Arts and Science work together in Antarctica – British Antarctic Survey and Arts Council of England Fellowships
6 February 2003 British artists and writers have an opportunity to experience the Antarctic, thanks to a new partnership between The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and the Arts Council of England. This innovative scheme reaches out to new audiences whose interest normally lies within the arts. The Fellowship allows two candidates to visit Antarctica for up to eight weeks during the summer season (October 2003 – March 2004), and is part of a continuing programme by BAS to raise awareness and understanding of the extensive science it undertakes in Antarctica. Individual practitioners from the visual arts (including photography, new media and the moving image) and writers (including fiction, non-fiction and poetry), have the opportunity to travel to the Antarctic and visit the scientific research carried out there at first hand. BAS will undertake logistics and Antarctic support whilst the Arts Council provides travel costs and a Fellowship Grant of ?1,500 per artist. The two candidates will be chosen by an independent review panel of advisors from the worlds of art and science. Key selection criteria to be considered by applicants include: the innovation of the project, its linkage to science, the feasibility of the proposed outcomes, the capabilities, professional reputation and track record of the applicant and the potential for a significant audience and the efforts made to reach it. The British Antarctic Survey is the primary organisation responsible for undertaking the UK’s scientific research in Antarctica. Professor David Walton, who co-ordinates the programme said: “This is an un-precedented partnership between the Arts Council of England and British Antarctic Survey. The successful artists will be able to work in association with Antarctic scientists and will make new work in response to this remarkable, frozen continent. This is a further attempt to bridge the cultural gap between the worlds of science and the arts”. Tim Eastop, Senior Visual Arts Officer and Co-ordinator of the International Artists Fellowship Programme at the Arts Council of England said: “The Antarctic is a remarkable continent – a remote, hostile and uninhabited wilderness of great beauty. This is a tremendous opportunity to give a real boost to two artists’ careers, as well as inspiring new perspectives of the Antarctic. The Arts Council is committed to supporting individual artists through a number of its schemes including grants for practice based research opportunities both here and abroad.” Visual artists Keith Grant and Philip Hughes were selected in 2001 to visit the BAS Rothera station on the Antarctic Peninsula. Both artists spent several weeks living and working with scientists on station and in remote field sites. Keith Grant said: “It was a truly wonderful experience. I have painted many artworks from my visit which aim to illuminate the context of scientific research in Antarctica and make this more accessible to the public”. Further details and the application form are available on the BAS website at www.antarctica.ac.uk . Hard copies of this information can be posted to applicants by contacting David Walton on tel. (01223) 221 592. The deadline for completed applications is 1 March 2003.
NOTES TO EDITORS: Applicants should be aware of the following: ? You must be a practicing artist or writer (established for at least three years). ? The programme is not open to students. ? The programme is open to UK nationals only. ? Selection is by competitive application and is dependent on medical fitness. ? No money is available to support applicants when they return from their trip. This new programme is one of a series of activities being organised by BAS to link the arts and sciences, which included the successful commission of a new Antarctic Symphony by acclaimed composer, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. This was premiered at the Royal Festival Hall in May 2001. Sir Peter spent a month living with scientists and support staff in Antarctica back in 1997/8 gaining a valuable insight into the world’s greatest natural laboratory. Observational artist/writer John Kelly visited Signy Island in January 2003 as part of the 2002/3 Programme. On Artists and Writers Programme The Programme specifically excludes those wishing to visit the Antarctic as journalists or documentary filmmakers who should make separate application under the BAS Media Programme. Please contact Linda Capper at BAS Press office as above. General information about the British Antarctic Survey British Antarctic Survey (BAS) undertakes a world-class programme of science in the Antarctic and related regions, addressing key global and regional issues through research, survey and monitoring. BAS also helps to discharge the UK’s international responsibilities under the Antarctic Treaty System. In so doing BAS sustains for the UK an active and influential regional presence, and a leadership role in Antarctic affairs, especially concerning environmental protection and management. BAS has a complement of over 400 staff, half of which are deployed in the Antarctic during the southern summer. Scientific programmes and logistics are co-ordinated from the BAS Headquarters in Cambridge, the hub of communications with research stations, ships and aircraft. BAS HQ houses offices, a range of laboratories and workshops, in which science programmes are planned and the results analysed. British Antarctic Survey is responsible for most of the UK’s research in Antarctica. It is a component of the Natural Environment Research Council. More information about the work of the Survey can be found on our website: www.antarctica.ac.uk General information about the Arts Council of England The Arts Council is the national body for the arts in England. It distributes public money from Government and the National Lottery to artists and arts organisations, and is responsible for developing, sustaining and promoting the arts in England. The Arts Council is an independent, non-political body working at arm’s length from the Government. On 1 April 2002, the Arts Council of England and the 10 Regional Arts Boards joined together to form a single development organisation for the arts. Across the arts, there are few opportunities for professional artists to undertake research abroad free from immediate production demands of a commission, exhibition or performance. Since September 2001, the Arts Council of England has been running a pilot programme of international fellowships, underpinning its commitment to the individual artist and cultural diversity. Over 35 fellowships have been created, each one costing between ?6,000 and ?12,000 including return airfares, land transfers, accommodation, subsistence, insurance, visa costs, studio space, access to material and equipment and a minimum stipend to each artist. Most of the fellows are selected by international hosts from shortlists organised through the Arts Council in consultation with specialists and other international bodies such as the British Council and Visiting Arts. Although geo-political forces are strong, presenting challenges for a programme such as this, the primary goal is to facilitate artists’ interaction with new artistic developments around the world. As the Fellowships become established, reciprocal fellowships and residencies are being set up in England.