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Residents – Bath Spa University

Meet the Bath Spa University graduates who make up EMERGE.

The EMERGE studio hosts around 30 residents each year. All are recent graduates from Bath Spa University, and work alongside each other and the EMERGE creative mentor team.

EMERGE is unique in its offer as the studio residents have been selected based on their creative practice and desire to collaborate, rather than evidence of enterprise and innovation alone.

The graduate residents have a strong sense of collaboration, and many work across multiple disciplines. All are striving towards creating a sustainable practice as they emerge into their chosen professional sector.

Art Residents

Alisha Stokes

Headshot of Alisha StokesAlisha is a mixed-media textile artist exploring the body and theories of the abject withinbody horror, intersectional feminism, and psychoanalysis. She works predominantly through process as she is constantly exploring new methods and combinations of unusual materials that instigate feelings of uncanniness and provoke unsettlement. Materiality is a key factor of her practice, and has found liquid latex to be her specialist material as it can provide an abstracted yet undeniably human visual and tactile experience.

Amber Buckley

Amber Buckley posing with one of her paintingsAmber's practice revolves around experimenting with imagery in painting, with the aim to explore the translation (or indeed, mistranslation), of the image through paint and the juxtaposition created when utilising the differences in historically formed languages of painting. Amber is attracted to the thicker than impasto forms that paint can take as it is applied to a multitude of surfaces, exploring paint as a sculptural object.

Isaac Law

Isaac LawIsaac is a documentary and conceptual photographer with an interest in stories that exist on the fringes of society and photography that challenges the viewer to bridge gaps between truth and fiction. Isaac’s practice has recently been focused on strange and seemingly invisible phenomena in the UK, ranging from UFO conspiracy theories to alleged sightings of big cats across the English landscape. Finding different perspectives on what’s considered mundane and banal allows Isaac to explore objective and subjective photography and what happens when they crossover.

Josh Empson

Josh Empson posing with a cameraJosh Empson is a fine art documentary photographer based in Somerset and the Cotswolds. His practice stems from the loss of his mother – his work reflects the subconscious feelings associated with the grief and memories of her. Josh’s work uses processes of analogue photography to create imagery and relies heavily on the use of large format photography as well as the darkroom to further his knowledge of the photographic narrative.

Juliet Duckworth

Julia Duckworth smiling surrounded by her workJuliet Duckworth is a multimedia artist working in sculpture, installation and painting. Her artworks show concern with temporality and topography of the earth’s surface and deal with materiality, scale and physical process. She works from the principles that form should be derived from the inherent qualities of the materials she uses.

The layering of process and reconfiguration create a visual dialogue around her exploration of the earth’s surface. Artworks are constructed using organic, indigenous materials which, when transformed into sculptural forms, are often ephemeral. Her immediate surroundings supply a wealth of material and inspiration and her work is deeply rooted in a sense of place. Often humble, unnoticed materials are scavenged and regenerated into artworks that are fragile, precarious and on the edge of material presence.

Entropy is evident in her work – while her initial control of site, source and material is ordered, she then lets the elements of nature, and chance, alter and sculpt her work, realising the temporality of natural phenomena.

Kamil Kapla

Head shot of Kamil KaplaKamil aims for his work to stay open to a wide variety of interpretations and aspires to convey an idiosyncratic outlook on the world. He believes that ambiguity within art is a quality worth pursuing, as it naturally attracts attention and inspires interesting conversations to emerge around it.

Acknowledging the mind’s innate fascination with mystery, Kamil steers away from conveying obvious and direct messages, which he believes has a greater capability to captivate the viewer and stimulate the imagination.

Kamil's practice could be seen as an exploration of the psyche through the creation of scenes (paintings and drawings) and sculptural objects, that address not so much specific issues or subjects, but instead hold space for a particular atmosphere and aesthetic quality to flow through. Such works are predominantly inspired by peculiar folk traditions, dreamworlds and rituals that nurture a greater connection to the natural and the mystical realms.

