Acme Studios, supporting art and artists since 1972


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72-82 screening at Tyneside Cinema


William Raban’s 72-82, a one-hour film about the early years of Acme Studios, will be screened on Friday 11 September at the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle as the culmination of an event discussing the future of temporary artists’ studios in the city. As part of The NewBridge Project’s 5th Birthday, 2 Day Conversation is aimed at artists, arts organisations, artist-led initiatives, local authorities, funding bodies, developers, universities, researchers and architects. The event looks at “the recent boom in repurposing empty buildings for creative ‘meanwhile’ use” and will explore “the various models; the vibrant artist ecology that grows from these creative hubs; the necessary social, cultural and political conditions and what comes next”.

Acme Chief Executive Jonathan Harvey will be at the 6.20pm screening of 72-82 for a question-and-answer session regarding Acme’s development from managing short-life housing in the 1970s to today being England’s leading affordable artists’ studio developer and provider which is now entirely self-sustaining without the need for public funding. The public screening of 72-82 at the Tyneside Cinema, an independent cinema located in central Newcastle, is the result of an initiative by the Independent Cinema Office around creating an ongoing programme of artists' moving image where none previously existed.

Since it was launched at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2014, 72-82 has been shown at numerous festivals and universities, both in the UK and abroad. This screening is supported by Independent Cinema Office as part of the ICO Artists' Moving Image Network, funded by Arts Council England.

More information about buying a DVD or arranging a screening of 72-82 can be found here:
More information about The NewBridge Project’s 2 Day Conversation can be found here:
More information on the screening of 72-82 on Friday 11 September can be found here:
More information on the Independent Cinema Office’s promotion of artists’ moving image can be found here:

Rosika Desnoyers at the Acme Project Space


The current Canada Council for the Arts London Artist Resident artist Rosika Desnoyers presents The Creative Industry of Mary Linwood at the Acme Project Space.

During the opening hours, Rosika will be in the space working and exploring the late eighteen-century needlepainting of Mary Linwood as a strategy for the production of new visual propositions within the context of Desnoyers’ own 'effective' display strategies.

20 August to 23 August 2015

Thursday to Sunday 1pm to 6pm


New Chief Executive - Applications open


London-based Acme Studios is England’s leading affordable artists’ studio developer and provider. Formed by recent art school graduates in 1972 the organisation has been led by Jonathan Harvey and David Panton since its inception. Acme has expanded considerably over the last few years, securing major new-build permanent studio developments which have contributed to the organisation’s sustainability. The organisation now operates for the first time without the need for public funding or additional fundraising for its core activity of studio provision.

It was announced in April that, after 44 years, Jonathan Harvey, Acme Studios’ Chief Executive, will be standing down and Acme’s board is therefore seeking a new Chief Executive to take up the post from January 2016.

The new post holder will build on the success of the organisation in response to the increasing demand for, and continuing challenge of providing, affordable, high-quality and sustainable space to support artists in economic need. Acme’s board is looking to appoint a Chief Executive with proven leadership skills who will respond to the challenge of supporting artists’ creative risk taking with passion and imagination.

Acme Studios is an equal opportunities employer.

Salary: £75,000

Please visit Acme Studios’ website for an application pack –

The deadline for applications is 12 noon on Friday 14 August 2015 | Initial interviews Wednesday 9 September 2015.

72-82 available on DVD


72-82 by William Raban is now available on DVD and for hire for screenings and exhibitions in the UK and internationally via LUX. The 60-minute film draws largely on a range of archive material from Acme Studios’ first decade, animated by the voices of recently-interviewed artists and others who were part of the story to reveal what this artist-led organisation’s early years were about. These include: Kevin Atherton, Bobby Baker, Anne Bean, Stuart Brisley, Richard Cork, David Critchley, Richard Deacon, Fergus Early, Ron Haselden, Charles Hayward, Jacky Lansley, Jock McFadyen, Ken McMullen, Sandy Nairne, Simon Read, Claire Smith, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Anthony Whishaw, Alison Wilding, Richard Wilson and Bill Woodrow.

