Studios Bursary Application Guidelines

All applicants must read the guidelines below carefully before submitting a bursary application to Somerset House Studios. By applying you are confirming that you understand and agree to these points.

WHAT IS SOMERSET HOUSE STUDIOS?

Somerset House Studios is an experimental workspace in the centre of London connecting artists, designers and thinkers with audiences. Located inside the repurposed former Inland Revenue building, the Studios offer space and support to artists pushing bold ideas, engaging with urgent issues and pioneering new technologies. It is also a platform for the development of new creative projects and collaborations. Up to 100 artists are resident at any one time and are supported to develop their practice for a defined period.

 

The main objective of Somerset House Studios is to support practicing artists, designers and thinkers to work. We use the term ‘residency’ as we offer more than just space. We offer opportunities for professional development, connection with our multidisciplinary community of artists, mentorship and skill sharing. We also offer opportunities to work with young people as part of the Somerset House Learning and Skills programme, and connect our residents with audiences via the Somerset House Studios public programme.

APPLICATION PROCESS

WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR A BURSARY AT SOMERSET HOUSE STUDIOS?

Applications for the current bursaries at Somerset House Studios are open to UK based artists of all disciplines with a continuing focus on artists who are pushing bold ideas, engaging with urgent issues and pioneering new technologies.

Artists must be over 18 and demonstrate that they meet the criteria of the bursary opportunity they are applying for. Please read the details for general criteria along with additional individual bursary criteria carefully below.

Applicants are asked to give details of their practice and propose a focus for the 12 months they hope to be resident at Somerset House Studios as part of their application. 

WHY DO YOU NEED ME TO COMPLETE AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES FORM?

For all bursary opportunities, there will be a focus on applicants who are underrepresented in the industry. An Equal Opportunities Questionnaire must be submitted to complete your application, where data is collected for monitoring and reporting purposes and, for the purpose of readdressing balance in terms of gender, disability, ethnicity, and socio-economic background in the Studios Bursaries programme, will not be anonymised. We kindly ask you to fill out this questionnaire, by filling out this form you are confirming that you agree to share this information with us.

Priority will be given to artists whose work is exciting to the panel but who can also display the impact this opportunity would have on their practice and demonstrate why a residency at Somerset House Studios would not be feasible without this bursary support.

IS THERE ANOTHER WAY TO APPLY?

Access support is available for all Somerset House Studios Bursary applications, including alternative formats and tailored support. Applications may be made via video or audio rather than via written form to support those with neuro-diverse conditions. For further details or if, for access requirements, you would prefer to meet one of our team or talk through these guidelines please contact studios@somersethouse.org.uk or call +44 (0)20 7845 4623.  

GENERAL CRITERIA FOR ALL APPLICANTS

Eligible Artists must:

  • Make their primary living from their practice
  • Demonstrate that their practice will benefit from being part of a cross disciplinary creative community
  • Be able to clearly outline how their practice would benefit from the bursary opportunity
  • Demonstrate why a residency at Somerset House Studios would not be feasible for them without this bursary support
  • Be 18 years of age or older (there is no age maximum)
  • Be UK based
  • Have carefully read the Bursary Application Guidelines and the specification for the specific bursary they are applying for, and understand that their practice can be accommodated by Somerset House Studios
  • Will use Somerset House Studios as their main workspace for this residency duration (please note minimum usage clause)
  • Commit to participation in all bursary related programme activity, including mentorship meetings, professional development opportunities and other activity (all will be scheduled in conversation with each bursary recipient)
  • Applicants should have been out of formal education for at least 2 years. We are also interested hearing from artists who have not progressed through formal art training routes. 
SPECIFIC CRITERIA FOR NON-LONDON BASED ARTIST BURSARY
  • Applicants must currently live and work in the UK but outside of Greater London
  • Open to individuals or a maximum of two artists in a collective/ duo. In the event of this bursary being awarded to more than one artist, all fees and budget support will need to be split. 
SPECIFIC CRITERIA FOR EARLY CAREER ARTIST BURSARY
  • Open to early career artists of all disciplines
  • Artists must be within the first 5 years of their professional career
  • Open to individuals or a maximum of two artists in a collective/ duo. In the event of this bursary being awarded to more than one artist, all fees and budget support will need to be split
SPECIFIC CRIERIA FOR ART, DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY BURSARIES
  • Early-career artists or designers must be within first 5 years of their professional career
  • Mid-career artists or designers must be a minimum of 10 years into their professional practice
  • Applicant must be working critically at the intersection of art, design and technology - your practice must be clearly grounded in art and technology / critical design
SPECIFIC CRITERIA FOR SOUND BURSARY
  • Artist’s Practice must firmly be rooted in sound
  • Artists must be a minimum of 10 years into their professional practice.
  • Applicants must have some technical understanding and sound production skills to be able to sufficiently work from the recording studio
  • Open to individuals only
CAN I VIEW THE STUDIO SPACES AND FACILITIES?

