Berwick’s new artist-in-residence is set to explore how people age in rural populations from the town.
Polish-born visual artist, independent filmmaker and photographer Piotr Piasta has been appointed to the role by Berwick Visual Arts in partnership with the Centre for Rural Economy at Newcastle University.
Currently living and working in the Wieniawa district of Poland, Piotr will relocate to Berwick for the six-month duration of the residency.
His artwork explores themes of history, time and memory often within a rural context and he is particularly interested in ageing within rural communities and the stories and memories of older people in these communities.
He said: “I am extremely happy to be offered the residency at Berwick Visual Arts and the opportunity to work with the Centre for Rural Economy. The residency will allow me to extend my research subjects and I am excited to explore a different rural culture to my own.
“I am particularly interested in ageing in rural populations and I believe that old people are living archives of the past, and their stories are like inspiring books of knowledge.
“During the residency I hope to share their stories and show them in a new visual form.”
Piotr was selected for the post from over 75 applications.
Guy Garrod, director of The Centre for Rural Economy, said: “The Centre for Rural Economy is delighted with Piotr Piasta’s appointment and to be continuing its involvement in the artists’ residency at Berwick Visual Arts for the third year running.
“Piotr’s intention to focus his work on older people strikes at a central concern of rural areas today, that of an ageing population and the social exclusion and isolation that, for some people, can be part of growing old in the countryside.”
James Lowther, Head of Visual Art for Berwick Visual Arts, added: “The panel were impressed by the quality of Piotr’s work and his response to the rural context of the residency, explore relevant and contemporary rural issues and were unanimous in appointing him to the post.”
Berwick Visual Arts residency in partnership with the CRE provides the opportunity for an artist working in any discipline to question what and who is rural, and explore rural life and society beyond idyllic representations, whilst living and working in Berwick.
The Centre for Rural Economy (CRE) at Newcastle University is a research centre specialising in interdisciplinary social science, researching rural development and policy, food and society, and the wellbeing of rural communities.
The centre will provide access to research staff, facilities and equipment to support Piotr in the development of his work and support the distribution and display of work that is produced during the residency period.
Piotr will be resident in Berwick from mid October to April 2015.