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In the spring term at Nottingham Trent University, students on NTU English module Black Writing in Britain were joined by poet and Caribbean literature and culture specialist Emily Zobel Marshall and novelist Jacqueline Crooks.

Emily Zobel Marshall

In March 2024, poet and Caribbean literature and culture specialist Emily Zobel Marshall visited NTU to read from and discuss her new poetry collection, Bath of Herbs.

Emily Zobel Marshall is a Reader at Leeds Beckett University, specialising in African and Caribbean folklore and literature of the African diaspora. Emily is also an expert in the role of trickster figures in the literatures and cultures of Africa and its Diaspora and has published widely in this area. Bath of Herbs is a vivid collection of poetry drawing on the poet’s life and history, including her childhood in rural Wales, mixed race identity, the British North, Martinique, illness, recovery, mourning, and family.

In this event held at NTU’s Clifton campus, Emily reads from and discusses her poetry, her literary inspiration from her grandfather, the writer Joseph Zobel, and answers questions from NTU English students on Jenni Ramone’s Black Writing in Britain module.

Jacqueline Crooks

In April 2024, students on NTU English module Black Writing in Britain were joined by novelist Jacqueline Crooks.

Jacqueline Crooks was born in Jamaica and moved to London as a child. Her short story collection, The Ice Migration, was longlisted for the 2019 Orwell Prize in the Political Fiction category, and she has also been shortlisted for the Asham and Wasafiri New Writing awards. Her short story, ‘Silver Fish in the Midnight Sea’, was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award 2019. Her stories have appeared in Wasafiri, Virago, Granta and Mslexia. Fire Rush is her debut novel and it has been shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, the Jhalak Prize, and the Waterstones Debut Fiction Prize, and chosen as an Observer Best Debut Novel of the Year and a New Yorker best books of 2023. The narrative of Fire Rush takes place between late 1978 and early 1982. It is the story of Jamaican-British woman Yamaye, her friends, her search for her mother, and dub reggae.

In this event, Jacqueline Crooks reads from and discusses her novel in conversation with Jenni Ramone.

As a legacy to our Art Schools of the East Midlands exhibition by John Beck & Matthew Cornford in Sept/Dec 2023, we invited Stella Couloutbanis who was Exhibition Organiser (later Exhibitions, Events and Festival Director) at Bonington Gallery between 1989 and 2007 to jot down memories of her time at Bonington Gallery & NTU.

This piece of writing is also shared on the occasion of our current Bonington Archive display entitled Stella’s Dilemma, that documents some of the process behind the creation of Tom Hackett’s 1991 solo exhibition Burst. This presentation is on show in the foyer of Bonington Gallery from 16 March – 4 May, 2024.

Memories of Bonington Gallery by Stella Couloutbanis

“In April 1989 I joined Trent Polytechnic as an Exhibitions Organiser for the Bonington Gallery, having left my previous role as Touring Exhibitions Officer within the Arts Division of Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC).

It was an interesting time to join the Polytechnic. Local authorities had relinquished responsibility and Trent Polytechnic was moved away from NCC – two years later becoming an independent university, first called Trent University and later changed to its current name, Nottingham Trent University. With its new statute a Vice Chancellor (VC) was appointed, Professor Ray Cowell. He had a passion for the arts and played a pivotal role in developing the art culture within the university. 

Image of the Bonington building in 1971.

The strategy was to transform the space into a public contemporary art gallery. The early years presented some significant challenges, with no designated office area, no staff, a limited budget, limited technical support, no funds to publicise the space, no doors to the gallery, no easy access, and no invigilation.

I initially shared an office within proximity to Professor Robert Ayres, Head of Visual Arts and Fine Art Department, who was my manager and led the vision for the space and the city.

Up to this point the gallery was referred to as ‘The Exhibition Hall’. It had an outline exhibition programme established by external bookings and by members of the Fine Art staff. 

To reposition the gallery as a contemporary public gallery we needed to shift away from external bookings and use by internal staff towards a more public remit. Like any change it was initially tricky to implement, but after two years the switch was well underway. The gallery had been renamed to ‘The Bonington Gallery’ (later shortened to just ‘Bonington Gallery’), and a programme of contemporary artworks and performances was being programmed for up to two years ahead. 

Detail of Bonington Building plans taken from The Architects Journal, January 1971.