“Solely using archival visual materials, [Raban] revisits the first ten years of art organisation Acme, highlighting its work in housing artists in the East End and the extraordinary work that was produced.” (William Fowler, London Film Festival)

72-82 had its UK premiere in October last year as part of the Experimenta programme of the BFI London Film Festival and was subsequently screened by Acme to invited audiences at Hackney Picturehouse on three occasions. The film has now been shown more widely – in art colleges and at festivals, including the 61st Oberhausen Short Film Festival in May.

The film follows the archive exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery, Supporting Artists: Acme’s First Decade 1972-1982 (September 2013 to February 2014), and was commissioned as part of Acme’s 40th anniversary celebrations. The work is an important reminder of how Acme began and of its founding principles. The need for affordable space for artists is as pressing as ever and responding to that demand continues to be very challenging; Acme remains totally committed to that task. Recognised as one of Britain’s foremost artists and experimental filmmakers, William Raban was also intimately involved with the history that the film reveals. As such it offers perhaps a new model of how archives can be presented on film.

“Rather than an attempt at a definitive history this is an assemblage of spoken recollections and recovered ephemera from a selection of artists who were probing new ground in performance, sculpture, film and intervention in 1970s London. From these fragments and memories the filmmaker plots historical narratives, versions of events that focus on contemporary issues: housing, availability of property, artists and galleries interaction with wider communities, consumerism and broader attitudes to emerging art practice. With this type of practice now all but impossible in cities like London and New York this could be merely a nostalgic lament on the loss of a more open city. But ultimately that isn't the true nature of the story here. The coda is more optimistic: despite everything else, the type work the more progressive Acme artists championed - conceptual, performance, mixed media - has in subsequent decades been accepted as legitimate art practice. Their story is, if only in this regard, one of victory.” (Guy Parker, ArtSlant, Los Angeles)

DVDs of 72-82 can be purchased for £20.00 directly from the LUX online shop:

For information on hiring the work from LUX for screening or exhibition please visit:

For more information on the background to the film, please visit the Acme website:

juice at the Acme Project Space


 juice is an exhibition at the Acme Project Space with works by Lydia Davies, Chris Ifould, Piotr Krzymowski, Sean Lavelle, Asta Meldal Lynge, Cameron Scott, Tilly Shiner and Nikhil Vettukattil (CSM Associate Studio Programme). The exhibition will move through different phases over the month of June; new works will be added, existing works removed or re-staged allowing for a number of different exhibitions to be produced concurrently.

In addition to the normal opening hours, there will be a period of four days when the gallery will only be open after sunset. Here, work will be shown which requires a dark space and the natural conditions will allow existing elements to be seen in a different context.

juice presents the sound of air that yields to make way for planes moving through a sky poured and cast in concrete; standing tall surrounded by easy stud walls. The things inside the circle are organized by cranes that are lifting and delivering, staging a world view on top of the minutes that ask everything of you. And as the siren of a passing emergency spirals around the corner, the penguin suddenly comes to epitomize the very notion of elegance upon diving into the water.

Daytime: 4 - 14 June (Thurs - Sun, 1pm - 6pm)
First arrangement of works produced for and at the Acme Project Space.

Late nights only: 18 - 21 June (9pm - midnight)
Showing new works after dark: moving image works, lights, phosphorescing substances.

Private View: Thursday 25 June (6pm - 9pm)
An event to celebrate the culmination of works produced for and at the Acme Project Space.

Daytime: 26 - 28 June (Fri - Sun, 1pm - 6pm)
Second arrangement of works produced for and at the Acme Project Space.

For further information please visit


Plants take over the Acme Project Space


Students from the Curating Contemporary Art MA present Planta: Notes on Botanical Dissidence at the Acme Project Space, as part of an ongoing partnership between the Royal College of Art and Acme Studios Residency & Awards Programme.

