Artist-In-Residence Programme

Descriptive Information


Record Set



Other Identifiers

OC/8 (local reference number)

Has provenance

esea contemporary (1987-)


2003-onwards (is coverage date of)

Scope and Content

Records relating to the Centre artist-in-residence programme from 2003. 


The records within this series have been arranged following the function which the records resulted from or were related to. The series is split into the following record sets: 
  • GB3451/OC/8/1 Administration : records related to the administration of the artist in residency schemes and related projects. Arranged by subject. 
  • GB3451/OC/8/2: Artist-in-Residence Files: records relating to individual residencies. Arranged by date. 
  •  GB3451/OC/8/3: First Step exhibitions: records relating to the First Step exhibition programme, 2004-2014, which was managed by the staff responsible for resident artists. Arranged by date. 


This set presents records relating the Centre's residency programmge. The physical records are arranged within folders representing the record sets seen below. However, born-digital records have been arranged into this set  by function to aid research, and can also be found within the record set representing the original accession in which they were transferred to the archive. 

In its very early days, the Centre use the term 'artists-in-residence' to refer to artists who worked with the Centre to provide on-site workshop and facilitate workshops at other organisations, such as schools. After the move to Edge Street in 1997, artists exhibiting at the Centre were often based at the Centre for the duration of the exhibition. Between 2000-2003, many artists who created works for the 'New Commissions' scheme were based at the Centre while they developed their new works. 

When the Centre moved to Thomas Street in 2003, the venue included studio and an living space for resident artists. Initially termed 'Project Space' the studio/living area would provide private accommodation as well as access to the Centre's new resource space and other on-site facilities. There was no pressure on the artists to produce an exhibition, but they were asked to hold an open studio event. The open studio could be used to present their work to the public; provide a talk about their practice or provide an engagement activity for visitors to the Centre. 

Up to 2013, the Centre offer two types of residencies:
  • Breathe: Residencies aimed at more established artists lasting between 1-3 months. 
  • Whisper: Residencies aimed at UK based emerging artist with a duration of less that 1 month. 
From 2003-2006, Breathe residencies were largely funded by the Centre. The Centre aimed to hold at least three Breathe residencies each year, featuring at least  one UK based artist and one international artist.  Whisper residencies were initially funded by career development projects aimed at UK based artists: Creative Diversity: Greater Manchester, (2004-2006) and the Personal Artists Development Scheme (2005-2008). After 2006, most of  the Centre's residencies were funded by external bodies or were held in collaboration with other arts organisation or festivals. 

From 2004-2014, the Centre also offered space on the main staircase for artists to exhibit their work. The 'First Step' scheme was offered as an alternative space for emerging artist to show their work, when they were not yet at a stage in their career to benefit from a full residency. 

In the mid 2000s, the Centre had developed a relationship with 501 Artspace gallery in Chongqing, China. The Centre's Residency Coordinator took part in a residency in Chongqing to develop his own practice and provide assistance to 501 Artspace to set up their own international residency programme. As a result, the Centre continued to facilitate residencies for UK based artists at the Chongqing gallery between 2009-2013. 

Access and Use

Conditions of Access

Unless prohibited under UK data protection legislation, the records within this set are available for non-commercial private research on-site in the esea ResearchLab via dedicated terminals or by appointment.

Digital surrogates of the records can be accessed through the online catalogue if we have permission of holders of the intellectual property of the record's contents.

Conditions of Use

The records in this record set are accessible for private non-commercial research use unless restricted under UK Data Protection legislation.

Open records which are solely the copyright of esea contemporary are available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC 3.0) License. Records which are the intellectual property of other creators are not available online unless we have permission of all of the copyright holders. Please see individual record descriptions for more information.

Related Content

Related People and Organisations

esea contemporary (1987-)

Keywords & Terms

SubSeries ; Restricted



This set was was originally created during a project, 2016-2018, to bring meaningful access to the Centre's historical collections, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Additional materials were catalogued in 2021 as part of the 'Multicultural Heritage at the Crossroad: Organisational Resilience, Institutional Archive and Multicultural Voices' project with support from London Metropolitan University.

Rules or conventions

Our archival collections have been catalogued following the International Standard of Archival Description (ISAD(G)) and principles of Records in Context (RiC). The library collection has been catalogue following the RDA (Resource Description Access) standard licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

The collections have also been indexed using RDA values licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The catalogue also contains information from Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT)® and Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN)® which are made available under the ODC Attribution License.