In recent years we have moved away from the traditional residency model (i.e 'you give up everything for a while to secrete yourself away from life, with us'), for various reasons: Firstly, we don't think it's what most artists (at any stage in their careers) really need to thrive, and secondly, because we want to respond to the many different ways that great projects can evolve.
This can't happen if we are locked into a rigid cycle of a certain number of applications annually. We now adopt a flexible approach that is integrated into our local, national and international curated programmes. We always - always - welcome interesting ideas and proposals that tie in with our work and goals - so if that's what you've got, get in touch.
We have welcomed over 500 volunteers at our HQ Lawson Park since beginning the programme in 2009.
From their feedback, we know that volunteers from all walks of life and of all ages find their time with us thought-provoking, restorative, hard work and enjoyable. Whilst most of our volunteers do still come from an arts background of some sort, many have a strong interest in experiencing an alternative to the familiar gallery / studio world.
For us, the volunteering programme brings invaluable extra capacity from an exceptionally wide cross-section of interesting people, including those with life experiences, skills and qualifications that are very different from ours. Some continue to work with us afterwards as Associate Artists or in other roles, whereas for others the experience is a one-off respite from a busy professional career or between academic courses of study.
2020 Volunteer Placements
'I had such a wonderful time. It was transformative in my outlook on why I make art, why anyone makes art. It’s also given me such a burst of enthusiasm in general - that a life like that can be lived out, with so much joy in detail’.
We would emphasise that volunteering with us has no strict criteria nor qualifications required, but we are generally oversubscribed by applicants, and so we select those whose aptitudes and skills are most clearly in line with our activities.
In 2020 there are 8 residential volunteer placement weeks across the seasons. Each week hosts 4 volunteers together across a specific 7-day period at our residency base, Lawson Park. Each week’s volunteers will join various projects according to the organisation’s current activities.
What To Expect when Volunteering
In 2020, our volunteer placements will run across 7 days from Monday to Sunday.
The placement dates are:
Jan 6-12, Feb 3-9, March 16-22, May 11-17, July 20-26, Sept 14-20, Nov 2-8 & Dec 7-13
Application windows are announced on this page.
Volunteers are expected to participate full-time from Monday to Wednesday and from Friday until Sunday. Thursdays will be a free day.
During their stint, volunteers will spend their days alongside GA director Adam Sutherland and other part-time staff. They will take a hands-on, practical role in the running of the Lawson Park household and gardens, a role which varies a great deal according to the season - from mulching and planting, to harvesting, preserving, building, scything the meadow and woodland management.
Life here is very seasonal, with an emphasis on self-sufficiency - so expect outdoor work at all times of the year but especially in spring and summer. In winter or in very poor weather, we tend to focus more on website and collections research, content development, project production / administration and indoor crafts etc.
At the end of their stay, volunteers can take up the opportunity to have a brief feedback conversation with Adam, if that is useful to them. We also expect volunteers to complete an Arts Council England monitoring form.
To hear what previous volunteers have said about the programme, watch our short film here.
There is no fee offered to volunteers.
6 nights bed and full board at Lawson Park (£480 per person) are covered by Grizedale Arts, and travel costs up to £100 per person are reimbursed. We prefer volunteers to use public transport (our nearest train station is Ulverston, from where we pick up by car).
Please see the PDF Guide at the foot of the page for more details on volunteering with us.
We do still offer fully funded artist's residencies on irregular occasions. We advertise them here , and we are always happy to hear from artists about future projects.
Lastly, we can help facilitate uncurated and self-programmed residencies are at a sister farm, Low Parkamoor, an off-grid house which can be hired for artists or groups to pursue a course of activity without too much critical input from Grizedale Arts. The deadline for this is ongoing, please have a look here for more about this special place.
NB: We prefer applications by email, but if you need to submit in an alternative format get in touch.Volunteer Placements Info PDF
pdf – 175.25 kB
2020 Late Winter / Spring Season
Application window: 7 Oct - 18 Nov 2019
Volunteer Weeks: 6 - 12 Jan, 3 - 9 Feb, 16 - 22 Mar 2020