Premised on the investigative model of note-taking, the group show is an exploration into the conceptual potential of plants, often silently present but frequently neglected in the overarching discourses of history. The exhibition includes work by Candice Jacobs, Milou van der Maaden, Isa Melsheimer and Rachel Pimm.

On Thursday 21 May at 6.30pm the curators present a screening of "How to breathe and feel with plants?", a talk by Michael Marder, Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of the Basque Country. This presentation, especially recorded by Marder for the event, is based on a book co-authored with Luce Irigaray. Against the prevalent treatment of plants as objects to satisfy our needs, Marder proposes a way to attune our breathing and sensory practices to their unique vitality. In a mélange of theoretical reflection and personal narrative, Marder explores how humans can participate in the essentially superficial modes of respiration, feeling and indeed being that define vegetal life. The screening will be followed by a discussion with artists Milou van der Maaden and Rachel Pimm facilitated by the exhibition curators.

The event is free, but booking is required:

Further information can be found at:


Curated by Inês Geraldes Cardoso, Grace Storey.

‘Planta: Notes on Botanical Dissidence’
Candice Jacobs, Milou van der Maaden, Isa Melsheimer and Rachel Pimm

8.5.2015 - 24.5.2015

Thursday to Sunday 1pm to 6pm
Private View: Thursday 7 May, 6pm to 9pm

Barry Thompson - recipient of fifth Jessica Wilkes Studio Award (2015/16)


Barry Thompson has been selected as the fifth artist to receive the Jessica Wilkes Studio Award. The award provides the artist with a rent-free period of one year in their studio, a bursary to enable them to devote more time and resources to their studio practice as well as additional support via studio visits from other artists and professionals. With a value of over £10,000, the award is made to an artist selected from applications from current Acme tenants and we greatly value the continued active involvement of friends and family in the award. The award alternates each year with the Rita Harris Studio Award established in 2014. This year we are delighted to be working in partnership with PEER (, who will work with the selected artist towards a solo show to take place in spring 2016. The exhibition will be supported by additional funding from Acme and PEER. Ingrid Swenson, Director, PEER, noted:

“From a very strong short list of seven, the panel was unanimous in their selection of Barry Thompson for this award. Thompson makes small, meticulously executed series of drawings that focus on a diverse range of subjects including his native Essex landscape, bird studies, contemporary rock musicians and uniformed soldiers. While his work is firmly rooted in a tradition of observational drawing, there is a further layer of disquieting enquiry that he brings to this level of scrutiny, where the quotidian meets the exquisite”.

Barry, a tenant at Acme Studios’ Leven Road studio building, said:

"I was over the moon to receive this award! It has given me the rare opportunity to spend more focused time in the studio without the burden of financial issues common to most artists. I will pursue making a body of work that has been in the pipeline now for three years or so. I am planning to work with images obtained from the Imperial War Museum archive where I can continue to engage with the themes that have been prevalent in the work up until now, albeit at another level. I am convinced that my practice will benefit from this and feel very privileged and humbled to be selected as well as very excited to be working with PEER in the near future."

Barry was selected by a panel consisting of Melissa Appleton (Jessica’s niece), Jonathan Harvey (Chief Executive, Acme Studios), Joanna Hewison (Jessica’s sister) and Ingrid Swenson (Director, PEER).

Rita Evans at the Backstage Centre


Join Stephen Cripps’ Studio Award 2014/15 recipient, Rita Evans at High House Production Park for a selection of spontaneous live performances involving the local community in the Backstage Centre, the onsite arena-scale live sound stage.

