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.
OPEN CALLS AND APPLICATION PROCESS
We have no Open Calls at the moment. Our next Open Calls will be issued in the Spring of 2019.
Application process guidelines
Matteo Menapace: Videogames Resident
15 October 2018 – 15 July 2019
Matteo Menapace is a technology educator and designer of videogames and board games. Menapace grew up in Italy and spent many afternoons playing videogames as a kid. A few years later, he learned to code so that he could cobble together a videogame about Plato’s Cave. He then went on to build digital toys for the BBC and the Science Museum. As a grown-up, Matteo is still obsessed with games but not your typical kill-everyone-loot-everything type game. He draws inspiration from social issues and current events to make games that provoke what he calls “Minimum Playable Dilemmas”: presenting players with uneasy choices that question their ethics. For instance, a game that allows you to explore the impact of your food choices on other people and the living planet.
I am interested in democratising the means of game production. During my residency I will make it my mission to seed the idea, in as many people as possible, that they can move beyond just consuming digital entertainment and become game makers. I will facilitate game-hacking workshops for aspiring game designers. Together we will pick existing games (both videogames and board games) and hack them with new rules, new purposes and new messages.
Bridget Harvey: Fashioned From Nature Resident
15 October 2018 – 15 July 2019
Bridget Harvey is a maker, curator and activist working at the intersection of craft, design, making and remaking. Through her practice, Harvey playfully examines the ‘optional durability’ of our possessions and questions consumption and production, ownership and materiality. She tinkers with discarded objects to make artefacts from materials that initially seem past their best, simultaneously embedding, showing and hiding narratives. Harvey takes a broad and playful approach, which encompasses wearing her works, protesting, exhibiting, curating, hosting community workshops, researching, writing, and giving talks.
Repair, although practiced throughout history, has been dismissed as a skill and craft of its own. Now in its third wave, the discourse of repair-making is resurging, acknowledging and using its past while engaging with issues of the post-abundance era. During my residency, I will study historical models of repair-making and use them in contemporary garments and fashion artefacts, to re-story the familiar, and reconstruct the forgotten. I would also like to explore political textile artefacts such as Pussy Hats, banners and slogan t-shirts in order to understand more about the relationship between textiles and protest.
Sam Bakewell: Ceramics Resident
15 October 2018 – 15 July 2019
Supported by Maurice and Rosemary Lambert
Sam Bakewell is a London-based artist working predominantly with clay. After graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2011, Bakewell joined Studio Manifold in East London, and won the British Ceramic Biennial in 2015. Central to his practice is the belief in clay’s capacity to mirror the subconscious of its maker and its cyclical role as a material linking us back to the earth. A questioning of the validity of the objects he makes (and himself as an artist) informs his thinking, as do ideas around the arbitrary and where waste stops, and where real work begins.
During the residency, I will be focusing on the Victorian art pottery of the Martin Brothers. My love of the Martin Brothers and the magnetism and sentience their work possesses lies mainly in their madness and drive. Their tendency to hoard the best pieces under the floor of their shop, only to be revealed upon its razing to the ground, places them in a lineage of outsider artists making beyond the commercial sphere and for their own personal needs. The four brothers’ otherworldly figurines and vessels covered with sinister birds and grotesque sea creatures convey more than just a comical style. I want to concentrate on the dark nature of the work and its links to the gothic romanticism of the 1900s but also the idea of mental health and its role in creativity. Central to this are anthropomorphic depictions, and in particular the use of the owl as a metaphor for melancholy, intelligence, insanity and death throughout art history.
Aqui Thami is a Mumbai-based artist, activist and academic. Her multidisciplinary practice is inspired by the culture of DIY, which has brought her to collaborate with young girls, women and children. She is a founding member of Dharavi Art Room and is also a member of Bombay Underground, an artist collective that organised the first Zine Fest held in Mumbai, bringing together a large volume of self-published books and zines for the public for the first time ever in India. Thami’s residency is part of the V&A Research Institute (VARI) portfolio of projects funded by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation. Her residency is in collaboration with Create London in East London. Thami will be working at the Rabbits Road Institute in Old Manor Park Library, working closely with the artist collective One of My Kind (OOMK), which run a community risograph print studio and publishing press at this site, and will be staying at The White House, Create's residency and community space on the Becontree Estate. This is the second collaboration with Create, following the successful residency with artist Wouter Osterholt at The White House in 2017-18.
During my residency, I am interested in exploring the V&A’s rich political posters collection with a special focus on handmade posters for public walls and city spaces, works that existed on the edge of the normative definition of art.
Ella Britton: V&A Research Institute (VARI) Embedded Design Thinker in Residence
November 2018 – November 2019
Generously supported by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation
Ella Britton is a designer who works with people to try and make systems, services and places better. She has been living in Mexico for the past couple of years teaching human-centred design practice and setting up a social innovation programme called the Play Lab. Prior to this she has worked with the NHS, local government and various third sector organisations in the UK to bring design thinking and social innovation into public service re-design. While at the Design Council she ran the Knee High Design Challenge which was a public health innovation programme inviting people all over the country to develop new ideas that would reduce health inequalities for children in their early years.
For me, being a designer today is not all about working alone and making beautiful stuff, it is about understanding what change you want to see in the world and working hard with other people to make that happen. Design is about having compassion for others, listening, and leading beyond authority. Embracing the risk and fuzz of the unknown, investigating openly, sharing ideas, and not being afraid to fail or play about a bit. I am here at the V&A to think about how a human-centred design process can help them better understand their social value, impact, and changing role in the future. Together we will explore what a museum needs to be in our rapidly changing complex world.
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.
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.