Arches Studios resident to speak at prestigious event

We’re thrilled to announce that an Arches Studios resident has been asked to speak at a prestigious international event.

Asten Holmes-Elliott was one of three Southampton artists chosen by British Council to attend La Biennale Arte in Venice as a research fellow in 2019.

Now Asten has been asked to reflect on the opportunity and celebrate their creative responses to their time in Venice. Asten will speak at the May You Live In Interesting Times Celebration Event, along with other Fellows from around the UK.

Asten, Laurence Rushby and Claudia Friend spent one month in the Italian city last year as part of the British Council’s Venice Fellowships programme. They spent four weeks dividing their time between invigilating Cathy Wilkes’ exhibition at the British Pavilion, and developing their own artistic research.

While in Venice, Asten developed a piece of work that ‘looked inside the Venetian ‘closet’’, in a bid to explore ideas of queer belonging at the art show, which drew nearly 600,000 visitors from around the world in 2019. Asten was also keen to find connections between Venice and Southampton, and work out how to make the huge art event more accessible to Southampton’s artistic community.

A message from Asten: “The experience of the Venice Fellowships programme gave me a chance to reset and remember my place as an artist again, after working simultaneously as a curator for so long. It gave me that encouragement and support I needed to deeply explore and understand the Biennale, and the current climate of contemporary work globally. It was really great to bring my knowledge back to Southampton, as was the continued support from ‘a space’ arts and British Council to share the experience. I hope future fellowships happen, as I believe it’s a very important opportunity.”

We’d like to congratulate all three artists on producing such interesting work during their time in Venice, which will be exhibited as a virtual exhibition soon, and to say thank you to British Council for providing this opportunity.

The celebration event is invite only, and we are waiting for news as to when the virtual exhibition will open. For now you can check out Laurence and Claudia’s work below:

Laurence Rushby