Atopic Art Micro-Residency | Open Call

Announcing our new ASCUS micro-residency and commission with Prof. Sara Brown, within the School of Medicine and Ninewells Hospital, Dundee. In May 2015 Sara became the first UK dermatologist to be awarded a prestigious Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship in Clinical Science. Having teamed up with Sara and charity Eczema Outreach Scotland to run our participatory workshops project with artists Josie Vallely and Trevor Gordon last year, we are now pleased to announce this new opportunity for two artists to spend time exploring creative and collaborative practice within the context of current eczema research.


Full Details

Dates of residency:
January – April 2017 (part-time)
How to Apply:
Confirmed Outputs:
Public Workshop: April 2017
(ASCUS Lab, Edinburgh International Science Festival)
Exhibition: dates to be confirmed
(LifeSpace Art Science Research Gallery, Dundee)
Places available:
One place for an emerging/early career artist (1-5 years experience)
One place for an established artist (5 years + experience)
Brown Lab (skin genetic research laboratory, University of Dundee)
Eczema Clinics (within Ninewells Hospital, Dundee)
Eczema Outreach Scotland members events (Scotland wide)
Proposals are invited from creative practioners working in any of the following creative disciplines: Multi-art form, Crafts, Dance, Design, Film/TV, Visual Arts, Digital, Sound/Music, Performance, Storytelling
Application Deadline:
Friday 2nd December 2016
Selection Panel:
Prof Sara Brown – Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow in Clinical Science, University of Dundee
Dr Chris Cole – Senior Bioinformatics Research Officer, Brown Lab, University of Dundee
Miriam Walsh – Atopic Art Project Manager, ASCUS Art & Science
Dr James Howie – Managing Director, ASCUS Art & Science
Dr Sarah Cook – Curator of LifeSpace Art Science Research Gallery
Interview date:
Friday 16th December 2016
(ASCUS Lab, Summerhall, Edinburgh, EH6 1PL)

Atopic eczema is an itchy inflammatory skin disease, which has increased in prevalence over recent decades. It is a complex trait, arising from the interaction of multiple genetic and environmental factors, but eczema is highly heritable, demonstrating the importance of genetic predisposition. This micro-residency will provide the time and space for two artists to spend one to two days a week over 3 months immersed in this ground breaking field of research with the unique opportunity to gain in-depth insight into the science and clinical work behind this condition. Artists will have the opportunity to look into eczema on a genetic and molecular level by working directly with Dr Brown and her research team, observing her laboratory-based research and/or delving into the emotional/social impact of living with the condition through spending time in her clinics. This is also enhanced by the opportunity to gain additional insight through attending member’s events run by charity and project partner Eczema Outreach Scotland.
For this programme we are offering two artists the opportunity for an eczema based art-science residency and commission between January – April 2017. These opportunities are open to artists working in the following disciplines: Multi-art form, Crafts, Dance, Design, Film/TV, Visual Arts, Digital. Participating artists are being asked to produce new work at the end of the residency which responds to this specific working context. This work will be showcased at LifeSpace Dundee, alongside work produced by Trevor Gordon and Josie Vallely, after the Micro-Residency (dates to be confirmed). As part of the residency there will also be the opportunity to deliver a hands-on collaborative workshop to public audiences in ASCUS Lab during the Edinburgh International Science Festival. For our residencies we actively encourage a collaborative, discursive and open approach not only with the researchers, but also with each other. Selected artists will have access to dedicated desk space in a shared office in the research facility for the duration of the residency. Participating artists should be prepared as part of the residency to present their work and ideas to scientists, students and academics within the University of Dundee as well as to public audiences.


Project fee:
Emerging artist: £2,614 (1-2 days per week over 3 months)
Established artist: £3,844 (1-2 days per week over 3 months)
Materials budget:
Up to £1,000 per artist
Travel budget available
(this will be worked out based on individual circumstances)
Twenty days of this contracted time will be allocated to the selected artist to be resident at Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, where the artists will have their own desk space for the duration of the residency. An additional ten days are for production time and time to resolve the final work in preparation for the first exhibition from the residency at LifeSpace, Dundee. These can be spent either on or off site depending on the artists practice and work space required.