In the early 1990’s we successfully secured two significant grants which helped elevate the Gallery and establish its position as a public art gallery. We became clients from East Midlands Arts (now the Arts Council England) receiving an annual grant plus match funding from Trent Polytechnic. 

The Henry Moore Foundation awarded us a grant to upgrade the gallery, allowing us to procure and fit doors, install a disabled access lift, install bannisters on the staircase, procure and install theatre lights and completely renovate the wooden floor.  

We also managed to get a disabled toilet installed in the Bonington building with a grant from Nottinghamshire County Council.

The most amazing thing for me about the Bonington Gallery was its size. It was one of the largest, single room galleries in the Midlands with a ceiling height of 22 feet and 2153 square feet of flooring. It had a beautiful maple floor which was in stark contrast with its brutal concrete egg box ceiling – all these distinguishing features making the gallery iconic, in my opinion. I would often describe the space to artists as a space you walked down into and, “imagine you are at the bottom of an empty public swimming bath”. The vastness of the space also meant the acoustics were difficult to work with making public speaking sometimes a challenge.

Image from the exhibition ‘Mechanics of the Eye‘, 1992, which also shows the lights & rig that were funded by the Henry Moore Foundation.

Forming partnerships and collaborations with artists and art organisations was pivotal in the gallery’s development and helped create a robust programme. Over the 18 years the team worked with all the key organisations and festivals in Nottinghamshire, such as Dance 4, Now, Expo, Angel Row Gallery, Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery, Djanogly Art Gallery, Wollaton Hall… and many more. Hosting some of the best talent in the arts. 

I worked with some amazing artists and performers during my time, too many to count, who were based locally, regionally, nationally and internationally – I never did a head-count, but it must be over a thousand. One of our key success factors was our growing reputation for supporting artists where we would do all that was possible for them to produce their creative work. Mentoring was very important to me, to help artists develop their artistic ideas. We were always being flexible, understanding that work was fluid and the creative outcome could be very different to what was originally proposed.

Image from the opening of John Newling’s exhibition ‘Lost’.

Bonington Gallery was always a space for site specific and installation work. In 1991 John Newling installed his work, Lost. It covered the entire floor of the gallery with a map of Nottingham City Centre made from paracetamol laid on steel plates. It was a significant point for me – not only was the work powerful and thought provoking with a striking visual impact, it showed that the gallery was ideally positioned to commission site specific works for the space and not just hosting and housing wall and floor-based work.

Over the years we had some fantastic installations; David Wilkinson & Mary McIntyre, Ray Lee, Dunn & Dempster, Shelley Sacks, Ansuman Biswas (collaboration with NOW Ninety 9), Rosie Leverton, Tom Hackett, Lorna Green, Natasha Kidd, Lone Twins, Gobb Squad, Opera North, Bodies in Flight, Hancock and Kelly, Ivan Smith, Susie MacMurray, Mariele Neudecker, Richard Brown are just a few to name.

Image of John Newling’s ‘Lost‘, from the artists website

Dance was a significant aspect of our programme, and we held the first Dance Festival in 1991, organised by Nottinghamshire County Council. At this festival I was introduced to the company Salamanda Tandem. This was the beginning of a very long working relationship between us, lasting several decades. Isabel Jones, the director (a dancer, singer, musician and visual artist) worked in Bonington Gallery for many years and I became chair to the company in 2005.

Image from ‘Plank Rule‘, 1992, presented in the main gallery space as part of Notts Dance Festival.

The gallery was a host and collaborator for Notts Dance and Body Shape Image – two major dance festivals organised by Dance 4. We worked with Expo and Now (Nottingham City Council) presenting, co-commissioning and supporting performances. 

A promotional image for ‘Remote Dance‘ for the 2005 edition of Nott Dance festival.

Around this time the VC’s passion for the arts led to the establishment of a collection of artworks for the university, focusing on purchasing works from practitioners living and working in the East Midlands. Bonington Gallery was responsible for sourcing, hanging, caring and cataloguing the works. 

With an increase in our Arts Council grant, Future Factory was created by Professor Rober Ayers who was appointed as the first Artistic Director ever established at a university. This funding allowed us to commission new work and host our own performance festivals, Celebration NottinghamSensitive Skin and Body Space Image. We also ran artist fellowships ­– giving support, mentoring, opportunities and bursaries to help further their practice. Future Factory’s exhibition and performance programme was housed at Bonington Gallery and Powerhouse, Victoria studios (the site for the new DaDA building). This included a multi-disciplinary contemporary exhibition programme involving photography, film, video, sound and multi-media plus a live art and performance season every year.

