Counterpoints Arts
Yellow Arrow
Log in  |  Join

All Categories

Residence: St John the Baptist, Newcastle
3rd May 2017
platforma churches call

Call to artists:

A supported artist residency at St John the Baptist, Newcastle, with A+CE (Art and Christianity Enquiry) and Platforma Festival


A+CE and Platforma seek proposals from artists who would like to take up a supported four week residency based at St John the Baptist Church in Newcastle this summer. Programmed in connection with the Platforma festival, the residency presents an opportunity for an artist to explore their location, the church and its surroundings, and respond within the wider context of the festival’s themes of residency, migration and belonging within a unique and sacred space. The residency will be an opportunity to research and develop new work, the production of which will be supported by A+CE’s Art in Churches programme. The work produced will be displayed in St John the Baptist church in association with Platforma Festival opening on 19 October 2017.

Background to the project This residency is conceived in collaboration with the Platforma Festival, the national festival for the arts by, about and with refugees and migrants. Now in its fourth year, Platforma Festival will take place in Newcastle and across the North East between 19-28 October 2017. Bringing together artists, organisations, funders and others for discussions, workshops and a programme of performances, exhibitions, screenings and talks, Platforma (managed by Counterpoints Arts) works with organisations, artists and performers of any background or political status (e.g. refugees and non-refugees), whose work examines the varied experiences of refugees and migrants both before and after they arrived and settled in their host country.

The residency, production and installation of the work will be managed by the Arts in Churches project. This is a new initiative, funded by A+CE and the Church Buildings Division of the Church of England, which supports and develops ambitious and forward thinking artist projects in churches and cathedrals. The project brings together expertise in producing site-specific projects with an agenda to advocate for high quality art in churches. A+CE is the leading UK organisation in the field of visual art and religion.

St John the Baptist church St John the Baptist is a Grade One listed medieval church. The first church built on the site was in 1130, and though additions and modifications have been made over the years the church as it appears today dates from the mid fifteenth century. Its history reflects that of the city, architectural elements were added over time by various wealthy merchants and it is associated with important local historical figures such as 18th century composer Charles Avison (1709-1858), 19th century medical pioneer John Snow (1813-1858), neo-classical builder Richard Grainger (1797-1861) and renowned engraver Thomas Bewick (1753-1828). The church contains important examples of medieval stained glass depicting Newcastle’s coat of arms and the arms of Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland (1341-1408).

Themes and approaches

The Platforma Festival is themed around migration and the refugee experience. This residency affords an opportunity to consider those themes through the lens St John the Baptist’s Grade One listed building. Proposals are welcome from artists working in any discipline.

The concept of an artist residency which is thematically anchored in ideas of residency, belonging and diaspora is inspired by the writings of Paul Gilroy, who locates diasporic identity ‘in the interstices between residence and origin’ and Doreen Massey. Massey writes, in For Space (2005) : ‘Space is the product of 2 interrelations; thus we must recognize space as constituted through interactions, from the immensity of the global to the intimately tiny…space is the sphere of the possibility of the existence of multiplicity…the sphere in which distinct trajectories coexist; as the sphere therefore of coexisting heterogeneity.’

The project is conceived in congruence with the letter published by the Church of England to former Prime Minister David Cameron in 2015, which states: “It is a command in Judaism, “to welcome and love the stranger as you would yourself because you were strangers in the land of Egypt”. Followers of Islam are obliged to provide food, shelter and safety to the traveller. Christ himself and his family were refugees…A moral crisis of this magnitude calls each and all of us to play our parts.”

Submission, and other practicalities

The successful artist will be paid a stipend of £1500 as well as a fee of £750. Materials to be supplied.

Timescale for the project:

Residency period: four weeks during summer-early autumn 2017 (dates can be agreed according to artist’s schedule).

Festival dates: 19-31 October 2017.

The work will be exhibited until January 2018.

Proposals to be submitted in the form of a summary (up to 500 words) of your idea, supplemented by your CV and a selection of images which help support or explain your idea. Please send to The winning proposal will be selected by committee. Final date for submission 19 May 2017.

All work produced in connection with this project remains the property of the artist.