Situated in a remote and beautiful rural location overlooking Loch Long in Argyll, Cove Park is an international artist’s residency centre that offers unique opportunities for artists of all disciplines to develop their practice using their bespoke facilities.
In 2019, the British Council / Creative Scotland partnership provided funding to support a multi-partner, multi-artform European Residency Programme allowing Cove Park to develop and grow its international network.
The outcomes from this complex, large-scale programme signify Cove Park’s growth in international work at a time when it celebrates its 20th anniversary. As Alexia Holt, Cove Park’s associate director remarks: “Central to the ethos of Cove Park as we mark our 20th year is the importance and value of cultural exchange and transnational collaboration.”
Between July – November 2019, eight artists from Norway, Finland and Sweden along with The Netherlands, Ireland, France and Germany enjoyed residencies at Cove Park. In addition, two Scottish artists undertook reciprocal exchange visits to partner hosts in Germany and Norway.
With the current health crisis, the project adapted and will continue into 2021 with two further Scottish artist exchanges.
As Alexia Holt adds: “The residencies have been of enormous benefit to the participating artists, supporting the development of new work and expanding professional networks”.
The Programme “has provided the foundations from which, at a time of acute political change and uncertainty, Cove Park can maintain and develop its international programme for the benefit of artists and audiences in the UK and overseas.”
Supporting individual creative development, research and the production of new work, fully funded opportunities were provided for artists early on in their career and more established artists.
During her residency Finnish visual artist, Andrea Coyotzi Borga, developed new text and video work to be included in her doctoral dissertation. She documented her experience in a blog published by project partner, the Finnish Institute which you can read here.
The resident artists formed strong new connections in Scotland. For example, Klaas Burger, a visual artist based in the Netherlands spent his residency in parallel with Eva Medin a visual artist and filmmaker from France.
Both artists engaged with the Peace Camp community at Faslane. Klaas also made connections with The Hidden Gardens and WEvolution in Glasgow, while Eva filmed on location at Linn Botanic Gardens and collaborated with Glasgow-based moving image artist Elina Bry. Eva is developing the work further plans to work on the next stage of the film in a further Cove Park residency in 2021.
Artist Aliina Lindroos from Finland/Ireland developed a new movement piece and met with Glasgow’s The Work Room to explore potential new collaborative projects.
For Swedish artist, Ida Lindgren, the residency provided a valuable opportunity to explore the concept behind a new project with fellow residents. Similarly, Bettina Münch, a German translator, also commented upon the value of her residency stating that it gave her “the chance to talk about and reflect upon my work, which in return gave me a deeper understanding of what I am actually doing. This is certainly a lasting effect which will influence my future work.”
For early career artist, Nina van den Ven from the Netherlands, having the space provided by the facilities at Cove Park enabled her to make large scale, floor to ceiling drawings for the first time, a practice she has continued in preparation for her first solo exhibition this year.
Multi-disciplinary artist, Lillian Samdal from Norway, used her residency to create new embroidered textile pieces and is planning to exhibit the final work next year.
Scottish artist, Deirdre Nelson spent her exchange residency with the Nordic Artists’ Centre Dale (NKD) in Norway. She commented that “The opportunity to be at NKD was perfect for me as I had previously been working on a body of work using materials from the north and in particular leathers. As (NKD) had previously had a shoe factory, it was an apt place for me to be and I am keen now to return … to develop the work further.”
Scottish writer/translator, Annie Rutherford, was hosted by Literarisches Colloquium Berlin (LCB) for her exchange, Annie had previously focused on poetry but the exchange gave her time to focus on translating her first novel. She noted “‘The programme at LCB, as well as the contact with German authors on residency, introduced me to new work in German which I am keen to tackle as a translator in the future… the residency brought me together with authors and translators I wouldn’t otherwise meet.”
With the support of Alliance Française Glasgow, Cove Park held a public event in November 2019 where the residency artists presented their work and connected with Scottish curators, writers and artists, coming together to reflect on the value of transnational collaboration.
For Cove Park, new partnerships have been developed through the project – not only with LCB and NKD but also with Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, Dance Ireland in Dublin, Helsinki International Artists Programme (HIAP), MUU Artists Association in Helsinki and SEA Foundation in The Netherlands. New funding relationships were also established with Alliance Française Glasgow, the Finnish Institute in London, Goethe Institut Glasgow and the Swedish Arts Council.
You can find out about Cove Park’s plans for a second series of European Residencies in a blog on their website here.