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The awardees for Adaptations 2021 are Emma Edmonson and Lu Williams (Dog Ear), Libby Heaney and Tamara Stoll

Emma Edmonson and Lu Williams (Dog Ear)

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Lu Williams creates and commissions art through events, publications and workshops; exploring working class culture, intersectional feminism and social activism. They make sculpture, installation and sticker and zine print interventions and founded Grrrl Zine Fair. GZF functions as a platform for artists who make zines, a touring queer zine library, zine workhops and Grrrl In Print zine.

Investigations into hierarchies, precarity and alternative economics are at the center of Emma Edmondson’s research and practice. She founded TOMA, a postgraduate level art programme outside the traditional institutional model created in response to hierarchies surrounding access to higher education. She uses sculpture and text and sees TOMA and her teaching work as part of her creative practice.

Lu and Emma have worked together on workshops, events and publications. They are looking to cement a collaborative practice exploring play, feminist economics, critical language and DIY ethos. They both live and work in Southend.

With the Adaptations award Emma and Lu will be developing Dog Ear, a place for contemporary art publishing and sculptural dog toys. Dog Ear will bypass the gallery, bringing contemporary art directly into people’s homes, through newly commissioned artist-designed dog toys accompanied by artist-written texts.

As artists who write, both Lu and Emma appreciate the affordability and accessibility of self-publishing, how it is a vehicle for starting conversations, critique and education. The criticality that comes with art theory is beneficial for the world we live in, one entrenched in fake news and social bubbles; but the current terminology is academic and exclusive. Dog ear seeks to embrace kitchen table and dog park politics, producing art writing without the fluff and active, affordable sculptures centered around play.

Through Dog Ear Lu and Emma hope to create a circular economy that supports their practice, accessible contemporary art, and commissions other artists – a sustainable art ecology for the modern world.

Libby Heaney

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Libby Heaney is an artist with a PhD in quantum physics, who makes conceptual artworks with emerging technologies like machine learning and quantum computers.

The resulting videos, performances and participatory experiences question the machine’s dominant forms of categorization and playfully propose alternatives, undoing existing biases and forging new expressions of collective identity and belonging with each other and the world. Heaney has exhibited her artwork in the UK and internationally including solo exhibitions as part of the 2017 EU Capital of Culture in Aarhus and at the Goethe Institute (London 2019) and in group shows at Etopia Centre (Zaragoza 2021), Holden Gallery (online 2021), LUX/Hervisions (online 2020), Arebyte Gallery (online 2020) Tate Modern (London 2016, 2019), ICA (London 2019), V&A (London 2018), Barbican (London 2019), Somerset House (London 2019, 2020), Sheffield Doc Festival (2018), Science Gallery Dublin (2017, 2018, 2019), Sonar+D (Barcelona 2017), Ars Electronica (Linz 2017), Telefonica Fundacion (Lima 2017). She is currently a resident of Somerset House Studios.

For Adaptations Heaney will dig into the themes of collective identity, belonging and hybridity in and around Heaney’s allotment in Hackney. During the first lockdown Heaney took up gardening as a way of moving away from the screen and being gentle with herself. She was struck by the slow, patient nature of growing vegetables from seed; the quiet satisfaction of sharing homegrown produce with neighbours and friends and the kindness of the diverse community around the allotment. Heaney will understand how to weave this experience of belonging and collective identity into her digital art practice, while benefiting the community at the same time by undertaking a communal project around the allotment/estate, taking a discursive bottom up approach.

She will explore gardening as both a material embodied systems-based practice – one that is relevant locally but also in relation to the global climate crisis – and as a metaphor/process for undoing biases in digital systems such as machine learning.

Tamara Stoll

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Tamara Stoll’s practice links photography and social exchanges with self-publishing; working collectively and collaboratively — as photographer, artist, activist. Her interest is in the city of today: the street as social unit and the individuals and groups shaping it. Stoll sees both threatened by gentrification and marginalisation. She employs documentary, oral history, and archival strategies to activate marginal histories. These have led to community-engaged and public interventions, workshops, exhibitions, events, collective action and publishing.

Stoll currently divides her time between publishing projects and teaching on the Documentary Photography BA at LCC, UAL. ‘Ridley Road Market’ was nominated for the StartPoint Prize 2018. ‘The Rio Tape/Slide Archive – Radical community photography in Hackney in the 80s’ was produced collaboratively and published by Isola Press in 2020.

With the Adaptations award, Stoll will develop a collaborative DIY-publishing initiative called ‘Road Less Travelled Press’ — each volume is a micro-collaboration and specific exploration of individual or collective action in public space. Through research and mentoring with four presses and publishing organisations in London and collaborating with designer Rose Nordin, she aims to develop a resilient DIY blueprint for a regular print output.

Stoll’s goal is to produce the first volume as part of the award, ’Road Less Travelled: Vol. 0’ — a manifesto and an invitation to others to collaborate on future volumes. She wants to experiment with production methods using easy-access and low-cost materials; exploring ways of fluid, collective making. Based on mutual aid principles, manuals for making small-scale publications will be part of the first volume; and linked to the ‘Road Less Travelled’ online platform with indexes and sources for materials, tools and other guides

About the Award

Adaptations is a development award to support moving existing professional art practices into new ways of working. Through this award, we want to help artists create sustainable practices that are adaptable to the shifting physical possibilities around public access and opportunities presented as a result. We are interested in the systematic changes possible in an artists’ practice.​

Three Adaptations development awards of £3,000 each will support artists to research and experiment with new ways to make their work in light of ongoing legal and health restrictions. It will support new ways of working that continue to authentically reflect artists’ interests and themes across any media. It can also be used to explore new forms of public exhibition – both digital and, when safe, live – to ensure audiences can experience it meaningfully.

Selection Panel

The Adaptations award was guest selected by Dennis Dizon and Amanprit Sandhu.

Dennis Dizon (b. 1985, Manila, Philippines) is an independent researcher, artist and digital curator. He created MATTERS OF—a virtual platform and experimental inquiry into a queer techno-ecological. Recent and upcoming grants + residencies include Robert Rauschenberg Foundation (New York, 2019), Furtherfield (London, 2020), Beyond Matter at Tallinna Kunstihoone (Tallinn, 2020) and Everything Equally Evolved with Onassis Foundation (Athens, 2021). He holds a Master of Research degree in Advanced Practices (Curatorial / Knowledge) and a postgraduate diploma in Contemporary Art History from Goldsmiths, University of London. Dennis was previously with Google Arts & Culture, leading the digitisation operations programme.

Amanprit Sandhu is a London based curator and writer with a focus on commissioning, performance-based practices and collaborative approaches to working. Her current work includes organising the inaugural biennial programme for Brent in London, and co-curator of the 2021 Boras Art Biennial in Sweden. She was the co-founder of the curatorial collective DAM Projects (2014-20), whose work supported underexposed artists, art scenes, discourses, and socio-political debates in the UK and internationally. Other previous roles include: Interim Curator at Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridgeshire, Public Programme and Residencies Curator at Camden Art Centre, Project Manager for the 2014 Folkestone Triennial and 2012 Frieze Foundation projects, and Assistant Curator at the Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art.

Awardee Responsibilities

Working with Artquest, and while working on their proposed work, selected participants will:

  • Produce online content that records and shares their experiences
  • Participate in an interview about their experiences
  • Participate in project evaluation