The Awkward Ambassador, Darren Nixon, 2016 | Image: Andrew Brooks
  • StudioBook

2015/16 Course Info

StudioBook 2015-16 was an intensive, tailored artist development programme from Mark Devereux Projects designed for eleven practitioners. Responding to the requirement for continued professional development throughout an artist’s career, with specific focus on those that are teetering between early and mid career, StudioBook provided an important injection of information, knowledge and inspiration for artists at an integral point within their practice. At the core of the eight month programme was ten days of concentrated seminars, workshops and one-to-one mentoring sessions, led by established artists, curators and arts professionals.


Start Date:

End Date:

ArtWork Atelier

Course programme

Mark Devereux Projects are delighted to confirm the following speakers for the StudioBook 2015/16 programme (further speakers will be announced shortly):

Ann Bukantas (Head of Fine Art, National Museums Liverpool)
Ann Bukantas has been Head of Fine Art at National Museums Liverpool since 2002, with responsibility for the management of the art collection and the art curators at the Walker Art Gallery, Lady Lever Art Gallery and Sudley House. She also curates some of the modern and contemporary art exhibitions for the Walker and projects have included exhibitions by Ben Johnson, Wolfgang Tillmans, John Kirby, Patrick Murphy, Henri Matisse and David Hockney, and Liverpool Art Prize winners Robyn Woolston and Tabitha Moses. She was a juror for the John Moores 23 (2004) and John Moores 24 (2006) Painting Prizes, and since 2004 has edited the John Moores exhibition catalogues. She researched and wrote one of National Museums Liverpool’s best-selling publications, ‘Cityscape: Ben Johnson’s Liverpool’ (2008), and is presently researching 19th-century Liverpool art collectors. From 1986-2002 she worked at the Ferens Art Gallery, Hull, curating the historic and contemporary collections, and spent a period as joint Acting Head of Hull Museums. She has been involved in several schemes with the Contemporary Art Society to develop the collections at the Ferens and Walker Art Galleries. Ann currently sits on the Arts Council Collection Acquisitions Committee (since April 2014).

For further information please visit:

Sophie Williamson (Exhibitions Organiser, Camden Arts Centre, London)
Sophie J Williamson is curator and writer based in London. She currently works at Camden Arts Centre, where she has realised ambitious exhibitions with international artists, including Kara Walker, Moyra Davey, Glenn Ligon, Jo Baer and Ben Rivers, as well as commissioning major new works by artists such as Ruth Ewan, Nina Canell and Emma Hart. From 2009, she was part of the founding team at Raven Row and has previously worked on a range of major international exhibitions, including the inaugural Singapore Biennale (2006), the Venice Biennale (2007) and the first Asia Triennial Manchester (2008), as well as a range of projects across Europe, Asia, the UK and online. She is a regular contributor to Art Monthly and other publications.

For further information please visit:

Bedwyr Williams (artist)
Bedwyr Williams (b. 1974, St Asaph, Wales, based in Caernarfon) gained his BA at Central St Martins College of Art and Design (1997) and his MA at Ateliers Arnhem, NL (1999). Recent and forthcoming solo shows include Limoncello, London, UK; The Whitworth, Manchester, UK; VISUAL, Carlow, IRL; g39, Cardiff, UK; Vestjyllands Kunstpavillion, DK (all 2015); Tramway, Glasgow, UK for Glasgow International; MOSTYN, Llandudno, UK (2014); Welsh Pavilion for 55th Venice Biennale, Venice, IT (2013); IKON, Birmingham, UK (2012); and Kunstverein Salzburger, AT (2011). Plus international group shows.

For further information please visit:

Gilda Williams (contemporary art writer, editor and teacher)
Based in London since 1994, New York-born contemporary art writer, editor and teacher Dr. Gilda Williams is a Lecturer on the MFA in Curating programme, Goldsmiths College, University of London and a Lecturer on the Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London, MA in Contemporary Art programme. Williams is a London correspondent for Artforum magazine and author of The Gothic (MIT/Whitechapel), 2007, also the subject of her PhD. In 2014, Thames & Hudson published her book How to Write About Contemporary Art, now in its 2nd edition and described as ‘the little red book everyone in the art world should have’ (Art Monthly, Feb 2015).

