Bury St Edmunds BLOC LAB

A week long mixed media artist residency.

  • Mon 30 March - Fri 3 April 2020
  • Bury St Edmunds Library
  • Artists will be paid £500, lunch provided by Suffolk Libraries

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We are inviting six local artists to come and use Bury St Edmunds Library as a workspace to explore the role creativity plays as catalyst for nurturing confidence and wellbeing in the community. During the residency artists will be given the opportunity to examine their role as creative practitioners in community settings, and explore their practice through the theme of gender equality.

In spring 2020, the British Library presents Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women’s Rights. The exhibition will explore how contemporary fights for gender equality and liberation in the UK have their roots in the long and complex history of women’s activism and campaigning. It will include items ranging from personal diaries, letters, banners and protest fashion, to subversive literature, film, music and art.

To coincide with the British Library exhibition, Suffolk Libraries will be hosting pop-up exhibitions and events at Ipswich County Library, Lowestoft Library and Bury St Edmunds Library. Thus, for this year’s artist residency at Bury St Edmunds Library, we are looking for artists who are keen to create work with roots in community in relation to equality and battles not yet won.

Find out about the LAB we held at Ipswich County Library in 2018.


In April 2018, Suffolk Libraries were awarded NPO status by Arts Council England. Suffolk Libraries is made up of 44 individual libraries across the county and as part of this creative process the BLOC - Building Libraries on Creativity programme was created to develop libraries as creative community hubs.

What the LAB will provide

  • Inspiring workshops with invited guest speakers/artists
  • One-to-one advice from the week's facilitator
  • Time for reflection and space to develop current work or create new work
  • Working and social time with peers for discussions and meaningful exchange of ideas and practice
  • Opportunity to meet the Suffolk Libraries BLOC team and create links for the future

Benefits to artists

  • Focused time for the development of a current/new idea and projects
  • Being in a peer environment and experiencing media outside of their current practice
  • Working collaboratively with libraries and their communities
  • Opportunities to exchange ideas, share work and feed your creativity through encountering the experience of others both in and outside the arts
  • Input of inspiring speakers and practitioners

Criteria for application

  • This LAB is for Suffolk based artists working in any discipline (music/technology/paint/sculpture/film/writing/poetry/theatre/sound recording/installations/dance, etc.)
  • Applicants must commit to the full week's residency, including some evenings
  • We are looking for artists who are keen to create work with roots in the community
  • Artists must show a proven commitment to their discipline, either through a portfolio of work or relevant course, qualifications or awards
  • Living and/or working regularly in Suffolk (as defined by the Suffolk county boundaries)

How to apply

  • Complete the application form, including details of what excites you about this opportunity and what you might like to explore over the duration of the week. NB: Please provide as much detail as possible in this section so that we have an opportunity to understand your creative practice.
  • Attach a CV including any relevant web links to examples of your work

Deadline for submission

  • Deadline: Midday, Friday 6 March 2020
  • Phone interviews: Tuesday 10 March 2020
  • Notification: Wednesday 11 March 2020

Applicants will be selected in accordance to how well they meet the criteria outlined above.

Apply to take part →