Since November 2016, Engine, the professional development programme for artists and curators in the West Midlands, has awarded a total of 14 Micro Bursaries to artists and curators based in the region. The Micro Bursaries are designed to enable professional development via travel and research both within the region, nationally and internationally.
The awardees so far are spread across the region from Stoke-on-Trent, Coventry, Worcester, Malvern, Warwickshire, Birmingham and the Black Country. They have been awarded bursaries to travel to exhibitions, conferences, arts festivals and to meetings in a wide variety of locations. This research is allowing artists and arts professionals to develop new networks, consolidate relationships with organisations and individuals, to test out ideas, learn skills, share ideas and undertake new research that they would otherwise not be able to do. These allow them not only to develop and promote their own work but those of their peers within the region.
A Micro Bursary allowed creative producer Jenny Duffin to attend both Make:Shift and Maker Assembly conferences in Manchester, while artists Leah Carless and Duncan Poulton have undertaken research trips tied into exhibitions of their work in Aarhus, Denmark and Berlin, Germany respectively. Micro Bursaries have enabled James Lomax to spend time conducting research and meetings in the North East of England while Coventry-based Ruth Hamblett has been able to attend key meetings within the West Midlands. Collaborative artists Ian Andrews and Sarah Fortes Mayer are using their bursary to attend meetings in Colchester and Newbury with a view to developing new and existing projects and Worcester-based Corinne Perry is using her award to funding professional development mentoring in the Welsh borders. Artists Sharon Foster and Lindsey Davis are attending Kendal Mountain Festival and Upfest in Bristol respectively. Genevieve Belgard, from Cradley near Malvern, has carried out research visits in Ely and Cambridge and Jane Thakoordin has visited a galleries in London and the National Archive to develop her research. Jodie Wingham’s bursary will support her to travel to Baltimore in the USA, Kurt Hickson plans to travel to a number of painting exhibitions in London, and Albert Smith will use his bursary to part fund a research and exhibition visit to South Africa.
A selection of longer reports written by those who have received Micro Bursaries are being published on our Editorial page.
Applications to the Micro Bursaries scheme are welcome on a rolling basis. For more details on applying please click here.
Engine is delivered by The New Art Gallery Walsall and New Art West Midlands with other partners.