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to view the spaces and discuss their application with the Bursary panel as per the timeline below. Click here to view more information on residency spaces

HOW LONG ARE APPLICATIONS OPEN FOR, AND WHEN IS THE DEADLINE?

The bursary application timeline is as follows:

  • 12 February 2020: Bursary applications open
  • 11 March 2020: Bursary applications deadline - 17.00
  • 23-26 March 2020: Panel interviews take place at Somerset House Studios
  • 27 March 2020: Bursary offers confirmed
  • 1 April 2020: Bursary residencies begin
  • 31 March 2021: Bursary residencies end

The deadline for applications is 17.00 on Wednesday 11 March 2020. Please note that late applications will not be accepted.

WILL I RECEIVE CONFIRMATION OF RECEIPT OF MY APPLICATION?

Yes, confirmation of all applications will be emailed.

WHO SELECTS THE BURSARY RECIPIENTS AND HOW ARE APPLICATIONS REVIEWED?

Applications will be reviewed by a panel comprised of members of Somerset House Trust, Somerset House Studios and Somerset House Studios resident artists.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to view the spaces and discuss their application with the Bursary panel. Please note that the meeting dates are outlined at the time of applications (see timeline above) and these dates are not flexible, though evening times will be possible. Meetings by Skype can only be accommodated if no alternative is possible.

For all bursary opportunities, there will be a focus on applicants who are underrepresented in the industry. Priority will be given to artists whose work is exciting to the panel but who can also clearly display the impact this opportunity would have on their practice and demonstrate why a residency at Somerset House Studios would not be feasible without this bursary support.

WILL I ONLY BE OFFERED THE BURSARY I APPLY FOR?

We may offer you an alternative bursary if we cannot accommodate your preference but feel an alternative may work.

ARE THE MOVE-IN DATES FLEXIBLE?

All bursaries must commence 01 April 2020. By submitting an application for a bursary, it is presumed that you are in a position to take up the studio from this date. It may be possible to move in earlier if desired and if the space is available sooner, and this would be communicated at the point of an offer being accepted.

WE’RE A GROUP OF INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS LOOKING TO SHARE A SPACE – CAN WE APPLY AS A GROUP?

Yes, with the exception of the Sound Artist Bursary which is only suitable for an individual. In the case of more than one applicant per bursary application, each artist will be evaluated on their own merit and all artists must be considered suitable for the bursary by the selection panel. In the case of more than 1 person taking up a bursary, all fees and budgets are split.   

WHAT HAPPENS IF I’M SELECTED?

Those selected will be offered a bursary and issued with an agreement. Please let us know immediately if your position has changed or if you are no longer available to take the bursary space. Demand is very high so we do appreciate your co-operation on this point.

WHAT IF MY SITUATION CHANGES? IS THERE A NOTICE PERIOD?

A notice period of three months can be given by either party in order to terminate a bursary residency period. As the bursary opportunities are short-term residencies, applicants should flag at application stage if they have any concerns about the residency timeline.

CAN I SUBLET MY SPACE?

No, subletting is not possible.

CAN I EXTEND MY RESIDENCY?

If a suitable studio space is available and the artist is in a position to pay rent for a studio, after the end of the bursary residency recipients may apply to remain in the Somerset House Studios community (up to a maximum total of 2.5 years). This would require a new application to Somerset House Studios. 

WHAT HAPPENS IF I’M NOT SELECTED?

Demand for bursary supported studio space in the centre of London is very high. Artists who are unsuccessful in their application are welcome to apply again at a future date, but not within 18 months of the closing date for their last application.

CAN I RECEIVE FEEDBACK ON MY APPLICATION?

Due to the anticipated volume of applications, we will not be able to offer feedback to unsuccessful applicants. Please note that the decision is final and there is no appeal or re-consideration process.

ARE MY OWN CONTENTS INSURED UNDER SOMERSET HOUSE STUDIOS INSURANCE POLICY?

Building insurance is included in the cost of your rent but any property kept on the premises is your responsibility and you should obtain your own insurance for your contents, if required.

SOMERSET HOUSE STUDIOS LOGISTICS

WHAT TIME WILL I HAVE ACCESS TO MY STUDIO?

24-hour access is possible for Somerset House Studios, with some guidance around working at unusual hours and working alone in a space.

WHAT IS THE MINIMUM USAGE FOR STUDIO SPACE AT SOMERSET HOUSE STUDIOS?

