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V&A Museum:

Comic Illustration Residency

Comics really are getting everywhere, aren’t they, what with the recent BFI summer season, Harrods’ exhibition, Jamie Hewlett’s Monkey at the opera and screen adaptations galore? As part of this cultural crossover, Comica 08 is working not only with the ICA and French Institute once again this year, but is also forging thrilling new links with the Victoria & Albert Museum in London’s South Kensington. Comics are no strangers to this major institution, as you can read in the interview with Ian Rakoff. This year the V&A acquired a further significant collection of classic comic books from the pre-Code romance genre, available in the National Art Library.

As further proof of their serious commitment to the culture, the museum is not only hosting the first One Day Comica Symposium on Friday November 14th and a related Evening Talk with Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie, but has also just announced its first Comic Illustration Residency next year in its newly-opened Sackler Centre for arts education.

It’s an honour and a responsibility for me to join the selection panel as one of the external members and help choose the winning candidate for this exceptional opportunity. Here’s a chance for a UK comics creator to work in these brand-new studio facilities, have the time, focus and money to concentrate on a dream project for a full six months, July to December 2009, and engage with the Museum and its visitors. Meeting with the organisers today, I was struck by their enthusiasm for this initiative and their eagerness to find the very finest applicants.

So if this could suit you and your plans, I urge you to apply and I’ve posted all the details below so you can complete your application by January 4th 2009. The offer might use the term "Comic Illustration" but the goal here is definitely to support both the writing and drawing of your comics or graphic novel project and help bring it to fruition and possibly publication as well.  Good luck!

The Sackler Centre at The V&A Museum

V&A Museum Comic Illustration Residency:
Bursary offered and studio space provided

The V&A has a programme of six month residencies in the Sackler Centre for arts education at the V&A and presents a new opportunity for mid career practitioners to have a studio at the V&A for six months commencing 1st July 2009. Proposals are invited from UK based graphic novelists and comic artists working with, or wishing to work in the medium, who wish to develop their practice through working with the V&A collections and by engaging in the public participatory programmes that the Museum runs. Eligibility for the residency will be based upon the provision of a portfolio of work completed as a student or during the early stages of the practitioner’s career.

Information for applicants
The Victoria and Albert Museum is inviting applications from UK based graphic novelists and comic artists working with, or wishing to work in the medium, who wish to develop their practice through working with the V&A collections and by engaging in the public participatory programmes that the Museum runs The Residency will be based in the Sackler Centre for arts education at the V&A. This is part of an exciting new programme of residencies. It will take place in London over a six-month period from July to December 2009.

The bursary is open to UK-based artists. It will provide a monthly payment (taxable) to contribute to living expenses, accommodation, travel and some materials. A team, drawn from Museum’s staff will provide support throughout the project. We are particularly interested in practitioners who wish to work with the V&A’s collections and use the resources of the Museum and who would also welcome the opportunity to work on projects with the public. Applicants should have a track record of development and regular exposure of new work.

The new Sackler Centre for arts education at the V&A, will has two studios for museum residencies to be occupied by artists / craftspeople / designers / writers / performers / architects / film and video makers etc. There will be 4 residencies of 6 months (26 weeks) each year. This programme is integral to the philosophy of the Sackler Centre, helping to make it a dynamic, creative space.

Purpose of the Residency
This exciting opportunity offers practitioners access to the collections of the world’s greatest museum of art and design for use as creative inspiration to make new work; support to learn new skills and develop creative practice and drawing upon specialist expertise; opportunities to meet practitioners, curators, and also to work alongside specialist educators to promote greater understanding of art and design research and practice for the public.

The aims of the residency are to:

  • Enable the selected practitioner to draw upon the V&A’s collections to carry out research, learn new skills and create new work;
  • Inspire public interest in creative practice;
  • Offer professional development to the selected practitioner in public engagement and educating;
  • Create links between the V&A’s collections and contemporary art / design etc;
  • Undertake an imaginative project to engage the public (this could include workshops, open studios, talks, presentations, masterclasses etc.);
  • Raise the profile of contemporary comic illustration / graphic novels.

We would like to achieve a balance of benefits for the artist, the public and Museum. Residents will be expected to:

  • be based at the V&A for a minimum of three days per week;
  • open their studio at the V&A to the public for six half days per month;
  • display work in progress in their studio (there may also be other opportunities for display elsewhere);
  • undertake a project with the public;
  • contribute to the process of dissemination on the V&A website;
  • provide feedback for the purposes of evaluation.

Selection Criteria
Proposals should be dynamic, ambitious and inspiring - pushing forward the boundaries of perception about creative practice. We are looking for an applicant who can adopt a range of different roles and who is keen to draw upon the resources of the V&A and to enter into a dialogue with the public. Candidates must demonstrate:

  • creative originality and professionalism in their work;
  • dynamic and inspiring ideas about how they would use this opportunity to develop their practice and how they intend to meet the aims of the Residency;
  • ideas for innovative ways to respond to opportunities to work with the V&A’s collections;
  • an interest in working in educational / community settings.

Note: Work created during the residency remains the property of the V&A for the duration of the residency. At the end of the residency ownership will be transferred to the resident. Any work made with during a public workshop remains the property of the V&A.

The resident may wish to donate examples of the work to the Museum’s permanent collections and to consider a publication jointly with the Museum.

The artist will be paid approximately £7,180 during their 6 month residency in monthly instalments. This fee will be subject to income tax and National Insurance. This fee is inclusive of travel costs within the UK and living expenses. There will be an additional budget for studio equipment and materials to be agreed with the Residency Co-ordinator. One return flight to the UK will be paid for by the partner organisations.

The Residency Studios are on the main site of the V&A in South Kensington, situated within the Sackler Centre for arts education.

To apply
Applicants should apply online at the V&A’s website at where you will be asked to submit a current CV and complete an application form.

In addition to submitting your application on-line, please also upload 8 images of your work with your application. They must be file size 70 dpi and no larger than 9 x 12cm (portrait or landscape), 340 x 255 pixels. These files should be saved as the name of the Image (see below).

Within the folder, each image should be labelled with your name and number from 1 to 12.

Digital images must be saved as JPEG files and should have the suffix .jpg. Please provide a description of each image following the outline below:

  • Image 1 (name of image - please save the file under this name);
  • Title;
  • Materials used;
  • Dimensions;
  • Year Made;
  • Description.

Applicants must be available for this project from 5th July to 31st December 2009. The selection process will be carried out by a panel of representatives from the V&A and an external member. Applicants will be short listed from the images and supporting information and those selected will be invited for interview. Interviews will take place on Thursday, 5th February 2009. Candidates must be available for interview on this date.

If you have any queries regarding the recruitment process, you can email - hr [at]

Closing date for receipt of applications is 4th January 2009.

Posted: November 5, 2008


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