Sunday 10 May 3pm-5pm
High House Production Park, Vellacott Close, Purfleet, Essex, RM19 1RJ

For detailed information about the event and directions, please visit

The event will include performances on new 'electro-acoustic instruments' developed by Rita Evans which will explore the sensory rhythms of making and thinking, including: knitting, singing, stage lighting and effects. A diverse range of part-sculptural, part-architectural structures made by Rita will be present in the space. These will be ‘performed’ by groups of people from the Thurrock area including Lesley Robinson and Knitters Circle, the Royal Opera House Community Choir and the National Skills Academy Creative & Cultural Backstage Training Centre’s Technical Youth Team and South Essex College.

Over the first six months working on site Rita has been exploring performance in relation to forms of musical improvisation. These are highly-structured in their bringing together of personal rhythms in one common task, while at the same time spontaneous in the final outcome. This approach allows the performers to be creative and offer their own interpretations.

The performances have an emphasis on the temporary, both in their performative nature and in their built forms that use recycled and found materials from around Thurrock. The event will explore the ebb and flow of time, of working, of performing, of making and moving together. For one afternoon, the Backstage Centre becomes a live creative space where the group dynamics of the community, an elemental part of the works, will evolve inside and around the sculptures.

The performance further builds on the creative collaboration between the partners on the Park; High House Production Park, the Royal Opera House, Creative and Cultural Skills, South Essex College and Acme Studios.

The Stephen Cripps’ Studio Award is a major creative development opportunity funded by Acme Studios, The Henry Moore Foundation, High House Production Park Ltd and Stephen Cripps' family.

Acme seeks new Chief Executive


Post to be advertised from 6 July - Closing Date 14 August

Acme Studios is England’s leading affordable artists’ studio developer and provider. Formed by recent art school graduates in 1972 the organisation has been led by Jonathan Harvey and David Panton since its inception.

It was announced in April that, after 44 years, Jonathan Harvey, Acme Studios’ Chief Executive will be standing down with effect from March 2016. A new Chief Executive will be appointed by January 2016 and the post advertised in early July. Jonathan (working with his co-founder, staff and board) has, since 1972, established a permanent organisation which supports art and artists at the most fundamental level by investing in creative risk taking through the provision of affordable space, residencies and awards, as well as playing an important strategic national role supporting the affordable studios sector. He, and David Panton, were appointed Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the New Year 2014 Honours List for services to the arts.

Jonathan believes that this is the perfect time to move on from his role as Chief Executive:
“From April this year Acme will become a self-sustaining organisation without, for the first time in over 40 years, the need for Arts Council revenue funding. The past support of the Arts Council has made a critical contribution to this success. Through revenue and significant capital funding we have been able to develop a permanent portfolio of affordable, high-quality and permanent studios; a resource which will support generations of artists into the future. We can now plan with a considerable degree of certainty and, working with our partners, build on our achievements. While no longer in receipt of Arts Council England revenue funding we very much look forward to maintaining a dialogue with the funding body.”

Peter Heslip, Director, Visual Arts and London, Arts Council England, said:
“Jonathan has been instrumental in the success of Acme Studios over the last 40 years and I know that everyone would like to thank him for his contribution. Under his leadership Acme has gone from strength to strength. The 2013/14 archive exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery, focusing on Acme’s first decade and celebrating its first 40 years, captured the long-term impact this organisation has had on artists living and working in London. It has truly changed the fabric of the city for artists in a way which is not always visible, but is essential. Arts Council England has valued our long-standing partnership with Acme as a National Portfolio Organisation. Acme’s decision not to apply to us in the last funding round was a singular one, and is a testimony to their successful business planning and ambition to be independent. We look forward to working with and supporting David Panton and the team on future projects.”

Jonathan will continue to serve on Acme’s board and continue his work to establish a permanent publicly-accessible archive for the organisation. David Panton, Director Property, will continue in his current role until 2019 when he plans to stand down from the day-to-day executive team. The phasing of the co-founders’ move from their executive roles, and their continuing involvement as board members will provide an important level of continuity. Richard Millward, until recently a director of Rothschild, who has served on Acme’s board for a number of years, has been appointed Acme’s new Chair and will oversee, with the board and the management team, this period of transition and take the organisation forward over the next period.

