Firstsite Associate Makers programme

From the Selves Portrait series, courtesy of Eleanor Fogg

From the Selves Portrait series, courtesy of Eleanor Fogg

In addition to the Associate Artist programme, I have also been developing an Associate Makers scheme at Firstsite.

This scheme, which runs parallel to the Associate Artist scheme, offers four makers a range of professional development opportunities based on self-directed pathways, across a spectrum of practical and theoretical interests.

In May of 2015, four makers were accepted onto this programme. They are:

Alida Sayer

Eleanor Fogg

Lisa Selby

Sophia Simensky

Designed to reflect Firstsite’s core activities, the Associate Maker scheme will be led by a discourse that aims to extend the critical debate centred on the relationship between art and design. It will comprise a range of opportunities which will be determined by participants but which might include:

  • A series of discussions led by guest speakers who work variously as designers, artist-designers and as artists whose material investigations are led by their interests in craft and applied art
  • Funded residencies with one of our national partners, according to participants’ interests and practice
  • An international research trip to a region, city or organisation of particular interest
  • Professional development seminars
  • Public-facing outcomes (events/ publications etc.)
  • Peer to peer activities in collaboration with Firstsite’s Associate Artists and Learning Associates
  • A programme of professional development seminars developed with and delivered through educational partners across the East of England

This scheme was open to makers from, currently based in, or returning to the East of England, who have graduated from degree, postgraduate or PhD courses in the last two to five years (2009- 2013) and who are currently practicing full-time or part-time as a maker. This is an unpaid professional development opportunity, though remuneration for selected participants is made through funding for residencies, all travel costs and expenses and fees for selected events. The programme runs from May 2015 until December 2015 and requires a time commitment of approximately one meeting, residency or event per month.

The Associate Makers programme complements the development of emerging artists that Firstsite supports through its exhibition programme, Associate Artist, Associate Learning Artists and Freelance Artist schemes, the annual Firstsite Collectors’ Group Bursary Awards and fostering of initiatives such as ENAS, Slack Space and Essex Summer of Art. Artists will be encouraged to make connections within these peer groups and take part in critical dialogue generated through their relationships.

This scheme has been generously supported by the Arts Council England, Making Space and Smiths Row.