folk Arts (the AF has no doubt made folk music more visible by selecting it) and visa versa also being seen to be recognised by institutions that the folk world has probably never heard of means this success is not measured against the standard merits of achievement in the folk world

    I was witness to some resentment observed from people who had never heard of the AF and thus felt this amount of money should not be granted to just one person but a host of activities and people and spread as egalitarianly across the wider folk world.

    The professionalising effect of the award has been the most positive in many ways though also the most complex. It gave the confidence to aim higher and be more judicious and selective in the artists i collaborate with and how my ideas in the music making process are valued. however the drawbacks with this are that i have been blessed with some very high class and capable musicians all of whom therefor have very busy schedules and are in demand making the music making process and rehearsals complex and hazardous ( a common problem). i have chosen in demand people and physical commitment therefor proves very hard. Gigs have not been pouring in and the award has not necessarily resulted in many concerts however commissions and projects i have been asked to contribute too have been exciting and very inspirational and no doubt are very much related to the awards accolade.

    I have also been able to spend more time on the field recordings and made some journeys to meet people and record that have been quite ground breaking and challenges much of the assumed attitudes of whether folk singers still exist in this country. This has actually been one of my most humbling achievements in the last year.
    As my list of achievements has documented actual happenings have been diverse and exciting with a variety of projects and success and many of them will be as a direct result from the award. The Award has never been seen as a burden and at times of low confidence and moral the award has served as a reminder to continue onwards and work a bit harder.

    In many ways the Award has allowed me to gestate for the year and develop as an artist in ways i wouldn't have had the creative space for had the finances not been available. 2012 will be the year where my music and i go more public. The album has already received tremendous praise and the extra time and work afforded by the AF has meant this has been made ready when the time was right and at a level of quality i am proud of.

    It is with heartfelt thanks that i write this to the Arts Foundation and to all who make this grant possible and such an important award.
    I am indebted to you all for your hard work and dedication to the cause

    Sam Lee

  • Dawn Youll

  • Ceramics - Winner 2011

  • My aim at the beginning of the fellowship in February 2011 was to use the year working on a part time basis to research, develop and produce a new body of work to be exhibited as a solo project....

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  • Dawn Youll

  • Ceramics - Winner 2011

  • My aim at the beginning of the fellowship in February 2011 was to use the year working on a part time basis to research, develop and produce a new body of work to be exhibited as a solo project.
    I first of all completed work for a scheduled exhibition at Marsden Woo Gallery, London in March 2011 then in April I moved into a new studio space within the Glasgow Sculpture Studios and so felt at a good starting point with a blank canvas on which to begin a new project.
    Initially I gave myself a period of time to simply look at the work of other artists, some who have always been of influence and others whose work I was less familiar with. I became particularly interested in the drawings and sculpture of Phyllida Barlow, her reinterpretations of remembered situations and arrangements possess a sense of freedom and a playfulness with materials that I was keen to inject into my work. This quote taken from an exhibition catalogue was very relevant to how I was and still am thinking about making work," Barlow talks of there being no meaning either in her work or upon which the work is based, yet there is plenty of content."
    Richard Wentworth, Robert Gober, Thomas Shutte, Mary Redmond, Pino Pascali and Ron Nagel were also prominent in my research into sculptural compositions, use of the found object, motifs and models.
    I had originally intended to take a research trip to Iceland, feeling that the dramatic landscape might influence new works. A previous trip to India had fed into new ceramic pieces in quite a subtle way and I was interested to try this again. I became aware however of a Ron Nagel exhibition in Paris that I very much wanted to see having always been a huge fan but only ever having seen his work as images, so the Iceland trip was postponed and I went to Paris for a couple of weeks.
    The Paris trip took place in June and proved extremely beneficial. It became clear to me that it was not a dramatic change of landscape that was needed to influence new work but instead I needed to consider new ways of interpreting the rich landscape around me wherever that may be. Barlow speaking of places of inspiration:

    The studio could look beyond itself for inspiration. The kitchen, the dressmakers’, the garage, agriculture, roadworks, building sites and of course the bedsit…could all provide processes to be plundered and appropriated as a means to an end
    Nagel’s tiny sculptures (mini landscapes) were so jammed packed full of references and associations through his use of texture, colour and form, yet didn’t seem to refer you to anywhere specific – he explains in the exhibition catalogue that he draws from his imagination each evening usually after watching a kungfu movie and the ceramic pieces are made from the drawings.

    I also visited the Museum of Decorative Arts, The Sevre Museum, “Paris-Dehli-Bombay” an exhibition at the Pompidou Centre and various other shows that were part of a major design festival “Designer Days”. I saw a lot of very interesting work while also absorbing the architecture and fantastic window dressing in Paris. I also took the opportunity to meet up with a French curator I hope to work with in the future.

