RESIDENCE: Introducing our bursary award recipients

Date published: 13 Mar 2024

Posted by: Joe Pick

Introducing our RESIDENCE bursary recipients

Three Nottingham artists have been awarded a bursary as part of City Arts’ RESIDENCE project. Awarded by a panel of Community Curators, the bursaries support artists who have faced barriers in their career because of attitudes to their class, ethnicity or disability.

The artists are undertaking an artist’s residency with City Arts. It will give them time to develop their work, and share the results. They will be supported and paired with a mentor. Read on to find out more about the artists.

Meet the Artists

Laura Decorum

Laura is a Nottingham based contemporary surrealist painter. Her work often explores themes of identity and human experience. It focuses on the subconscious mind and the power of the imagination.

Laura Decorum
Laura Decorum
A colorful, surreal painting of a stylized face with geometric and organic shapes, and a butterfly motif at the base.
Detail from a painting by Laura Decorum

With the support offered by RESIDENCE, Laura will explore portraiture in oil paint. Historically portraits in oils have been commissioned by the elites. They have served as a powerful tool for immortalising affluence and influence. Laura wants to evolve this tradition so it includes marginalised individuals who deserve to feel seen and represented. She will draw on her own family’s inspirational history in Barbados.

I’m so overjoyed to have the opportunity and guidance from City Arts to be able to research and develop my project, I really can’t wait to start! Thank you!

Gemma Poyzer

Gemma is a passionate portrait and commercial photographer. People are at the heart of her work. Gemma studied photography at Nottingham College, and has been working as a freelancer ever since. She has a boutique studio near Nottingham city centre.

Gemma Poyzer
A shirtless man with a tattoo on his upper arm stands with his back to the camera, his arms raised and crossed over his head in a graceful, dance-like pose.
Photograph by Gemma Poyzer

Using her RESIDENCE bursary, Gemma will explore the theme of modern-day witches, producing portraits of people who identify as a witch. She will create a photo series and a book. She hopes to celebrate the women & people who express their creativity and thoughts through contemporary witchcraft. She will look at how this belief system helps people with their mental health and daily life.

The bursary it’s going to assist me massively to work on my portrait project. I’m looking forward to getting to know the community and getting the time and support to create the Witches portrait book. As well as benefiting my career generally, I’m excited to make new connections and gain valuable skills for current and future projects.

Sage M Stephanou

Sage (they/them) is a multi-disciplinary artist, a community worker and an abolitionist educator & facilitator. As a working class, queer and trans, disabled person of the global majority, they are interested in exploring the embodied impact of colonial legacies on peoples from colonised diasporas.

Sage M Stephanou
Sage M Stephanou
A person is submerged in milky water, resting in a fetal position with only their face and knees emerging from the surface.
Self portrait by Sage M Stephanou

With their RESIDENCE bursary, Sage wants to deeply explore and weave together ideas about disability, race, gender, culture, belonging and home. Sage’s project will focus on the coloniality of hair and the body, self-reflexively exploring how colonised bodies and lands are disabled by imperialism. It will culminate in an exhibition.

I’m really excited to be offered a space on the RESIDENCE programme. I’m looking forward to being able to immerse myself into my art practice after several years on hiatus, and give myself permission to play, explore and lean into uncertainty.

About the Panel

The RESIDENCE bursary was designed with a panel of Community Curators. The successful artists were also chosen by this group. The group is made up of people with a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences, including people with professional knowledge of the arts.

The panel were Nikki Charlesworth, Raisa McClary-Francis, Ann Glynn, Minder Kaur Athwal, Janet Rose and Parmjit Sagoo.