Lara Hempsall

Lara is a fine art photographer.

Lauren White

Lauren White posing in front of one of her paintingsLauren discovered oil painting at the age of seventeen, and since then, has held a significant role in her life. She often draws inspiration from mythology and storytelling, which has meant these elements have become a key theme within her practice. Her paintings take a dreamy approach to the ‘mundanity’ of the human condition; to find the beauty in the mundane is something she has awoken to within the last two years, and is a principle she tries to live by, both through art, and in her life outside of her work.

Lauren sells both prints and originals as part of her freelance work, which can be found on her website.

Lille Crabtree

Head shot of Lille CrabtreeLille’s practice begins with digital design before taking form in the physical world. Specialising in fine art has allowed her to work with many materials that have an unexpected physicality – materials that Lille is able to depict, sculpt and form anew.

Lille’s working style is predicated on her interest in surrealism, absurdism and psychedelia, with a strong awareness of the undercurrents and trends that shape society combined with an attempt to disconnect from the seriousness of life. This approach creates possibilities for viewers to imagine realities beyond the norm of the everyday.

Lille’s interests, both conceptual and aesthetic, were placed in her from a young age by art forms that have intense colours, free-flowing lines and kaleidoscopic patterns.

Lou Baker

Lou Baker surrounded by her knittingLou Baker is one-third of Social Scaffolding: a practice-led research collective that provides mutual support for its three member artists who are all past and present residents of EMERGE.

Together, Lou, Juliet Duckworth and Alyson Minkley facilitate socially engaged art for wellbeing with new and diverse audiences. They develop immersive and participatory exhibitions in vacant commercial premises as ‘meanwhile’ occupants.

Each artist has their own distinctive practice and uses different materials and processes, but there are links that run between their works. For the first series of exhibitions, visitors are invited to try on Lou’s wearable knitted cocoons and become living sculptures, climb into Alyson’s womb-like sculpture and stitch into its canvas surface and immerse themselves, and wander and wonder at Juliet’s installation of nests and scaffolding.

Through their tour, Lou and Social Scaffolding will share their experience right to the heart of communities in the south-west, countering isolation by inspiring connection and conversation.

Matt Dart

Matt Dart is an unsuccessful conceptual artist who is neither young nor emerging. He’s not represented by any galleries and is yet to receive an award for his work.

Melissa Mahon

Melissa MahonA photograph has the power to reveal yet conceal, confuse yet explain, distract yet compel. Melissa's work examines this dichotomy within a research-led practice that explores both analogue and digital photography. She considers the photograph as both an object and a message, taking particular interest in methods of construct, their use and then their eventual reception.

Since completing a PhD (researching depiction and an appropriate definition for the contemporary photograph), Melissa has worked using photography within an increasingly expanded field. She's currently researching ideas concerning the questionable existence of a contemporary sublime.

Ruby Addison

Ruby Addison posing with one of her paintingsEmphasising the beauty in ordinary and overlooked everyday objects is an important aspect in Ruby’s practice. Taking inspiration from her own home life, her latest works explore one of the most popular, yet desensitised animals: chickens. Ruby's current pieces express their unknown beauty and importance, as she explores them as both a flock, and as individual characters.

Taking inspiration from 17th-Century still life, her practice has taken the form of more abstract representation with symbolic references. Through the exploration between painting and printmaking, she enjoys the processes involved with making, focusing on small details with the use of pattern.

Saffron Murray Browne

Saffron Muray Browne posing in front of one of her paintingsOften inspired by literature, mythology and history, Saffron’s work uses the human form as a vehicle to communicate and express theoretical ideas. No artwork can stand alone or avoid associations with other works - when oil paint is used it will hold the association of hundreds of years of painting, desired or no. In her work, Saffron acknowledges and appropriates this relationship, using deliberate references to historical works of art and traditional motifs.