    On returning to the studio I realised that I wanted to combine the physical compactness of Nagel’s work with the intensity of Barlow’s often massive sculptures to create a body of work which expressed a state of flux.

    The building in which my studio is situated is rented from Glasgow City Council and has seen many uses. There are traces of these other uses everywhere from rawl plugs left in wall tiles and old signage to painted lines on the floor. I was intrigued by this sense of transience in the building, it was something that I could see on a more subtle scale in my own home, which will continue to transform as my needs change or the inhabitants change.

    I initially began to experiment with the idea of incorporating texture both applied as something tactile and as print. I’d seen ceramic pieces in the Sevre Museum in Paris that had been painted to look like wood and this lead me to look at fake surfaces, applying an interpretation of a surface to communicate the idea of that material and all that comes with it. I thought of ‘wood effect’ fablon and decided to experiment with ceramic enamel transfers made from digital scans of such fake surfaces. Looking mostly at interior and exterior domestic surfaces I began incorporating textures into forms using latex moulds and plaster formers. This is a method new to me and I found that the type of texture almost suggested a particular form – some wanted to remain flat and others wanted to curve more than others, I welcomed this as it took a certain amount of control out of my hands.

    The pieces began to develop as a collection of abstract components - chaotic yet organised. I experimented too with found objects and non-ceramic materials to connect the pieces eg. metal hooks, cable ties and felt. I’d looked at artists such as Richard Slee who has utilised objects such as brushes, bungee cords and coat hangers and Richard Wentworth who has used things such as light bulbs to add fragility and create tension in a piece ( Hurricane 1987 & Preserve 1987-88).

    It was important for me to show the work as an installation of pieces rather than individually so I edited it down carefully to a collection of six pieces for a focus exhibition at Marsden Woo Gallery in January 2012. A piece was purchased from this exhibition by the Crafts Council, for their permanent collection.

    An original aim was to publish a small publication about the work done over the fellowship period and about my practice in general, this is something that I am yet to complete but it is still my intention to produce it possibly also featuring work following on from this time.

    The fellowship has made an invaluable contribution to my practice, not only providing the financial support to make work but being selected by my peers to win such an award was a massive confidence boost and has given me a renewed faith in my practice.

  • Adam Marek

  • Short Story Writing - Winner 2011

  • Okay, here are the nine months of my Arts Foundation Fellowship compressed into a two-minute time-lapse.
    Cue the soundtrack – your choice, but I recommend ‘She sells sanctuary’ by the Cult...

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  • Adam Marek

  • Short Story Writing - Winner 2011

  • Okay, here are the nine months of my Arts Foundation Fellowship compressed into a two-minute time-lapse.
    Cue the soundtrack – your choice, but I recommend ‘She sells sanctuary’ by the Cult.

    Nano-seconds after Grayson Perry has announced my name, I’ve handed in my notice at work and am at my desk in the attic. You see many sunrises and sunsets through the skylight behind me. With time sped up like this, my shadow is going apeshit, and my fingers on the keyboard are a milky blur.
    Stories pile up – the final stories of my second collection. The joys, worries and agonies of parenthood and childhood are all represented here, all warming their toes at the burning-hot friction point between fantasy and reality. As the pages fly, you glimpse fragments: a superhuman stone thrower, a Tamagotchi with AIDS, chicks choking on fish, a kid coming apart at the seams, a totalitarian superhero, a shark dentist, swallows wintering underwater, swifts felled by bioluminescent parasites, terracotta robots, genetically modified children with military-tech uniforms fighting on bicycles, a vicious violin teacher haunting a Japanese family, and a man chasing a woman through haunted Cambridge in search of a spontaneous orgasm.
    Every now and then we zip away from my attic and I bolt onto stages and read aloud and then flee through a smear of handclaps. I am reading for Booktrust in London, for Arvon in Shropshire, for Bolton University and Portsmouth University sharing stages with many writers. Don’t blink, there’s Clare Wigfall and Ali Smith. Follow me to Serbia where I am with 23 writers from 18 countries for a week of literary hedonism at the Kikinda Short Story Festival. In this timelapse it’s over in seconds. Seconds in which I eat calf testicles, shower in sulphurous water, meet a mammoth, nearly fall off Kalemegdan Fortress, run with a hunger-crazed clan of writers at 2am in search of fried cheese, appear on Serbian radio at 8am hungover after 3hrs sleep, ride in a procession of horse-drawn carriages, and, in a terracotta artist’s colony, find inspiration for a commissioned story.
    And there are other commissions that take me to fascinating places. To an airfield in Bristol, home of the Concorde, to the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, home of Dolly the sheep, to Saatchi and Saatchi, to the British Library in celebration of Stanislaw Lem. Back in my attic, more stories pile up – a coat that saves a boy from a WW2 bomb, a woman giving birth to orangutans, time-travellers meeting to fight over the life of the man who started consumerism, a demonic onion of phenomenal weight.