When Future Factory was established, Bonington Gallery had a team of eight, including a marketing officer, marketing assistant, technician, education officers, the director and myself. This was an amazing time as it was the start of a feasibility study for a new contemporary art and performance space in Nottingham which was awarded to Nottingham Trent University. The outcome was a success, which led to a further award from Arts Council England to continue with a more thorough and detailed feasibility study working in collaboration with Nottingham City Council and University of Nottingham.

Image from 2007 exhibition ‘THE REDEMPTIVE BEAUTY OF LIFE AFTER DEATH‘, which was presented as part of the Future Factory. This exhibition was done in collaboration with New Art Exchange.

In 2003, due to staff changes, I was promoted to Exhibitions, Events and Festival Director to programme and curate exhibitions, performances and events in Bonington Gallery and 1851 Galleries (Waverley Building), Powerhouse/Basement performance spaces and other University venues. In 2004 I was seconded part time to Nottingham Contemporary as a member of the development team, attending project and client team meetings, stakeholder/sub board meetings and Capital Network meetings.

I have so many happy memories at Bonington Gallery… In the 1990s it was one of the locations for the TV series Boon. We had students exhibiting work in the gallery, including Sue Webster and Tim Noble and we negotiated a fee of £50 per student and a fee for the gallery. In addition, we were allowed to use the catering wagon which was stationed outside the gallery. It took a week for the crew and actors to film a 1-minute-long scene which was a confrontation of a student and a lecturer with a slap on the face! 

Images from from the TV daytime show ‘Boon‘ which was filmed in the gallery. If you study or work at an educational institution you can watch the episode here.

Having Tom Hackett’s Burst sculpture installation at the Gallery included sourcing, transporting and installing 70 industrial scale cable reels. I cannot remember how we got them in but I do remember the very long chats with the health and safety staff. The Gallery, over the years, has housed many other installations made from a wide variety of materials including bricks, books, fabrics, banana skins, radiators, and performances featuring bodily fluids, duration, audience participation and dancers performing with paintings and other media.

Stella posing with the cable reels at the Arnold BT depot. Photographer unknown.
Images of ‘Burst’ from Tom Hackett’s website. Courtesy of the artist.

On one occasion an external booking for a flower show had been taken that I was not aware of which clashed with a show I booked in – we had to temporarily take the show down for the weekend to allow the flower show and then rehang it again (not to be recommended!).

We held a Guinness World Record Breaking event. Matt Hand in collaboration with Leif Alexis and Ben Mawson-Harris broke the world record for the longest table tennis rally on their 16th attempt over a 24-hour period, reaching 5 hours, 8 minutes and 22 seconds.

Image from Matt Hand’s website, which catalogues this world record attempt, and the others which were part of eXpo at Bonington Gallery in 2001.

I worked with many students and graduates showing their work in the numerous associated spaces; from gourmet meals being cooked and served by two creative arts students in the Bonington Foyer, to tomato throwing in the gallery, to exhibitions, to awards (Margaret Bryan and Geoff Ball awards) and Expo which was started by NTU graduates.

In 18 years at Bonington Gallery we played host to many school and student placements and graduates. I enjoyed working with all of them, some as volunteers for specific events, others just working at the gallery as assistants supporting our staff and the programme.

I tried to give them an overall experience of what we did at the gallery, from curation, marketing, and education to the hang and finally the opening night. I am very grateful to all our volunteers without whose help it would have made our work much harder. There are so many of them I can’t remember all of them but you know who you are – a big thank you! I have been privileged to work with some amazing volunteers, many of whom have developed their own careers and I hope we played a part in it.

I feel strongly that the work we did at Bonington Gallery/Future Factory was the catalyst for what is now Nottingham Contemporary. Our input in getting the two feasibility study funds from ACE was initiated by us and NTU. Without the initial steer and the passion from Bonington Gallery and Future Factory, Nottingham Contemporary may never have happened. 

Image of the front of Nottingham Contemporary.

It was extremely sad for me and my staff to close the doors of Bonington Gallery in August 2007, our Arts Council Grant England Funding had finally been diverted to Nottingham Contemporary which was well on its way in the build and had a new Director in place. 

