Introducing the 2017 testbeds cohort
On behalf of The University of Bedfordshire, I am proud to announce the first cohort of artists taking part in TestBeds, part of Arts Council England’s Luton Investment Programme.
TestBeds is an innovative professional development programme that will enhance artists' capacity to live, work and thrive. As well as providing local artists with the tools to establish thriving creative businesses, TestBeds has already attracted internationally-renowned artists to Luton. I hope the programme will spearhead innovative, cross-disciplinary research into the employment of arts and culture and act as a catalyst for change nationally and internationally.
Each artist was chosen for the quality of their existing artistic work, their vision for their career in the arts, and their potential as future placemakers, global citizens and catalysts for change.
The cohort is split into two strands: Artist Accelerator for early-career creative practitioners from, or based within Luton and Catalyst Co-Lab, a programme for national and international mid-career arts innovators.
Artist Accelerator is a 12-month incubator programme for early-career, Luton-based creative practitioners of any discipline. Inspired by the tech industry start-up model, the programme will accelerate careers and push artists to develop their practice into thriving enterprises. The 2017 Artist Accelerator cohort is:
Agnieszka Rebosz is a dancer, performer, choreographer and visual artist. She received an MA in Dance Performance and Choreography from University of Bedfordshire, where she mainly focused on experiential learning through various improvisational and choreographic techniques. Agnieszka’s current research is focused on exploring connections between dance movement practice and visual arts.
Gayle Storey is a British Fine Artist whose paintings and prints evoke a sense of beauty. She began her studies at the University of Bath (1995), before studying an MA at University of Creative Arts at Canterbury (2001). Her work has been featured in International Publications and Journals, working with a range of multidisciplinary practices.
Four Faced Films is a newly established film production company founded by Adeyinka Akinrinade, Charity Muiruri, Hannah Kelly, and Joshua Woolery-Allen. Based in Luton, their shared passion for film and creativity has led them to wanting to make an impact by creating original work that captivates their audience and tells local and diverse stories.
Julia Cheng, Creative Director of House of Absolute, has extensive experience working as a dance artist nationally and internationally. She specialises in a wide range of disciplines of physical theatre, contemporary and street dance styles. Recent commissions by Breakin’ Convention, Sadler’s Wells and Chinese Arts Space, South Bank Centre.
Sophie Gresswell is a Luton based visual artist whose work focuses on producing paintings exploring distortion, identity and misrepresentation. She has exhibited work in London and participated in an artist residency to China. Sophie works to engage local communities with art and aims to bring contemporary visual artwork to local spaces.
Having achieved his Access foundation at Barnfield College, Stephen Whiting left Luton in 1994 to attend University in Cheltenham, where he studied Fine Art Painting. He returned to his home town in 2003, to further develop his professional practice in art, music and literature. He is the writer, editor, designer and producer of independent Luton satirical magazine ‘Clod’ as part of his many diverse artistic ventures.
Catalyst Co-lab is a 12-month research & development programme for mid-career artists of any discipline. The programme unites national and international artists to facilitate them in taking the next step into large-scale creative projects in partnership with the University of Bedfordshire. The Catalyst Co-Lab artists are:
Sung-Im Her studied Contemporary Dance and Choreography at Han-Sung University in Seoul (Korea), and P.A.R.T.S. in Brussels (Belgium).
Sung-Im has worked as a performer with Jan Fabre, Les Ballets C de la B, Alias, Needcompany, and Abattoir Fermé. She further creates her own collaboration pieces in Belgium, Germany and Korea.
Philip Stanier is Artistic Director of the Strange Names Collective. Philip was a recipient of an Artsadmin bursary, was selected for the National Review of Live Art, and has toured internationally. Philip is a Senior Lecturer of Performing Arts at the University of Winchester, and has published writings about contemporary performance.
Yasmin Sidhwa is Artistic Director of Mandala Theatre Company, Oxford, a national and international touring company.
She toured nationally and internationally with the Royal National Theatre Company and worked in Repertory, Television and Radio as a professional actor and director. She has previously worked as Creative Learning Director at Pegasus Theatre.
With such a variety of experiences, artistic practices, talents and creative goals, the TestBeds 2017 cohort is set to be an exciting and dynamic group. I am looking forward to seeing how our artists progress and the effect they will have on the growth of creative industries in Luton.
-Professor Helen Bailey, Executive Dean of the Centre for Academic Partnerships