Supporting contemporary artists, designers and makers has always been at the heart of the V&A’s mission. Our Residency Programme enables creative practitioners to gain unique access to the Museum’s collections, archives and curatorial expertise, providing them with a studio on-site, a bursary and a production budget to experiment, create a new body of work and engage with the public.
Ever wondered what it’s like inside an artist’s studio, where designers or architects get their great ideas from, or how makers produce their final piece? We regularly host Open Studio sessions where you can meet our current residents and discover more about their practice.
Click the current residents' Open Studio links below for more information.
Avani Tanya: V&A South Asian Collections Resident
July – September 2017
In collaboration with Delfina Foundation, supported by the Charles Wallace India Trust, Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation and Arts Council England
Avani Tanya is a visual artist and communication designer based in Bangalore. Her interests lie in how the collective human experience can be interpreted through stories embedded in found objects and artefacts. Avani’s artistic practice has often been about exploring the boundaries of collections and their contemporary relevance, especially to multifaceted cultures with varying and fast evolving mediums of documenting and remembering.
V&A's South Asia collection holds the rarest and the most expansive historical record of the Indian subcontinent's visual and material culture. It is a testament to a shared cultural hybridity, and the intimately bound relationship of the subcontinent to the rest of the world. The aim of my residency is to respond to the origins of this collection and its relevance today. The practice of collecting and displaying has its roots in curiosity and wonder. Over time it has been used as a system to establish categories, to promote agendas, as a show of colonial prowess, and ultimately to administer power. In our radically chaotic times the museum provides a refuge. The illusionary systems of archiving and collecting bring about a sense of understanding and comprehension. My plan for this residency is to explore, through a series of artistic gestures and responses, the boundaries of the South Asia collections to examine what constitutes a collection and what gets left out of the museological narrative
Lubna Chowdhary: V&A Ceramics Resident
April – September 2017
Supported by Maurice and Rosemary Lambert
Lubna Chowdhary is a London based artist who has been working in the field of ceramics for over 25 years. During this time the nature and application of her work has moved between sculpture, design and craft. In her work she assimilates ideas and aesthetics from Eastern and Western worlds and examines the relationships between them, contrasting languages of ‘Horror Vacui’ (fear of empty space), commonly attributed to the visual traditions of the East, and the economy of Western Modernism. By forging relationships between disparate entities, patterns and visual references, she creates an ambiguous interplay between the familiar and the unrecognized.
The issue of cultural and aesthetic identity now, in a world of global awareness, is more complex and mutable than previously accepted. In the 21st century it’s not unusual to have a cross-cultural collision of visual references. Through the internet and Google, we are able to visit and absorb information from every part of the world instantly. Studying the museum collections in depth - to explore relationships between disparate objects, disparate cultures and disparate visual references - will allow me to reflect on our own visual culture and its role in the development of my own visual identity. Defining a clear context for my work in its entirety will enable me to continue to create work that is responsive to our present condition and the nature of contemporary cultural identity.
Silvia Weidenbach: V&A Gilbert Collection Resident
April – September 2017
Supported by the Gilbert Trust for the Arts
Silvia Weidenbach is a German designer based in London. In her work, she fuses traditional goldsmithing and silversmithing techniques with new technologies of the haptic arm and 3D printing to make her very own “digital craft.” During her residency, Silvia will respond to the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection. This collection celebrates some of the most beautiful objects ever made, famous for its selection of snuffboxes made of gold and silver, highly decorated with various precious stones, enamels and mosaics. Silvia plans to explore these boxes and their histories in order to produce her own 21st century chest.
The gold boxes are the masterpieces of the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection. They are a constant source of wonder and admiration for me. Each box is unique, using exquisite craftsmanship combined with precious metals and materials to achieve these highly decorated surfaces. The impact of technical innovations on such a compact surface utterly fascinates me. Studying this extraordinarily beautiful collection in depth and having conversations with the passionate curators in the V&A will allow me to explore, experiment and play with the possibilities of my analogue and digital toolbox. Within this context I will create my own bejewelled box – an amalgamation of the old and the new.
Julian Melchiorri: Exhibition Road Engineering Resident
April 2016 – July 2017
Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund
Julian Melchiorri is a design engineer, biotechnologist and entrepreneur based in London. Internationally known for his visionary 'synthetic leaf' projects, Melchiorri proposes radical environmental solutions for urban and industrial settings through an innovative exploitation of biological microorganisms and materials to convert waste and pollution into valuable resources.
Given the V&A’s pioneering vision to showcase manufacturing and engineering innovations, and in conjunction with the 2016 Engineering Season at the V&A, my plan for this residency is to explore how the latest advancements in biotechnology and engineering can be applied to everyday objects and architecture in order to increase the quality of our lives.
With an exciting and ever-changing programme of artists and designers, there’s never a dull moment in our residency studios. Here we show the process of being an artist- or designer-in-residence here at the V&A, with behind-the-scenes insights and stories from our current residents.
How to apply for a residency
We issue open calls for residency applications twice a year, usually in the Spring and Autumn. For each open call, we define a particular area of the collections or a specific theme or medium we would like the resident to explore.
Open calls for applications can be found on our Jobs site.
Watch these short films to get a first-hand account on the research and projects that our resident artists have carried out at the V&A during their residency.
Since its establishment in 2008 the Residency Programme has hosted a vast range of artists and designers. Discover more about our past residents, their research, projects and public programmes in the Museum.