From 1994-2005, Williams was Editor and Commissioning Editor (from 1997) for contemporary art for Phaidon Press, London. There she edited and commissioned some 50 monographs in the ‘Contemporary Artists’ series as well as the ‘Themes and Movement’ anthologies; the cream biennials-in-a-book and Salon to Biennale: Exhibitions that Made Art History (2008). In 2011 she was a judge on the Max Mara Art Prize for women artists; in 2014 a nominator for the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Awards for Artists.

For further information please visit:

Derek Horton (Co-Director &Model, Leeds)
Derek Horton is an artist, writer and curator. After working on adventure playgrounds and community arts projects in the 1970’s, he spent many years teaching undergraduate and postgraduate art students. He co-founded the online magazines ‘/seconds’ with Peter Lewis in 2005 and ‘Soanyway’ with Lisa Stansbie in 2009. He is now co-director of &Model, an international contemporary art gallery in Leeds, and Visiting Professor of Contemporary Art at the School of Art, Birmingham City University.

For further information please visit:

David Ogle (artist, represented by Mark Devereux Projects)
David Ogle is an artist, lecturer and doctoral researcher based at the University of Liverpool and FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology). He has contributed to numerous academic and arts pulications and regularly presents at arts conferences and symposia (including; The University of Edinburgh, CPH DOX Copenhagen, The Media Architecture Biennial (MAB) Aarhus, etc.). Through his experience as lecturer/course convenor for MA AACI (Art, Aesthetics & Cultural Institutions) within the University of Liverpool’s School of Philosophy, he has taught key skills in academic writing and has a particular interest in the crossovers between studio practice and art history/critical theory.

For further information please visit:

Kate Jesson (Curator Contemporary Art, Manchester Art Gallery)
Information coming soon…

Alex Hodby (independent consultant and advisor, Manchester)
Alex Hodby has worked with art and artists throughout her career. She has worked as a curator for over 15 years, including at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, as an arts administrator in Manchester and as a studio director in Newcastle upon Tyne. She currently teaches about curating on a course delivered at Tate Modern, in collaboration with Kings College, London. She is working on an AHRC CDA PhD project with Tate Modern and Goldsmiths Department of Politics about New Institutionalism, Public Programming and democracy. Alex is also a trustee of Quarantine, a theatre company based in Manchester.

Nicola Dale (artist represented by Mark Devereux Projects)
Nicola Dale has exhibited internationally (Europe, USA and Australia). She has completed commissions for institutions such as Manchester Art Gallery, Art in Sacred Places and Bruntwood, as well as private clients. Nicola has undertaken residencies at the University of Manchester; Shanghai College of FIne Arts, China (with Metal, Liverpool), the National Arts Education Archive at Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Aspex amongst others. She has work in both public and private collections and has received grants from Arts Council England, Wellcome Trust and the University of Manchester. As an artist who has made the transition from part-time to full-time self-employment, Nicola has amassed a great deal of experience around finance including writing successful grant applications, planning on a yearly basis and adding value through education at primary, secondary and tertiary level. Nicola Dale is based at Rogue Studios, Manchester and is represented by Mark Devereux Projects.

For further information please visit:

Helen Jenkins (Director, 117 Consulting)
Helen Jenkins is the Director of 117 Consulting. Founded in February 2010, 117 Consulting offers practical, down to earth advice and practical support on fundraising and income generation for arts organisations and charities. 117 is focused on making sure that you are best placed to generate the funds you need to do what you do best – making fantastic art! Helen has over 15 years experience. From writing applications, securing sponsorship and working with all types of individuals, Helen can offer advice and support which is right for you.

For further information please visit:

Susan Jones (Director, Richard Padwick & Susan Jones Ltd, Arts Development and Knowledge Management Solutions)
Susan Jones is a visual arts consultant, researcher and adviser whose expertise includes artists’ livelihoods and professional development strategies, the value of the artist-led and socially-engaged practice and the impact of artists within the arts ecology. She has many years’ experience of working with practising artists and artists’ groups as a mentor and coach. Her published writing includes Instrumentality or artistic autonomy – the pursuit of cultural value for Cultural Value Initiative Warwick University 2012, Self employed in the arts for The Guardian and Are there too many artists? for MarketProject. She authored a-n Practical guides including Negotiating an exhibition and Assessing opportunities and edited a-n’s portfolio of Good practice publications.

