Unlocking the Collections

Current project Featured 2021

Artquest are partnering with the Museum of the Home who are funding a new research residency for an early career London-based artist. The artist selected for the Unlocking the Collections residency is Calum Perrin

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Key dates

  • Residency research period: 20 September – 26 November 2021 (10 weeks)
  • Residency closing event: Summer/Autumn 2021

The Selected Artist

Calum Perrin works across visual art, performance and radio, exploring themes of disability, class, sensory experience and domesticity, as well as the relationship between archival processes and artistic practice. Their work uses an autistic perspective to question traditional hierarchies of senses, in particular the way that factual information can be processed and restructured through embodied processes of sound and touch.

They have created work for organisations including BBC Radio 3 and 4, BBC Sounds, VICE, The Yard, FilmPro, HARP/YLab, Bodleian Libraries, the Prague Quadrennial and HearSay International Audio Arts Festival. Calum also campaigns for the rights of artists as an active member of Artists’ Union England and Equity.

During the Unlocking the Collections residency, Calum will be exploring fabrics and soft furnishings in the collection, looking at how they combine to form textural compositions which shape our sensory experience of the home. Through both historical research and physical touch, Calum will investigate how this material can be used in conjunction with the records of everyday domestic experience in the Documenting Homes archive, in order to create work that asks questions about the body’s relationship to domestic space.

Examples of Calum’s audio work can be accessed below

The Award

One selected artist will receive

  • An award of £3,000 to develop their practice in response to the Museum of the Home’s collections.
  • A further £850 to deliver a public-facing event that showcases their thinking and research undertaken over the residency period
  • Special access to Museum collections and curatorial staff

This is an incredible opportunity for an early career London-based artist, working in any medium, to develop their practice responding to material in the new Collections Library at the Museum of the Home. The selected artist will explore the Museum’s collection with support from its curators at a pivotal point in the Museum’s development and its reopening to the public in 2021.

We particularly welcome applications from artists from under-represented groups in the arts, including those based on gender, sexuality, disability, ethnic origin, experience of migration, socio-economic background, and maternity / paternity.

Please note, that this is not a studio residency and does not provide a studio/workspace to complete any work.

About the Museum of the Home and the new Collections Library

The Museum of the Home is a place to explore and debate what home means. By creating exhibitions, events, collaborations, research and debates that shine a light on important issues, the Museum reveals and rethinks ideas of home. The Museum’s programming explores contemporary and historic themes and embraces unexpected collaborations, personal stories and exciting experiences. You can find out more about the Museum here. 

The Collections Library offers unrivalled access to the Museum’s collection. It is a space for academic researchers, students and curious visitors. With limited spaces available, the selected artist will get privileged access to digital and online resources and to the physical collection of books, manuscripts, archival material, photographs, objects and film. You can find out more about the Collections Library here. The Collections Library is fully-accessible.

Residency conditions

The awarded artist will be expected to:

  • Visit the Museum and engage with the collections at least one day a week over the research period (20 September – 26 November 2021). Alternative arrangements can be made to access digital aspects of the collection if social distancing restrictions prevent physical access.
  • Participate in x 4 interviews over the residency period which will be published on the Museum of the Home and Artquest websites.
  • Produce online content (articles, video, social media posts etc) about their experiences on the residency (details to be decided in conversation with Artquest and the Museum of the Home)
  • Work with Artquest and the Museum of the Home to organise a closing event to showcase their thinking, research and work over the period of the residency

The Selection Panel

The external selection panel for the Unlocking the Collections Residency are artist Gayle Chong Kwan, curator Renée Mussai and artist Mahmoud Mhady of BLKBRD collective

Gayle Chong Kwan is a multidisciplinary artist whose photographic works, immersive installations and shared sensory events are exhibited internationally, both in galleries and in the public realm. At the core of her practice is an expanded and embodied notion of photographic practice through which she explores simulacra, the sublime and the politics of intimacy, travel, trade, and consumption.  She uses techniques of collage to create mise-en-scene landscapes, sensory experiences, and sculptural pieces worn on the body, which are often made out of detritus, waste, documentary image, and which draw upon archives and collections or develop out of working with groups and communities. Chong Kwan was Artist in Residence at the V&A 2019-2021, and her current exhibition Waste Archipelago at Galleria Alberta Pane developed out of a year-long project on waste that she led with Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, as recipient of the Sustainable Art Prize in 2019.  She is currently undertaking a PhD on ‘Imaginal Travel’ in Fine Art at the Royal College of Art.

Renée Mussai is Senior Curator and Head of Curatorial & Collection at photographic arts charity Autograph, where she has co-commissioned a range of artistic programmes since 2007, advocating for a diverse constituency of contemporary artists and curating internationally touring exhibitions such as the critically acclaimed Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama (2017–2021) and Black Chronicles (2014–18; publication forthcoming), amongst many others. A research-led curator and scholar with a special interest in African and diasporic lens-based visual arts practices, she lectures internationally on photography, visual culture and curatorial+art activism; her writing has been published in numerous artist monographs and anthologies, including by Tate, Aperture and NkA; and her edited volumes include Glyphs: Act of Inscription (2014), James Barnor: Ever Young (2015), and the recent Lina Iris Viktor: Some Are Born To Endless Night-Dark Matter (2020). In 2020, she served as guest co-editor for the Critical Arts volume ‘Ecologies of Care: Speculative Photographies, Curatorial Re-Positionings’. Mussai is Research Associate at the Visual Identities in Art and Design Research Centre, University of Johannesburg; Associate Lecturer at University of the Arts London; and regular guest curator and former fellow at the Hutchins Centre for African & African American Research at Harvard University, USA.

Mahmoud Mahdy Is a multi-disciplinary artist based in the UK. He is a member of the BLKBRD collective from London, which aims to create public artworks that celebrate marginalised workers and communities in the UK. The collective is concerned with honouring the sacrifices of migrants to Britain today and throughout time. From the transatlantic slave trade, to the contemporary refugee crisis, the Windrush scandal, to the disproportionate BAME death toll for COVID-19. Currently, he has an invested interest in filmmaking. Graduated from BA Film and T at University of the Arts London, Mhady has dedicated his time to writing and directing hybrid films that examine the unspoken symptoms of the colonised and their repressed histories while exploring themes of neglect and mysticism.