Bruntwood Artists-in-Residence

1 January 2019 – 1 January 2025


the residency

Laura Cooper, Free Rein.

Open Call: Bruntwood Artists in Residence

Apply by 5th November 2021

Grand Union and Bruntwood are working in partnership to offer opportunity for Artists to be in residence in Bruntwood’s Cornwall Buildings in Birmingham city centre.

Now in its third year, the scheme provides a free and specially designed studio space for artists who would be interested in working in residence within the frame and environment of another organisation. Artists Laura Cooper and JJ Guest are currently in residence at Cornwall Studio, producing new work and exhibitions, developing research and undertaking commissions.

As Birmingham approaches an unprecedented surge in growth, it is vital that the city’s arts and culture scene continues to be supported, as well as developing the city’s home-grown talent. Bruntwood is a leading property developer across the North of England and Birmingham. As a group, Bruntwood has a long-term commitment to creating thriving cities, and recognises that both arts and culture are key components to a city’s quality of life, as well as being powerful economic drivers.

Grand Union is committed to providing access to spaces for supporting and advocating for artistic practice in Birmingham and wider social contexts. This artist residency and studio space initiative, in partnership with Bruntwood, further compliments Grand Union’s existing provision of 12 artists’ studios and Modern Clay, a ceramics facility offering open access to artists and community groups in the region.

Further Information

The residencies will begin in March 2022. Bruntwood and Grand Union will work together to select the two artists they feel would benefit most from the opportunity. The successful artists will benefit from the following:

–      24-hour access to a free, shared workspace for 12 months.

–      Mentoring from Grand Union’s curatorial team.

–      Integration within the wider Bruntwood community, and introductions to their clients and customers. 

–      An open invitation to take part in wider Grand Union social and studio events.

–      An exhibition hosted by Bruntwood in one of their buildings.

During the 12 month residency, the following would be expected of each artist;

–      To use the Cornwall Studio as their main place of work.

–      To host at least one open studio event. 

–      To hold at least one workshop on a subject of their choice. 

–      To take part in at least one Digbeth First Friday event. 

–      To create one unique artwork in response to a brief and budget developed in discussion with Bruntwood and Grand Union. The budget will be provided by Bruntwood and must be used to cover material and manufacturing costs. The resulting artwork would belong to Bruntwood to be showcased in one of their properties.

TO APPLY please send in ONE PDF document including: –

  • A proposal giving an overview of your practice and how you would like to use the studio/residency (300 – 500 words max or a video lasting no longer than 5 minutes)
  • 5 images of recent work or web links (max pixels 1200 on longest dimension).

Deadline: 5th November 2021 5pm

Grand Union are happy to receive applications from artists and performers of all disciplines and groups, especially those currently underrepresented in the arts sector and actively encourage those from diverse backgrounds to apply.

Send applications to:

Please state ‘Bruntwood x GU’ in the subject header.

the Artists

Current Artists-in-residence


Laura Cooper is a British artist and filmmaker. Through film, performance and installation, her work explores how we relate to others, reaching towards unknown territories, exploring the human-animal and attempting to inhabit a less anthropocentric reality.

Her current project, ‘The Future is Soft’ questions what humans can learn from horses through a combination of performance, workshops, drawing and film. It explores the curious new pedagogy of Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) a new type of horse-led corporate training, where horses teach leadership and team-building skills to individuals and business’s. The training is based on a mixture of quasi-scientific horse psychology and indigenous horse practices, that work with herd dynamics and soft power through human-horse translations. It considers ethical dilemmas when implicating another species into human capitalist systems.

In recent drawings Laura has been exploring possible ways of filming and relating to wild ponies on the hills where she grew up, made with with natural inks from this landscape. Exploring through 360° video as horses are prey animals with 300° vision, seeing approximately 146° out of each eye in monocular vision. Unlike our predatory forward focusing field of view, horses have evolved through a more curved reality, living in cooperative matriarchal herds. These speculative drawings are somewhere between relational and ocular maps showing various physical group dynamics and spheres of vision. I am currently planning to film various horse whisperers and EAL facilitators to explore how these embodied experiences work and what they might reveal about the way we lead and our lead as human animals.

Visit Laura’s website here

JJ Guest, Double-Sided Football Goal, 2021 (mock-up)


JJ Guest is a multidisciplinary artist who subverts images and objects associated with masculinity, reappropriating them to provide queer narratives. Working predominantly with industrial materials such as concrete and metal, the masculine form is presented as something constructed and disjointed as opposed to something inherently powerful. JJ’s current project, focuses on a double-sided football goal as a structure to explore these ideas; “The double-sided Football Goal, cage-like in its appearance, explores the restrictive nature of aiming to be a “real” man. By placing it in direct opposition to itself, the Goal becomes antithetical to the positive connotations of ambition and aspiration, instead, speaking of constraint and confinement.”

Visit JJ’s website here

JJ has also initiated an online platform, Maiden Studio, for sharing and selling work with fellow artists Ishmail De Niro and Leah Hickey. Visit Maiden Studio here.

Former Artists-in-residence

2018 – 2019