News / Unique graduate residency programme launched with St. Mary’s Works and Norwich University of the Arts

Unique graduate residency programme launched with St. Mary’s Works and Norwich University of the Arts

Sainsbury Centre partners with St. Mary’s Works and Norwich University of the Arts to launch graduate residency programme


The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia, Norwich has collaborated with St. Mary’s Works to offer graduate artists who have studied in East Anglia a unique residency scheme.

Four graduates from Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) will be taking part in the month long residency programme based at St. Mary’s Works, a redundant shoe factory in the centre of Norwich. The project gives recent graduates the opportunity to develop their creative practice, reach new audiences, build peer networks and gain support from professionals working in the arts in the region. The programme will conclude with a public presentation of work.

Commenting Nell Croose Myhill, Education Officer at the Sainsbury Centre said: "We are really excited to be collaborating on this project and to be able to support young artists to continue to develop their practice in the first year after graduation by providing them with a free studio space and the opportunity to learn from their peers and from artists and curators based in the region."

Artists Jade Anderson (BA Fine Art), Becky Showell (BA Fine Art), Kirstin Bicker (MA Fine Art) and Henry Driver (MA Fine Art) will receive a free shared studio space in the old Shoe Factory at St Mary’s Works alongside mentoring sessions with artists and Sainsbury Centre staff. The successful artists were selected on the strength of their work and how well they demonstrated the benefit the residency would have on their practice. Professor Neil Powell, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at Norwich University of the Arts said: “Norwich University of the Arts is delighted to be a partner in this project and even more delighted at the inaugural selection of creative graduates in residence at St Mary’s Works - all of whom have just completed undergraduate or postgraduate study here at NUA. The residencies provide valuable time and space for emerging talent to make the transition from successful student to professional practitioner and the possibility of continuing in practice is something prized by all artists and designers. The University also welcomes this opportunity to work with our regional partners in support of this imaginative and timely endeavour.”

The Sainsbury Centre is particularly grateful to St. Mary’s Works for supporting the residencies and allowing access to this remarkable site in the heart of historic Norwich.

St. Mary’s Works recently launched their new initiative - called The Shoe Factory Social Club – which will offer free warehouse space to the local creative community during the regeneration of the site, exactly one hundred years after the factory was built by shoe-makers Sexton, Son & Everard.

Dominic Richards, chief executive of the Shoe Quarter Ltd, who are regenerating St. Mary’s and St George’s Works, said, “One of the attractions of the site is that it sits in a vibrant creative community of talented musicians, film-makers, designers and artists and we want to find a way to contribute to this. Performance or exhibition space will be offered in the warehouse for free and any proceeds from ticket sales will go directly to the artists or the institutions behind them. We are delighted to be partnering with the Sainsbury Centre and NUA.”

Calvin Winner, Acting Deputy Director said, “St. Mary’s Works are demonstrating a real commitment to the cultural life of the City and how the regeneration of a neighbourhood should incorporate a rich diversity of activity. We are all interested to see how the four artists will respond to the location and the context of the site.”