Artist in Residence Programme
IOU has created a rolling 6 month opportunity for artists to live, work and develop their creative practice at the IOU Hebden Bridge Hostel
The Artist in Residency opportunity is open to artists specialising in any art form and interested in IOU’s approach. The residency includes living rent and bill free in a private artist bedroom to develop their practice and create an art project in response to their time spent living at the Hostel.
Following an open call which received a high number of responses from artists of all disciplines and communities we have appointed Beth Cockcroft as Artist in Residence from May – October 2023.
Current IOU Artist in Residence – Beth Cockcroft
” I saw the residency as an opportunity to devote my time to creating without so many external pressures, and reconnect with and reflect on what inspires me. I also saw it as an opportunity to reconnect with the local area- a place I grew up in before moving around the country- as I truly think Calderdale has its own unique culture and sense of community.
I share a lot of the same motivations/inspirations as IOU, as they seek to engage local communities and audiences, taking inspiration from Calderdale’s nature and culture whilst pushing the boundaries of experimentation. I thought with sharing the same priorities, we’d be able to come up with some really exciting ideas!
I’m looking forward to experimenting with and pushing the boundaries of the type of artist I consider myself to be, whilst making new connections through the Hostel & IOU. I’m excited to use my art practice to engage audiences through workshops, events and exhibitions in the area. I’m also looking forward to being able to devote time to reconnecting with nature and my own thoughts, and building confidence as an artist”.
“I believe art can be used to process emotions/feelings and enhance wellbeing- in communities and workshops as well as on a therapeutic, personal level and this is how I use art in my personal practice.
Inspired by nature, local folklore, ‘feminine’ identity and shared experience, I experiment with traditional craft to explore surreal narratives and abstract worlds. Process-based and esoteric, I use intuitive drawing and playful experimentation- prioritising the process of creating rather than focusing on a perfect final result.
I’m currently working on a zine; collecting images, sketches and found objects whilst on walks in the local area in the hopes to compile my own little image reference book. I’ll use this as inspiration for my project moving forward, focusing on local folklore and our connection with nature”.
Alicja Mrozowska was the IOU Artist in Residence from October 2022-May 2023. In May she led an IOU Making It workshop ‘Experimental Oils’ where 25 participants explored alternative painting techniques and canvases
“Working with IOU as Artist in Residence has been an amazing experience that has progressed my work and my confidence as an artist. Acquainting myself with Hebden Bridge and Halifax has prompted me to reflect on who I am as an artist, what the essence of my work is and observe things from the perspective of the audience through meeting guests, studio visitors and people in the community. The studio and hostel spaces are unique ecosystems with a great team, that have inspired me and encouraged new ideas to form and grow.
I have been able to realise ideas that lived in my head, develop these with critical feedback, validation and perspective. I have been able to build on knowledge of combining art forms including painting and projection mapping, and make work for different contexts with practical, technical and programming advice.”
To complete her time as Artist in Residence Alicja has completed a stunning painting that is now displayed in the Hostel reception. She is also developing a programme of work to exhibit at IOU Walkway Gallery for the Calderdale Year of Culture 2024
“I feel that the hostel reception piece is an example of my confidence growing. I have elevated my painting technique to a larger scale, incorporated new ways of working with paper, used found materials and simplified the subject matter, content with saying less. Moving forward I’m excited for new challenges, continuing to learn and working with IOU in the future”
Our first Artist in Residence, Charlotte Meller Meecham, completed her art and sound project at the IOU Hebden Bridge Hostel and the result are these beautiful customised headphones that our Hostel guests can use for their own exclusive silent disco.
“I love to make things that balance both function and form, plus I have years of experience making headdresses for festivals and events, so I was thrilled to be able to harness these interests and complete a project that will hopefully stay a unique feature of the IOU Hostel for years to come.”
Launched in April 2022 the Hostel is a unique way for IOU to engage with local residents and visitors to Calderdale and to support artists, creatives and the cultural ecology of the region.
With 14 bedrooms, sleeping up to 40 the independent vegetarian Hostel is set in stunning woodland and gardens in the vibrant town of Hebden Bridge, with excellent transport links to Leeds and Manchester. The hostel welcomes solo travellers and groups all year round and is available for exclusive hire for retreats, workshops, meetings and team building events.
The Hostel is not for profit, with surplus reinvested into the IOU artist community and hostel programme.
IOU Hebden Bridge Hostel Artists in Residence
Alicja’s practice explores identity and the concept of ‘home’ through oil painting, film photography, paper construction and technology. She incorporates her own experiences, surroundings and relationships with nods to social structures, in a lighthearted way. These multidimensional artworks hope to prompt acceptance, curiosity and vulnerability. Alongside exhibiting her work, Alicja has participated in group residencies and led creative workshops in the UK, Poland and Germany.
Charlotte Meller Meecham
Charlotte is a freelance multi-disciplinary artist, based between Hebden Bridge and Portugal. Within her art practice, she likes to use a variety of mediums. These range from more traditional approaches, such as analogue photography and printing, making and sculpture or sewing and illustration, through to more digital work for her visuals, animation or her posters and design work. Alongside this, she also makes and sells her own designs of handmade headdresses and through the summer, while working as the IOU Hebden Bridge Hostel artist in residence, she customised a series of headphones for a sound/art project, with the idea that the guests of the Hostel could use them for ‘silent discos’
Bodie is a freelance multi-disciplinary artist, based between Hebden Bridge and Portugal. "A chair is still a chair, even when there's no one sittin' there But a chair is not a house and a house is not a home." When I was 20 I talked to Dionne Warwick on the phone in a house I couldn't afford to rent and eventually had to flee. Dionne has a song called "A House Is Not A Home''. It was written for her by Bacharach and David for a film of the same name. The film is about a New York Madam called Polly Adler who ran a bordello in Manhattan. When I was 33 I lived a few blocks away from Polly Adler's in a flophouse on the Bowery, it was £10 a night and the rooms had no ceilings. I've moved house a total of 38 times, I'm not sure if I ever moved home. The work I am making at the IOU Hostel is about home- what makes one, what you call it, how it feels to get there. "