Colours and lines are chosen instinctively, rather than looking to faithfully represent the subject. Vibrant, primary colours – that break from the traditional history of painting – deliberately appear as a painted surface rather than a portal. Bold lines and noticeable brushwork serve as a reminder of the artist’s presence in the work, and the process of the painting is left visible, inviting viewers into its past.

Tallulah Lloyd-Allum

Head shot of Tallulah Lloyd-AllumTallulah Lloyd-Allum is a mixed media artist, working predominantly in ceramics and paper. She applies these different materials and processes, across 2D and 3D, to explore a bodily interaction with form, weight, and space, whilst also using drawing and print as a method of discovery and as a means of adaptation.

Tom Mence

Tom MenceTom is currently a full-time PhD student at Bath Spa University. Using the properties with which painting is defined, while employing a variety of different painterly styles, manners, materials and sizes, Tom’s practice-led PhD is exploring how far a traditional notion in painting, such as memento mori, can be excavated, translated and stretched. In doing so he’s questioning and endeavouring to answer what happens to a notion in painting up to and beyond its visual comprehension and purposeful dissemination in light of our remarkable ability as humans to attribute a meaning to everything. Alongside this research he’s interested in how contemporary painting’s place is being affected within an age of expanding artistic practices, and also in the nature of research and knowledge – specifically where it could be found. He sees his reciprocal participation within EMERGE as a practical way of tackling, head-on, these concerns.

Zac Merle

Zac Merle sitting in his studio spaceObjects are a principal product of humanity. Some we keep, some we discard. Zac Merle is fascinated by the latter – rejected materials that he finds treasurable – and is inspired by the things that humanity chooses to surround themselves with. His creative process begins with a collection of elements from his immediate surroundings, often newspaper scraps, cardboard and odd bits of fabric.

In his artwork, Zac focuses on mixed media and enjoys using collage techniques through a layering and build-up of textures, primarily using found images in a hands-on process to form his compositions. He strives to convey the mundane through the combination of photographs, paint and found materials, using his favoured collage technique as a method of creating dysfunction and emphasising visual anarchy.

As a person living with epilepsy, Zac draws inspiration from his own experiences with this illness to feed his creativity, intrigued by the fragility of memory.

Design Residents

Jessica Payne

Head shot of Jessica PayneJessie Payne is a designer and artist specialising in hand-woven constructed textiles and mixed media painting. She’s fascinated by technical weaving and the intricacies that go into creating a finished cloth. Because of this, Jessie often works with double cloth weaving and manipulative collapse both on and off the loom. Her deep care about the environment means that she has progressed her woven work to be 100% vegan and naturally dyed, and uses pure materials that can be recycled or biodegraded to ensure she supports the circular economy.

Jessie’s mixed media painting is a newer practice that she discovered and became enamoured by. She works with different mediums in acrylic pouring, finding beauty in the mess of the craft. She looks forward to continuing to discover this method of working and incorporate it into her business, merging it with her textiles for exciting new outcomes and methods.

Olivia Dunn

Olivia DunnOlivia is a Bath-based textiles designer, specialising in knit. She draws from images of often overlooked textures and the mundane to inspire patterns demonstrated in her knitted samples.

Locally sourced materials and natural dye experiments are at the forefront of Olivia's practice.

Media Resident

Alex Mansfield

Head shot of Alex MansfieldAlex's creative practice primarily revolves around the future and investigating it as a form of escapism, typically manifesting as various pieces and scenes in the genre of science fiction. He primarily uses digital media to create, as this format typically pertains to the subject matter at hand as well as being a field Alex is new to and enjoys exploring.

Legacy is a current mainstay of Alex’s practice, particularly exploring the boundaries between the biomechanical and where the flesh ends and the metal begins, and the tension that exposes.

