Artist in residence

The Artist in Residence project is hosted at Bower Ashton Library, City Campus.

Apply for our 2024 project

Applications for 2024 are now closed.

Please check back later for details of our 2025 application cycle.

How the residency works

What will I need to produce?

The research and final piece should be inspired by any aspect of the library at Bower Ashton. The final work can take any form such as an item of printed matter, an object or artefact or installation that can be displayed in one of the library vitrines or in our Library Gallery.

When will the project run?

You can begin your research in the library whenever you want to. We aim to display the final work in the library for the start of the new academic year in September 2024.

How long will I need to spend in the library?

It’s up to you. You can spend as much time conducting your research for the project as you need between January and June. We’re open every day of the year from 07:30 to midnight.

Can I involve library staff?

Absolutely, though it probably depends on what you want them to do...!

Is there any financial support available?

Yes. UWE Bristol Library provides a £200 bursary in the form of credit at the Bower Ashton Art Shop for materials.

Will the Artist in Residence be able to keep their finished pieces?

Of course, though it would be great if, at the end of the project, you would be willing to donate a copy of your final work to the library. You’ll be under no obligation to do so, however.

How do I apply?

At this stage we are just interested to know your initial idea. Email your proposal, along with a few words about you and your practice, to Shaun Oaten at by Monday 22 January 2024. You are welcome to get in touch before submitting your idea at any time before the deadline.

Who will be involved in choosing the proposal?

A selection of staff from the library at Bower Ashton and the Centre for Print Research will examine each proposal and put the final decision to a vote.

Where can I get more information?

In the first instance please email Shaun Oaten at

When will I find out if my application was chosen?

We will inform applicants by Friday 2 February 2024.

Previous projects

2022: A Comforting Space

Clara von Eye’s residency focused on visually documenting the physical space of the library, while encouraging viewers to appreciate and reflect on its benefits to the university community. Clara began by creating numerous sketches of the library interiors and its visitors before inviting students and staff to become involved, collecting responses in a questionnaire about how they described the library space and what they enjoyed most about it. Collagraph prints were made based on the sketches, using materials that reflected a library environment: fabric similar to that of the furniture, different paper stocks and old softback covers. In a mixed media approach, the drawings, collagraph prints and textual information from the questionnaire were brought together into a series of six images in a concertina format.

Library Artist in Residence project 2022.

2020: Anagapesis

Ben Jenner’s residency was inspired by the area of asemic writing, defined as being a body of calligraphy that contains no semantic content. Asemic writing looks like the handwritten word but isn’t: therefore the reader of the art work is left to interpret and deduce the text. Ben’s work led him to explore texts and words in the library that were foreign to him, away from the printmaking and book arts shelves that he usually focused on when visiting the library. His work aims to let the act of drawing the written word act as a tool for communicating an idea and leave space for the viewer to explore and speculate rather than understand and move on.

Library Artist in Residence project 2020

2019: Issue and Return

Zelda Velika and Angie Butler asked staff at Bower Ashton to collect all the scraps of paper left in returned library books. A variety of physical information was amassed that revealed how a book was used: lists of things people needed to remember; learning experiences; placeholders for important information; each scrap relayed the nature and character of library users. The artists then arranged these scraps together to make new narratives, collating a series of poems/statements into artists’ books as well as a series of eight digitally-printed cushions that can be found around the library today.

Library Artist in Residence project 2019

2018: Twenty Library Bookshelves

Our first Artist in Residence, Cathey Webb, randomly picked words from books on the library shelves, to create ‘found poems’. A series of 20 small pamphlet books, each representing one of the chosen library shelves, were produced containing a poem on each page. The set was presented in an exquisite wooden box.

Library Artist in Residence project 2018

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