We left with our heads held high, knowing we had done our jobs well. I worked with some amazing people who contributed massively towards Nottingham Contemporary. Deborah Dean, friend and colleague showed outstanding passion and work. Professor Robert Ayres, friend and colleague demonstrated extraordinary vision and determination. NTU VC Professor Ray Cowell, for being such an advocate of the arts in all its forms.

And of course, my amazing team over the 18 years included Janice Britton, John Hewitt, Raif Killips, Stephen Fossey, Jenny Rainforth, Lisa Simmons, Haj Kaur, Sam Rose, Annette Foster, Geoff Litherland, Bo Olawoye… I hope I have not missed any names out!

Looking back, it is great to see Bonington has been repositioned back into the University and continues supporting research and development – something that we were also keen to support during my time at Bonington.

(It is to be noted this has been done by memory as I had no papers to refer to, apologies if I missed any names or organisations out, it was over 15 years ago!)”

‘Moving from silence into speech is for the oppressed, the colonized, the exploited, and those who stand and struggle side by side, a gesture of defiance that heals, that makes new life, and new growth possible. It is that act of speech, of “talking back” that is no mere gesture of empty words, that is the expression of moving from object to subject, that is the liberated voice.’

– bell hooks, “Talking Back.” Discourse (1986), p. 128.

Talking Back interdisciplinary conference is an in-person conference that will be held in Nottingham, United Kingdom. It will form a prominent part of Transform, a city-wide collaborative and transformative endeavour involving major cultural organisations across Nottingham in summer 2024, led in partnership by New Art Exchange.

Reflecting on speech as a radical force against the systemic silencing of marginalised voices (hooks, 1989), we would like to invite proposals from writers, academics, creatives, and activists alike who are interested in exploring critical and creative approaches to decolonial activism, reclamations of culture and identity, and the transformative power of voice.

We invite contributions that explore marginalised voices, representations of dissent against western hegemony and rigid binaries, and resistance to silencing and structural oppression. We welcome critical and creative approaches to proposals from participants of all genders, racial groups, and faith groups.

The conference is free to attend and will take place at Bonington Gallery, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, England on Tuesday 25th June 2024.

The conference will be followed by an open-mic poetry and networking event, centred on the theme of ‘talking back.’

Proposals

Suggestions include and are not limited to:

This conference is made possible by generous funding and support provided by Bonington Gallery and the NTU’s Postcolonial and Global Studies Research Group.

We are delighted to announce a new series of conversations starting in February 2024, as part of our Formations programme, in partnership with the Postcolonial and Global Studies Research Group. They will explore a range of creative and community interventions aimed at understanding complex human-plant entanglements within postcolonial Britain and beyond.

A plant pictured from above, on a piece of paper, near a stream.

Image credit: Sophie Fuggle.

Bringing together interlocuters from a variety creative, botanical and creative backgrounds, the human-plant stories told across the series will draw on a variety of philosophical, historical and artistic perspectives.  

In proposing the concept of the ‘plantationocene’ as one (of multiple) possible ways to understand the planet-wide impact of industrial capitalism and colonialism, Donna Haraway describes how the wide-scale agriculture and cultivation projects of empire differed significantly from earlier forms of seed dispersal due to factors of ‘scale, rate/speed, synchronicity, and complexity’ (Haraway, 2015). Colonial institutions, in particular Botanic Gardens, played an integral role in the distribution of seeds and research into economic crops leading to changes in economy and landscape (Barnard 2016). In their conversations around vegetal being, Luce Irigaray and Mark Marder (2016) have argued that greater understanding of plants and the worlds they create and sustain is key to our own development and, moreover, the survival of the planet.  

Moving plants from landscape to centre stage, we will be looking at the different roles they play in shaping the world as we know it, from conceptions of time, growth, invasion, dispersal and dissemination to ideas around beauty, colour, form and structure.

Plants Beyond Empire is curated by Sophie Fuggle and Katharina Massing. 


PLANTS BEYOND EMPIRE EVENT 1 – PLANT TIME AND BIOPROSPECTING WITH REBECCA BEINART
THURSDAY 15 FEBRUARY, 7-8PM

Join artist Rebecca Beinart for a free online talk where she will share stories and work-in-progress from her long term research into plant-human relationships, medicine and porous bodies. 

