North Sea Artist Residencies
North Sea Artist Residencies

Sustainability First and National Grid are hosting two art residencies based by the UK’s North Sea, a world-leading centre for sustainable energy using the power of the wind, waves and tides. We are looking for two artists with an interest in sustainable energy, climate change, community regeneration and social justice to take part. We welcome proposals exploring the role and opportunities for coastal communities provided by sustainable energy in the North Sea.

We are particularly interested in proposals that build on the heritage of coastal communities, by engaging them in the art making process and helping share their visions for a sustainable future.

The two resident artists will have an opportunity to learn about sustainable energy; exchange ideas with a community interested in innovation and sustainability; and create artworks that raise awareness of current environmental and social issues.

They will each be offered an artist fee of £4,000 and stipend of £1,000 (to cover materials and travel). There is flexibility regarding the location of the residency, depending on where the artist is based. A studio or space to work will be provided at a location suitable to the artist’s project. This will be agreed between the successful applicants, Sustainability First and National Grid. Accommodation is not provided. The residencies will run for up to two months between August and November 2022 and will culminate in an exhibition online, and Covid-19 permitting, a physical show.

To apply, please complete the online application form by 23:00 on 8 June 2022. Interviews will take place on: 15 June 2022. You can also send any queries to residencies@sustainabilityfirst.org.uk

National Grid - background

Why we are supporting these residencies and what we’re looking for:

National Grid is at the heart of a national project to replace our energy system with a new zero carbon system powered by renewables and other low carbon supply sources, a switch from petrol to electric vehicles, and a change from fossil fuel gas to zero carbon heating through electricity and hydrogen. 

This transition is globally important to fight climate change but also represents a significant opportunity for rejuvenating communities along the North Sea Coast. These communities with a rich industrial heritage can grow and help build and power the revolution to zero carbon. Great examples of this transformation include the development of wind hubs and growth of jobs, skills and factories in places like Hull and Teesside, and the rejuvenation of ports to service offshore wind in places like Lowestoft, Grimsby and Aberdeen.

With this context, for the art residency we would like artists to think about the relationship the East Coast and North Sea communities have with the North Sea:

  • The rich maritime and industrial heritage of the communities up and down the east coast of England and Scotland;
  • The relationship the communities have with the sea; and/or
  • The relationship the communities have with powering the industrial and economic strength of the EU, both past and future.

Such examples might be the strong seagoing, maritime and fishing communities up and down the east coast from Grimsby, Cromer and Lowestoft in the south to Aberdeen and Peterhead in the north. It could include the rich industrial heritage of the Tyne and Tees Valley Newcastle and the like, with rich history in shipping and heavy industry that helped build the industrial revolution. It could include the more recent importance of oil and gas growth in the North Sea around communities in Aberdeen or it could go back further to the great wool trading economy of mediaeval East Anglia, the famous wool churches and the trading of wool with continental Europe. 

Our aim is to inspire communities with the opportunities that the transition to zero carbon presents.  The shift to net zero will bring jobs, factories, infrastructure and means by which the UK will decarbonise.  Through art we can speak both to the rich heritage of the surrounding communities and the tremendous opportunity which the future offers.

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