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AiR: Artist in Residence

A black-and-white selfie style photo of artist Abel (they/them), holding the camera gently next to their face and looking into the mirror
Self-portrait by Abel Holsborough

AiR is a unique residency pilot project and employment contract for one artist to join for a year of deeply-embedded artistic research within our team and the local communities of East London.  

The current AiR: Artist in Residence is Abel Holsborough. Their residency began in September 2023 and will end in August 2024.

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.

“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 Holsborough
A design with an oat-coloured background with a white scribble over the top. Black text over the top says 'AiR: Artist in Residence'. There is a blue scribbled house around the A and orange scribbled dots on the 'i' and semicolon

About AiR: Artist in Residence 

AiR is a pilot programme launched by Artsadmin in 2023, in response to sector feedback about the inequity between salaried arts workers and precarious freelancers. We were interested in supporting long-term deep artistic research, building sustainable trusting relationships within the diverse communities that live and work in the Whitechapel, Spitalfields, Aldgate areas; and in supporting an artist with the kind of contract that allowed them the time to develop collaborative practice and research, whilst allowing us us to form a relationship with them at the same time.

We released a callout in April 2023 for a UK-based artist who work was primarily performance-based, collaborative and live, who had an active interest in and a curiosity about the communities local to East London and a desire to connect with them, and whose approach to working with people was rooted in mutual respect and ethical collaboration.

The opportunity

  • Salary of £32,000 at 0.7 (3.5 days per week*) pro-rata (£22,400 pre-tax) on Artsadmin’s payroll with benefits including paid holidays, national insurance and pension contribution at 4% of salary.
    • Salary of £22,400 (£32,000 pro rata) per year before-tax on a 0.7 FTE (3.5 days per week*) 
    • Payment, national insurance and tax administrated by Artsadmin’s payroll
    • 14 days paid holiday (20 days pro rata)  
    • Pro rata paid bank holiday entitlement  
    • Pension setup with contributions from Artsadmin of 4% of salary
    • All other staff benefits such as the Cycle to Work Scheme, health cost reimbursement benefit, and more.  
  • A permanent desk in the Artsadmin office 
  • Access to at least 4 weeks of rehearsal studio space at Toynbee Studios to support residency research.
  • Support from across the Artsadmin team such as:
    • Introduction to networks, groups, and individuals within local communities  
    • Access and involvement in all aspects of the Artist Support programme including advice/planning and strategic development of the artist’s career and/or a specific project/workshops etc. 
    • Producing and fundraising support should the artist want to develop a project that has evolved directly out of this residency period with Artsadmin (not an expectation) 
    • The possibility of sharing work publicly at Toynbee Studios (not an expectation) 

Find out more about AiR 2023-24

Download the full AiR callout pack for 2023-24 to find out more about the application process:
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Easy Read (PDF)

List of FAQs

A black-and-white selfie style photo of artist Abel (they/them), holding the camera gently next to their face and looking into the mirror
Self-portrait by Abel Holsborough