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Three Month Research Residency and Commission in London for an Indian artist

1st July 2012 - 30th September 2012

Residency period: July to September 2012

Venue: Studio at Gasworks London and the library collections of the Natural History Museum.

Commission at the Natural History Museum: January 2013, curated by Bergit Arends, Curator of Contemporary Art (Natural History Museum)

Deadline for Applications: 31 October 2011. Application now closed.

Introduction:

This is a three-year partnership between Gasworks and the Natural History Museum which seeks to activate the collections of the Museum through the work of contemporary artists from China (2010), Australia (2011) and India (2012). This three year project will end with the residency of Sunoj D (India) (2012). The previous artists awarded this residency are Daniel Boyd (Australia) and Hu Yun (China).

The aim of the residency is to research the natural history illustration collection held at the Natural History Museum, and to create a new body of work to be shown in the new ‘Images of Nature’ Gallery at the Natural History Museum. The focus will be the collections from India. The artist will be provided with a studio space and accommodation within the Gasworks' community of London-based and international artists. Together with Gasworks' programme of exhibitions, education projects and international fellowships, the residency will provide the artist with an environment that encourages the exchange of ideas in the expectation to instigate experimentation with new concepts and materials.

The programme provides an excellent new opportunity for an artist and is the third residency within this International Residency Programme, which is a partnership between Gasworks and the Natural History Museum.

Background:

The Natural History Museum holds one of the most extensive collections of natural history illustrations in the world. The collection is a vast holding of over 500,000 examples of illustrations relating to natural history and is housed in the various scientific libraries of the Museum. The Special Collections in the Library contain works of zoological, botanical, entomological, ornithological, geological scientific interests which are of high scientific, artistic and historical value.

This collection of works has been made accessible to the public for the first time since the beginning of 2011 in the new Images of Nature gallery at the Museum.

Integral to the rolling exhibition programme of this Gallery is the invitation to international artists to critically engage with the different subject areas of the annual exhibitions and with the history of the collection. We are proposing to work with exciting artists at different stages in their career. We would like our audiences to discover that working with historic collections tells us as much about the present as it does about the past, and that we need to constantly re-discover and evaluate the knowledge held in these collections.

This third commission and related residency will explore the Museum’s collections from India.

Artist's Brief:

The artist (or artists’ collective)* will be invited to spend three months in London to research the library collections focusing on works from India. During the residency the artist is to create a new body of work on the basis of their research. It may also be possible to display their own pre-existing works and to integrate works from the collection into the display (depending on conservation requirements).

This residency will be of interest to artists whose work involves research-based practise and who would like to engage with questions about the history of the natural sciences, ecology and the environment, visual cultures, history of economy, politics and colonization.

Through the research and commission we would like to encourage new perspectives on our collections, active discussions and a sharpened understanding of the issues from a contemporary point of view, and through the artist’s subjective lens. The artist is invited to engage with

• the visual representation of the natural world and how it relates to the history of the resources, strategies, and developments of the naturalists’ research. This may also lead to contrasting contemporary and historic scientific processes and changes in the natural world and biodiversity.
• the intersection between scientific research and economical application, in particular food supplies in India.
• local and international conventions, traditions and concepts for the depiction and representations of the natural world then and now.
• Europe’s reaction to India’s flora and fauna and its exploration and subsequent utilisation.
• cross-cultural knowledge translations in natural history and Indian scholarship.
• the political, social and economic questions as related to the collections.
• an understanding of India in a global trading context and the political, social and economic questions as related to the history of the collections and the British presence in India.

We are also currently considering a collaboration with the Botanic Garden in Calcutta for the residency. This is not confirmed at the time of sending out this Call for Proposals. However we would like to encourage the applicant to reflect on their interest to base their research and work on the exploration of both collections, those held at the Botanic Garden in Calcutta and those at the Natural History Museum, London.

Please visit the web site for more information about the collection.


