At the core of Bank Street Arts’ creative programme was its innovative Residence Scheme. Developed out of a mixture of necessity and the resources we had available, it was based upon a simple premise: we have little or no money to fund arts programming, we are open to pretty much anything, and we have loads of space in the building and an open agenda. This translated into a straightforward barter like proposal – what do you want from us and what can you offer in return. Most of those who engaged with us ‘got it’: some didn’t and either didn’t take up the offer or the residency never became a feature at BSA. For those that did work with us, the relationship tended to grow organically: they came and went, brought forward new ideas or were invited into projects – the collaborations that ensued almost always originate new work, were very often collaborative and were without doubt both the mainstay and most innovative part of our programme.
The text below is how the programme was presented on our website and many of the links on this site date back to the original Residency proposals we received. These rarely summed up the scope and scale of involvement with Resident artists so we have added further links to other pages to illustrate more of the scope of the collaborative work involved.
(By clicking on the Residency tab in the Categories column opposite, you can find details of BSA’s resident artists and many of the exhibitions and events they were involved with. The number of posts alone in the Archive site illustrates the importance of the Residency Scheme to the artistic programme of the Centre.)
Bank Street Arts invites applications for its rolling Residency Programme.
Originally open to anyone living or working in the South Yorkshire area or its near vicinity (with the proviso, ‘interpret that as you wish’), we have seen the programme expand to include practitioners from all over the UK and even beyond. As we are unable to provide travel expenses we expect you to be close enough to fulfill your commitment to use, or be based at the Centre as prescribed in your application. So, as long as you are able to get here, physically or virtually, we are happy to discuss your ideas.
We invite applications from anyone involved in ‘creative work’ (and we define that loosely too – well, in fact, we don’t define it at all), so we invite applications from anyone. The only criterion being that the purpose of your residency should fit with our overall aims and ethos.
There is no limit to the number of applicants we can take each year, as long as we are able to support the proposed projects. Over a five year period we have supported over forty residencies, and in 2015 alone we will have over twenty. Applicants comprise individuals and groups/organisations.
Each applicant should determine both the duration of their residency as well as its purpose and nature. Your residency may involve you using the Centre once a month for an extended period every day for (a) month(s), or just a few consecutive days. We will accommodate applicants as best we can, subject to approval of proposals.
This is a rolling programme so there is no deadline for applications, although in the first instance we request that your residency proposal be limited to a maximum of twelve months. In reality, many of our current residencies have been ongoing with practitioners picking up projects in collaboration with others, or embarking upon new ideas as and when they need the time and space. The residencies are about collaboration and discussion not about pinning anything down.
The Residency Programme is not funded by any outside body. We will assist any applicant who wishes to apply for outside funding with any ‘in-kind-costings’ or administrative support, however we will not undertake any such application. Previous residents have received support from Arts Council England, The Wellcome Foundation, universities and other external funders. What we offer is assistance in other ways – free or subsidised use of exhibition spaces, gallery space, education and meeting rooms, studio space, use of facilities, administrative help, publicity for events or your project, advertising, curatorial support, contacts, advocacy, facilitating contacts etc. The whole Centre is at the disposal of residents in ‘down-time’ (evenings, weekends, closing days etc.), and other spaces can be reserved by agreement.
The residencies are not a response to a prescribed programme or a requirement to meet predetermined aims. We are looking for something that is more of a dialogue; what do you want from the residency for yourself, what do you want from us and what are you offering us in return?
It may be you want a space to work in for a fixed period of time on a specific project, you are looking at exploring the use of a space, wish to create an installation or permanent work in the Centre, want to run classes or meetings in the Centre connected with your work or a new project, want to open a shop, want a place to hang around and write, need rehearsal space, want to organise events, set up a publishing list, work with other practitioners, or you want to get involved in our work or want us involved in yours in some undefined way. Above all, we do not want to prescribe what the residencies should be – that is up to you.
Please take the time to find out about what we do and our aims. Look at the website and feel free to telephone us or e-mail to discuss your proposal in advance. We are committed to working alongside and as part of the established festivals in Sheffield, and whilst any proposal to participate in any such event will be favourably received, be realistic about time scale if it involves any third party event.
Above all, we have tried to date to take a sideways look at what a residency is and can be, and dialogue is an essential part of that process. We particularly welcome applications from anyone working in other studio complexes or those belonging to other organisations as we feel this is likely to contribute to the process of extending dialogue. Please decide for yourself what is or should be on offer here and don’t be swayed by prior expectations.
All applicants must fill in the Residency Programme Application Form and provide additional information as required by their proposal. Resident artists must also agree to be members of BSA during their residency. We request that you e-mail us for an application form or to discuss ideas before you submit anything in writing. To obtain a copy of the Application Form please e-mail
A print pdf used for display in our cafe area giving details of some of our residencies can be viewed here.