This year one talented Open Show exhibitor will be awarded a month long residency at One Thoresby Street, giving them the opportunity to develop and produce work to be exhibitied in the building's Attic gallery. This is the third year that a panel comprising of One Thoresby Street studio members will be awarding a prize at the Nottingham Castle Open. The prize not only offers a substantial studio space, and a solo show, but it also means that the recipient is welcomed into the community of artists who reside in the building. This makes the prize unique in providing both the studio holders and the winner the chance to integrate with other artists practicing within the city. I interviewed Dexter Prior, the Studio Manager at One Thoresby Street.
[Colette Griffin] Can you give a brief introduction to One Thoresby Street, the building’s galleries and project spaces, and your role in the studios?
[Dexter Prior] One Thoresby Street is an artist run studio complex providing spaces for practicing artists, the building is also home to Trade and Attic gallery that have a regular programme of exhibitions and events.
I am the studio manager at One Thoresby Street, which currently entails a wide spectrum of roles from organisational development to putting the bin out on a Thursday night. Both equally important!
One Thoresby Street have been sponsoring the Nottingham Castle Open since 2012, was your involvement a decision made in anticipation of forging a mutually beneficial relationship between One Thoresby Street and the recipient artist?
Offering a prize for the Castle Open is a way for us to engage with the artist who we select for the residency, it is taken into consideration as the artist will be integrated into the studio community for the time they are with us, being involved with crit sessions and other group activities that take place at One Thoresby Street.
Nick Mobbs begun his residency in July this year and is currently working in the studio space provided as part of the prize, how do you think he has benefitted from the One Thoresby Street Prize?
It’s been great to have Nick around at the studios, the space he was using is near to our kitchen which meant other studio members would pop their head in to say hello and see what Nick was up to. We just wanted to make sure he felt part of the studios instead of this temporary resident. I think the fact that we ran a few crit sessions while Nick was here seemed to benefit what he was working on the most.
Nick explained that he has been working on a body of work and not a definitive outcome. He will be exhibiting a piece on the outside the One Thoresby Street building. Was this initially the plan for Nick’s time at Thoresby Street or has it developed over the course of his residency?
We were very flexible with Nick in terms of when he would be able to start the residency due to his busy work schedule and having a family as well, so we also took a flexible approach to the outcome of the residency. We had initially planned to exhibit the work at the end of the residency but it was clear that Nick had a wider body of work he need to explore, so he has a little bit longer to dive into the work he started before exhibiting it in early December.
For the last two years the prize has taken the form of a residency generating very dissimilar outcomes from the past two recipients, is this direction the One Thoresby Street Prize will continue to take?
Yes, I think the prize should offer something different, so the artist who is awarded the opportunity can venture into it without a preconception of what others have done before. It also works better for One Thoresby Street which has a constantly changing programme of exhibitions and projects for the prize to neatly fit into whatever shape seems appropriate.
In addition to unlimited access to a studio space at One Thoresby Street for a three-month period, what does the prize provide for it’s recipient in by means of a platform for professional development?
I think a real focus of the prize is to help the artist feel welcomed and embedded within the community we have here at One Thoresby Street, so a combination of informal and more formal dialogue we have at the studios about each other’s work goes a long way to helping the artist in residence as well as the more permanent artists we have at the studio.
Colette GriffinExhibitions & Visual Arts Assistant Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery