Artist in Residence Scheme

The Artist in Residence scheme invites artists to undertake a residency in order to develop new work exploring and responding to academic research as well as the University’s superb cultural assets. Based in a studio on campus, the Artists in Residence work alongside the University’s curators and researchers, forging new interdisciplinary relationships and delivering a range of cultural activity to staff, students and the public.

The Cultural Engagement team at the University of Birmingham are delighted to introduce the new Artists in Residence for 2018-19, General Public and Sophie Huckfield. Currently in the early stages of their residency, the artists will develop their projects over the coming academic year and are actively seeking creative and collaborative opportunities in order to explore new ideas. For updates on their residencies, see the Cultural Engagement social media pages on Facebook and Twitter.

General Public


Photo: General Public, The Endless Village, 2018, Courtesy of the artists

General Public is the collaborative platform of artists Elizabeth Rowe and Chris Poolman. They devise large-scale public art projects that incorporate elements of fiction, myth-making, local history re-invention and heritage rebooting.  Often this process involves re-working or inverting an established model or institutional structure.

Previous projects have included a re-interpretation of the biennale concept in inner-city Birmingham in Balsall Heath, a science fiction themed light festival exploring the politics of regeneration in Longbridge, a community competition resulting in 4000 new coins for Handsworth and a touring exhibition utilising migratory movements of hop-pickers as the conceptual basis for a tour in The Hop Project. In 2018, they conceived and produced The Endless Village, an apocalyptic sitcom that investigates life in an imagined post-Brexit Britain of the future.

General Public plan to use their residency at the University of Birmingham to research and develop their practice through The Pomology Project. This project hopes to explore and celebrate contemporary UK diversity through British orchard traditions and customs. What might be termed 'traditional' English fruits are actually descended from Central Asian ancestors and the project uses this analogy to look at how the UK is shaped by difference. As with previous projects it will bring together different voices in a multi-layered approach by taking a distinctly ‘heritage’ subject and attempting to ‘re-boot’ it within a contemporary socio-political context.

Sophie Huckfield

Photo: Sophie Huckfield, Make Your Future workshop, 2018, Craft Council/AQNB Productions, Courtesy the artist

Sophie Huckfield’s practice traces the intersection between art, craft and engineering. She employs traditional and experimental modes of production in order to create sculpture and functional objects. Exploring our relationship to materials and objects, specifically tools, machines and technologies, Huckfield seeks to emphasise and materialise the physical matter we hold in our hands blurring the boundaries between the commodity of objects and the tools used to produce them.  

Using a variety of modes of production, Huckfield explores the relationship between people and technologies, the makers and their objects. This has included the Crafts Council ‘Make Your Future’ project connecting traditional craft with digital technologies through a series of school workshops where attendees created their own ‘makers mark’ in pewter using ancient techniques of sand casting. Huckfield is currently working on the Ambience Factory, a collaborative project utilising a faux corporate mindfulness business, whose remit is to ease its clients' work anxiety through “stress relieving” digital technologies. Working with academics from the University’s Contemporary Philosophy of Technology Research Group, this satirical project explores the adoption of workplace well-being programmes and the benefits of cross-disciplinary practices between the arts, academia and technology.

Alongside her art practice Huckfield was previously an Engineering Technician in the Physics Workshop for the School of Physics and Astronomy. The Physics Workshop fabricates the unique parts and tools required to power the ground breaking technologies at the heart of the University’s world-renowned scientific experiments in the realm of physics. During her residency Huckfield will explore the unofficial archives of the Physics Workshop, which document the history of the workshop and the technicians who work on campus. She will also draw inspiration from objects and sculptures from the Research and Cultural Collections, with a particular focus on the works of Eduardo Paolozzi, one of the leading proponents of British Pop Art whose work combines the influences of surrealism, popular culture and mechanistic forms. Through the creation of sculpture, texts and public workshops, Huckfield will consider the fundamental relationship between the maker and the object they create.  

Previous Artists in Residence:

Faye Claridge (2016-17)


Faye Claridge’s practice explores how current and future identities are shaped by ideas about the past. She frequently works with archives and collections to connect the public to mythologies about personal, local and national identity.

She questions representation and belonging “in a country obsessed with (constantly reworked) history” and believes Brexit gives these issues “a renewed urgency to progressively understand ideas of Englishness based on social equality, inclusion, diversity and internationalism”.

Claridge has exhibited with the Arts Council Collection, at the Photographers’ Gallery and in the London Art Fair. She was shortlisted for the Helen Chadwick Fellowship with the British School in Rome and her first London solo show won a five-star review and the accolade of Time Out Exhibition of the Week. Recent works were nominated for three international book awards, purchased for the Rugby Collection, with the Contemporary Art Society, and used to promote a Tate Modern conference and as the cover for the book 'Performing Englishness’. An artist’s minigraph on Claridge’s work was produced in 2014 and other articles and portfolio spreads have appeared in The Guardian, Source and a-n. She also occasionally lectures in Photography & Fine Art and was a producer for the BBC in the West Midlands for 12 years.