During this talk she will share a short film made in collaboration with Usha Mahenthiralingam and Freddy Griffiths. The work explores the Island site in Nottingham – that once housed the Boots pharmaceutical factories and is currently under redevelopment – and spills out into histories of plant medicine, land, bioprospecting, pharmaceutical production, and thinking with plants and fungi.

Find out more and book your ticket here.


PLANTS BEYOND EMPIRE EVENT 2 – PLANTING STORIES & DIVERSIFYING STORYTELLING WITH BIRMINGHAM BOTANICAL GARDENS, THURSDAY 29 FEBRUARY, 7-8PM

Join Katharina Massing and Jen Ridding for an online talk exploring how Birmingham Botanical Gardens is working with local communities and visitors to highlight its colonial connections and diversify voices within plant interpretation.

Katharina Massing and Jen Ridding will look at how the garden is working with local communities and visitors to highlight some of these colonial connections and diversify voices within plant interpretation.

Find out more and book your ticket here.


PLANTS BEYOND EMPIRE EVENT 3 – SEEDS OF TIME WITH CLAIRE REDDLEMAN AND SOPHIE FUGGLE, THURSDAY 7 MARCH, 7-8PM

For the third and final event from our Plants Beyond Empire series, Claire Reddleman and Sophie Fuggle will explore how plants have become aligned with human ideas about time, seasons and cycles.

Many plants have been co-opted into colonial and capitalist ways of understanding time. For this talk, Reddleman and Fuggle will focus upon the Ginkgo Biloba – often described as a ‘living fossil’ due to the fact it has remained unchanged for over 80 million years, and the castor bean, a very different plant, which has been used by humans for at least 24,000 years.

Find out more and book your ticket here.


As part of our current Vitrines exhibition, Art [School] Histories, we have been collecting materials from former Nottingham School of Art and Design students and staff that reflect the more candid and informal moments during their time here. Below are a selection of these submissions – see the full set on the specially constructed noticeboard next to the Vitrines, just outside the gallery entrance.

Image submitted by Daisy Hayward
Image submitted by Giorgio Sadotti
Image submitted by Claire Simpson
Image submitted by Daisy Hayward
Image submitted by Daisy Hayward
Image submitted by Giorgio Sadotti
Image submitted by Giorgio Sadotti
Image submitted by Claire Simpson
Image Submitted by Daisy Hayward
Image submitted by Claire Simpson
Image Submitted by Diana Pasek-Atkinson
Image Submitted by Diana Pasek-Atkinson
Image Submitted by Diana Pasek-Atkinson
Image Submitted by Diana Pasek-Atkinson
Image Submitted by Alex Jovčić-Sas
Image Submitted by Rebecca Efstatiou
Image Submitted by Clare Simpson
Image Submitted by Rebecca Efstatiou
Image Submitted by Diana Pasek-Atkinson
Image Submitted by Rebecca Efstatiou
Submitted by Lis Evans
Submitted by Lis Evans
Submitted by Lis Evans
Submitted by Lis Evans

With thanks to Claire Simpson, Daisy Hayward, Diana Pasek-Atkinson, Lis Evans, Rebecca Efstatiou, Alex Jovcic-Sas, and Giorgio Sadotti. If you have any images or memories you’d like to submit, please email boningtongallery@ntu.ac.uk

We were really pleased to be featured in the Observer Sunday 17th September, as part of an article looking at John Beck and Matthew Cornford’s art school project. You can read the full article here.

Image of the Observer article about Jon Beck and Matthew Cornford’s Art School project.

Did you study at Nottingham School of Art & Design? Or have you attended past events at Bonington Gallery? We’d love to hear from you!

A brochure cover from Trent Poly in 1977 showing a group of students standing outside.

We are collecting memories and photos to put on display in our next show, Art [School] Histories which will sit in our foyer and vitrines alongside our main gallery exhibition, The Art Schools of the East Midlands by John Beck and Matthew Cornford. We are interested in capturing and reflecting those informal moments – an exhibition or event you visited, life between lectures, studio time, trips, souvenirs, socialising with your peers, going to openings in Nottingham.

These could take the form of:

How to submit your memories

Email your scans or hi-res photos to us boningtongallery@ntu.ac.uk and we’ll print reproductions to add to our pinboard in the vitrines, in the gallery foyer. If you don’t have access to a scanner, then a clear photo taken on your phone will suffice. If you need our assistance in making a copy, or you have any queries about this invitation, then please email the address above.

Share on social media

You can also share them with us on Instagram or Facebook @boningtongallery by tagging us and using the hashtag #artschoolhistories so that we can re-share.