For further information please visit:

Paul Stone (Co-Director, Vane, Newcastle upon Tyne)
Paul Stone is based in Newcastle upon Tyne, where he studied at Northumbria University, receiving a BA and MA in Fine Art. Having exhibited as an artist since 1990, he has also curated exhibitions for many different venues, written published reviews and catalogue essays, and undertaken a number of mentoring/professional development activities with visual artists and other creatives. He has previously undertaken various roles for a-n The Artists Information Company, Axis (editorial and artists’ professional development), and numerous UK artist-led initiatives and creative businesses (curatorial and advisory). He is co-author of the ‘Organising an event’ information sheet, available on the Arts Council England’s website.

Since 1997 he has been a Director of Vane. Having staged the majority of exhibitions and events in temporary venues until 2003, Vane opened a permanent gallery space in Newcastle city centre in 2005. One strand is focused on the work from Vane’s stable of emerging artists, drawn from the North East of England and across the UK, as well as from Denmark, Germany, Iceland and the USA. The gallery also shows the work of invited artists in collaboration with other galleries, guest curators, festivals and other organisations, including exhibitions curated by artists. The gallery has participated in international art fairs in the UK, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Spain, Switzerland, and the USA. In 2011 Vane relocated premises to its current base on the first floor of Commercial Union House, a building that is currently home to a broad range of other creative projects across its eight stories.

For further information please visit:

Emma Price (Director, EMP Projects & Associates)
Emma M Price has been working in commissioning public art for over 15 years throughout the UK. Currently Emma is founder and director of EMP Projects & Associates, an independent curating and commissioning agency based in Cardiff. They work on the inception and brokering of commissions with exceptional artists, architects, designers and communities to transform public spaces. Emma is a passionate advocate of socially engaged art in the public realm and the evolving appreciation of art and creativity being part of the everyday experience of all. She is a board member for Rock Academy Wales and is a national advisor for the Arts Council of Wales.

For further information please visit:

Lindsay Taylor (Arts Curator, University of Salford, Salford)
Since 2013 Lindsay Taylor has been Art Curator at the University of Salford where she is responsible for leading the strategic development of the University Art Collection and associated public programmes.

Lindsay is passionate about supporting artists to produce new work, and audiences to engage with it. Believing that the best art collections are distinctive, focussed and often created through working directly with artists and other arts organisations, she has pioneered a number of strategic partnerships including with the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, Quays Culture, HOME, the International 3 and Islington Mill. The partnerships are based on collaborative working – such as co-commissioning new work by artists for exhibition at the partner venue before entering the University Art Collection.

From 2004 – 2013 Lindsay led the contemporary art exhibitions programme at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston, where she also developed a collection of new media art. Prior to the Harris she worked at Tate Liverpool and National Museums Liverpool. Lindsay is currently Co-Chair of Contemporary Visual Arts Manchester, a Trustee of IOU, Halifax and a Project Patron of The International 3.

For further information please visit:

Rebecca Storey (Senior Account Manager, SUTTON, London)
SUTTON is a global cultural communications company. With offices in London, New York and Hong Kong, we work on projects across the world. Our experienced team of specialist consultants provide local insight and global knowledge.

At SUTTON, creativity is at the heart of everything we do. Established in 2006 by Calum Sutton, we work with world-class organisations and inspiring individuals. Our clients include museums, galleries, art fairs, biennales, performing arts organisations, festivals, non-profit foundations, international luxury brands and corporate supporters of the arts. Our approach is intelligent and informed. From advising on partnerships to planning events to navigating the ever-changing digital landscape, every project is different and every solution is bespoke.

Our London office is based in the cultural hub of Somerset House, and is led by Calum Sutton. We opened in Hong Kong in 2012, where the team is directed by Catherine McClelland from the Hong Kong Arts Centre. Jennifer Joy heads up SUTTON in New York, our newest office, which opened in January 2014 in Manhattan’s Meatpacking district.

Rebecca Storey has managed campaigns for the relaunch of the Whitworth, Leighton House, Heathrow T2, Royal Salute and Hofesh Shechter Company. Prior to SUTTON, she worked with The Courtyard Centre for the Arts, York Theatre Royal, Shakespeare’s Globe, Donmar Warehouse, Theatre Royal Stratford East and Underbelly. Rebecca studied Journalism, Film and Broadcasting at Cardiff University, and regularly lectures on digital strategy.

