Gingerbread House Residencies

Walking the Land is calling for artists/craftspeople to apply for 6-8 mini residencies of 1-2 weeks at The Gingerbread House. The residencies will form an important part of Walking the Land’s project, Growing Places, which is putting into practice various theories about the significance of immersive artists engagement with place. Selected artists will provide inspiring and immersive experiences to engage the local community with the work of project partners Stroud Community Agriculture, Oakbrook Community Farm, Hawkwood Centre for Future Thinking, and the Stroud Woodland Co-Op, centred around themes of food, farming (particularly regenerative farming), woodland management, soil, nature and storytelling. They will also have time to develop their own responses to the area surrounding The Gingerbread House, with input from project partners, lead artists and experts.

For information about Walking the Land see: https://walkingtheland.org.uk/

For more details about the wider project see: https://walkingtheland.org.uk/growing-places/

For more details about the residencies see below.

Information for Applicants for Artist Residencies in the Gingerbread House

The Gingerbread House residencies are a part of Growing Places, a Walking the Land Project. You can find out more about Walking the Land here, and more about the wider Growing Places project and its aims here.

Growing Places has been funded by the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme, created by Defra and delivered locally by the Cotswolds National Landscape team, enabling Walking the Land to offer 6-8 short, funded residencies in their Gingerbread House (sadly not 100% edible), between September 2024 and the end of January 2025. Residents will have time to develop their own work and will also be required to provide at least one day of immersive and inspiring community engagement work per week of residency (if you want to spend more time working with the community, that is absolutely fine!).

Who

We would be delighted to receive applications from diverse artists and craftspeople (or small collectives), at all stages of their careers, with diverse practices – walking artists, socially engaged artists, painters, drawing artists, sculptors, ceramicists, spoken and written word artists…. The only limitation is the off-grid and sometimes hard to access nature of the Gingerbread House. We can provide a bit of solar-powered light and wood-powered warmth, but that’s about it.

We have a few different types of residency (please specify which you are applying for on the application form):

● One residency, and possibly several extra workshops, will be provided by an artist with an interest in soil and composting.

● Another residency is particularly suited to a craftsperson who could make some furniture for the Gingerbread House from locally felled and milled timber.

● A third residency would suit an artist who would be happy working with willow and building a sculptural dead hedge in the woods.

● If you might be interested in responding to the farming and cultural history of the area, and connecting that to the work of project partners, we can offer one resident the chance to work with the collection in the Museum in the Park, Stroud.

● The remaining residencies are more general: responding to the place and the work of the Growing Places partners, as outlined below

All residents will need to integrate their own work, whatever it may be, with community engagement by providing at least one workshop for a community/school group. Most of these workshops will be on site, but some may be off site if transport/access is an issue.

As there is no overnight accommodation, we are offering these residencies to artists within easy reach of the project, in Stroud, Gloucestershire. Because we are concerned about the environmental impact of our project, we would take the need for a long journey/how that journey would be made into account during our selection process.

If you are based further afield and would like to know more about what we are doing and about future artist opportunities, please subscribe to our artist mailing list, here. At the end of the project all artists will be able to be a part of our directory, allowing community groups and landowners to connect with artists to deliver workshops, experiences and events on their land into the future.

What we will provide

Studio space will be in The Gingerbread House, a place to house artists and inspire visitors, to tell stories, to think about the wonder (or magic) contained within the world around us, and about the wisdom held by wise women (or witches), who knew so intimately the power and value of the plants in the woods and fields surrounding them. It will take the form of a 3x4m house-shaped tent resembling a traditional gingerbread house, which will be situated in the woods and adjacent farmland managed by the Growing Places partners, just north of Stroud. It’s a wonderful place. We will provide some basic furnishings and warmth (plus very basic cooking facilities) via a wood burning camping stove. We are able to offer payment of £1463 per week.

(NB. Walking the land has currently raised around 80% of the project costs, and while further funding is being sought, all artists are being asked to help to underwrite the project by donating a little under 20% of the amounts quoted – in this case around £220). We are also able to give an additional amount of around £200 for materials, and will have a stock of items for use in workshops. We are happy to arrange meetings with partners and experts in areas you might be interested in to inform your work.

