AiR in rural Northumberland, England

AiR in rural Northumberland, England

A nine-month artist residency with VARC (Visual Arts in Rural Communities) at Highgreen in remote rural Northumberland, September 2018 - June 2019. This is an interesting opportunity for a visual artist to develop their practice and make new works whilst immersed in a remote rural landscape and its community. The residency is based in converted stable buildings, part of Highgreen Estate, set in the sparsely-populated hill-farming area of Tarset in the North Tyne. Highgreen is remote with stunning views across the moors. There is an immediate community of about 15 people and the hamlet of Greenhaugh with an inn is about three miles away with the village hall at Lanehead about a mile beyond that. The local shops are in Bellingham, some 8 miles away and Newcastle is 40 miles away so the artist will need to have his/her own transport.  

Highgreen is made up of a collection of 18th Century buildings. Whilst the studio and site is generally on ground level with no steps, the buildings have access limitations. The artist’s flat is in part of a restored stable block and is accessed via a steep flight of stairs. The organizers realise this isn’t ideal and makes the residency unsuitable for artists who use wheelchairs or find stairs difficult to manage. You can see photos of the studio and living accommodation here.

The total package, including free studio and living accommodation with broadband and utility bills paid, is worth £20,000. £7,200 fee is paid to the artist. The artist is responsible for their own personal costs eg materials, transport, food, access needs etc. The residency is supported by VARC staff and an appropriate mentor who will be able to visit the artist twice during the residency if it’s felt the artist will benefit from this. 

There will be an exhibition at the end of the residency that VARC staff will support. VARC will pay for presentation and refreshment costs and promote the event. VARC will produce an artist’s catalogue, 30 copies of which will be given to the artist.

Selection criteria are:

  • quality and strength of work,
  • a history of exhibiting work and undertaking arts projects or residencies.
  • conviction of benefit of the residency to the artist’s practice and
  • commitment to living at Highgreen
  • experience of, and enthusiasm for, working with people

Expectations are that:

  • the artist will live and work for the period at Highgreen; 
  • the artist will spend 20 days during the residency preparing and delivering an engagement programme with the public and with community groups (planned by VARC staff in consultation with the artist). This could include work with young people with special needs;
  • the artist will produce a body of work for an end of residency exhibition held at Highgreen;
  • because of the remoteness of the location the artist needs to have his/her own transport;
  • the artist is expected to share their experience and process on social media; twitter, facebook and instagram; 
  • the artist will feed into an evaluation process.

The deadline for applications is 16th April. Please use the website for submitting the application. Interviews of shortlisted artists will be held by skype or face to face as appropriate. These will take place in May.