Bow Cross Artist Residency
Acme Studios, in partnership with the Swan Foundation, established a 12-month residency for an artist to develop a project or projects centred on Bow Cross, a large residential estate undergoing major regeneration. The partners believe that by investing in an artist and supporting a process of consultation, participation and collaboration with local residents, work will emerge which will have meaning and value both for local people and for the artist involved. Simon Terrill was selected from an open submission process and took up the residency in December 2010.
Acme began to work in partnership with Swan in 2005 to develop a mixed-use project in Leven Road, E14. The scheme, Atelier Court, opened in March 2009 and was the UK's first-ever 100 per cent affordable development combining affordable housing and studios. From this successful partnership flowed an understanding of shared goals and purposes which led quite naturally to Acme being asked to propose a project - the Bow Cross Artist Residency - to the newly-formed Swan Foundation, who supported the residency. This project was the first of its kind to be supported by the Swan Foundation and represents a valuable investment in the long-term well being and cultural experiences of the Housing Association’s residents, whilst at the same time offering an opportunity for a local professional artist to develop their profile within that community and beyond.
Artist, filmmaker and photographer Simon Terrill was selected from an open submission and began his residency in December 2010. Simon received a bursary of £10,000 with a total project budget of £15,000. Simon was supported throughout the residency by Acme Studios and via regular stakeholders meetings.
Following meetings, ongoing interventions, open invitations and a number of events over the months of the residency, on 10 September 2011 the residents of Bow Cross were invited to take part in a large-scale photographic 'portrait' amidst film lighting, smoke machines and an ice cream truck. While the stage was set, the participants were free to choose how and where they wished to present themselves within the final image.
Large colour photographs of the event are now on permanent display at the Bow Cross Community Centre, Rainhill Way, Bow, E3 3EY
Alongside the photographs, a video work extends this captured event into a flight past friends, families and neighbours as they fill the street from dusk until nightfall, anticipating the next frame. The work is intended to offer a meditation on regeneration and its temporal effects on the physicality and identity of a street.
Using historical and recent photographs, some that were donated by residents themselves, Simon created a 52 page book describing the journey Bow Cross has undergone from the 1970s to now. A copy of the book is on display at the Bow Cross Community Centre.
In addition to the residency, Simon created a billboard titled Coming/Going which was installed on the new footpath connecting the DLR to Bow Cross.
'Hot Spots' a large-scale photographic portrait of Bow Cross by Simon Terrill (2011)
'Simon's presence has given people the opportunity to look over the horizon to find out about things they weren't aware of before and to think about art from a new perspective because he invited us to be part of it. The whole experience has changed our perceptions of each other in the area.'
Tressa Bates, Bow Cross resident
Partner: Swan Foundation
- Acme Studios
- 44 Copperfield Road
- E3 4RR
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Between 1996 and 2012 Acme received £3.2m of capital funding from Arts Council England which supported the creation of six permanent affordable studios in London: Copperfield Road, Fire Station, Galleria, Harrow Road, Leven Road and Matchmakers Wharf. This resulted in 186 studios and 12 work/live units in four London boroughs.