What you will provide

We are looking for people to investigate and respond to the work of Growing Places partners thinking about regenerative farming, food production, soil health and composting, sustainable woodland management, doing the best for nature. We would like you to think about the past, present and future relationships between farming, food and landscape. Responding to the amazing work of the partners, who, for example work so hard to grow food in ways which leave the land in a better state than it started in, and to the above themes, we would like you to produce your own work and to hold at least one workshop for a group from the community per week of your residency. A limited number of sets of blank canvas internal walls to the gingerbread house is available for residents/residents working with community groups to use in their work. Resulting work produced both by you and by/with community groups may be included in our exhibition at the Museum in the Park in early 2025. We would also encourage and hope for participation in our end of project conference, The Growing Places Festival, also to be held at the Museum in the Park over the first weekend of February 2025.

When

Timeline:

Applications close on July 10th.

Successful applicants will be informed around 3 weeks later. There will be no interviews.

Residencies will be held between early September 2024 and late January 2025.

Selection process/criteria for selection

You can find a link to our application form here.

Please take a look through the form when you’re developing your application so you don’t miss something you need to have available – it may also answer some of your questions about the residencies. We will be asking for various practical details, plus a proposal in no more than 750 words.

Please also send either a link to somewhere we can see your work, or a selection of work as a PDF under 10MB to: growingplaces_admin@walkingtheland.org.uk

Artists will be chosen by our selectors on the basis of the following criteria:

The quality of your proposal. Will it:

  • Be a good fit for the project.
  • Create thought provoking and inspiring work and experiences.
  • Connect people who participate in activities provided by the artists in residence with nature through the work of partners and the location.
  • Effectively engage a large number/range/particular group of people.

We will need to see evidence of ability to deliver a successful and imaginative residency/workshop, whether that is a track record of similar work, or a carefully thought out plan (we are open to giving opportunities to people without extensive experience in the precise area/early career artists).

We will also be taking into account your distance from Stroud (and how you might be getting there each day if you’re not that close), in keeping with the ethos of our project, as outlined above.

There is no application fee, but if you like the sound of our project and feel able to make a small contribution to help make it all happen. £10 would be very handy! Whether you do or don’t donate will not. of course, affect the outcome of your application for a residency. Here is the link to our GoFundMe page. Thank you! 

Our Selectors

Residents will be selected by a wonderful panel of selectors:

Lesley Greene commissioned art for the Bristol Children’s Hospital for which she received an Honorary Degree from the University of the West of England. Currently she is commissioning work for a new Cancer Centre in Liverpool. She Chaired the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust for some years and was a founder Trustee of Stroud Valleys Artspace. She co-founded Bisley Community Composting scheme and Bisley’s Community Orchard. She is the Bisley Allotment Warden and Parish Tree Warden. She served as Bisley’s District Councillor for eight years and is a Parish Councillor now. She is a committed organic gardener growing most of the household’s vegetables and fruit.

Walking the Land artist Janette Kerr has a PhD in Fine Art, is an Hon Royal Scottish Academician, RWA Academician, and Past President of the Royal West of England Academy of Art. Exhibiting regularly across the UK and abroad, her work is held in national and international collections. She has worked on numerous residencies and has a strong track record of initiating/working collaboratively on artistic projects.

Jo Leahy is a founder member, artist and director of Stroud Valleys Artspace. With energy and determination Jo Leahy and her Co-Director, created a vital and innovative organisation from scratch – an organisation that has grown and developed to the point where it is now recognised as one of the most active and exciting arts organisations in the South West. Jo Leahy has project managed the development of all 3 phases of the capital project. She previously worked in an artistic partnership undertaking commissions, performances and workshops. She has been an Advisor for the Artist-Led Initiative Advisory Service (ALIAS), and also has been active in the development work of the National Federation of Studio Providers, Turning Point South West and Visual Arts South West.

Rachel McDonnell has been a part of Walking the Land for around 8 years, is a director of the Community Interest Company and is co-lead artist for Growing Places. Rachel has exhibited widely in England and Northern Ireland, including participating in RA summer exhibitions and RUA and RWA open exhibitions, BEEP painting biennial. In 2021 she was shortlisted for the Jackson’s Painting Prize and in the same year was the winner of the Landscape Prize in 2021.