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 self contained artist apartment 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 Georgia D’Silva as Artist in Residence from February – July 2024 followed by Stewart Knights for a further 6 month period

Current IOU Artist in Residence – Georgia D’Silva

This opportunity has special significance for me, tracing back to my first visit to Hebden  Bridge in early 2022. During a spontaneous coach trip, the driver said she felt passionate about bringing passengers to Hebden Bridge, as for her, it was a place of  reflection and peace. As I strolled by the canal, I felt it too, igniting daydreams of calling it home. 

The allure of Calderdale’s vibrant community and the collaborative ethos of IOU captivated me. Itching to expand the parameters of my practice, I envision a residency marked by sustained dialogue with staff, fellow artists, locals, and hostel guests. 

Navigating a pivotal juncture in my career post-graduation, I found myself at a crossroads, seeking new directions unconfined by academic structures. This residency will offer an ideal setting for this transformative phase, aligning with my evolving perspectives on memory, place, and experience, marking the commencement of a new chapter in my creative journey. 

IOU’s interdisciplinary approach and innovative use of technology align seamlessly with my desire to incorporate movement and explore audio within my installations.  Ultimately, a successful residency would be a holistic experience, enabling me to create  work that transcends my current imagination, shaped by the unique setting and the  vibrant community at its heart’


young woman in purple dress with artworks of small houses
artwork of a 3D cardboard and painted house

I like to describe myself as a melancholic prisoner of wistful awareness. At the root of  my practice is a process of documenting, then using found, repurposed, and low budget materials to meticulously craft everyday realities.  

I create small-scale dioramas, dealing with notions of memory and place. My work has assimilated dollhouse rooms, whilst being devoid of figures, asking the viewer to interact inquisitively and playfully. Time and time again, I am drawn to cardboard. The material has this sense fragility and transitoriness which mirrors the fleeting nature of  the present that causes my brow to corrugate. 

I have worked and lived in Hyde Park, Leeds, for the past three years, where my practice has focussed on the paradoxes of the young adult experience. Both the shared and polarised perspectives of place within my local community fascinated me, and my  sculptures became part of these conversations. My artworks encompass space,  materiality, lighting, and sound, to evoke a subjective narrative’

Left and below Georgia’s work No. 1013 exhibited at FUAM 2023 show at Leeds University Library Galleries.

artwork of a miniture 3D kitchen
Two elderly people looking a cardboard miniture house in an exhibition
woman in red sweater paints a multi coloured oil painting

Alicja Mrozowska IOU Artist in Residence: October 2022 - May 2023

"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'

woman doing artwork at wooden desk she has long hair and wearing a green sweater

Beth Cockcroft IOU Artist In Residence: May - October 2023

'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.'

Charlotte Mellor Meacham

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’

Artists in Residence Final Work 

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.”

To complete her time as Artist in Residence Alicja produced 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”

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.

Large building set in gardens with bright orange painted entrance