Summer Residencies

Celebrating freedom & creativity through collaboration

These have been created to serve as an antidote to the language of ‘lockdown’ and social control. In contrast, the Summer Residencies are intended celebrate freedom and creativity through collaboration.

Selected guest writers have been invited to respond to the work of visual artists with whom the Festival has been working during early Spring 2020 and previously – with a view to the Festival producing fully illustrated catalogues for each residency as a record of these collaborations. The catalogues will include works for sale, individual and shared writing and any other content that the artists and writers choose to create.

These will be published online and emailed to Festival supporters and followers.

The collaboration and response is by invitation. It can therefore be as much or as little as feels right or comfortable for the artists and writers involved : there is no expectation for artists and writers to produce particular work or to perform. The absence of expectation and room for freedom of expression and creative association feels really important.

From the Festival’s perspective, the purpose of the Summer Residencies is simply to see what evolves; and to welcome any emerging material for the Summer Exhibition, catalogues and accompanying online content, including Zoom talks and Instagram posts. This may extend to spoken or sound content that contributors also want to include.

Each Summer Residency has as its starting point a selection of one or two works by each artist, to which writers are invited to respond.

The Six Summer Residencies

The ‘Cherry’ Ingram Blossom Residency

An ongoing project with Emma Green, who has been painting cherry blossom at the farm – celebrating the life of ornithologist and cherry expert Collingwood ‘Cherry’ Ingram. The writer and journalist Naoko Abe has been invited to respond and we were delighted to launch The Summer Residencies online with a Zoom Talk by Naoko Abe on 13th June. A new sound composition Sakura avem by duo Polymix was launched on Saturday 20th June and a new Catalogue, which includes a foreword by Naoko Abe is also now available on the Festival website.

Notes from the Edge

This is based upon writing, monotypes, etchings and paintings by the artist Perienne Christian – working from the coast near Bawdsey in Suffolk. The writer and poet Sarah Salway has been invited to respond to Perienne’s work, in particular the beautiful painting “Earthing, 2020” – made for the original 2020 Alde Valley Spring Festival Exhibition.

The Rebirding Residency

This has grown out of a Hedge Hut Residency with wildlife artist Becky Munting. For the Rebirding Residency, Becky has been exploring the diversity of bird life at White House Farm, linked to a series of landscape interventions that are designed to support bird nesting habitats. Renowned Irish poet Paddy Bushe has been invited to respond to Becky’s paintings and the Rebirding Residency – including the paintings Gold Crest II and Blackbird II.

Familiar Fields & The Horsebox Residency

Bought from the writer Hugh Thomson in 2016, The Horsebox has become a semi-mobile studio at White House Farm. Currently it is the venue for Familiar Fields, a summer residency with Tessa Newcomb that explores the wildlife and changing use of fields at the farm, set within the surrounding countryside of the beautiful Upper Alde Valley. Tessa is joined by writer and Festival Director Jason Gathorne-Hardy – following an earlier collaboration for the book “An Artist in the Garden” [Full Circle Editions, 2012].

The Woodland Residency Part II

This was launched in June 2020 with Suffolk artist Jennifer Hall, who is returning to woodland at the farm after a year-long Woodland Residency Part I in 2017/18. This year’s Summer Residency focuses on the natural architecture and structures of wildlife in the woodland. This includes woodland clearings, veteran trees and bird nests, in particular : the materials that make them; where they are found; and also their importance in the landscape – both as homes to their creators and also as sources of inspiration in the creative arts.

kin’d & kin’d (Clare Whistler and Kay Syrad) has kindly accepted an invitation to respond to Jennifer’s work, starting with two of Jennifer’s extraordinary bronze nests as starting points : Blackbird’s Nest (Sweffling Hedgerow), 2020 and Wren’s Nest (Debenham Garden), 2020.

Forces in Translation : Maths, Making & Anthropology – Basketry Residency

This residency is being led by Dr Stephanie Bunn. It links to a larger inter-disciplinary project in which Stephanie is exploring the mathematical resonances of handmade basketry. The Alde Valley Spring Festival is contributing handmade loop baskets (kalang) from its collection of Bornean baskets.

These are from communities from the transboundary WWF / FORMADAT Heart of Borneo territory : from Lembudud village in the Kerayan Valleys of Indonesian Kalimantan; and from Pa Umor and Pa Longan in the Kelabit Highlands of Sarawak. They were sourced through our sister festival Bario Food Festival / Pesta Nukenen dan Kebudayaan Kelabit in the Kelabit Highlands of Sarawak, East Malaysia.

The Spring Festival is facilitating international cultural exchange on this project by introducing Stephanie Bunn to the Institute of Borneo Studies in Sarawak, whilst also working with Maggie’s Centres in the UK to commission a set of replica heritage loop baskets from makers in Malaysia and Indonesia as a cultural exchange.

For more information visit our Special Events page.

We will be bringing more news about the Summer Residencies over the coming months, including a new Wool Residency with Sarah Butters. If you would like more information about any of the residencies and new works for sale, please do not hesitate to contact the Festival office.

Wishing you a safe and happy summer ~

from the Alde Valley Spring Festival Team

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