artist in residence programme


Residencies are an important part of artist careers and development. They offer space for artists to work in, and are also an important way for these artists to grow their practice, beyond selling a product like a painting or a sculpture.

Traditionally, residencies take place in art galleries and museums, but increasingly they also happen in a huge variety of environments, like hospitals, churches and town halls - even airports, car parks and cargo ships.

St. Margaret’s House offers an opportunity for artists to become engaged with local people, and to allow our heritage, our community work, and our unique perspective on the stories of Bethnal Green to stir new creative directions for artists.

We renovated a room above our workshop space here to create a new studio space, with big windows and bright white walls, which our artists can use to work on their practice.

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The residency programme is one new aspect of our work that creates meaningful opportunities for artists to engage with local people. East London is one of the richest and most vibrant centres for contemporary art in the world, and Bethnal Green alone has some of London’s most exciting galleries – like Chisenhale, Maureen Paley, and The Approach. These places are all free to enter, but we know that there are reasons aside from just financial that stop people wanting to spend time in galleries.

We want to look more closely at the barriers that prevent people from visiting these places – and our arts programme will offer opportunities in the coming months to explore how we can make art a more everyday experience that more people can participate in.

If you want to ask about the artist in residence programme, please contact our Community Arts Manager:


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Our second Artist in Residence was nominated by Lois Keidan, co-founder and the Director of the Live Art Development Agency.

Fox Irving’s art is shaped by the liminal, precarious identity they inhabit as queer/femme/working class. With a playful, DIY approach informed by activist strategies and centering collaboration, Fox investigates how art can be used as a tool of empowerment by their own marginalised communities. They ask: what keeps people in place, what affords fluidity, and what kinds of assembly can be transformative? 

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Discouraged from studying art, Fox left school and trained instead as a nurse- to have a 'proper' job, a stable income, to create their own stability. Whilst working full-time, they went to night school to study art.

They began to exhibit their work and was announced as one of the emerging artists at the Women of the World Festival, at the Southbank Centre in 2013. Whilst still in full-time employment, they gained a scholarship to obtain a Masters in Visual Arts at Camberwell, graduating with a distinction and several awards.

They have received various awards including, Jerwood Arts Bursary for self defined professional development, Arts Council National Lottery Project Grant, DIY Project Grant 2019 with LADA and Tate Liverpool. Heart of Glass' Professional Development Opportunity for Women in the Arts Bursary Scheme and Metal’s Time and Space residency. 

Fox is a recent graduate of the Live Art Desk Scheme at the Live Art Development Agency (LADA) and we’re excited to welcome them as our next Artist in Residence, staring in November!

Though they have no strict end-goals for what they may create, embedding themselves within the team and becoming part of our local community will be central to Fox's practice over their residency. The initial plan is to explore all of the opportunities, activities and spaces in and around St Margaret's House - to spark ideas and get a real feeling for work that could be created here.

They can't wait to settle into their space here and make it their own over the winter months!


Ayesha Tan Jones

Our first Artist in Residence, Ayesha Tan Jones, was nominated by Lindsay Friend, Director of the brilliant IMT Gallery.

Ayesha is a recent graduate of Central St Martins College of Art and Design. Their work fuses activism and art to present an alternative, queer, optimistic dystopia. Ayesha approaches activism through art, creating diverse, eco-conscious narratives that aim to connect, enthral and induce audiences to think more sustainably and ethically. Traversing pop music, sculpture, alter-egos, digital image and video work, Ayesha sanctifies these mediums as tools in their craft. In June 2016, Ayesha was awarded the Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s graduate residency award.

We’ve loved having Ayesha here, who’s been working on their own personal projects, as well as running community and art projects. This included their ‘Fertile Souls’ events, which involved sound therapy and a vocal resonance workshop, as a way of celebrating collective healing. Ayesha also ran the Shadow Sistxrs Fight Club in our hall - this physical and meta-physical self defence class combines Brazilian JuJitsu and magical/medicinal herbalism to create a holistic approach to self defence. SSFC is a way to explore a safety and strength through community ritual and collective. Check out some images from Ayesha’s class below!