A donation from a Writing Squad alumni made it possible for us to set up our first International Residency.
The opportunity was advertised as “£1000 to enable a Squad writer to travel and spend some time abroad to complete a creative project.”
The first recipient is Katie Walters. Using the award, together with an Arts Council England Developing Your Creative Practice grant, Katie visited Iceland in September 2023 to delve into a lifelong interest in the natural history of whales.
In their words, “Human relationships with whales have shifted wildly over the past 100 years, as they have gone from legendary sea monsters, to valuable industrial commodities and an emblem of what might be lost to the ravages of climate change. Museum collections physically embody these changes, as the preservation and display of cetacean remains was and continues to be profoundly impacted by their cultural contexts. By visiting a number of museum spaces in Iceland, with varied cetacean collections that span the past century, I will learn more about the biases that have informed the natural history of whales, and create an artistic response encouraging audiences to recognise and take ownership of them.”
Katie plans to share findings and a creative response with the Squad and a wider audience in March ’24.