    And then we stop.
    The sun locks, low in the sky.
    I’m in the attic with a finished story collection and a ton of new ideas awaiting development. I am warm, no, GLOWING, with gratitude.

    Thank you to the Arts Foundation, the judges and my nominators who made all of this possible. THANK YOU.

  • Nicholas Collon

  • Conducting - Winner 2008

  • The Award of an Arts Foundation Fellowship in January 2008 came as a huge surprise for me, as I simply didn’t expect to win it! Over the past year, it has completely changed my life and conducting...

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  • Nicholas Collon

  • Conducting - Winner 2008

  • The Award of an Arts Foundation Fellowship in January 2008 came as a huge surprise for me, as I simply didn’t expect to win it! Over the past year, it has completely changed my life and conducting career, by allowing me to invest incredibly important time in my conducting activities.

    Firstly, it enabled me to give up two weekly jobs: teaching the piano a day-a-week at a school, and rehearsing an amateur choir in South-West London. Relinquishing these freed up a significant chunk of time in which to achieve more on the conducting front. This has given me stretches of time in which I can work on scores without interruption, time which is so difficult to attain.

    This time has also allowed me to put more energy into the promotion and running of my ensemble, Aurora Orchestra. During the Foundation period, the management committee (under my direction) have completed an extensive three-year Business Plan, which has been a very important step for the group. Above all, it sets out strategies to implement a paid administrative staff. With the orchestra’s activities increasing at a slightly alarming rate, this will prove crucial to the orchestra’s success, and it will also allow me to step back from the day-to-day running of the orchestra, which can drain my personal time. It has allowed us to put funding applications in place, and hopefully over the next 6 months, this will see a change in the way the orchestra is run.

    In my proposed budget for the Fellowship, I outlined several activities I would like to achieve, with the Fellowship’s aid. The first of these was a website, which I commissioned from a musician friend who also works as a website designer. The result can be seen at www.nicholascollon.co.uk. It is straightforward and simple, with a list of concert engagements, biography, sound clips, photos, but is proving to be a very useful tool. I have had several concerts filmed and recorded, with the ultimate aim of getting more filmed footage of me conducting, which is very important for attracting potential work. A DVD is currently being compiled by a filmmaker (Stanton Media), with various different clips of me conducting in different situations.
    I was also able to commission new photos from a professional photographer, Benjamin Ealovega, who is well known for his work with musicians.

    One of the key expenses for conductors is the purchasing of scores, which can prove extremely costly. The Fellowship has allowed me to buy scores I would normally have thought twice about, and I now have a much better library than I did a year ago, including a huge amount more opera scores! This is an expensive but very necessary cost for every conductor.

    In the past year, I have worked twice in Austria; once with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, and the other on tour with the Symphonie Orchester Voralberg. I was determined to improve my German, which was previously rather pitiful, and took language courses during the Summer of 2008. This gave me a firm backing to improve my German further on tour in Vorarlberg, and by the end of this tour, I was speaking fairly fluently in rehearsal with orchestra. I am returning again this summer, and will endeavour to improve further! I have also started Italian lessons, and recently used Fellowship money to pay for a Polish coach, for Szymanowski’s ‘King Roger.’

    The increased time which I received from the Fellowship has allowed me to go an watch conductors in rehearsal and concert, an activity which is incredibly helpful for me as a conductor. In particular, I have watched Vladimir Jurowski with the London Philharmoni Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. I have also had lessons with Vladimir and Sir Mark Elder, which have been extremely beneficial.

    Above all, this extra time has allowed me to spend more hours actively learning scores. This is something which can become deprioritised when there are many other things to organise, but is in fact the one most important aspect of what I do. I have a huge amount of repertoire to get through over the remainder of the year, including 5 operas (Schoenberg’s Erwartung, Szymanowski’s King Roger, Puccini’s La Bohème, Gluck’s Alceste, Blacher’s Abstract Oper No. 1) and a host of orchestral repertoire. But I feel that I have been able to use this time wisely in preparing works far in advance, something which has eluded me in previous years!

    During the period of the Fellowship, I was signed by Van Walsum Management, which has been a big step for my career. This has been an extremely exciting development; it will allow me to entrust the administration of my professional conducting work to the agency, and more importantly, it is already giving me conducting work which I couldn’t hope to have got myself.

    In summary, this has been a bit of a watershed year in my conducting career, and no small part of it has been down to the Arts Foundation. It is an incredibly supportive and generous donation, and I can’t begin to thank the Arts Foundation enough for entrusting this opportunity to me.