About The Residency

Watching the Sun: Virtual Residency was created as an opportunity for multidisciplinary artists to be inspired by a rich mix of creative provocations, with input from astronomy specialists, archaeoastronomers and astrophysicists, all of whom are connected via their practice to the theme of watching the universe.

This residency is produced by Mayes Creative, is presented in association with the Royal Astronomical Society, and is kindly supported by CLLD using EU Funding.

This group residency will take place virtually between Monday 30th November and Friday 4th December 2020. During the course, participants will have access to a relevant collection of assets from previous residencies and projects, a network of arts-science professionals, and ongoing supported opportunities to workshop, discuss and share ideas with a group of like-minded people.

We welcome all art forms to our residencies – there are lots of opportunities for sharing work and ideas with others and we encourage everyone to bring ideas, enthusiasms and any relevant research to share. 

From Jo Mayes, Creative Director of Mayes Creative:

This is a new way of working for all of us – we usually deliver group residencies staying together at a site and have been working and testing out different ways of approaching this in socially distanced times. 

The key elements which we felt important to recreate are: interaction with other artists; inspiration and input from experts (in this case expert astronomers/astrophysicists); an ability to develop an ongoing network and ‘community of interest’; and an opportunity to share work and offer each other positive feedback.

Our key approach to programming this week is flexibility – we are aware that this is a new situation for all of us to be working in and that there are some interesting ways of approaching residencies/courses online. What we are trying to do is to recreate as much as possible from the physical group residencies which we have run successfully before, whilst adding benefit from the fact that we are all working together online.

What’s On Offer

As part of our working relationship with the Royal Astronomical Society, we are delighted to be able to offer participants exclusive opportunities including a live tour of materials from the RAS Archive, access to which is usually reserved for members only. 

Alongside the RAS talk and tour, we are excited to host artists and scientists, side by side, to deliver a mix of practical learning and sharing opportunities, as well as inspiration for your practice.

Confirmed for the 2020 virtual residency:

> ’The Sun is a Star’ – a talk and discussion on the life and death of stars with Dr Sheila Kanani of the Royal Astronomical Society

> Discussions with practicing artists including Melanie King and Justin Wiggan about how they work at the cross section of arts and science and how they have developed their working practice

> ‘Watching The Sun’ – an interactive talk on the story of Cornwall’s solar watchers by Carolyn Kennett FRAS and Cheryl Straffon

> An exclusive tour of materials from the Royal Astronomical Society’s archive with Librarian and Archivist Dr Sian Prosser

> Artist Peter Beeson will talk about the ‘Seventeen Suns’ project he began in lockdown, which has expanded to over one hundred paintings of the sunrise

> A talk and discussion with artist Steve Geliot on his role as Artist Ambassador for the Earth Project and his ongoing campaign for the protection of dark skies

> Successful Art Science Collaboration: an ongoing conversation between Mayes Creative’s Dr Joanna Mayes and Carolyn Kennett FRAS about their approach to working together and their perspectives on making successful art-science collaborations

Next Steps

No outcomes are required, but we will create a publication of creative outputs to which participants can submit work. This folio will be printed in a limited run, and will be lodged into the Royal Astronomical Society Archive and Library.

Participants will be invited to join the Mayes Creative Artists Network; 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.

Participants will also be eligible to submit work to future physical exhibition/collaboration opportunities, which are in the planning for when Covid-19 restrictions ease. Watch this space!