Focus – Next: Residency Open Call 2019/20

Focus – Next: Deep Play
Application deadline: Mon 24 Jun 10am
Residency: Sep – Dec 2019 & Jan – Mar 2020

SPACE’s Art + Technology programme is looking for the next round of artists for the Focus - Next Residency. UK-based artists and artist duos are invited to apply for a three-month residency at our new Art + Tech studios at SPACE Ilford, Redbridge*.

This year's residency theme is Deep Play
With the ubiquity of smartphones and wearables, gaming has infiltrated every aspect of our daily lives. Through collecting loyalty points, likes and steps, our lives are made into a game, one that we often unwillingly play, thanks to the addictive methods of gamification. The game, however, comes with a price: giving out our data. It has been made as easy and compelling as filling out a personality test.

In Homo Ludens, Johan Huizinga writes that “civilisation arises and unfolds in and as play”. For Huizinga, play is primary to and a necessary condition of the generation of culture.   

As industries are increasingly moving towards automation due to progress made in the machine-learning sector, the labour economy of the future will deem a lot of people unemployable. Yuval Noah Harrari suggests a combination of universal pay and virtual reality games, where the VR experience will fill the void created by job shortage and add the much-needed ‘purpose’ in one’s life.

Considering the unparalleled exploitation of gaming as a consumer tool and its prescription as a remedy against the emptiness of post labour, can we make gaming into a tool that questions the ethical implications of these futures?

We would like to hear from artists who will build the worlds for post-labour futures, turning gamification upside down and showing us how to subvert or better understand the rules of the game.

We are interested in receiving proposals looking at, but not limited to, the following themes

- Gaming and gender
- Gamification and labour
- Post-labour societies
- Gaming and the environment


Selected artists receive

- 24-hour access to a studio at SPACE Ilford 
- A stipend of £1,800
- A production allowance of £500
- Curatorial support and programming
- Mentoring
- Showcase for works produced

*Please note that SPACE is unable to provide accommodation or travel costs for the residency period

To apply, applicants must submit the following

- Artist CV  (max two pages)
- Digital portfolio (max of 10 images & 4 video links, maximum file size 5 Mb)
- Project and artist-led workshop proposal (download application form here)
- Completed equal opps form (here)

The SPACE Art + Tech Residency programme is conceived as a period of development, immersion and critical investigation. Practitioners will be selected in recognition of their project proposal’s compatibility with the themes and their desire to commit to the intensive three-month residency cycle.

Practitioners will be selected by the panel comprising

- Levin Haegele, Freelance Technologist
- Kristina Pulejkova, SPACE Art + Technology Programme Manager
- Jamila Prowse, SPACE Art + Technology Assistant Producer
- Aphra Shemza, Multimedia Artist

All applications are to be submitted via email to: with the title ‘Focus – Next Residency 2019/20 Application’ in the subject line.

All applications are assessed on equal terms, regardless of the sex, age, ethnicity and/or socio-economic background. We welcome applications from artists of all backgrounds, and particularly encourage applications from those identifying as BAME, disabled and LGBTQ.

SPACE Art + Technology residencies are generously supported by Arts Council England