Lockdown Residency

Holly Clark reflects on her 3 day remote Hatching Residency in Winter 2020

I am Holly, I am a theatre maker based in the West Midlands. I took part in a 3 day digital Nest residency. It was to explore a new solo show idea about being dyspraxic and neurodivergent. I knew I wanted to use movement in the piece (as it is known as the ‘clumsy syndrome’) to celebrate the way I move and also to highlight parts of dyspraxia and for it to be autobiographical.

My first talk with Janet about my piece, theatre, and about lockdown was so refreshing. As we know due to the pandemic, this was a rare experience to talk about art and ideas with someone new. I came away with inspiration and ideas and actually put in an Arts Council bid off the back of it. I also tried some ideas and thoughts we had created and discussed.

I then got really stuck. I found making and creating at home really uninspiring and the things I was making didn’t feel right or of any quality. I was getting in my head about it. I was regularly doing automatic writing and trying to imagine what the work could be.

The chats with Janet each time were encouraging and sparked new ideas. She gave me articles on how to reinvent the daily walks and focus on things other than the work in order to relieve the pressure. It worked. I let go and just tried to generate rather than analyse.

I actually got the Arts Council funding for an R&D for the piece. Those three days allowed me to have time and pay to do it. Even though work that was made didn’t go any further it laid the groundwork. The conversations with Janet helped spark ideas of what the piece has begun to be and helped shape it.

It was such a valuable experience to have the mentoring time and support. I encourage you to apply to be part of the programme.

Plastic is my home

Alan Van Wijgerden reflects on his Covid-interrupted Nest Residency

Plagues of locusts, biblical floods, it all seems to have happened to my Nest Residency!

It started over a year ago now when Covid was a rumour and happening mostly in China. Things went well for me and my able assistant: set, costume and camera person Jazz. But Covid spread and, with two days to go to finish the production phase of the project, it had to be halted due to the first Covid lockdown. And so the little room in Eaton House became a distant memory.

Over a year later, with Talking Birds’ move to Radford – and Covid (which as everyone knows was only going to last a few months) finally receding – we restarted. I re-learned a forgotten script, It’s relevance around dementia brought into much sharper focus by family events. Personally I’m scared stiff of dementia and my sister says she doesn’t want to get old. Dementia is slow, insidious and cruel.

But Plastic Is My Home also re-visits some of the issues of a now archive film of mine called The All Electric Home which, if I may say, predicted the impact of the likes of Facebook. And Facebook feels like it’s been with us forever now. But in reality it’s so recent.

Talking Birds were grand throughout, providing us with facilities. And special thanks must go to Janet, who held the faith through troubled times and enabled a production I wouldn’t ordinarily have had the resources to do. Jazz was a real trooper too. These residencies are well worth applying for. With a little bit of dosh which is always useful.

Our set came courtesy of that cornucopia of all things cheap and cheerful CROW. (Community Recycling Of Waste) Perhaps for me the hardest part, paradoxically, was memorizing my own script. Such lines as “AMERICA IS ON LINE!!!” and a short ode to the old red phone box.

There look to be opportunities with City Of Culture to show the piece now, which didn’t exist pre-pandemic. Just waiting to do the edit now…

Alan in his costume during a break in filming

Open Call! Artists opportunity!

Future Ecologies – Talking Birds/Ludic Rooms Collaborative Nest Residencies

Ludic Rooms has teamed up with Talking Birds to create two Nest Residency opportunities for artists who live in the CV1-6 postcode to take time to explore ‘Future Ecologies’ around Coventry Canal. Nest Residencies have been running since 2019 and prioritise D/deaf, disabled, neurodivergent and/or locally-based artists, supporting them to experiment with one of those ‘What if…?’ ideas.

This call out is intended to identify artists living within the CV1-6 postcode who are interested in:

– exploring the themes of Future Ecologies along the Coventry Canal; 

– engaging with digital technologies (whether or not this is already part of their practice);

– collaborating with Ludic Rooms and Talking Birds;

– exploring sustainable or regenerative working practices; 

and who would benefit from a supported studio residency within the creative community at The Nest.

The Nest Future Ecologies residencies are supported by by Arts Council England Project Grants, Coventry City Council Project Grants and the City of Culture Green Futures Programme.

Ludic Rooms is based at Coventry Canal Basin and is currently focussing on life by water (in the most landlocked city in the country) and ideas for folk traditions of the future. These are being developed through its major arts and technology programme called Random String, as well as an associated project, Landlocked, where Juneau Projects are working with local residents that overlook the water to imagine future wildlife in the canal. 

The Nest is a brand new shared making space created by Talking Birds as a place to grow an inclusive, climate-conscious creative community which supports and enables disabled and local artists, giving them space to explore ideas and create new work. The Nest is on the Coventry Canal, adjacent to the Daimler Powerhouse, and is a 5 minute walk up the towpath from Ludic Rooms.

These Ludic Rooms/Talking Birds Nest Residency opportunities aim to play with the ideas and connections of the waterway and an artistic support structure – through the idea of ‘Future Ecologies’. The residencies are available across disciplines but should in some way engage with digital technologies. Ludic Rooms can support this, if you have ideas but limited know how. 

The successful artist will be provided with an accessible work space at The Nest where they will benefit from mentoring, constructive critical input and production support from the two partner organisations. The successful artist will also receive:

  • Residency fees: £800 or £1600 (plus additional access support to make the residency work for you)
  • Modest but flexible materials/making budget to include support as needed with digital technologies or other construction.


For these Future Ecologies Nest Residencies, the deadline for applications is 22nd July 2021. We would ideally like the first residency to start as soon as possible. Nest Residencies aim to be responsive to the needs of the artist and the idea they are exploring, so the exact timing of the residency will be arranged with, and to suit, the artist.

There are two opportunities:

  • A short intensive residency ending 27th August with work to be presented during the Bank Holiday weekend events that are being held at both locations and along the canal.
  • A longer or more spread out residency, with a studio available between 1st September and 15th October. If the appointed artist wanted to take advantage of the engagement opportunities outlined below, the start date could be earlier.

It would be useful if you could indicate in your application if you have a preference on timescale.  

Sharing the Work and/or community engagement opportunities

There are a number of potential sharing, testing and presenting opportunities between July and November (see below) which is why we have structured the opportunities in this way. 

Nest artists can potentially present works in progress or engage with the public in developing their work during Friday sessions at Ludic Rooms’ Roam + Dwell public events (every Friday through July and August); August Bank Holiday weekend (27-29 August); and finally at Random String Festival 11-14 November. 

Who can apply for the Nest Future Ecologies residency programme?

Any Coventry-based artist or small company with a CV1-6 postcode, with priority given to d/Deaf or disabled or neurodivergent artists. 

How to apply

Either complete the online application form here

Or you can submit your application in video or audio format to cover the questions below

  • What idea would you like to develop during this residency?
  • What if any experience do you have and what input you might need?
  • Why are you interested in working with the partner organisations?
  • Why is this opportunity beneficial to you at this moment?
  • Please specify any support you would need in order to make this opportunity work for you.

You can include links to your website, Youtube, Vimeo or Instagram accounts

You can upload up to three images of your work with the form if you have a google account, or email them to anne@ludicrooms.com 

An easy read version of this information is available here