For further information please visit:

Clare Sydney (Marketing and Communications Director, HOME, Manchester)
Clare Sydney is Marketing and Communications Director at HOME, Manchester’s new venue for international contemporary visual art, film and theatre. HOME’s international contemporary visual art programme is dedicated to presenting new commissions, projects and exhibitions by emerging and mid-career artists of regional, national and international significance, with a particular focus on artist film, performance and participation. Since opening in May 2015, HOME has already welcomed over 35,000 visitors to its galleries. Before moving to HOME Clare held the same role at Cornerhouse where she managed campaigns for exhibitions by Jeremy Bailey, David Shrigley, Stanya Kahn, Rashid Rana, Jamie Shovlin, Al and Al and many others.

For further information please visit:

Liz West (artist & Co-Director Mark Devereux Projects, Manchester)
Liz West graduated from the Glasgow School of Art in 2007, with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art: Sculpture and Environmental Art. Since then she has exhibited her work both nationally and internationally in group and solo exhibitions. Selected exhibitions include: On Brown & Violet Grounds (solo), Piccadilly Place, Manchester, UK (2013); Four, Cornerhouse, Manchester, UK (2013); Chroma (solo), BLANKSPACE, Manchester, UK (2012); Still Here, UntitledBCN, Barcelona, Spain (2012); Woolgather Art Prize, 31 Bond Street, Leeds, UK (2011); Celeste Art Prize, The Invisible Dog, New York, USA (2010) and Northern Futures Award, The Civic, Barnsley, UK (2010).

Liz is Head of Marketing for Rogue Artists’ Studios and manages the marketing strategies for Mark Devereux Projects and her own personal practice.

For further information please visit

Bo Olawoye (independent Learning Curator / Consultant, Nottingham)
Bo Olawoye is a Independent Learning Curator / Consultant (2013 – present), developing and managing learning programmes for contemporary art venues, artists studios and her own projects. Prior to becoming freelance, she worked as a Learning Manager for The Bonnington Gallery (Nottingham Trent University), Dance 4, Angel Row Gallery and Nottingham Contemporary that included a yearlong programme with Tate Modern, London.

She is currently Learning Curator (Jan-Nov 2015) at Backlit for The Samuel Morley Programme (funded by Heritage Lottery Fund): a contemporary approach to exploring local history and how an artists’ studio complex with independent gallery can successfully collaborate and engage with communities in the area. Between 2014 and 2015 she worked as the Youth Co-ordinator for Get Up Stand Up! – A project exploring international human rights for The New Art Exchange and The Galleries of Justice.  She is the Co-curator and Chair for the Get Up Stand Up Dialogues series of five public debates (May – Sept 2015), developed in collaboration with Professor Zoe Trodd, from the Centre for Research in Race and Rights (University of Nottingham).

Bo has also worked as a consultant advising artist-led spaces and curatorial projects such as Primary Studio’s (Board Member) on the development of their own bespoke engagement programmes. In December 2014, she was invited (With the Backlit Team) to contribute to Mark Devereux Projects Critical dialogue and talks programmes offering free one to one tutorials for MDP Associates.

For further information please visit:

Liz Wewiora (Artist, Curator and Communities Programme at FACT, based between North West and Glasgow)
Liz Wewiora is an artist, curator and producer who graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 2008 (Fine Art Photography). Currently based between the North West and Glasgow, Liz specialises in socially engaged arts practice, both as an artist in her own right, facilitator and programmer. Liz is acting Communities Programmer at FACT, Liverpool, managing the adults community programme, and Veterans in Practice programme (on maternity cover until end of Feb 2016) and continues to work as an independent freelance artist and co-producer with Helen Wewiora (as WewioraProjects) delivering regional activity such as the Northern Art Carbooty project. Prior to this she has worked as Learning and Engagement Coordinator at Glasgow Sculpture Studios, Programme and Engagement Coordinator at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, and devised the first education and outreach programme for Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow with Director Francis McKee in 2009.

Liz has exhibited and collaborated with organisations such as CCA (Glasgow), Quad Gallery (Derby), Manchester School of Art, University of Reading, Podium Gallery (Glasgow) and Future Everything Festival (Manchester) and is currently an studio holder at Rogue Artist Studios. She has delivered a number of successful Arts Council England funding socially engaged residencies and has been guest speaker for the likes of Princes Foundation for Children and the Arts, Engage, the Audience Agency and a-n around best practice in Arts Engagement.

