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 currently have an Open Call for a Design Thinker in Residence (November 2018 – November 2019). The deadline for applications is 30 September 2018.
Application process guidelines
Matteo Menapace: Videogames Resident
15 October 2018 – 15 June 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 June 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.
Arianna Nicoletti: Goethe V&A Sustainable Fashion Resident
15 October – 15 December 2018
In collaboration with the Goethe-Institut London
Arianna Nicoletti is a Berlin-based fashion designer and entrepreneur working within the field of sustainable fashion with a focus on circular systems for textiles. Her work is influenced by the perceived worthlessness of materials and products and aims to disrupt the system both at an industry and individual consumer level. She is the co-founder of the fashion label Aluc, the concept store The Upcycling Fashion Store and the non-profit association Future Fashion Forward, all in Berlin.
My residency with the Goethe-Institut at the V&A will focus on the circular economy for textiles. I am interested in exploring and analysing works in the Fashioned from Nature exhibition linked to recycling technologies, closed-loop bio fibres and upcycling design. Taking some of the exhibition’s revolutionary examples as a starting point, such as the textiles by Bolth Threads and Orange Fiber, I will investigate other related pieces in the museum’s collections. The ongoing output of my research will be a digital and analogue 3D map of circular fashion innovation, highlighting common variables and their disruption grades.
Sam Bakewell: Ceramics Resident
15 October 2018 – 15 June 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.
Malene Hartmann Rasmussen: V&A Danish Ceramics Resident
April – October 2018
In partnership with the Danish Arts Foundation
A graduate of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art’s School of Design in Bornholm and the Royal College of Art in London, Malene Hartmann Rasmussen now lives and works in London. Rasmussen’s mixed-media ceramic installations draw upon motifs from the domestic and natural world. Memories, daydreams and childhood nostalgia are all called upon by the artist, who weaves them together into a fairytale of her own making. By merging several seemingly incompatible worlds, her surreal narrative is an eclectic collection of ideas comprising mythological creatures, popular graphic culture and her own childhood in rural Denmark. Rasmussen’s interest in the forest stems from its recurrence in European literature and myth, ancient cults, pagan rituals and as a metaphor for the hidden realms of the unconscious mind. During her residency she will focus on the work of 16th century French Potter Bernard Palissy and the later majolica-ware produced in Europe.
I admire the eccentric and passionate Potter Bernard Palissy and somehow feel a kinship in our common fascination for plants, insects, animals and ceramics. Palissy developed a life-cast technique of lifting moulds from plants and dead animals and using the ceramic casts to create elaborate narrative scenes that often thematically evolved around water and the pond. During my residency I wish to dive under that water and see what grotesque creatures lurk beneath the surface and reveal the secrets hidden there. Another focal point will be the two grottoes Palissy designed for the French royalty Anne De Montmorency and the Queen Catherine de' Medici's royal seat in Paris. Adding to the mystery, only fragments are left from the grottoes today. With Palissy as my muse I will explore the idea of the Renaissance grotto and bring “La Grotte Rustique” into the 21st century
Rachel Ara: V&A Research Institute (VARI) Embedded Resident
October 2017 – October 2018
Generously supported by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation
Rachel Ara is a British data and conceptual artist based in London. She has over 25 years’ experience working in the technology industry, from programming and analysis to systems design. She combines this with a Fine Art degree from Goldsmiths and a furniture making background to create unique works. Rachel is also a recipient of the Near Now Fellowship, awarded to pioneering artists working in technology to research and realise bold ideas making sense of technology in everyday life. Her work is nonconformist with a socio-political edge that often incorporates humour and irony with feminist and queer concerns. She has a particular interest in misinformation, algorithmic bias and the resurfacing of silenced narratives while also looking at the impacts of the world of technology on gender and society.
During this residency I’ll be researching and investigating the data the V&A holds about its collections and beyond. I’ll be looking at new ways to connect this data to create new narratives and ways of engagement. Focusing on the hidden narratives of the data, how it came to be and looking for the gaps. I’ll be combining my systems, craft and fine art skills to produce a response to my findings. This may include new interventions that are both physical and digital.
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.