In August 2017, artists Claire Ford and Kate Sweeney moved from their respective studios and created a new studio space in Northbourne Residential Care Home in Gateshead.
Over a one month period they lived and slept at Northbourne in order to work creatively with residents, families and care staff. The project aimed to challenge the conventional 'workshop' structure that artists are restricted to in care home and institutional settings and develop more immersive practices that create space to experiment with the types of activity, processes and outcomes that could be possible.
One reason Northbourne was a great place for this residency is that they have a large annexe next to the main home. It is connected to the main part of the home through some double doors into the lounge, and beyond the lounge are the private rooms and the dining room on the ground floor with another floor of a similar layout upstairs. The annexe has a huge main skylit workroom, and connected to it are two bedrooms and a bathroom. This was where Claire and Kate lived and worked. The space wasn't really being used except for some events and activities. This is the space we have been developing during and since the initial residency as a studio for us, for the residents and visiting artists.
Since the residency aspect of the project, Claire and Kate have continued to work in the annexe space, producing pieces of work with the residents and in response to the summer 'live-in' experience. This work was exhibited at Northbourne in December 2017. The work has also featured in publications, conferences and papers. The success of the project has brought energy and plans for the annexe, now called 'The Hub' and Claire and Kate want to remain key to how the space develops - to include artists in the future plans.
Liverpool conference paper delivered by Claire Ford
Article on residency in Carehome UK national magazine
Residency featured on Anchor website
Featherstone Castle - talk to Northumbria University students by Kate Sweeney
The 'Moving In' Residency 2017 was funded and supported by Arts Council England.