The exhibition starts on 21 September 2023, but we will be adding materials to the wall until the end of the exhibition on 2 December so feel free to contact us at any point between these dates. After the exhibition, the materials will be kept and added to an archive for the project.

By submitting your materials, the assumption is made that you are happy for their public display and retention in the exhibition archive. It might be that certain materials are used for promotional and publicity purposes by Bonington Gallery & Nottingham Trent University.

An old sepia postcard showing the Waverley building.
Image: Misch & Stock’s ‘Camera Graphics”. Series No. 510 i2. Nottingham. Stamped July 31, 1906 The image shows the Waverley Building, originally home to the Nottingham School of Art & Design and now part of the School of Art & Design at Nottingham Trent University

John Beck and Matthew Cornford
The Art Schools of the East Midlands
22 September – 2 December 2023
Exhibition preview: Thursday 21 September 6-8pm

This autumn Bonington Gallery presents The Art Schools of the East Midlands, the latest iteration of John Beck’s and Matthew Cornford’s ambitious Art School Project to locate and document the nation’s art school buildings or the sites upon which they once stood. The project combines photography, text, and archival materials to explore the histories and legacies of Britain’s art schools, and examine the vital role art schools have played, and continue to play, in the cultural and economic life of our towns and cities.

The twin Victorian engines of industrial ambition and social reform powered the British art school system, set up to deliver a skilled labour force for local industry – such as lace manufacture in Nottingham – and much needed educational opportunities to the newly enfranchised working class. Art schools combined practical training and exposure to culture, turning out skilled producers and discerning consumers well into the twentieth century.

By the mid-1960s there were still over 150 art schools in the UK, and ‘art school’ became a journalistic shorthand for creative innovation across arts, design, music and advertising. Yet at the peak of their influence on British cultural life, art schools in many towns and cities were already being amalgamated, reorganised and rebranded as part of a drive to reshape education in the arts. Most art schools have long since been absorbed into larger institutions or faded away.

Bonington Gallery’s presentation focuses on the art schools of the East Midlands and features original photographic images of all the region’s art school buildings alongside displays of archival material. The striking grandeur of Derby School of Art’s Gothic Revival building currently stands empty, whilst the Waverley Building built in 1865 for Nottingham School of Art remains one of the few Victorian built art school buildings still actively used for teaching art – as part of Nottingham Trent University. The project is also, importantly, an investigation of our present moment, documenting the sites of former art schools which have been redeveloped or reused.

The exhibition and the accompanying series of talks and events aim to create a space for dialogue and debate, raising questions about the role of the arts and art education in relation to community, history, and identity, and the shifting complex role of cultural production and cultural labour in the contemporary environment.

The Art School Project was prompted by the discovery that the college both Beck and Cornford attended in the early 1980s, Great Yarmouth College of Art and Design, was disused and up for sale. Evolving over 15 years the project takes the form of a series of regionally focused exhibitions. Their work on the West Midlands was recently shown at the New Gallery Walsall, and the North West iteration of the project was exhibited in Liverpool, Bury and Rochdale. The project is documented on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theartschoolproject/

We are excited to announce details of the three gallery exhibitions that will form part of our 2023/24 programme, launching in September 2023.

Don’t forget to sign up to our mailing list to be first to hear about upcoming exhibition launches, tours and events for our next season.

John Beck and Matthew Cornford: The Art Schools of the East Midlands
Open: Friday 22 September – Saturday 2 December, 2023
Preview: Thursday 21 September, 6–8 pm

Featuring new photographic work depicting all the art school buildings of the East Midlands, or the sites upon which they stood, this exhibition aims to celebrate and encourage critical reflection on the place of art schools and art education in the region past, present and future.

The ‘Art School Project’ is an art and research collaboration that explores the history of the British art school system, its regional variations, educational and political contexts, and vital cultural legacies. Beck and Cornford’s photographic survey of the art schools of the North West was exhibited at Liverpool Bluecoat (2018), Bury Art Museum (2019) and Rochdale Touchstones (2021). Recent work on the West Midlands was shown at the New Art Gallery Walsall (February – July 2023) and a public artwork, commissioned by Meadow Arts and Hereford College of Arts, opened in Hereford June 2023.

John Beck is a writer and a Professor in the School of Humanities at the University of Westminster.  

