The Horniman Residency


Research residency for a mid-career London-based visual artist, in partnership with the Horniman Museum and Gardens.

The 2016 residency was awarded to artist Joshua Sofaer. Read his residency blog.

In this  series of  interviews, artist Joshua Sofaer introduces his practice and talks with Horniman Museum and Artquest about his discoveries since the start of the residency.

About the 2016 Selected Artist

Joshua Sofaer (b. 1972 Cambridge, England) is an artist who is centrally concerned with modes of collaboration and participation, which he explores through social sculpture, performance, installation, exhibition and publication. After a BA in Drama & English at Bristol University, Joshua went on to complete an MA in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design and was subsequently awarded a PhD from Dartington College of Arts. Sofaer was a winner of the first Bank of America CREATE Art Award and was the first Artist Fellow on the 2010/11 Clore Leadership Programme.

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Equally as comfortable in the clean white gallery, the dramatic curtained stage of the opera house, the carefully positioned vitrine of the museum, the shared areas of public space, and the domestic personalised rooms of private homes, what draws Sofaer’s diverse practices together is a concern with how audiences engage with the world as a place of potentiality. People’s experience is key, as are the material cultures they choose to surround themselves with. Recurring themes of his work include ‘rubbish’: what we choose to throw away; ‘collections’: what we choose to keep; and, ‘names’: how what we are called becomes who we are.

Joshua  produced a blog about his experiences on the residency that you can read here.

The Residency

The Residency award consists of:

  • An award of £3000 to enable the selected artist to engage with the work and collections of the museum during the residency
  • An additional award of £850 towards a public-facing event at the end of the residency
  • Privileged access to museum objects and curators

The Horniman Museum and Gardens is particularly interested in developing relationships with artists who want to engage with people as well as collections. Applicants were asked to consider in particular how their work might engage visitors with the museum’s displays and encourage participation with these displays. This is not a studio residency: applicants are expected to have their own studio or suitable workspace.

The awarded artist will be expected to:

  • Visit the museum and engage with the collections at least one day a week over the residency period (October – December 2016)
  • Participate in three recorded interviews over the residency period, to be hosted on Artquest and partner websites
  • Produce online content (articles, video, interviews, blog etc) about their experiences on the residency, with details to be jointly decided
  • Work with Artquest and the Horniman Museum and Gardens to organise a closing event to showcase their thinking, research and work over the period of the residency

History of the Horniman

The Horniman Museum and Gardens was established by Tea Trader and philanthropist Frederick John Horniman, who  began collecting objects, specimens and artefacts ‘illustrating natural history and the arts and handicrafts of various peoples of the world’ from around 1860. His overarching mission was to ‘bring the world to Forest Hill’ and educate and enrich the lives of the local community.

The Museum began life in the Horniman Family’s London Road Residency which became known as the Surrey House Museum. In 1898, Mr Horniman decided to erect a more suitable public museum in which the collections could be adequately displayed and appreciated. The architect Charles Harrison Townsend was commissioned to design the new museum. The Museum and Gardens were formally opened to the public on 29 June 1901. The Horniman family continued to take an active interest in the museum donating objects and large collections of books to the library.