Bursary space at Somerset House Studios is in high demand and is offered to artists based on the understanding that it will be their main space of work. Artists must be committed to using their studio at least two days / 16 hours per working week. We understand that artists may need to be away from their studio to undertake projects and residencies which is permitted as long as Somerset House Studios is kept informed. If Somerset House Studios feel that a studio space is being under used, the artist bursary residency period may be reviewed.

HOW DOES SHARED SPACE WORK?

This depends on the type of space, as outlined in more detail below. We encourage artists to create a working environment that suits their individual needs but ask that they consider and respect others working around them and keep an open dialogue about how all space is shared.

HOW ARE THE VAULT SPACES SHARED?

Vault spaces have two floors with different artist residents on each floor. A shared vault floor is based on two artist residents splitting a vault floor equally, 50/50. Shared vaults are let on the basis that no more than four artists are using each floor full time. For shorter periods of activity, such as temporary growth of a team to deliver a project, no more than 6 people should be working on any vault floor at one time.

HOW DOES SHARED SPACE WORK IF I APPLY FOR A BURSARY OFFERING A DESK IN A SHARED STUDIO?

Desks in shared studios are let by desk, one desk per person. Where artists require two desks, multiple personnel may use the second desk on a part-time basis but residents are not permitted to expand beyond this with additional chairs or tables or use the shared space for more than one person per desk. The lead artist must always have a designated desk. Where additional personnel are working with an artist on a regular basis in a shared desk studio, the artist must apply for an additional desk or consider a more suitable type of space.

WILL I HAVE A CHOICE ABOUT WHO I SHARE MY STUDIO WITH?

The majority of our studio spaces are shared and Somerset House Studios will endeavour to ensure that artists are paired with those who can work well together, but artists cannot choose a certain space based on current occupants.

ARE STUDIOS FURNISHED?

For those applying for a bursary in Studio 48, a shared studio, a basic furniture inventory of a desk space and chair is provided. This furniture has been reclaimed and repurposed from the building and is not office regulation furniture, which Somerset House Studios does not supply.

Vault spaces are not furnished but a desk and chair can be provided if required by the bursary artist.

CAN I BRING IN MY OWN FURNITURE?

Yes, for the Vault space. Artists must consult with Somerset House Studios before bringing in any large items as Somerset House is a Grade 1 listed building and all furniture should be freestanding wherever possible. We do allow you to have a fridge within your studio, however we prefer that it does not have a freezer compartment to minimise the risk of leaks in the building. Please note that no toasters are permitted on-site and kettles are only permitted in the vault spaces.

CAN I DECORATE MY STUDIO SPACE?

Any alterations to the studio including shelving, attaching items to the wall, furniture in shared spaces, IT / cabling / telecoms etc. must be approved in advance by Somerset House Studios. It is possible to attach items to the wall bearing in mind that any costs for damage to the wall or paintwork must be covered by the artist at the end of the residency to make good the space. In shared studios, please note that wall space is also shared.

WHAT’S THE STORY WITH INTERNET?

Internet is included, based on fair usage. Wi-Fi is available, but for a more stable connection and for faster speeds we recommend that residents plug directly into the internet ports available using an ethernet cable (please note you may require an adapter for this depending on your computer or device).

ARE ALL STUDIO SPACES ACCESSIBLE?

Somerset House a Grade 1 listed building and is restricted in terms of extensive building works, but is committed to making reasonable adjustments to spaces based on individual needs and dedicated to improving access where feasible to support a diverse community of cultural perspectives and abilities.  

All but 1 bursary space can be reasonably adjusted to be wheelchair accessible (the recording studio). All other studios are accessible by lift. 

ARE THE STUDIOS SOUNDPROOF?

There are some sound reduction measures in place but studios are not soundproof. We welcome applications from artists who work with sound or music but it is not possible to work with amplified sound or very loud noise in studios, unless using headphones. Loud noise is possible in the Rifle Range project space and the recording studio.

CAN I BRING VISITORS INTO SOMERSET HOUSE STUDIOS?

Yes, it is permitted to invite visitors to your studio space. Meetings in shared studios are not permitted as they are likely to cause disruption to other artists, but it is possible to use communal spaces or bookable project spaces for this purpose. Please note that artists shall not be entitled to invite guests to use the services at Somerset House Studios except where explicitly agreed with Somerset House Studios in advance.

ARE THE SPACES SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate children at this time as our spaces are not suitable. All Somerset House Studios artists must be over 18 years of age.

IS THERE SECURITY AT SOMERSET HOUSE STUDIOS?

Yes, the site is patrolled 24 hours by a security team that are all first aid trained.

