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Makers Brief - Heritage residency and commission

Wednesday, September 21, 2016 - 17:00

Maker’s Brief

Raw Materials: Wood | Exploring the heritage of the River Lea Valley

Bow Arts is looking for a maker working with or in response to the material wood to produce a piece(s) of work in response to the Heritage Lottery Funded project Raw Materials. This is an exciting opportunity for a maker to further engage with heritage in their practice and explore the influence a material can have on an area’s development. The Raw Materials maker’s residency will be focused on providing a development and exhibition opportunity for a maker to the aim of producing a physical response to heritage that will be exhibited alongside archival objects and research in the Raw Materials exhibition. The purpose of the contemporary response is to engage new audiences with the heritage of the local area. 

Raw Materials will record the heritage of wood through archive and museum collections, on-site visits and research, led by an active steering group and supported by local project partners. The project will culminate in a comprehensive online resource, heritage map and an exhibition in the Nunnery Gallery.

The Raw Materials project will be highly publicised and a great opportunity for a maker to increase the recognition of their work. The residency will also provide opportunities to work directly with archival collections, including Hackney and Newham, and institutions such as the V&A, all whom are supporting the project through access to their collections and specialist advice.

The residency research can be carried out in the following ways:

  • By attending the project archive and institution collection visits.
  • By attending the River Lea heritage site visits.
  • By researching independently any element of the industrial heritage of wood in the River Lea area between the years of 1750-1950.
  • By investigating heritage wood techniques that were used in the River Lea area.
  • By working with students from the Building Crafts College, who will be incorporating the project’s heritage research into their Furniture Making course.

The idea for the final response will be developed with the Project Manager of Raw Materials and the Gallery Manager of the Nunnery Gallery, both of whom will provide support and guidance throughout the residency.

There will also be the (optional) opportunity to be further involved with the Raw Materials project through the programme of events, such as conducting a public workshop around a heritage wood technique and working with young makers.

Applicant Specification

Applicants should have:

  • A proven track record of producing work independently.
  • A proven track record of working with or about the material of wood or be able to demonstrate a developed interest in working with wood.
  • Ambition to develop their practice through engagement with heritage. 
  • An interest in the industrial development of the River Lea area.


There is a budget of £4,000 to respond to this brief. 
The budget should cover all research time, tools, materials and related making costs to create an object ready for exhibition. The spending of the budget will be in consultation with and monitored by the Raw Materials Project Manager, with guidance from the Gallery Manager.


The residency will begin with the project research starting in September 2016. The made response must be ready for exhibition by April 2017, to show in the Raw Materials end of project exhibition at the Nunnery Gallery, running from April-June 2017.


Please email a response to this brief in no more than 1000 words, answering the following questions:

  1. Why are you interested in the industrial heritage of wood, specifically in the River Lea Valley area?
  2. Why do you think your practice / workmanship would benefit from this residency and the access it provides to archival collections?
  3. Which area of research into the industrial heritage of wood interests you most and why?
  4. What work might you hope to produce in response to this brief?
  5. Please also provide a selection of relevant images of your work and/or link to portfolio. 

Applications should be sent to Project Manager, Karen Le Roy Harris,

Deadline: Wednesday 21st September, 2016, 5pm

Additional Information

Please download brief here

Please download additional document providing images and information outlining some of the research identified at key archives and collections here. 






Contact Email:
Contact Name: 
Karen Le Roy Harris
Contact Number: 
020 8980 7774
Wednesday, September 21, 2016