Above and Below – Ancient Materials: Virtual Arts-Science Residency. Delivered in partnership with the Royal Astronomical Society (11th – 15th Oct 2021).

This residency offers an opportunity to be inspired by a rich mix of creative provocations, with input from specialists in astronomy, heritage, geophysics and planetary science, alongside multidisciplinary artists, all of whom are connected, via their practice, to the theme of ancient materials. This residency will take place virtually, offering opportunities to workshop, discuss and share ideas with a group of like-minded people.

Apply here

About This Residency

This group residency takes place virtually between Monday 11th October and Friday 15th October 2021. The main input and sharing days are planned to be Monday, Tuesday and Friday of that week, with an artist talk on Wednesday morning and small group sessions with an astrophysics specialist on Thursday evening.  We offer a mix of daytime and evening sessions, delivered over Zoom, with Slack providing a secure channel for communication and collaboration (see FAQ for details). Key sessions are recorded to support flexible delivery for those with other commitments, with the slack communication channel facilitating ongoing flexible sharing with other participants and sharing process, research and creative responses during the residency week and follow-on period.

We will run a creative follow-on meeting on Thursday, 21st October and will meet again later in the year to discuss outcomes and next steps. During the course, participants will have access to a relevant collection of assets from previous residencies and projects and the opportunity to converse with fellow participants.  

We welcome all art forms – there will be lots of opportunities for sharing work/ideas with others on the virtual residency and we encourage everyone to bring ideas, enthusiasms and any relevant research to share. We are also keen to include researchers/enthusiasts of all disciplines; if you know anyone who you think would be interesting to include (collaborators perhaps?), please encourage them to apply.


Artists will have the opportunity to contribute their work to an ‘Ancient Materials’ residency postcard series, which will be shared through RAS and Mayes Creative channels as digital and physical postcards.

Alongside this, we will invite participants to contribute to our online blog, which will be shared across our social media platforms. If taken up, each artist will have a section on the Mayes Creative website dedicated to their work on this residency. Participants will also be eligible to submit work to future physical exhibition/collaboration opportunities.

Participants will also be invited to join the Mayes Creative artists Patreon network (for a subscription fee); designed to continue working relationships and collaborations, provoke conversation and discussion, and offer informed advice on funding, project development and working in the arts-science-heritage cross-section. There will also be exclusive opportunities available only to the network.

Confirmed for this virtual residency:

** Pale Blue Dot Collective – Framing the Universe Louise Beer + John Hooper present and discuss a series of works that explore the world around us, from the coastline of Margate to the endless skies of Aotearoa New Zealand. Through their shared practice, the artists endeavour to bring a new perspective about the detrimental impact of the climate crisis, not only on humanity but on all life and all environments.


** Exploring Mars a talk by Lucinda Offer (RAS Education and Outreach Officer)

Lucinda has worked in Mars analogue research with both the Mars Society and NASA in the USA. Her work spans the search for life, robotics and human simulations. She is currently the Executive Director of the Mars Society and is a UK Space Champion for Tim Peake’s return to space.


**Dr Sian Prosser – RAS Archive Exploration – A virtual tour of historical Mars observations from the RAS Library and Archives

Sian manages the library and archives of the Royal Astronomical Society, making them accessible to researchers and working with colleagues to use them in outreach and education activities. With a background in languages and a PhD in French medieval manuscripts, she became drawn to working with memory institutions, and since joining the Royal Astronomical Society in 2014 has completed the Certificate in Astronomy at UCL to better understand and interpret the RAS collections, and the people that created them.


**Carolyn Kennett – Ancient sites and ancient materials 

A talk about prehistory and the materials used in ancient monuments. Carolyn Kennett is a historian of astronomy and archaeoastronomer.


**Dr Joanna Mayes – Shares her research into using minerals and pigments from a Cornish mine in her film practice, alongside processing and tinting film using plants from around the site. Joanna is Director of Mayes Creative and a specialist in alternative film processes.


** Artist: Peter Beeson – ‘Minerals as Materials’ 

Peter will talk about his work at Cornwall’s Rosevale Mine, collecting pigments from the mine and using them to create pastels and paints.


**Artist: Lisa Pettibone 

Lisa’s art practice questions how the world is put together in terms of energy, forces and form as filtered through human perception. Exploring through materials, she creates sculpture (glass, fabric, paper, plastic) and uses photography and printmaking to investigate areas where humans and nature intersect. Often this process incorporates periods of research into scientific concepts, collaboration or site-specific work. Recent work reflects a growing interest in astronomy and physics.


Further details about speakers and workshop leaders can be found at www.mayescreative.com

Submission dates:

This is a call for the first round of submissions for everyone and final deadline for Cornwall residents. Deadline midnight on 13th September 2021.

Second round deadline (please watch out for separate call), if places are still available, will be midnight on 1st October 2021.

Costs: £179 full price, and we have two supported places available for Cornish residents at £79 – please get in touch if you fit this brief.

There will be an opportunity for one artist to contribute a relevant materials workshop to the residency, in return for a discount of £50 off the full price. There will be an opportunity to apply for this within the application form.

This residency is produced by Mayes Creative in collaboration with the RAS.

Apply here