WHO HAS ACCESS TO MY STUDIO SPACE?

You and other artists sharing the space in a shared studio scenario, Somerset House Studios and Somerset House Trust (or any other agent, employee or subcontractor). Reasonable advance notice of required access by Somerset House Studios or Somerset House Trust will be given wherever possible. Please note that Somerset House Trust have no liability for any property or personal possessions in your studio.

CAN I USE SOMERSET HOUSE STUDIOS AS THE REGISTERED OFFICE OF A COMPANY OR PARTNERSHIP?

No, this is not permitted. 

CAN I STORE MY BIKE IN MY STUDIO?

No, but secure bicycle parking is available for resident artists.

CAN I BRING IN MY PETS?

Pets are not permitted in shared studios but may be permitted in solo spaces, subject to prior approval by Somerset House Studios.

WILL THE STUDIOS BE CLEANED?

Somerset House Studios will have all studio spaces cleaned and general waste collected, but artists are responsible for leaving all communal spaces clean and tidy.

CAN I UNDERTAKE HOT WORKS IN THE STUDIO SPACES?

As Somerset House is a grade 1 listed building the Studios are not suitable for an artist who requires hot works on a regular basis. For very infrequent use, hot works may be possible and this is assessed on a case by case basis in close consultation with Somerset House Studios.

SOMERSET HOUSE STUDIOS COMMUNITY

WHAT DO I HAVE TO COMMIT TO IN TERMS OF THE SOMERSET HOUSE STUDIOS COMMUNITY?

All resident artists are expected to contribute to the Somerset House Trust charitable aims through the community programme, public programme or learning programme and be open to connecting to the community of artists in this environment. There is a wide variety of ways in which artists can contribute, and we aim to work with each artist’s area of interest in identifying together what might be most suitable. Some examples might be sharing skills or organising events for the artist community, hosting talks or salons in the public programme or working with our Learning team on projects for young people. Each contribution is unique to the artist, and we ask you to outline potential areas of interest within your application form.

WHAT ARE THE SOMERSET HOUSE TRUST'S CHARITABLE AIMS?
  • to establish a unique artistic purpose that will ensure we stand out as a different kind of cultural centre, turning us from a receiving venue into an important arts producer
  • to create a physical home for wide-ranging collaborative experimental work that is not defined by genre
  • to enhance the education opportunities for the general public by provision of a centre of arts and culture
  • to maintain the buildings for the benefit of the local and international community as an outstanding example of English national heritage
  • to develop an innovative learning and participation programme
WHAT CONTACT WILL I HAVE WITH THE SOMERSET HOUSE STUDIOS TEAM?

All bursary artists commit to an induction on their first day at Somerset House Studios to become familiar with the building, and then an entrance meeting which takes place within one month of each move-in date. At entrance meetings, goals are set against each artist’s specific aims and objectives with measurable targets over the period of the residency, and the plan for mentorship and artist development is discussed. These goals will be reviewed over the duration of the bursary residency and all artists participate in an exit meeting at the end of their bursary residency as part of our ongoing evaluation.

There will be regular meetings with mentors (frequency is dependent on the bursary type) and successful recipients will be required to make themselves available for these meetings which will be scheduled in conversation with the artist. Non-attendance or poor communication with the Somerset House Studios team will be treated seriously. 

More informal contact with the Somerset House Studios team will be on a regular ongoing basis, with an open-door policy in the Studios office and a regular programme of community activity.

OUTSIDE OF THE COMMUNITY OF ARTISTS, WHO ELSE IS BASED AT SOMERSET HOUSE STUDIOS & SOMERSET HOUSE?

Somerset House is one of the largest communities of arts and creative enterprises in the UK, with over 400 resident organisations from the arts and cultural sectors and the wider creative economy. View some residents here.

Somerset House is also home to Makerversity, who build and run spaces for professional makers which combines co-working space with clean and messy workshop space, machines and tools. Makerversity memberships are flexible to ensure they can suit a whole mix of business needs at every stage of their journey, from graduates developing ideas and early stage start-ups to fully fledged teams. Somerset House Studios artists can access Makerversity workshop facilities which include digital tools, woodwork, metal work, textile and assembly space at artist rates.

The Exchange, a dynamic shared workspace bringing together diverse freelancers and small businesses in the arts and creative industries opened at Somerset House in October 2019.

Please see current Somerset House Studios residents here, including residents of Studio 48. Studio 48 residents are individuals and groups working with critical design and new technologies and contribute to the community in the same way the artists do.

THANK YOU.

This bursary programme is supported by Somerset House’s Young Talent Fund. Somerest House is very grateful to all the individuals who have contributed towards this.