We are proud to announce the launch of the 2018 TestBeds cohort



After a successful first year of TestBeds, The University of Bedfordshire is proud to announce the 2018 cohort of artists and creative practitioners, who will be on attachment at the university for a calendar year.

TestBeds is a professional development programmes that enhances local artists’ capacity to live, work and thrive locally as well as become leaders in innovative, cross-disciplinary research as catalysts for social change.

The University was awarded £375,000 by Arts Council England as part of their £1.5m investment to enhance the arts and cultural infrastructure of Luton. As well as offering thirteen artists and arts organisations places on the year-long development programmes, TestBeds will continue to offer skill-development opportunities to the public as part of the open-access, needs-driven Arts Enterprise Zone.

Prof Helen Bailey who leads the initiative for the University said: “After the success of the first year of TestBeds, we are delighted to reveal the new TestBeds cohort for 2018."

“We have built on the work of last year to engage with a new cohort with varied and exciting creative practices and goals. Each artist was chosen for the quality of their existing artistic work, their vision for their career and development, and their potential as future placemakers, global citizens and catalysts for change locally, nationally and internationally.”

The 2018 TestBeds cohort includes:

Caroline Wallace, a curator and artist working in photography and social engagement with Artists and communities in Luton.

David Murphy, a conductor, composer and Musical Director of Luton-based Sinfonia Verdi.

Debra Knight, C.E.O of Nine Red Presents… (CIC), a spoken word and digital artist focused on social change.

Jamie Newell, a creative life and adventure photographer and videographer born and raised in Luton whose work focuses on the human condition and our relationship with the planet and each other.

Mary Hearne, a textile and mixed media artist, focusing on social commentary and satire as well as her own experiences living and working in Luton.

Moriam Grillo, an international artist and ceramicist with a focus on community engagement and wellbeing.

Nicola Moody, a Fine Art Textile artist who combines traditional textile methods with nature, movement and landscape.

Oz Azubuine, beatboxer and founder of Ozzlebox, which was founded as an Open-Mic platform for the promotion and inclusion of creative art-forms into wider society.

Shakira Francis & Shelana Azora, founding members of Gurls Du Filme, a production company aimed at promoting BAME women in film. Shakira Francis is an actress and writer and Shelana Azora is a writer and filmmaker.

Andy Abbott, an artist, writer and musician based in Bradford with a thesis on socially engaged art and self-organised culture.

Adam York Gregory & Gillian Jane Lees: Gillian is a performance practitioner. Adam is a visual artist. Together, their practice seeks to explore the notion of ‘the imagined ideal’ through collaborative tensions, subjective performance, documentation and observation.

Gayle Storey, a British Fine Artist whose paintings and prints evoke a sense of beauty. Gayle is expanding her practice into an interdisciplinary collaboration across fine art, music and movement.

Nicole Mollett, a visual artist whose practise includes drawing, painting, sculpture, and performance. Nicole is interested in public art and what happens when art is created outside of the gallery context.

We are excited to start this journey with the new cohort of artists, and look forward to engaging with their work throughout 2018.