Artist in residence

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

Apply for our 2022 project

Bower Ashton Library is inviting proposals from City Campus students and staff for our next Artist in Residence project to take place between January and May next year.

The research and final piece should be inspired by any aspect of the library at Bower Ashton and should take the form of a book, zine or installation of printed matter that can be displayed in the library vitrines or our gallery space.

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 should take the form of a book, zine or installation of printed matter that can be displayed in one of the library vitrines or our gallery space in the Study Room.

When will the project run?

We negotiate with the chosen artist around their schedule. In the past, the residency has involved the artist doing their research in the library at the start of the new year with the aim of displaying the final piece/s in the library for the City Campus Degree Show in June.

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 May. We’re open every day of the year from 07.30 to midnight.

Can I involve library staff?

Absolutely! Although 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?

Email your proposal of up to 500 words to Shaun Oaten at by 7 January 2022. Remember, your proposal should be for a printed matter book, zine or installation informed by the library at Bower Ashton.

Who will be involved in choosing the proposal?

A committee of staff from the library at Bower Ashton and the Centre for Print Research as well as representation from our previous Artist in Residence projects.

Where can I get more information?

If you have any further questions please email Shaun Oaten at

When will I find out if my application was chosen?

We will inform applicants by Friday 14 January.

Previous projects

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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