Jonathan Harvey founded Acme Studios with David Panton in 1972. He completed a BA Fine Art at Reading University (1967–71) and an MA at Chelsea School of Art (1971–72). He ran The Acme Gallery (1976–81) in Covent Garden which established a significant reputation for its uncompromising approach to the presentation of installation and performance work. In 1977, he co-founded TSW-Television South West (1982–92) the ITV franchise holder for the South West of England. He worked as their Arts Consultant and as an associate producer on arts and experimental programmes, and co-curated two pioneering international site-specific public art projects, TSWA 3D (1987) and TSWA’s Four Cities Projects (1990). He was Chairman of Arnolfini, Bristol (1993–2006), where he oversaw their major capital lottery project at Bush House. He played a key role in establishing a national body to represent affordable studio providers and in 2006 became a found ing trustee of the National Federation of Artists’ Studios Providers. He is currently a trustee of High House Production Park Ltd., Purfleet, Essex. He, and David Panton, were appointed Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the New Year 2014 Honours List for services to the arts.

Arts Council support
Since 1973 Acme Studios has received a total of £8.36m from the national/regional arts funding system. Of this, £5.1m has been in the form of capital and associated grants (including £1.2m from the National Lottery in 1996, and £2.0m in 2004/05) and £3.0m in annual revenue support (since 1975). In 2011 Acme successfully applied for revenue funding to become a National Portfolio Organisation (2012/15) explicitly on the understanding that the organisation would not apply again as it was moving towards being self-sustaining.

Duncan Pickstock at the Acme Project Space


Duncan Pickstock, the inaugural recipient of the Rita Harris Studio Award, presents a solo exhibition of paintings at the Acme Project Space made during his year on the award.

Pickstock’s large-scale paintings are an attempt to move on, to move forward and closer to a state of resolve, towards a harmonious conclusion, that is always the goal but one that he accepts is unachievable. Painting is then a journey for Pickstock, a journey that the artist sets out on knowing that the destination, this arrival at a state of resolution, will never be reached.

Accompanying full colour catalogue, with essay written by Paul O' Kane (Artist, Writer & Lecturer) will be available. Designed, printed and supported by Tom Clark and Printhouse Corporation.

'Are we there yet?'
Duncan Pickstock

26.3.2015 - 26.4.2015

Thursday to Sunday 1pm to 6pm
Private View: Thursday 2 April, 6pm to 9pm

Fire Station Artists Announced


The artists selected for Acme Studios’ Fire Station Work/Live Residency Programme 5 (2015-2020) are: Aaron Angell, Holly Antrum, Leah Capaldi, Lucy Clout, Samantha Donnelly, Alex Frost, Seth Guy, Richard Healy, Rizwan Mirza, Geraldine Swayne, Michelle Ussher and Lucy Woodhouse.

The programme is designed to provide a breathing space for artists enabling them to plan ahead with greater certainty, supporting the development of their practice at a time when it is most needed. The programme provides low-cost work/live space for 12 artists from April 2015 until March 2020 and is one the most supportive schemes for professional artists in the UK.

165 applications from across the UK were submitted and the final selection made, from a shortlist of 25, by the panel consisting of Julia Lancaster (Acme Studios’ Residency and Projects Manager), Erika Tan and Ben Cove who are both practicing artists and former Fire Station tenants.

Ben Cove explains, “I was not at all surprised that there was such a high number of applicants as the security of five years in a subsidised work/live space is almost impossible to come by. The overall standard of applicants was very high and selecting 12 was not easy. As someone who sat on the other side of the interview table 10 years ago, I’m fully aware of what this will mean to those selected.”

The Fire Station Work/Live Residency Programme is one part of Acme’s Residency & Awards Programme which this year will help and support 27 UK-based artists. The wide range of programmes include subsidised work/live units, cash bursaries, artist exchanges, purpose-built subsidised and rent-free studios for recent graduates, as well as mentoring, advice and exhibition opportunities.