Claridge lives in Warwickshire and is returning to her hometown for the residency, on the campus where her parents first met as students.

Lynn Dennison (2016-17)

Lynn Dennison, Waterfall, Dimensions variable, installation with video projection at De La Warr Pavilion 2014

Lynn Dennison’s practice uses film and installation to explore our relationship with the natural world; how we see and experience landscape and how important it is to people; how we notice it, (or don’t notice it,) and why certain landscapes resonate more strongly with us than others.

She is particularly interested in the idea of a fear of the landscape, and the creation of an artwork that suggests the enormity of nature. Her videos and installations celebrate the beauty of nature whilst acknowledging the interaction of man in the environment. Since graduating from an M.A. at Central St Martins in 2013, she has exhibited nationally and internationally, and has been commissioned to make work for Altered and the De La Warr Pavilion, amongst others. In 2015 she was the winner of the RBS Sculpture Shock Award and the resulting commission was shown in the Brunel Entrance Hall in Rotherhithe, London. Lynn Dennison lives and works in London.

Joanne Masding (2016-17)

'stuffs wander off, a shape steps in' installation view at Two Queens, Leicester, image courtesy Jules Lister

Joanne Masding (b. 1985) is an artist who lives and works in Birmingham. Joanne’s work is made to investigate the worth, ownership and production of physical stuff, and how this translates to a world that is growing increasingly digital, immaterial and reproducible. Recent exhibitions include: stuffs wander off, a shape steps in, Two Queens, Leicester, 2016 (solo); Image Music Text, IMT, London, 2016, After, Division of Labour, London, 2016, The Place of the Scene, Bloc Projects, Sheffield, 2015; Birmingham Show, Eastside Projects, Birmingham, 2015. She has recently been in residence at 501 Artspace, Chongqing, China and Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, Dublin, Ireland. Masding is preparing for a solo exhibition at The New Art Gallery Walsall, West Midlands in 2017. 

Matt Westbrook (2014-15)


Matt’s artistic practice involves breaking down accepted ideas into components, which he reassembles into brilliant new narratives. As well making collages, Matt considers the conceptual basis for this type of image making - exploring phenomena such as pareidolia and apophenia in his work.

The use of word-play, satire and fictional narratives are an important aspect of his ongoing collaboration with fellow artist Chris Poolman: BAZ (Birmingham Art Zine). Previous work by BAZ includes a pop-up Artist-led Polytunnel Beer café, an artist / curator blind dating show and more recently, a fictitious futuristic public transport carriage as part of this years Longbridge Light Festival.

For his residency at the University of Birmingham, Matt intends to initially work with the English and Creative Writing departments to develop narratives inspired by the personal stories and curiosities within the collection and archives.

He is also interested in the history and growth of the University’s campus and its surrounding areas, in particular the many domestic dwellings that have been converted to educational facilities.  He hopes to engage with staff, students and the public to explore and highlight their untold stories.

Please feel free to get in touch with Matt.

For more information about his work, visit Matt's website

Antonio Roberts (2014-15)

Antonio Roberts. Image by Furtherfield

Antonio graduated with an MA Digital Arts in Performance from Birmingham City University in 2011. Since then, he has been involved in a plethora of exhibitions and initiatives in and beyond Birmingham.

Antonio’s work explores digital media in a number of ways, including live coding performances, video installations, glitch art and more. His work is largely documented online, where Antonio encourages engagement by using ‘Copyleft’ licences that allow work to be reused, reinterpreted and remixed, without jeopardising authorship over original works. He also freely releases all code, documentation and sources used to create the works.

During his residency at the University of Birmingham, Antonio aims to explore issues of copyright, patents, intellectual property and art - issues which are pertinent as online communities become more prolific and harder to police. He hopes to find ways to increase accessibility of University collections whilst still maintaining the integrity and reputation of the University and Copyright holders.

Contact Antonio with any ideas, questions or comments by emailing

You can follow Antonio’s residency on his dedicated blog.

Sarah Taylor Silverwood (2012-13)


Sarah graduated from the University of Birmingham in 2007 with a first class degree in English, and went on to complete an MA in Fine Art at Birmingham City University. Her practice is drawing based but often incorporates text and references to literature. 

During her residency at the University of Birmingham, Sarah produced a comic book style series of drawings that explored the University of Birmingham’s cultural heritage, called The Mermaid and Lion. Outputs from the residency, as well as more recent projects can be viewed on the artist's website.

Bobby Nixon (2012-13)


Bobby graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2010. His dark, detailed drawings consider the human condition in times of catastrophe.

Bobby was inspired by the fine collection of Durer prints at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, and during his residency at the University he looked at contemporary notions of apocalypse. He also created an imagined portrait of the eminent Birmingham physician John Darwell. This, and more recent work, can be found on the artist's blog