Graduate lands art residency in Iceland

28 January 2016

A Fine Art graduate from the University of Derby has been awarded a prestigious arts residency in Iceland.

Aly Jackson studied an undergraduate and masters degree in Fine Art at the University and is now set to visit Iceland to create work with residents in Skagaströnd before showcasing it at one of the largest art residencies in Iceland, The Nes Artist Residency. 

Through her photography, Aly plans to work with the community using their personal memories of history and place in order to discover how this impacts on their everyday existence in these isolated communities.

Aly, 51, from Chesterfield, said: “The residency in Iceland is a process-based experience where I will be working alongside around 10 international artists to realise my proposal.

“This involves exploration of the local Icelandic community within the context of the landscape, its natural features and its industrial past.

“I work mainly through the medium of photography and therefore anticipate producing the raw materials to develop some large scale montage pieces on my return to the UK.

“I will be there for the whole of February so I am feeling a little apprehensive as I am a lone traveller but also so excited at the prospect of making work in such a magical place.”

Gaining a place at the Nes Residency is competitive, with many established international artists making applications for each space.

The process includes the submission of a CV, proposal, letter of intent, examples of previous work and a rationale for making best use of the time.

Nes currently hosts between 90-120 artists per year and provides artists with a workspace and living quarters within Skagaströnd.

Aly added: “I have applied for a number of residencies and the process is long and competitive. For the Nes programme I applied and forgot about it as often I do. However, I was over the moon to be shortlisted and then offered a place.”

A person looking on the beach and a portrait of Alyson Jackson

During her trip, which starts on Monday (February 1), Aly will also be mentoring a local student in Skagastrond on a weekly basis, to share her practice and develop their photography skills.

She said: “I am looking forward to immersing myself in a different culture. Skagastrond is in the far north of Iceland, about five hours from Reykjavik, and only has 500 residents, so is very different from the bustling city.

“I have always wanted to see the Northern Lights so I think I have a pretty good chance of that! I also am passionate about the sea so living on the edge of the Greenland Sea and working in a studio right on the harbour is perfect for me.”

Alyson studied a BA (Hons) Fine Art degree from 2010 - 2013 at the University and graduated with First Class Honours before completing an MA in Fine Art in 2014. 

She said: “The courses were both excellent catalysts for ongoing dialogue about contemporary art. The quality of staff and levels of support were a key factor in becoming immersed in the course.”

“As a mature student I had already had various employment roles however this was a complete change of direction.”

Rodger Brown, Programme Leader for the MA Fine Art degree at the University of Derby, said: “This residency provides Aly with a great opportunity to develop her practice and engage with the local community.

“As an MA Fine Art student, she sought to extend the boundaries of her photographic practice and think of new ways of engaging with an audience.

“The residency is a fitting context for this approach to come to fruition and I am confident that she will produce an outstanding body of work, making a real impact on those she works with.”