Silver brooch by Dorothy Hogg. Photo: John K. McGregor

Silver brooch by Dorothy Hogg. Photo: John K. McGregor

Ruth Lloyd, Residency and Displays Coordinator

We've had a very busy summer developing the Museum Residency Programme in preparation for the opening of the Sackler Centre next April. There will be two studios for Resident artists or makers in the Sackler Centre which enables us to have four six-month residencies each year. Since this is a new programme for the V&A, we have had to devise a process for recruiting the Residents. We involved a variety of Museum staff and external contacts in this because we wanted to be sure that all the people who would work with the Residents were consulted. By involving this wide network of specialists, we were confident of being able to appoint Residents who met all of the criteria we had set. They will be artists and makers who have a established career, who have some experience of, or are interested in working with the public in an educational setting, and who will work with the Museum's collections.  We decided to ask the practitioners who applied to send us 12 images of their work along with a CV and covering letter explaining why they wanted to take part in this programme. The short-listed candidates were then asked to give a short presentation to an audience of around 12 V&A staff and representatives from partner organisations before an interview with a smaller panel.

In June we appointed artist jeweller Dorothy Hogg MBE for our first Craft Residency in a programme of three residencies we are running in partnership with the Crafts Council. Dorothy is a well-known artist working primarily with metals. The V&A has recently acquired a piece of Dorothy's work which will be displayed in the William and Judith Bollinger Jewellery Gallery due to open in 2008. The residency will coincide with the opening of the gallery. As well as being a high-profile craftsperson, Dorothy is an experienced teacher and is currently Professor of Jewellery and Silversmithing at Edinburgh College of Art. 

In August we put a call out for a New Media residency which is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and will soon be interviewing candidates. The range of applicants for this residency is very exciting and has included film-makers, sound artists, web designers, projectionists, photographers, animators and fine artists.  We hope the New Media Resident will be able to use the state of the art digital facilities in the Sackler Centre with the public, in particular in the Digital Studio.

Once the Residents are appointed our work is by no means done. We will liaise with the Resident, Curators and Educators to plan activities for Museum. The chosen artists and makers will need suitable specialist equipment and materials in the studios so that they can make work and we need to ensure that the studio is fitted with everything they require by the time they start.  Some of them will need help in finding accommodation in London for the six months of their Residency. The idea is that Dorothy Hogg and the New Media Resident will begin their six month residencies a month before the Sackler Centre opens so that they are settled into their studios by the time the visitors arrive.

We're also continuing to fundraise and are delighted that the Paul Hamlyn Foundation have agreed to fund a further three residencies over three years. It's also time to start planning for the second round of residencies. Also we will soon appoint a Co-ordinator to run this programme.