The Jerwood Visual Arts Artist Bursaries launched in 2016 and offer up to £1000 to ten different artists for ‘ambitious proposals’ which are selected according to
“how much developmental impact the opportunity is likely to have on the artists’ practice, the feasibility of the project within the given budget and the need for the proposed activity to take place.”
They further state:
“The objective of the bursaries is to encourage experimentation and crucially to provide an opportunity for artists to define and determine their own development needs. Each selected artist will receive mentoring from the Jerwood Visual Arts team and be part of a peer-network attending facilitated sessions as a group.”
This offer of mentoring and facilitated sessions was something that made this award particularly attractive to me.
The Application Process
This year there were 731 applications, one of which was mine. The application process was not greatly onerous and is handled by a third party called Parker Harris. You can save your entry and whatever you completed by the time of the deadline is what gets submitted to the award. After the deadline you can’t see what you wrote any more, but I requested a copy and Parker Harris were very obliging and sent me it:
I am using a wide range of contemporary and traditional materials and methods, from letterpress printing to icon painting, to appropriate, investigate, and unpack accepted norms, rituals and symbols from cultural locations including business, bureaucracy, shamanism, religion, and crafts. Referencing evolution, in which accumulations of small amounts of work add up to a greater whole, these are often collaborative and participatory works. Feminism, motherhood, humanity’s relationship with nature, and how power is enforced through symbolism and ritual, are key areas of interest. Words-as-art and wordplay are also an ongoing aspect of the practice and performance is beginning to feature.
An introduction to you and your practice
With a degree in Biology and experience working with Amazonian tribespeople, I approach art from a wide cultural perspective. A major (lifetime) work that begins today is titled ‘An Investigation Into How to Fund An Art Practice (for a Middle Aged Woman Without Independent Income)’. Other projects in development or progress include ‘Painting by Numbers’, ‘Mother Bunting’ , ‘The Ritual Burning of Unwanted Art’ and ‘Bloody Women’. I have just formed The Women’s Art Activation System as a collective aiming to create replicable methods for promoting, valuing and supporting the creation of artworks by women. Many ideas but little time.
What is the developmental opportunity you wish you undertake and when will it take place?
This year I want to launch my art practice in an endeavour to make it a full time practice. I will need time to make work, and a mentor. I have identified Lenka Clayton as someone who has already had a very positive influence on my work through the Artists Residency in Motherhood programme. Lenka offers mentoring over a period of six months. I also require time and money to develop new projects.
What do you hope to achieve, and how will you go about this?
I aim to:
– work with a mentor to establish myself as an emerging artist
– develop (knowledge of) sources of income to fund the ongoing development of my practice
– develop and show ‘Mother Bunting’, a public participation artwork
– develop the Women’s Art Activation System (WAAS)
In working with a mentor and in my own time I will be looking for critique and ways to connect with networks.
Why is this important for your personal and/or professional development?
I regard this as a rare opportunity to make a significant leap forward in establishing my practice. The influence of peers and the Visual Arts team would also be absolutely vital – coming as I do from a science background, the critical aspect of participation will be of immense value.
How much do you need and what would the money be used for?
I am seeking a total of £2000 to enable me to launch my practice and make new work over a period of two-six months. The Jerwood Bursary would be used for mentoring (about £500), and for the development of Mother Bunting. If I am successful in finding other funds these would go towards new projects.What is the timeline for activity?
This would take place over six months, which is the time period over which Lenka Clayton offers mentoring. Within that time I would anticipate Mother Bunting being made and shown at at least three events, (one is already in progress) with the potential for more, and for at least three other projects to launch this year. I can begin project work immediately upon receipt of funding.
In the event they awarded 12 bursaries of £1000 each, and commented that the standard and number of applications demonstrates a strong need for more support for early stage artists.
I received the following message from the programme:
We are writing to let you know that your project has not been selected for a Jerwood Visual Arts Artist Bursary. This was not an easy choice and each and every application was viewed carefully. There were over 730 applications and the work and consideration that had gone into these was clear. We know that the final outcome will disappoint many applicants and we are sorry not to be able to include your work in the final selection.
Whilst we regret not bringing better news, it was important to us to get to know your work and although we can’t give individual feedback we can tell you that your project was shortlisted and reviewed by Oliver Fuke, Gallery Manager, Jerwood Visual Arts and Sarah Williams, Head of Programme, Jerwood Visual Arts.
I am very happy to have been shortlisted but also frustrated that I could have been very close and wonder what I could have done more, or what I did wrong. However there is strictly no feedback as there are just too many people applying for that to feasible.
You can see the artists that were chosen here: jerwoodvisualarts.org/projects/artist-bursaries/