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Watershed's 2017 Residencies: Why you should apply...

Posted on Wed 28 Jun 2017
Residents of Watershed's Pervasive Media Studio

Image: Pervasive Media Studio by Paul Blakemore

“Watershed gave me the all too rare opportunity of making ‘risky’ work and pushed me to change my practice into a new and bold direction.”

Sharon Clark, Creative Director of Raucous

“Watershed has allowed me to really be me.”

Tom Marshman, Performance Artist

“It's an international community of artists, tinkerers, and founders that I am deeply proud to be a part of."

Samantha Payne, COO Open Bionics

Our latest call for Residencies at Watershed is currently open, offering support for practitioners to develop their creative technology projects.

To give you an idea of what our Residencies offer we checked in with three of our past funded residents about what they are doing now. From sold out theatre runs, to bionic limbs, to Greek Gods chatting in WhatsApp, they are working on some pretty awesome projects…

Sharon Clark, Playwright and now Creative Director of Raucous, participated in our Artist in Residence programme in 2011. She used the opportunity to embed technology within her practice and believes it was an important turning point for her.

Sharon says:

“I was offered one of the first Artist Residencies at Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio six years ago. I had an idea to make an immersive piece of theatre that harnessed creative technology but I had little direct experience in making theatre this way. They took a risk on me as an artist that led to my first show, The Stick House, being made in 2015. The Stick House sold out a six week run, was seen by over 4,000 people and garnered four and five star reviews. Watershed gave me the all too rare opportunity of making ‘risky’ work and pushed me to change my practice into a new and bold direction.”

Led by Sharon, Raucous are now creating their second major production Ice Road, which fuses Russian folklore with historical witness accounts. Set within the besieged Russian city of Leningrad in 1942, the piece will use performance, creative technology, original music, film, smell and robotics to tell an immersive story. Ice Road will premiere in Bristol this year. Keep an eye on the Raucous website for the latest updates.

Performance artist Tom Marshman makes fantastic work that shares people’s stories, thoughts and memories. He joined us on a Micro-residency in 2014. Tom is now touring Kings Cross (Remix) a critically acclaimed show that uncovers the hidden histories of LGBT communities in London in the 1980’s; he will be hosting a couple of steamy nights at Bristol’s Red Lodge Museum this weekend, transforming the gallery into a dating site, weaving through the truths and fictions of dating history; and on 7th July, he invites us to Hanbury Hall in Worcestershire to imagine what would happen if the Greek Gods had a WhatsApp group, what gossip might we uncover? We love Tom’s work and would highly recommend popping along.

Tom says:

“Never mind Whitney asking 'Can I be me?' Watershed has allowed me to really be me.

I have found allies from the community of artists and academics who work here, critical feedback and support from the producers who make up the team and constant injection of new ideas from the Lunchtime Talks and great banter across the Pervasive Media Studio.”

Following their New Talent Residency in 2015, robotics prosthetics startup Open Bionics have become an award-winning company creating affordable bionic hands for amputees. They really are changing lives. We’re particularly excited by the work they are doing for and with children. By collaborating with the Walt Disney Company who have generously donated the time of its creative teams and provided royalty free licenses, they have produced prosthetics kids can get really excited about and feel proud to wear. They’re not just getting medical devices, they’re getting bionic hands inspired by their favourite characters like Queen Elsa, Luke Skywalker and Iron Man. And we are not the only ones impressed by their work. Earlier this year, they won the International UAE Robotics for Good Award in Dubai, which came with a $1 million prize fund.

Samantha Payne, COO says:

"We feel incredibly lucky to be a part of Watershed's creative eco-system. During our residency at the Pervasive Media Studio we were encouraged to challenge our own design processes and focus on co-creation. This advice was pivotal for us, as we held our first amputee workshop and mass user-testing lab. The workshop at the Studio enabled us to gain clarity on the kind of superhero powers young people with limb differences wanted! Personally, I have made some great friends at the Studio who I can rely on for advice and help. The community isn't just tied to Bristol; I recently met a fellow Studio Resident during a WIRED fellows trip in Greece and another on a trip to New York. It's an international community of artists, tinkerers, and founders that I am deeply proud to be a part of."

Feeling inspired? Take a look at this years’ residency programmes here, which are open for applications now. Whether you’re just starting out, returning from a career break, changing direction, or established in your practice, we can help you get your idea off the ground. Deadline for applications is 10:00am on Mon 24 July.

And if our funded programmes don't fit your practice, timescales or ideas, you can apply any time to join the Pervasive Media Studio community.