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 each year.
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, Modern Clay (a ceramics facility offering open access to artist and community groups in the region) as well as a Birmingham City University graduate scheme offering 4 graduates the opportunity to co-work and develop their emerging practice in a supported environment amongst other artist practices in the city.
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 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.