Acme London Residency

Develop your visual arts practice and professional networks while living and working at Acme’s east London residency space, the Fire Station

Acme Fire Station, 30 Gillender Street, 1999 © Acme Archive

About this opportunity

Through Acme’s partnership with the Australia Council, visual arts professionals (including artists, curators, and arts writers) are offered a six-month residency at Acme’s east London Fire Station residency space.

Founded in 1972, Acme Studios is a London-based charity that provides affordable studio space and residencies and awards for non-commercial fine artists. Acme supports over 800 individual artists across 8 boroughs in Greater London, offering a wide range of high-quality, long-term, and professionally managed artist studio spaces, including permanent new-build studios.

In addition to affordable studio space, Acme operates a Residency & Awards programme which is one of the most supportive and extensive in the UK. Acme’s programme of artist support aims to intervene at pivotal moments in artists’ careers. Working with a range of international and UK-based partners and donors, the programme supports professional development for artists at all stages of their careers through residencies, bursaries, mentoring and exhibition opportunities. Over 700 artists have benefitted from the programme since its foundation in 1987.

Acme makes every effort to assist visiting artists with the practical, cultural, and social aspects of their stay. In addition to managing the studio live/workspace, Acme works actively with visiting artists to assist with their networking, practical and research needs and allowing them to develop relationships and focus on their work in a supported environment. Acme staff are available to artists for residency pre-planning, local orientation and for assistance and advice throughout the residency.

The overall aim of Acme’s Residencies & Awards Programme is to offer artists a supported environment and real professional development throughout the residency period. As every artist and their needs are different, Acme representatives are flexible about how they work with artists to achieve their goals.

During the residency period, Acme provide resident artists with opportunities including:

  • connecting with UK and international artists through Acme’s networks via Acme-organised events including networking drinks, gallery visits and artist dinners
  • bespoke one-to-one studio critiques or mentor meetings with UK-based arts professionals, organised by Acme
  • opportunity to work in collaboration with Acme staff to hold artist talks, or develop or participate in group discussions, critiques or events in the new Acme Pavilion Space
  • one-to-one ongoing support and discussion with Acme staff
  • ongoing notifications and invitations to private views, lectures and events in London.

Meet this year’s participant

Nikki Lam – VIC

Nikki Lam – VIC

Nikki Lam is an artist, curator and producer based in Naarm. Working primarily with moving images, her practice explores hybridity and memory through the contemplation on time, space and impermanence. Born in Hong Kong, her work deals with the complexity of migratory expressions. Nikki’s current research focuses on the artistic agency during cultural, social and political transitions, particularly within the context of moving image and screen cultures. With an expanded practice in writing, exhibition and festival making, she is interested in exploring anti-colonial methods in artistic and curatorial practice.

Nikki is the co-director of Hyphenated Projects and Hyphenated Biennial, and curator-at-large at The Substation. She was Artistic Director of Channels video art festival, alongside many hybrid roles in the arts including at ACMI, Next Wave and Footscray Community Arts Centre. Nikki is a current PhD (Art) candidate at RMIT University.

Who can apply

  • only individuals may apply to this category
  • you must be a practicing artist and an Australian citizen or an Australian permanent resident.

Who can’t apply? 

You can’t apply if:

  • you received a grant, or administered a grant, from the Australia Council in the past and that grant has not been satisfactorily acquitted
  • you owe money to the Australia Council
  • we will not accept applications from legally constituted organisations.

Applicants must address the following assessment criteria:

  1. Artistic merit
  • suitability of your practice to the residency program and its artistic environment/offer
  • quality of work previously produced, and public and peer response to your work.
  1. Viability
  • suitability of your proposal to the residency program
  • the skills and artistic ability of your collaborators and their relevance to the proposed activity
  • realistic and achievable planning, resource use and evaluation.
  1. Impact on career
  • how the proposed activity strengthens your artistic practice
  • the relevance and timeliness of the proposed activity
  • how the proposed activity strengthens your capacity as an arts professional, particularly in relation to international development and collaboration.

Australia Council staff and industry advisors in consultation with Acme will consider applications according to the assessment criteria.

Successful applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application by 29 July 2022.

You should submit support material with your application. Assessors may review this support material to help them gain a better sense of your project.

What you should provide 

We do not accept application-related support material submitted via post. Application-related material received by post will not be assessed and will be returned to the sender. If you think you will have difficulty submitting your support material online, or need advice on what type of material to submit, please contact Ellen Dwyer, International Engagement Adviser, Europe on +61 02 9215 9051 or e.dwyer@australiacouncil.gov.au

There are three types of support material you may submit:

  1. Artistic support material

This should include relevant, recent examples of your artistic or cultural work.

