Thursday, 16 June 2016

Introducing our new Associate Director - Emilie Atkinson.

With the news that AirSpace Gallery founder and beating heart, Andrew Branscombe was to leavre the organisation after 10 years to take up the major role of co-ordinating the huge technical requirements at nearby Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, we set about trying to fill the huge gap that Andy left.

In truth, it would take two people to fulfil all the roles Andy undertook, but we have made a start, and we didn't have to look too far!

Emilie Atkinson finished her Graduate Residency with us in January 2016.  The commitment she showed both to the city, in relocating from London, and to the residency, and the critical quality of and endeavour in her practice, made it a straightforward choice.  We're delighted to welcome Emilie on board, and look forward to working together in this next exciting and challenging phase both for AirSpace and for the contemporary arts in Stoke-on-Trent.

It became apparent to me straight away, when I arrived to start the AirSpace graduate residency in 2015, that Stoke was an exciting place to be as an artist. The projects I saw whilst lingering in the cultural quarter for my interview, tapped into a sensibility that was unfamiliar to me fresh out of art school in London – the Peregrine Watch situated on Piccadilly and the CITY-GROW Planters sat outside of AirSpace showed an incredibly exciting generosity and collaborative spirit so different from the egoistic nature of much of the work I’d experienced at art school. Whilst as the same time, the projects mirrored my own interest in meditating on the everyday and the current socio-political landscape.

Throughout my residency I came across more and more endeavors of this nature within the city (both through spending time at AirSpace, as well as volunteering with the British Ceramics Biannual and Appetite) and I grew more and more certain that having left London, Stoke was the city I wanted to push my practice further in, beyond the graduate residency. Hence, I am inexplicably excited that I have been asked to join the gallery as a director and contribute to its current research.
Following my graduate residency I spent 3 months as artist in residence in Clermont-Ferrand, France, which gave me time to reflect on new directions emerging in my work, as well as many of the French attitudes to the quotidian. I believe this will come to influence new research into local food and market culture that I shall take up whilst working with AirSpace. I also hope to bring my ongoing interest in artist moving image and cinema to the gallery, as I feel that a platform to show such work, as a curated series of events in a cinema setting, would benefit both artists working in film & video as well as local audiences. 
- Emilie Atkinson

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