A mining term referencing byelaws for workers’ shifts and wages

KULES is a new residency programme, entering its second year, in Stoke-on-Trent aiming to provide venues and environments for artistic research. Utilising the disused industrial spaces throughout the city rather than establishing a rural retreat, KULES intends to be a public facing, urban project with a strong learning element that builds connections to local schools, colleges and communities.

Olympics Engineering - venue for KULES year 1
During Stoke-on-Trent’s current transitional phase of redevelopment, vacated properties and brownfield sites provide unique opportunities for new projects. While such spaces still exist KULES aims to capitalise on their potential, becoming an itinerant presence in the city, moving from venue to venue with each new intake of artists.

The loss of heavy industry - in Stoke-on Trent’s case - mining, ceramics and steel working, has been experienced nationwide but few cities have struggled as much as Stoke to build a new identity. Even the city’s status has seemed in doubt with its six constituent towns each vying for funding and investment. It is in this environment that KULES sees the greatest opportunity for intervention and invention, hosting an international residency that sees the city’s resources with fresh eyes.

Olympus Works interior #1

Olympus Works interior #2

Olympus Works interior #3
Olympus Works interior #4
Commissioned by AirSpace Gallery and funded by Arts Council England and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation through ArtCity, the first year of KULES Five invited, internationally acclaimed artists - Shaun Doyle & Mally Mallinson, Leigh Clarke, Leslie Deere and Chloe Cooper undertake a 4-week residency followed by a 3-week group exhibition, both of which took place in a huge empty former engineering works in the City Centre.
Olympus Works interior #5
Olympus Works interior #6

Central to the residency is an education strand, with residents carrying out workshops and educational activity in local schools, colleges and the university. Additionally, each year within the Residency, two 1-week micro research residencies are offered to graduates of  Staffordshire University's Fine Art course, offering the selected artists the chance to develop new ideas and proposals for new works, within the creative, supportive and skilled environment produced by the main residents.

Year two of Kules will see the residency shift to a new venue, with similarly associated links to the City's industrial past, opening up possibilities for new use for iconic spaces, and sees the residency opened out to submission for artists working in any medium to live, work and teach in the city for a 4-week period.


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