Announcing the AiR: Artist in Residence for 2023/24!
In March this year, we released the callout for our latest pilot project AiR: Artist in Residence – a unique new model of artist residency consisting of an employment contract for one artist to join Artsadmin for a year of deeply embedded artistic practice.
After a lengthy and considered selection process, through which we were introduced to numerous artists whose work we admire and are moved by, we are delighted to announce Abel Holsborough as the Artsadmin AiR: Artist in Residence for 2023/24.
Abel (they/them) is an artist, character, and proud East Londoner. They use photography, performance and writing to explore the un-monumental and question what constitutes useful art. Their practice builds on interests in ‘not-quite’ archives and obscure/local histories which also feeds into their work as the lead miller of the last working windmill in London. They have recently worked with organisations such as Grizedale Arts, Create London (A House for Artists), Waltham Forest Council and William Morris Gallery.
“AiR has been a couple of years in the making. We knew we wanted to build a process that centred care, representation, and access, but we had no idea how it would be received or whom it would invite. Abel’s proposal and practical interview introduced us to their gentle and generous practice, and we cannot wait to begin the next stage of AiR together”Valentina Vela, Artist Support Programme Producer and AiR project lead
The AiR pilot emerged as a response to feedback we had been hearing from artists for a long time about the inequity between salaried arts workers and precarious freelancers, as well as a desire to invest in deep, collaborative and ethical relationships with the diverse communities that live and work in and around our local area. AiR is a very specific opportunity, for a UK-based artist whose work is primarily performance-based, collaborative and live, who has an active interest in the communities local to East London, and an established approach to working with people that is rooted in mutual respect and ethical collaboration.
All of the initial applications were read by at least two readers, one of whom identified as a member of the Global Majority, and in May, a longlist of 20 artists were invited to submit a more detailed application. Of these 20, our panel invited a shortlist of three artists to our home in Toynbee Studios to lead a 30-minute workshop or talk based on their proposal, and to submit a more detailed proposal of their twelve-month plan. Applicants at the second and third stages were paid for their time.
“Applying to AiR felt like a no-brainer: an opportunity to make work in (and about) an area I grew up in, in a way that I hope will be genuinely embedded both within Artsadmin and the surrounding community. I’m excited to see how weird and doughy things will get.
My vision for this residency is focused on something most of us eat on a daily basis and an urge to interrogate/stretch/play with its forms and meanings. Researching bread histories/cultures in the hyperlocal area around Artsadmin and using this to inform collaborative works with different community groups – which explore the performativity of bread and bread making.”Abel
Abel will join us from this September as an employee with a fixed-term, twelve month-contract for three-and-a-half days a week. The contract will include all of the benefits associated with a salaried position, including paid holiday, pension contributions, access to the Cycle to Work Scheme, and health cost reimbursement benefits.
They will have a permanent desk in the Artsadmin office, access to at least four weeks of rehearsal studio space to support their residency research, support from across our team including introduction to networks and groups within local communities, access to and involvement in our Artist Support programme, and the possibility of sharing work publicly at Toynbee Studios.
There is no expectation that a project will develop out of this residency, but we will be sharing updates from Abel’s research and ongoing practice as it emerges over the year. For now, we’re thrilled to have a new member of our team, and to be embarking on this experiment together!