Berwick’s third artist in residence is unveiled

Paul Rooney will take up the position in early April.
Paul Rooney will take up the position in early April.

Berwick Visual Arts and Berwick Film & Media Art Festival have unveiled the town’s third artist in residence.

Paul Rooney, currently based in Liverpool, was selected by a panel from over 80 applications for the residency opportunity. He will take up residency in the town from early April until September 2015.

The joint 2015 residency provides the opportunity for an artist working with moving image to focus intensively on a project for six months while responding to the 2015 Film Festival theme of ‘Fact or Fiction’.

“I am looking forward to making a new work as resident artist at Berwick Visual Arts, extending my interest in the netherworlds between fact and fiction,” he said. “The time and space I will have in Berwick to think and speculate will be hugely valuable, and I am particularly keen to start to explore Berwick itself and it’s surrounding landscapes as potential settings for some new real-fictions.”

Rooney creates sound, video and text works that focus on the instabilities and deceptions of language and narrative, particularly in relation to how they represent ‘place’ and the historical memory that haunts it.

He studied at Edinburgh College of Art. From 1998 to 2000 he released three music albums as the band ‘Rooney’, featuring in John Peel’s Festive Fifty as well as recording a session for the show. Since then he has continued to make sounds, videos and texts with recent solo exhibitions at the Liverpool Biennial, Outpost Norwich and screenings at the ICA and Whitechapel Gallery in London.

Taking place between September 23 and 27, this year’s Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival will incorporate work that challenges perceived notions of documentary and narrative film, including artists’ performance, re-enactment and re-interpretations of history and memory. ‘Fact or Fiction’ is a theme that’s completely pre-occupied with the moving image’s singular ability to bring us directly into the realm of the senses.

Paul was selected by a panel consisting of artist Matt Stokes; James Lowther, head of visual art, Berwick Visual Arts; Huw Davies, chair of Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival board; and Sam Peace, relationship manager, Visual Arts, Arts Council England.

James Lowther, head of visual art for Berwick Visual Arts, said: “We are delighted to appoint Paul as our new artist in residence. I’m sure the work that he will develop will provide a fascinating response to this year’s festival theme and to Berwick itself and I’m pleased that our residency in partnership with the film festival continues to go from strength to strength.”

Peter Taylor, director of Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, added: “Welcome to Berwick Paul, we’re delighted to have you in town! It’s exciting that our partnership with Berwick Visual Arts allows the development of longer-term relationships with artists and will very practically contribute to the production of your new work. Many thanks to the Arts Council of England for supporting this vital possibility.’

Jane Tarr, Arts Council England’s director north, said: “The fantastic partnership between Berwick Visual Arts and the Festival continues to grow and bring inspirational opportunities for world class artists. We’re really delighted Paul will be working in the North East and know he’ll get a warm welcome in Berwick where the festival is one of the highlights every year.”