As a previous beneficiary, Ben Cove understands that the Fire Station “is invaluable to many artists who work hard to maintain and build their practices while meeting the ever increased costs of living and working in the capital”.

Short biographies and examples of each of the 12 artists selected for the Fire Station Programme 5 (2015-2020) can be found at:

Acme IRP seeks Administrator


For over 27 years, Acme IRP has enabled international governments, cultural agencies and foundations to offer artists major work/live residencies in London. In recent years, Acme IRP has expanded to include new partners and programmes. Our mentoring scheme and bespoke programming means we are working with increasing numbers of artists, galleries and arts organisations in London and across the UK.

In order to support this growth, we have created a two day a week permanent post of International Residencies Programme (IRP) Administrator supporting and reporting to the IRP Manager, Lea O’Loughlin.

The IRP Administrator role is being promoted exclusively to practising non-commercial fine artists in order to benefit artists through the provision of secure part-time employment consistent with the organisation’s charitable purposes and recruitment policy.

For more information about the role, including Job Description, please visit:

Love Enqvist at the Acme Project Space


The World Turned Upside Down is an exhibition of new work by Iaspis 2013/14 residency artist Love Enqvist at the Acme Project Space. For this exhibition Enqvist has harvested radical gardening references using them to create an environment for imaginary gardens. Each of Enqvist’s layered references begins with an historical character, whose solitary obsession with gardens was inspired by a spiritual belief. The exhibition is a labyrinth of imagery and language, and at its centre is an invitation to create an imaginary garden through a hypnotic process. The title, taken from Leon Rosselson's folk song of the same name, references the 17th century movement the Diggers and introduces the concept that assumed knowledge can be 'turned upside down'.

‘The World Turned Upside Down’
Love Enqvist

6.2.2015 - 8.2.2015

Thursday to Sunday 1pm to 6pm
Private View: Thursday 5 February, 6pm to 8pm

Acme Studios mentioned in the Lords


A question was asked in a Short Debate in the House of Lords on Monday by Nicholas Trench concerning Government Support for Artists. Under his title The Earl of Clancarty, the practising artist and crossbench peer outlined the pressures facing artists such as low-pay, copyright and the cost of renting a studio. Arguing that “artists need reasonably permanent cheap spaces”, Acme was referred to as “the success story in London”. He went on to explain that: “The keys to that success are the long-term support and the fact that Acme has managed to buy its own buildings. But where that is not possible Section 106 agreements might be used by local authorities in areas where studio space is required, enabling continued employment use in buildings and a guaranteed 100% occupancy. This is something that the Government ought to be encouraging where it is appropriate to do so.”

Acme has successfully used Section 106 agreements to achieve permanent affordable studio space for artists in new-build developments in six London boroughs. It has long argued that local authorities and development agencies can do more to support fine artists through existing planning legislation.

The transcript of The Earl of Clancarty’s question and the government’s response can be found via Hansard:


Stephen Fakiyesi & Harold Offeh at the Acme Project Space


To celebrate the culmination of his six-month London residency in 2014, funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, artist Stephen Fakiyesi returns to London to exhibit How to Speak to Power? at the Acme Project Space with British artist Harold Offeh.

The two artists presented in this exhibition, Stephen Fakiyesi, and Harold Offeh, use play and humour in their art work, as disarmingly as a court jester, to suggest strategies that give voice to the voiceless and that makes visible the imbalances of power which often goes unnoticed in regular social interactions. In so doing, they point to a more equitable balance of power within the world at large.

For further information, please visit Acme Project Space.

30 January - 1 February 2015

1pm to 6pm Thursday to Sunday

Private View: Thursday 29 January, 6pm to 8pm

Closing Event: Sunday 1 February, 3pm to 6pm. An opportunity to meet both artists and discuss their work in the gallery.

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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.