Tom de Freston, Creative Fellow 2016

During my time at Birmingham I worked on two projects: a retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice (resulting in a graphic novel, short film and a body of paintings) and an exploration of the character of Poor Tom from King Lear (resulting in paintings, filmed performances and a digital platform)..


I am represented by Breese Little Gallery (London), with whom I have had four solo shows. Previous posts include: artist-in-residence at Medicine Unboxed (2014-16), Levy Plumb Visual Arts residency at Christ’s College, Cambridge (2008-2009), a Leverhulme-funded residency at Cambridge University (2010-11) and the Hatley Residency at C4RD (2011).

My poetic graphic novel, The Charnel House, won a Saboteur Award in 2015. My Orpheus and Eurydice project is resulting in a graphic novel (Bloomsbury 2016) and a short film, digital platform and series of performance (all funded by the arts council)

I have held exhibitions at Pallant House Gallery, The Globe Theatre and the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum, Tokyo.

In connection with the Poor Tom project I have exhibitions and commissions coming up with the Bodleian Library and Battersea Arts Centre.

For more on past projects, exhibitions and publications:


As part of my fellowship I will be looking to collaborate with students and staff across the school.

I will be running workshops at the RSC’s The Other Place in spring 2016.

I will be leading two groups for the Birmingham Project.

I am working with various people within the school to develop funding bids for the design and build of a digital platform for the Poor Tom project. 


OE: Orpheus and Eurydice

The project is a collaboration with various practitioners. It includes a body of paintings depicting an underworld, a graphic novel (Bloomsbury 2016), a short film and digital platform (funded by the arts council) and a series of exhibitions and performances.  My man collaborators on this project are Max Barton, Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Mark Jones and Shawn Soh.

Poor Tom

Poor Tom explores the question of what would it mean for an artist to inhabit the character of Poor Tom from King Lear. It will result in a collection of paintings, filmed performances and a digital platform which will capture all the elements of the project and will be the ultimate incarnation of the projects narrative. As well as developing this project within Birmingham University, I am also working with Battersea Arts Centre, Mark Jones and Professor Simon Palfrey (Oxford University). 


  • OE by Tom de Freston- Bloomsbury (2016)
  • Macbeth/Macbeth by Ewan Fernie and Simon Palfrey, with Tom de Freston- Bloomsbury (2016)
  • Tarot- ‘A Fools World’ by Tom de Freston and Helen Ivory, Gatehouse Press (2016)
  • Figuring out figurative art, Routledge (2015)
  • The Charnel House by Tom de Freston et al- Bridgedoor press. Saboteur Award winner 2015 (2014)
  • House of the Deaf Man by Tom de Freston and Andrea Porter (Gatehouse Press) (2012)
  • Scavengers by Tom de Freston and Kiran Millwood Hargrave with forewords by Sir Trevor Nunn and Dr. Abigail Rokison (2011)
  • On Falling by Richard Cork and Rye Holmboe (Breese Little) (2011)
  • Deposition essays by Sir Nicholas Serota and The Right Hon. Rowan Williams (Green Pebble) (2011)
  • Ekphrasis by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (ed.) Fifteen poets in response to Tom’s work (Freewood Publications) (2010)
  • Reflections- essays by Dr. Caroline Vout and Ruth Padel (Tablo Arts) (2010)