Selection Criteria:

For this micro-residency we are looking for applications from creative practitioners that demonstrate:


  • a working practice in one or more of the outlined creative fields
  • an interest in working collaboratively and within a scientific environment
  • a passion for exploring art-science interdisciplinary practices
  • a genuine interest in understanding and unravelling science research, science practices, science methodologies and/or the impact of science on society
  • an interest in lab-based/clinical research
  • an interest in doing creative work within a scientific context
  • a passion for engaging new audiences in creative activity
  • that they are available to commit to the residency on a part-time basis over the project period: January – April 2017

  • formal training in art-form for which they are applying
  • a track record to back up their proposal
  • previous experience preparing work for exhibition
  • previous experience in presenting and talking about their work to different audiences
  • previous experience in designing and developing workshops and creative activities for different audiences
  • previous experience developing hands-on activities through a collaborative approach at all stages, from development, design to delivery
  • previous experience working/collaborating with non-arts professionals

Application Guidelines:

The aim of this micro-residency is to provide the space and time for artists to produce work that reflects their own practice and that focuses on the following themes:

1. The science of eczema
2. Living with eczema

For the micro-residency, artists can respond to one or both of the themes depending on their practice. Please identify in your application how you might approach these themes in relation to your practice and also in the context of where and how you anticipate spending your time during the residency (Sara Brown’s lab, Eczema clinics and Eczema Outreach Scotland countrywide members events)

How to Apply:

Please submit your completed application and CV to by 5pm on the 2nd December 2016.
Atopic Art Micro-Residency Application Form
We recommend that you read the additional information provided below about the science behind Sara’s reasearch as well as our interview with Sara earlier this year before submitting your application.


Professor Sara Brown – Research Summary

Below is a summary that gives insight into the science behind Sara’s research. Click HERE to check out an interview with Sara from earlier this year as she spoke to us about how her research is progressing and why she is interested in working with artists.

Genetic mechanisms in atopic eczema

Atopic eczema is an itchy inflammatory skin disease, which has increased in prevalence over recent decades. It is a complex trait, arising from the interaction of multiple genetic and environmental factors, but eczema is highly heritable, demonstrating the importance of genetic predisposition.
Multiple risk loci have been identified by genomewide association studies, but a locus on chromosome 1q21 shows the strongest association. Within this locus, loss-of-function mutations in the gene encoding the skin barrier protein filaggrin (FLG) are well known to increase risk of atopic eczema. Sara’s work, in collaboration with Irwin McLean and Alan Irvine, has contributed to defining the role of FLG in every step of the ‘atopic march’, including mild, moderate and severe eczema, atopic asthma, allergic rhinitis and peanut allergy. Her work has shown that copy number variation within FLG has a dose-dependent effect on eczema risk, indicating that treatments aimed at increasing filaggrin expression may be of therapeutic benefit.

Sara was the first to apply single molecule RNA sequencing for detailed analysis of atopic skin. Detailed analysis, performed in collaboration with the Data Analysis Group, University of Dundee, has highlighted an increased stress response in filaggrin-deficient skin and dysregulation of lipid networks inFLG wild type skin. Sara has also contributed to major international collaborative work on genome-wide analysis in eczema, within the EAGLE consortium, and in collaboration with Heather Cordell (Newcastle University).

In her current work, Sara will use next generation sequencing to investigate copy number variation in genes related to FLG. She is also developing organotypic skin culture to test the role of candidate genes/transcripts for which functional mechanisms are currently unknown. This will move towards identifying targets for much-needed therapy development.

This project is supported by the Wellcome Trust and University of Dundee and LifeSpace Art Science Research Gallery


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