For further information please visit:

Mark Devereux (Director, Mark Devereux Projects, Manchester)
Prior to forming Mark Devereux Projects, Devereux was founder, director and curator of Blank Media Collective in Manchester, UK from 2006-2012. He has curated over 100 exhibitions, working with more than 250 artists nationally and internationally. Devereux has published 4 books and facilitated numerous events and professional development programmes for artists.

Artist Info

StudioBook 2017 participating artists: Sarah Binless, Andrew Brooks, Jenny Cashmore, Valerie Driscoll, Sophie Lee, Dominic Mason, Tabitha Moses, Darren Nixon, Susie Olczak, Helen Stokes and Jacqueline Wylie.

Further Info

StudioBook Artist Commission

Mark Devereux Projects and University of Salford are proud to announce artist Darren Nixon has been awarded the inaugural StudioBook commission 2015/16 for his proposed work The Awkward Ambassador.

The Awkward Ambassador will respond to the notion of how a work of art assumes a restless existence as it finds itself in a public art collection and required to take on different personas. The Intern, The Mixer and finally The Awkward Ambassador will each portray the work’s shifting relationship with its surroundings, whether in the University’s art stores, within the campus or when sent out on loan to represent its owner.

“I am thrilled to have been selected for the StudioBook commission and looking forward to working with Mark Devereux Projects and Lindsay Taylor of University of Salford. This project gives me the chance to develop new skills and ways of working that will help me take my practice to the next level. I am looking forward to showing the work for the first time alongside the other StudioBook artists at ArtWork Atelier in March, which will be a fitting end to a wonderful five-month programme.” [Darren Nixon]

As part of Mark Devereux Projects’ new StudioBook artist development programme, the award has been provided, co-selected and acquired by University of Salford Art Collection. This new award showcases the two organisations’ collective ambitions to nurture some of the best emerging talent in the UK.

“The selection process was rigorous with many of the artists submitting strong ideas. Darren Nixon was awarded the commission for his thoughtful and ambitious proposal that directly considers how an artwork exists within the context of an Art Collection. Although not part of the selection process, I am delighted that we are supporting an artist already based in Manchester and one that is clearly at an important stage of his career.  I am looking forward to working with Darren and with Mark Devereux Projects to realise this artwork, and to exhibit the work in its various manifestations.” [Lindsay Taylor, Arts Curator, University of Salford]

The commission is part of Mark Devereux Projects’ inaugural StudioBook artist development programme funded by Arts Council England. Eleven artists from throughout the UK were selected to take part in the five-month programme, which started in November 2015 with an intensive 6-day course of talks, seminars, workshops and advice sessions led by over twenty speakers from around the country. Each of the eleven artists was then invited to propose new work for consideration for the commission.

“StudioBook encapsulates our commitment to nurturing, promoting and providing different opportunities to artists that are at important transitionary points within their careers. We are proud to be working with this talented group of artists of which we’re sure they’ll go on to do great things. Darren Nixon is the prime example of an artist who is striding forward with his practice and we’re sure this commission will provide an important stepping stone for his future.” [Mark Devereux, Director, Mark Devereux Projects]

The Awkward Ambassador will be showcased to the public for the first time on Friday 4 March (6-8pm) at ArtWork Atelier, Salford. The first incarnation of the work will be shown alongside existing works by each of the eleven StudioBook artists in an exhibition signalling the end of the five-month programme. Each of the artists will give public talks about their practices and inspiration the following day on Saturday 5 March (11am-4pm).

StudioBook is an Arts Council England funded project and has been produced and developed by Mark Devereux Projects. The StudioBook commission has been funded and acquired by University of Salford Art Collection.

Darren Nixon’s recent work has involved making shifting sets of structures from various groups of paintings and painted elements. Looking at what painting is and what it lacks, he often likes to focus on the places painting fails to reach as successfully as other media. The use of movement in dance; architecture’s incorporation of its surroundings; cinema’s exploration of real time; music’s manipulation of sound in space – Darren uses each new piece as a chance to consider themes and concepts which other media have come to dominate as a way questioning what painting still has to offer today. For further information visit:

Further information about the launch of The Awkward Ambassador and the StudioBook exhibition will be announced shortly.

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