Music and Performance Residents

Charlie Day

Head shot of Charlie Day wearing bunny earsCharlie is an actor and director, with an MA in Performing Shakespeare. His creative goal has been to make Shakespeare more engaging for modern audiences. In working towards this, Charlie has staged versions of classical plays, taken his one-person, Shakespeare-based show Rock Bottom on tour, and run Shakespeare workshops in schools. He programmes most of his work through his theatre company, Fresh Life Theatre, which focuses on shedding the tights and ruffles of classical theatre and shedding new light on its larger-than-life characters.

After a successful run at Edinburgh Fringe with Rock Bottom, Charlie is hard at work on the exciting next step for himself, Rock Bottom and Fresh Life Theatre.

Debbie Beale

Debbie Beale sitting in a chair and smilingDebbie is a creative producer and writer focused on live theatre and puppetry, exploring traditional stories and modern issues. Her company, Debdo Adventures, has created a series of short puppetry-based film for international festivals.

Debbie is currently developing a project that explores Darwin's journey to the Galapagos Islands, evolution, extinction and how to develop a greener world through storytelling, spoken word and puppetry.

Her latest script, Battle Scars, is a modern tragedy combined with a ghost story that tells the story of three veterans camping on a Salisbury plain as they hide from civilian life and struggle with PTSD.

Divija Melally

Divija Melally with hand raised in the airDivija Melally is a trained contemporary and Bharatanatyam dancer who’s dedicated to spreading the intricate nuances of dance through performance, teaching, choreography and therapy.

Divija graduated from Bath Spa University with BA (Hons) Dance, and completed a two-year diploma in Movement Arts and Mixed Media from Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts, India that focused on ballet, contemporary and martial arts.

Her creative practice revolves around exploring the amalgamation of contemporary and Indian classical dance. She’s interested in creating works that explore social and political themes, and hopes to help the audience be more aware of the world that they live in through her art.

Divija has recently received the ‘Moving With The Times’ commission from Pegasus Theatre to create a work on intergenerational trauma from a racial perspective. She wants to inform her practice further by conducting workshops for participants of different age, needs and abilities.

Eryn McDonald

Head shot of Eryn McDonaldEryn McDonald is an interdisciplinary artist with a practice based in dance, drama and poetry. Their writing focuses mainly around queerness, identity and politics, and they've performed at events including NozStock, UniSlam, and The Lyra Poetry Festival Slam.

Their short documentary Queer Is A Tender Feeling was screened at Watershed as part of the Queer Visions programme during Bristol Pride.

They’ve worked as an assistant in various youth creative classes including theatre, circus and fine art, and are looking to develop their skills as a creative facilitator, as well as furthering their own creative practice.

Ewan Wyatt and Lottie Dance

Whimsico brand logoWhimsiCo is a theatre company based in Bath co-founded by Bath Spa University graduates Ewan Wyatt and Lottie Dance. WhimsiCo is all about creating stories full of magic, nostalgia and whimsy (see what they did there?) that makes new work feel like a classic, whilst also breathing life into classics to make them feel new.

The WhimsiCo ethos is about giving unrepresented voices the opportunity to take part in a professional production, with many company members making their professional debuts with their shows.

WhimsiCo’s goal is to tell tales and run workshops that uplift and take the audience back to the childhood wonder of a bedtime story.

Raina Greifer

Raina Greifer performing on stageRaina Greifer is a Bristol-based theatre maker and producer interested in exploring themes around sex, consent, and grief. Her work uses puppetry, poetry, and comedy, and often examines the intersection between the personal and political. Her debut solo show MANIC looks at the grey area between bad sex and violation, and won Best Solo Show at FUSE International 2022, being described as “bold and important” by Richard Stamp of The Wee Review. MANIC has been featured at festivals like NSDF and Edinburgh Fringe, and toured nationally in spring 2023.

Raina’s other work includes a short form solo piece i love me when he loves me too, which was first commissioned by Tobacco Factory Theatres.

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