Types of support material we accept

Our preferred method of receiving support material is via URLs (weblinks).

You can provide up to three URLs (weblinks) that link to content that is relevant to your proposal. This may include video, audio, images, or written material.

These URLs can include a total of:

  • 10 minutes of video and/or audio recording
  • 10 images
  • 10 pages of written material (for example, excerpts of literary writing).

Please note: Our assessors will not access any URLs that require them to log in or sign up to a platform. Please do not provide links to Spotify or other applications that require users to log in or pay for access.

If you are linking to media files that are private or password protected like Vimeo, please provide the password in the password field on the application form.

Other accepted file formats

If you cannot supply support material via URLs, you may upload support material to your application in the following formats:

  • video (MP4, QuickTime, and Windows Media)
  • audio (MP3 and Windows Media)
  • images (JPEG and PowerPoint)
  • written material (Word and PDF).
  1. Biographies and CVs

You can include a brief bio or curriculum vitae (CV) for key artists, personnel or other collaborators involved in your project.

Brief bios or CV information should be presented as a single document no longer than two A4 pages in total.

  1. Letters of support

Individuals, groups, or organisations can write letters in support of your project. A support letter should explain how the project or activity will benefit you, other artists or arts professionals, participants, or the broader community. It can also detail the support or involvement of key project partners, or evidence of consultation.

If relevant to your activity, letters of support must provide evidence of appropriate permissions and support from First Nations organisations, communities, and Elders. Please refer to the First Nations Protocols for more information.

You can include up to five letters of support, with each letter not exceeding one A4 page.

This residency is housed in a former LCC Fire Brigade Station that was built in 1910 in east London.

Acme’s east London studio complex features 12 work/live units on the upper four floors of the building, with six large non-residential studio spaces on the ground floor.

Each residency unit is 50 sqm large, with the studio element measuring 32 sqm, and features a separate bedroom, private bathroom, and basic kitchen area. The units are electrically heated, and all the windows have secondary glazing to reduce traffic noise and prevent heat loss.

The studio is simply furnished and has a telephone, answering machine, printer, and broadband internet connection. Artists are responsible for providing their own art materials and computer.

Acme are committed to access and diversity in all areas of operation, including service delivery, communication and publicity, staffing, and governance. Access needs for living quarters during a residency can be accommodated on request.

The unit will accommodate couples and Acme can arrange additional bedding for additional guests. However, Fire Station work/live units are not family friendly.

2022-23

2020-2021

  • Hoda Afshar
  • Nathan Beard

2019-2020

  • Channon Goodwin
  • James Geurts

2018-2019

  • Salote Tawale
  • Arlene De Souza

2017-2018

  • Diana Smith
  • Claire Lambe.

Frequently asked questions

Are the residency dates flexible? No. The dates for this residency are fixed.

Yes, but this will be at your own cost and the Australia Council will not be able to provide additional funds towards the extension.

No. You are not required to provide a budget with your application.

There is no requirement for you to provide a timetable of your activities, unless stated otherwise in the individual residency program guidelines.

Yes. If successful, you are required to take out travel insurance for the duration of your residency. It is recommended you pay for this from your grant.

The unit will accommodate couples and Acme can arrange additional bedding for additional guests. However, Fire Station work/live units are not family friendly.

Yes, the grant to an individual that accompanies a residency is considered income and taxable. Please visit the Australian Taxation Office website for more information.

The International Residencies Program is dynamic and responsive and the programs on offer may vary from year to year.

Yes. If you are looking for some tips on organising your residency or programs in the region you’re interested in, check out the Tips and Links resources on our International Engagement web page.

Yes. Please note, applications to International Engagement funding opportunities do not count as an application to the Australia Council Grants Program.

Yes, as long as you have satisfactorily acquitted the previous residency grant.

The grant is not intended to cover lost income or rent at home and applicants will need to consider their capacity to undertake the residency prior to applying.

The Australia Council partners with established and reputable residency providers and each program is unique. Successful applicants will be provided with detailed information about each residency and introductions to the residency providers who will assist artists with making local connections. Australia Council staff are able to provide further advice and contacts, as requested. Artists are also expected to have their own resources, contacts and project plans for the residency.

The grant is a contribution from the Australia Council toward your travel (including airfares and travel insurance) and living costs during the residency period. Applicants are expected to research the cost of living in the residency location they are travelling to. You may need to supplement the grant with your own funds depending on your projected costs for the residency period.

No. The Australia Council cannot provide any advice on visa or immigration matters. You must contact the relevant country’s visa service to get current information. We suggest you allow plenty of time to apply for all international visas.

Access needs for living quarters during a residency can be accommodated on request.