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Lucy Harris receives 2016 Rita Harris Studio Award


Artist film-maker Lucy Harris who is based at Acme’s Copperfield Road studios has been selected as the second recipient of the Rita Harris Studio Award.

The Rita Harris Studio Award, part of Acme's Residency & Awards Programme, provides an artist currently in an Acme studio with studio rent and a bursary for one year. The award is designed to provide the selected artist with increased time to develop their practice at a key point in their career. Previous artists have used the bursary to invest in materials, increase the time spent in the studio and experiment with new techniques and ideas.

Throughout the year Lucy will be supported through studio visits from other professional artists and curators and Acme will work with Lucy to find appropriate ways to enable a greater degree of exposure for her work.

Speaking about the award, Lucy said:

“The Rita Harris award presents the unique and rare opportunity of being supported financially and creatively in the ‘hidden’ (pre-production) stages of my 16mm film works that are essential to their further development. These works are created via a combination of hands-on based studio practice and historical research, and the award will enable the concentrated studio time needed to pursue and explore the relationship between marble, sculpture, architecture and film resulting in a body of new work.”

Lucy was selected by a panel of Hannah Corbett (Acme, Chief Executive), Dryden Goodwin (artist) and Julia Lancaster (Senior Residency and Awards Manager). Speaking about Lucy’s selection, Dryden said:

“Lucy’s films draw you in, with their focus and intent, in the way they’re shot and the rhythm of their editing. When we visited her studio, it seemed a place of deep reflection and creation, organised into different areas, a schematic of her process and thinking. It is clearly a significant moment for Lucy, as she spoke about the rich interrelationships of materials and media she is pursuing and the potential to extend these explorations further in her practice.”

The Rita Harris Studio Award commemorates the life and work of Rita Harris, artist and partner of Acme co-founder and former Chief Executve Jonathan Harvey.

Hilary Powell selected for third Stephen Cripps' Studio Award


The 2016-17 Stephen Cripps’ Studio Award, a major creative development opportunity based at High House Production Park in Thurrock, has been awarded to multi-disciplinary artist Hilary Powell. Supported by The Henry Moore Foundation, High House Production Park Ltd and Stephen Cripps’ family, it forms part of Acme’s Residency & Awards Programme, offering a unique resource and support structure for artists to develop their practice and realise planned or new projects.

Hilary is fascinated by the location of High House Production Park just within London’s outer ring and will explore the landscape’s potential for operatic soundscapes and absurdist visions to create a poetic drama of place. The surrounding logistics landscape, marshland and tidal zones are resource, scenography, collaborators and key characters in the plans afoot.

Hilary was selected by a panel comprising Matt Lane - Head of Royal Opera House Thurrock and Thames Gateway, Julia Lancaster - Senior Residency & Awards Manager, Acme, Fiona Haggerty - Residency & Awards Officer, Acme, and Morgan Quaintance - writer, musician and curator.

Speaking on behalf of the panel, Matt Lane said: “Hilary’s interest in urban change and creative salvage excited the selection panel and resonates strongly with Thurrock’s own landscapes. Hilary’s commitment to engaging with local communities and other locally-based agencies be they cultural or otherwise will no doubt lead to the creation of a ground-breaking residency. We are really looking forward to welcoming Hilary to High House Production Park.”

Starting in September 2016, this is the third and final year-long Stephen Cripps’ Studio Award which supports a selected artist through a large rent-free studio, £10,000 bursary and £10,000 towards production costs. Named in memory of a pioneering ‘pyrotechnic sculptor’, whose collection of work is now held within the Henry Moore Institute’s archive, the award encourages the selected artist to take risks, to challenge both themselves and their practice. It also allows for creative collaboration between the Park partners: High House Production Park Ltd, the Royal Opera House Bob and Tamar Manoukian Production Workshop & Bob and Tamar Manoukian Costume Centre, South Essex College, the National Skills Academy Creative & Cultural Backstage Training Centre and Acme.

Auto Italia at 44 Bonner Road, E2


Acme is delighted to announce that Auto Italia will be taking over the Project Space at Acme Studios 44 Bonner Road. Auto Italia is an artist-run organisation that commissions and produces new work – collaborating directly with emerging artists. Speaking about the move, Auto Italia Director Kate Cooper said:

"We are extremely excited to be working with Acme, securing a long-term project space for the first time in our organisation’s history. The space and long-term security will bring new strands of programming, working with emerging talent to continue what we have been doing in London as well as supporting artists nationally and internationally.

Auto Italia has always been about a community of artists supporting each other and trying out new models. At a time when it is increasingly challenging to support small independent projects in London, we hope we can find a way to work together in the city and support grassroots and artist-led initiatives."

