• August Artist Residency


August Artist Residency 2018

Awarded to Miriam Laura Leonardi

Miriam Laura Leonardi, Angels of Chaos 1 & 2, 2016, various media, dimensions variable
The inaugural Swiss Church August Artist Residency has been awarded to Zurich-based artist Miriam Laura Leonardi. Miriam will be in residence at the Church from 6 – 26 August 2018, where she will be developing her project The Church (after Robert Ashley’s Perfect Lives) – a performative reenactment of the THE CHURCH (AFTER THE FACT) – an episode of Robert Ashley‘s Television Opera Perfect Lives.
Born in 1985, Lörrach, Germany, Miriam Laura Leonardi lives and works in Zürich. She has a degree from Les Gobelins photography school in Paris and the ZHDK in Zurich. She held an individual exhibition at the Maria Bernheim Gallery in Zurich in 2016. Her work has been shown at Marbriers 4, Geneva; Swiss Art Awards, Basel; Kunsthaus Glarus, Glarus; Paris International, Paris; Tiblisi 16, Tiblisi; Swiss Institute, New York.
The Swiss Church August Artist Residency enables a Swiss artist to undertake a fully funded residency at the Swiss Church in London for three weeks in August. The selected artist is given 24-hour access to the Church’s unique heritage-listed building in Covent Garden, and a work space on the third floor of the building.

The residency is designed for self-led professional development, and experimentation, and is particularly suitable for artists who work site-specifically, or whose practices engages with sound, light, theology, spirituality or community engagement. It offers an artist a period of time to work in quiet and solitude, as well as the freedom to experiment in a large, highly resonant space.

The Church has very specific acoustics—there is a 4.5 second reverb delay—and the vaulted ceiling of the main hall is interspersed by skylights, making the building particularly known for its natural light. As it is Grade II heritage listed, nothing can be fixed to fabric of the building; and accordingly the space lends itself well to performance, site-specific sound installations and video projection (at night, and particularly in winter).
The Residency Comprises:

  • 24-hour access to a fully accessible workspace at the Swiss Church in London
  • An Open Studio, or similar public presentation or event, at the Swiss Church
  • Single room accommodation at the Austrian Cultural Forum
  • Basic living expenses in London
  • Economy return travel from the artist’s home city in Switzerland or the UK to London
  • Travel card (zones 1+2) for unlimited travel within central London for the duration of the residency
  • Administrative, pastoral and curatorial support from the Swiss Church team (during office hours)

Residency aims

The aim of the residency is to foster connections and collaborations with Swiss artists and The Swiss Church in London. The Church is enriched by the experiences of the people that use it, and it is hoped that the research undertaken by the artist during their residency influences the future work and thinking of The Swiss Church in London.
About The Swiss Church in London

The Swiss Church in London is a functioning Swiss-reformed church in central London, founded in 1762 by a group of expatriate Swiss. Throughout its history, it has looked to engage parishioners and cultural visitors in a dialogue between art and faith, and today runs a successful arts programme, which includes a year-round programme of performances funded by Arts Council England, as well as an annual exhibition curated by students of the MFA Curating programme at Goldsmiths, University of London.

The Church was renovated in 2009 by Swiss architects Christ and Gantenbein, who restored the original 1855 building to its original grandeur, as well as creating extra floors at the street end of the building. A distinctive feature of the new design is a folded mirror screen wall that separates the nave from the foyer. Built from concrete and white stained oak, it complements the white rendered walls and classical detailing of the original interior, and reflects many vistas of the building simultaneously. A new space was also created for the organ gallery, to house a new, fully mechanical organ, built by the renowned firm, Späth Orgelbau from Rapperswil. 

The Church is a multi-use space, and in addition to its use as a church (it has fortnightly Sunday services) it is used for dance classes, concerts (clients include the Royal Opera House), organ recitals, sound healing, community gatherings and workshops. It is also a very popular location for fashion runway shows and has become a staple venue in London Fashion Week. It continues to be a meeting point for the Swiss community in London, and hosted Swiss National Day in 2017 and again in 2018. 

The Swiss Church is an accessible space that welcomes people from all paths of life and from all church traditions or none, regardless of age, race, gender or sexual orientation. It is a church that is willing to challenge itself, and is committed to supporting artists to make challenging, critically engaged work within a place of worship.
Selection and Eligibility: 

The residency is open to contemporary visual artists working in all disciplines, who are Swiss nationals or Swiss educated, and resident in Switzerland or the UK. Applicants should be able demonstrate over three years of continued practice outside of undergraduate education and have at least a moderate level of spoken English. It is important that all applicants research the Swiss Church thoroughly before submitting their application so as to be fully aware of the context which they would, if successful, be entering.

The Swiss Church is a church first and foremost, and the selected artist must be mindful that the building is heritage listed (the fabric of the building cannot be tampered with), and has limited equipment and facilities (the workspace available is a clean space). It is suitable for artists who aren’t necessarily dependent on a studio-based practice, or who can use the residency as an opportunity for research and inspiration. The artist must also be aware that they will be working independently—August is generally a quiet time in the Church—and they may be alone in the building for much of the residency. Some regular events and hirings will continue, including a weekly breakfast for the homeless community, and the artist must be willing to work around and accommodate these events.

Applicants should submit a project proposal within their application, outlining their specific research interests and how they intend to engage with the space—whether that be through its architecture, community or spirituality. Proposals that make use of the specific context of the Church to test or develop a specific idea will be prioritised. Those who fail to submit a considered proposal that is specific to this residency and context will be disqualified.
At the completion of the residency

At the completion of the residency, we request that the artist writes a short report for the Swiss Church website, and completes a project evaluation form. Artists will also have the opportunity to make a limited edition artwork for sale at the Church after their residency period.
Application process:

Please email the following documents, in the order specified, as a single PDF document to: art@swisschurchlondon.org.uk. *The deadline for this opportunity has now passed*

  • 200 word artist statement
  • A 300 word statement describing how this residency will be of benefit to you
  • A 500 word project proposal, outlining your specific research interests, how you intend to engage with the Swiss Church on this residency, and how you intend to use your time
  • CV
  • Website link
  • 10 images of recent work, with captions and a short description if necessary or 5 images and a 5 minute max showreel of recent film/video work
  • Contact details of two established artists or arts professionals who know you and your practice well enough to recommend you for this residency

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed in person or via Skype on Monday 2 for Wednesday 4 July. As the Swiss Church in London is a charity, we are unfortunately unable to reimburse travel expenses for those travelling to the interview in person. Due to limited resources, no feedback will be offered to unsuccessful applicants.
Selection panel:

The artist will be selected on the basis of their application. A decision will be made by a selection committee comprising: David Kilian Beck (Head of Culture, Embassy of Switzerland), Ariane Braillard (Fondation Braillard Architects), Nat Breitenstein (Artist & Venue Manager, Swiss Church in London), Jon Driscoll (Theatre Designer), Carla Maurer (Reverend, Swiss Church in London), (Annelore Schneider (Artist) and Kirsty White (Curator, Swiss Church in London). The successful artist only will be notified at the beginning of July 2018.

The Swiss Church in London is an equal opportunities employer and welcomes applications from all suitably qualified persons regardless of their race, sex, disability, religion/belief, sexual orientation or age. 


PDF of residency outline and guidelines


Kindly supported by the Austrian Cultural Forum and Maecenas.