The commissioned work would be displayed in one of the Waterhouse Cabinets, housing the temporary exhibitions. For more information about the gallery and the Waterhouse Cabinet, please visit the Natural History Museum web site and the Images of Nature Gallery slideshow.

http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit-us/galleries/blue-zone/images-nature-gallery/index.html.

Residency Structure:

The artist will be based in London and will have 24 hour access to a studio at Gasworks, and a desk space and privileged access to the library collections at the Museum. We will set up a number of introductory meetings at Gasworks and the Natural History Museum. We will have fortnightly meetings at either institution. One month into the residency we will start discussing exhibition ideas with the expectation for the artist to create a body of work to be displayed from January 2013 to January 2014.

The Residency Comprises:

- access to the Natural History Museum's library collections.
- weekly stipend of £150/week for 12 weeks.
- Accommodation.
- transport costs within London (£350).
- 12 sqm studio at Gasworks, in Vauxhall, South London.
- travel expenses to the UK (up to £1,000) plus visa expenses.
- material expenses (up to £700).
- Commission flat fee of £1,000.
- the display of the outcome of the residency – the Commission – at the Natural History Museum.
- an artist's talk, panel discussion or similar public presentations, at Gasworks and the Natural History   Museum.
- administrative, pastoral and curatorial support from Gasworks and the Natural History Museum.
- Networking opportunities
- Exchange: Visiting artists are encouraged to make links with other artists, organisations, students       and arts professionals in London as a means of establishing a mutual exchange of ideas.

Open Studios: The chosen artist will be expected to take part in an Open Studios exhibition, at which audiences have an opportunity to meet the artist and discuss the work.

Education and Outreach: Depending on the artist’s experience, practice and interests, Gasworks' education and outreach coordinator can work with the artist to design and conduct an education and outreach project with community groups.

Eligibility:

This residency is open to India-based emerging and mid-career visual artists working in all media. (Please note the restricted facilities. Gasworks does not have workshops for carpentry, ceramics, welding, etc. Any of these activities would have to be outsourced, if needed.) The selected artist should be able to engage discursively and speculatively with both Gasworks' and the Natural History Museum’s environments and London's wider artistic and cultural context. Emerging and mid-career artists involved in high quality, research-based practice, who have not had the opportunity to work in London before are prioritised.

TIme Table:

The residency is scheduled to take place from July to September 2012. The studio at Gasworks will be available from 1 July 2012.
For an overview of Gasworks International Residency Programme - please click here and scroll to 'Overview'
Please read this before applying.

Selection Process:

The artist will be selected on the basis of the application. One artist will be invited by the selection panel, which is constituted by Alessio Antoniolli (Director, Gasworks), Bergit Arends (Curator Contemporary Arts, Natural History Museum), Rowan Geddis (Residencies Coordinator, Gasworks), Judith Magee (Head of Special Collections, Library, Natural History Museum), Shanay Jhaveri (Independent Curator) (TBC) and Grant Watson (Curator, InIVA) (TBC).

The decision will be announced in November 2011.

The Application:

There is no application form. Please submit the following information electronically:



1. An artist's statement of not more than 250 words describing your practice and areas of interest.


2. A preliminary proposal or indication of how you wish to engage with the Natural History Illustration collections at the Natural History Museum (250 words).


3. A portfolio of recent work. You may send slides, CDs or DVD.
You can also send links to online videos. If you think that your website is the best way to present your work, you can use it as a portfolio. Please do not send originals.


4. A curriculum vitae.

5. A cover sheet with name, contact address, e-mail, and telephone or fax number, plus confirmation that you will be available between July and September, if selected.

6. We require that the whole application be sent in two separate PDF files for images and all written elements. They must not exceed 10 megabytes each.

Applications should be sent by e-mail to:
Residencies Assistant, Gasworks: residencies_assistant@gasworks.org.uk

If you wish to send additional material, please send it to:
Rowan Geddis
Residencies Coordinator
Gasworks International Residency Programme
155 Vauxhall Street
London SE11 5RH
UK

Deadline for applications: 31 October 2011*


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