Matthew Cornford is an artist and Professor of Fine Art at the University of Brighton. 

Instagram: The Art School Project

Onyeka Igwe – history is a living weapon in yr hand
Open: Saturday 13 January – Saturday 2 March, 2024

Preview: Friday 12 January, 6–8 pm

Onyeka Igwe is a London born and based moving image artist and researcher. Her work is aimed at the question: how do we live together? She is interested in the prosaic and everyday aspects of black livingness and exploring overlooked histories.

She was nominated for the 2022 Jarman Award, MaxMara Artist Prize for Women 2022-24, awarded the 2021 Foundwork Artist Prize, 2020 Arts Foundation Futures Award for Experimental Short Film and was the recipient of the Berwick New Cinema Award in 2019.

Artist website: https://onyekaigwe.com/
Film London Profile: https://filmlondon.org.uk/profile/onyeka-igwe
MoMa PS1 exhibition: https://www.momaps1.org/programs/182-onyeka-igwe

Osheen Siva
Open: Saturday 16 March – Saturday 4 May, 2024
Preview: Friday 15 March, 6–8 pm

Osheen Siva is an artist, illustrator and muralist, currently based in Goa. Through the lens of surrealism, speculative fiction and science fiction and rooted in their Dalit and Tamil heritage, Siva imagines new worlds of decolonized dreamscapes with mutants and monsters and narratives of queer and feminine power. They work in a variety of mediums including immersive media, installations, performance art, public art and digital illustration.

Past clients have included The New York Times, Adult Swim, Meta, Apple, Gucci, Adi Magazine, Absolut, Dr. Martens, Decolonize Fest among others.

Artist website: https://osheensiva.com/
It’s Nice That: https://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/osheen-siva-illustration-140721
Hyperallergic: https://hyperallergic.com/810814/coasting-the-topography-of-south-asian-futurisms/


We are delighted to announce that applications are now open for South London Gallery’s (SLG) annual post-graduate residency for 2023/24.

The residency will culminate in a solo exhibition at SLG in March 2024, and will tour to Bonington Gallery in January 2025.

Exterior of the South London Gallery on a sunny day.,

What is the residency?

The Postgraduate Residency is an open submission six-month residency at South London Gallery (SLG) and touring exhibition between SLG and Bonington Gallery at Nottingham Trent University.

The residency enables the production of a new body of work and a rare opportunity for an early-career artist to exhibit their work at the South London Gallery and Bonington Gallery. The residency is open to artists who have completed a period of self-directed, peer-led or postgraduate study between October 2022 and September 2023. This can include alternative, peer organised and non-accredited programmes from an institution, collective or art school in the UK, as well as an MA, MFA, PGDip, MRes.

Between October 2023 – March 2024, the recipient will receive the following:

● studio space in the SLG Fire Station;
● a £4,500 housing bursary to cover accommodation in London;
● a £5,000 artists fee and a £4,000 production budget to produce new work;
● mentoring sessions and studio visits from SLG staff, including the Director, Bonington Gallery staff, and other arts professionals;
● the opportunity to present a public event in response to their practice;
● a solo exhibition opening March 2024 in one of the SLG Fire Station galleries.
● the exhibition will tour to Bonington Gallery in January 2025, with potential for associated event(s) and partnerships with university researchers & staff.

The residency and exhibition at the South London Gallery and Bonington Gallery is generously supported by the Paul and Louise Cooke Endowment.

Criteria

To be eligible for the residency applicants must:

● have completed an undergraduate degree (anytime before 2022) and have undertaken a postgraduate period of study between October 2022 and September 2023, including MA, MFA, PGDip, MRes, alternative, peer organised and non-accredited programmes, in an arts discipline from a UK institution, collective or art school, including Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales;
● not be enrolled in full or part-time education for an undergraduate, postgraduate or equivalent programme;
● be a UK resident or EU resident with settled or pre-settled status, or hold a Graduate Route visa with the right to stay in the UK for the entire duration of the residency.
We are particularly interested in receiving applications from those based outside of London. Support for travel (within the UK) will be offered to those invited to interview.

To Apply

Please visit the South London Gallery website for more information and to fill in an application form.

All applications should be submitted by Monday 17 July 2023 at 12 midday. Applications received after this time will not be considered.

There will be open information sessions about the residency held on Zoom on Wednesday 12 July at 1 pm. Please email lily@southlondongallery.org to register attendance.