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Berwick about to get new artist in residence

Berwick is about to get a new artist in residence... and she'll be bringing her video camera in her suitcase. Sam Wonfor reports

Katie Davies who is to be artist-in-residence in Berwick
Katie Davies who is to be artist-in-residence in Berwick

A Bristol-based film-maker will soon be packing her bags and heading for the borders after being announced as Berwick’s new artist in residence.

Katie Davies will be the second artist to take up the coveted cultural post, which is offered by Berwick Visual Arts in partnership with Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival. The first was Swedish artist, Cecilia Stenbom whose film The Case premiered at last year’s festival.

Primarily a video artist, Katie is known for exploring the politics of spectatorship, with her installations valuing what is invisible and experiential, over a definitive image or document of time.

Recent projects include 38th Parallel, working with the UN Armistice Commission and United States Forces in Korea to research and film within the Korean Demilitarized Zone and The Separation Line and an installation portrait of the British repatriation ceremonies that transformed Royal Wootton Basset in 2011, working alongside The Royal British Legion and Wootton Basset Town Council.

This latest residence will offer her the opportunity to respond to Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival’s theme for 2014: Border Crossing, as well as to the town itself.

Taking place in the same week as the historic Scottish independence referendum, and marking their 10th anniversary edition, the Festival promises to bring together independent film and artists’ video to explore boundaries – on the map and in the mind – and the spaces in between.

Of her appointment, Katie, who will take up her post next month and remain in Berwick until September, said: “I am extremely excited to be working with Berwick Visual Arts and Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, and to be based in Berwick-upon-Tweed.

“I know this will be a fantastic opportunity to work with and beyond political demarcations to get to the heart of what makes this area, place and people so culturally significant and historically important.”

James Lowther, head of Visual Art, Berwick Visual Arts, was on the judging panel which selected Katie.

He said: “We are really excited by the appointment of Katie Davies as our new artist-in-residence and her current area of research and practice will create a fascinating response to theme of this year’s Festival.

“With a record number of artists submitting applications, were also delighted to continue and develop our successful partnership with Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival.”

Fellow judge, Melanie Iredale, director of Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, said: “We’re really excited to welcome Katie to Berwick and to work with her on a project which responds to our theme of Border Crossing – already I can feel that the premiere of Katie’s work will be among the Festival’s highlights.

Jane Tarr, director, North, Arts Council England, added: “Berwick has a long history of attracting talented artists, from across the country and from further field, to immerse themselves in the history and culture of the town and its surrounding area.

“The Berwick residency opportunity has proved to be an important stepping stone for many of those artists who have undertaken it and gone on to achieve national and international recognition.”

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