The residency programme is gathering momentum with the appointment of our second artist. There will be a brand new Digital Studio when the Sackler Centre opens and we looked for an artist working in new media who would be able to use our state of the art equipment with the public as well as developing their own work. This residency is sponsored by The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation who are supporting three residencies in the Sackler Centre.
New media is a very broad description and, as we found out during the interviews, not a very accurate one but we wanted to keep it as open as possible to different approaches to the residency. We advertised the residency opportunity on our website in September and had a large number of applicants with lots of brilliant ideas for making video art, animation, sound and light installations, short films and much more. It took the best part of three days to agree on a shortlist and there were difficult decisions to take. Eventually we boiled it down to five applicants. We used the same process as in June for the jewellery residency since this had worked very well. The candidates were asked to present their ideas to an invited audience of interested people, both curators and educators, mainly from the V&A. The process helped to gauge the candidates' ability to communicate, which is an essential part of the brief and to gather a variety of viewpoints.
Still from the film 'Zeuxis', Jo Lawrence
Feedback from the presentations was then further explored in interviews with a small panel. Then came the hardest part - we would have liked all of them to work with us - there were so many creative and exciting ideas, but unfortunately we only have one studio on offer at the moment! One of the most important factors for us was how the resident would use this opportunity to work in the V&A and use our collections rather than being in a studio elsewhere.
Eventually we chose Jo Lawrence whose proposal was to produce a collection of short animated films based on the idea of 'cabinets of curiosity' and using the hidden tales and layers of information to be found in the V&A's collections. She will work in the adjoining studio to jeweller Dorothy Hogg, our first craft resident, who was appointed in June. These two artists will help to make the Sackler Centre a dynamic creative space from the moment it opens.