Speaking about Auto Italia, Acme Studios’ Senior Residency & Awards Manager Julia Lancaster said:

“We are extremely happy that Auto Italia’s move to the former Acme Project Space, helps support their longer term ambitions and sustainability. As an artist-led group themselves, focusing on emerging artists and alternative approaches to production and exhibition formats, their ethos perfectly complements Acme’s values.

Auto Italia have a fundamental understanding of the needs and challenges artists face in sustaining their practice and finding ways of making their work public and developing new forums for mutual support. I am certain this move will create opportunities for Acme and Auto Italia to collaborate to further our common goal of supporting artists by enabling more critical dialogue and discussion about art.”

Auto Italia will officially launch the space in June 2016. A series of events and workshops are planned. For more information see:

Acme is recruiting two Residency & Awards Officers


For nearly twenty years, Acme’s Residency & Awards Programme has pioneered some of the most innovative and directly supportive opportunities for artists in the UK. We have created exemplary models of good practice by working with a wide range of supporters such as individual donors, legacies, trusts, universities and funding bodies.

The programme currently consists of twenty nine residencies and awards: sixteen work/live residencies, seven graduate studio awards, two Associate Studio Programmes, and a further four individual studio awards and exchanges.

Working with new and existing partners, the number of opportunities for artists will continue to steadily expand, ensuring selected artists are recognised and supported in ways that are appropriate to the development of their practice.

This is an exciting time in the development of the programme and in order to support its growth, we are looking to appoint two permanent three days-a-week Residency & Awards Officers. The two roles will support and report to the Senior Residency & Awards Manager, Julia Lancaster.

A significant expansion in our work/live provision is anticipated in the near future and these posts will be key in enabling us to prepare for that growth. The new roles will also work with artists on the programme who have the opportunity to develop and / or present work in partner galleries / project spaces.

For further information on the two Residency & Awards Officer roles and for details on how to apply, please visit -

The deadline for receipt of applications is: Monday 29 February, 2016

Isa Suarez's 'Cold Storage Memories'


As part of Acme Studios' 40th anniversary in 2012, we began speaking with current tenant and former Southwark Studio Residency artist Isa Suarez about commissioning a unique audio-documentary about Cold Storage, a sound studio located in Acme's Acre Lane studios in Brixton between 1976 and 1996.

The resulting work, 'Cold Storage Memories', is a series of short audio pieces which include testomonies by Charles Hayward and David Cunningham who were using Cold Storage at the time, as well as musical extracts and full tracks which were recorded and produced there by the two legendary composers.

The piece includes spoken word, field recordings and original music as well as a sketch map of Cold Storage drawn by David Cunningham. It can be found on the Artist Commissions section of the Acme website.

David Cunningham recently worked with William Raban on '72-82', a one-hour film drawing on a wide range of archive material from Acme's first decade. A transcript of an interview between him and William about Acre Lane is also available on the 'Cold Storage Memories' page.

Fire Station artists create new works for 2016 website commission


Since 2013, Acme Studios has commissioned artists to create new works for the homepage of our website. Acme currently supports over 700 artists via a range of programmes: affordable studios, work/live space and through our Residency & Awards Programme. Commissioning artists to create new work provides not only an opportunity for those selected but highlights the creativity and broad range of practice that we support. Each artist’s work will appear on the homepage for a month, and then will be archived and permanently accessible via the Website Commissions page.

Throughout each month of 2016, we will feature a different artist from our Fire Station Work/Live Programme 5 (2015-2020). This five-year residency scheme provides combined studio and living space at low rents and enables artists more time to concentrate on the development of their work and professional careers, and less time working to survive; as such it is one of the most supportive schemes for artists in the UK.

Applications Now Open for Associate Artist Residencies (AAR)


The Associate Artist Residency programme allows international artists, curators, academics and arts writers to apply to Acme Studios for short-term (one, two or three months) London-based professional development residencies.

Associate Artist Residencies
provide individual mentoring for international artists, matching their skills and ambitions with contemporary galleries, curators, arts professionals, cultural organisations and leading artists in London. We create bespoke and stimulating residencies to push the boundaries of each artist's work and to tap into the core of what makes London such an exciting international cultural centre.

Residencies can be developed around a particular project or conceived of as networking and contacts-focused. The programme is open to applicants resident in any country outside of England.

Please note that unless otherwise stated, artists will need to source their own funding for AAR opportunities and are usually funded by professional development or travel grants available in their home countries.

Applications received before 1 April 2016 will be considered for residencies taking place during 2017. Further information and AAR application forms can be downloaded from the Acme website:

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National Housing Federation member | NFASP member | Supported using public funding by Arts Council England

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.