In 2020, the pandemic caused huge disruption to all ongoing Mead Fellowship projects, as it did to activities across the world. We worked with each awardee and offered flexibility on project plans and extensions to timelines. 17 Mead Fellowship projects are now in progress from the past three years.
In June 2021, eight finalists made presentations to the Judges online who awarded a total of £33,800 to seven applicants. We've listed these Fellows and their projects below.
MA Fashion Entrepreneurship and Innovation, London College of Fashion, graduated July 2021.
Project title: Parted Crafts
Parted Crafts is a research project, which aims to explore and understand the impact that the partition of Bengal had on the handicraft cultures and craft communities of undivided Bengal. Archi will look at the history of partition through the perspective of the local, marginalized craft communities and their lived experiences.
The project marries Archi’s passion for ‘crafts’ to a collective memory she experienced second-hand through her family, where she grew up as a third-generation partition survivor. She will examine ‘partition-narratives’ - the history of craft traditions of undivided Bengal, and she will identify crafts that were affected by the partition, migration and the violence that followed.
In her research, Archi will identify present-day crafting communities in West Bengal and Bangladesh and connect with these craftspeople, to document how the partition affected their livelihood, shaped the identity of their craft and how later generations engage with the memories of partition. The findings will be presented in form of a multimedia exhibition, showing craft works previous and current.
"The Mead Fellowship provided me with a life-changing opportunity to pursue research on a subject that is extremely relevant to my heritage, my passion for crafts as well as to the global political fabric. It will not only help me connect my future career path to my family history and create connections within the industry, but also allow me to connect and work with various immensely talented craft communities, creating scope for future collaborations. I am truly humbled and excited to be undertaking this journey with the Fellowship."
MA Photojournalism & Documentary Photography, London College of Communication, graduated 2020.
Project title: Queer Spaces: Behind the Scene
Tim’s documentary-based practice centres on the LGBTQ+ community, whom he enjoys working alongside to embolden storytelling and to make his work more representative of the community.
Queer Spaces: Behind the Scene is a multidisciplinary project, which maps queer spaces in the capital and considers: what is a queer space, how we define them, and who is permitted to define them.
Collectives who operate social events for, and run by, queer women, queer people of colour, non-binary, intersex, and trans people have become far more prominent in recent years. Sober spaces and other non-nightlife spaces have also emerged. This participatory body of work will feature these people who are breaking new ground in the community.
Portraits of participants will be included alongside archival imagery. Eight podcasts will be central to Queer Spaces: Behind the Scene, hosted by Alim Kehraj, and these will discuss specific issues related to the LGBTQ+ space. A live event in panel discussion form towards the end of the project will give the work a public life.
“I am delighted to have been given the opportunity by Mead Fellowship to carry out this project, which I am deeply passionate about. Having LGBTQ+ stories highlighted and preserved is of great cultural significance, and I’m honoured to play a part in this.”
Maya Gurung-Russell Campbell
BA Photography, London College of Communication, graduated 2021.
Project title: Protector of the Children
Drawing inspiration from the longstanding traditions of mask-making and masquerade in the Caribbean and Nepal, ‘Protector of the Children’ alludes to the Nepali folklore spirit Lahke, who is believed to protect both children and townsfolk.
Maya learnt about her Nepali heritage from her grandmother, who creates depictions of Nepali deities in sculptural forms which line the walls of their home. As a child, she slept with the Lahke mask in her room and was scared of its fearsome appearance. But slowly she came to feel connected to its powerful presence and associate it with the safety that her grandmother provided at a crucial period.
‘Protector of the Children’ explores Maya’s own personal intergenerational trauma and relationships, exploring her dual heritage. Maya will create her own mask and direct her own film of the ‘The Lahke Dance’ –traditionally part of an eight-day long street festival in Kathmandu, called Indra Jatra or Yenya – with her grandmother performing the dance.
“I am extremely grateful to have been selected for a Mead Fellowship. It provides me with the opportunity to take the time necessary to fully explore these symbols and motifs, whilst grounding it within the complex framework of the socio-political emergencies of our contemporary landscape. I want to extend my thanks to Scott Mead as well as everybody else involved in the selection process and the running of this initiative."
MA Performance: Design and Practise, Central Saint Martins, graduated 2020.
Project title: Dreamsick
Dreamsick is a piece of experimental theatre exploring possible futures. It centres on San Franciscan artist-draughtsman A. G. Rizzoli who created imaginary buildings, most of which were also ‘symbolic representations of people. Rizzoli's series, ‘Yield To Total Elation’ was a plan for a utopian city – both an image of heaven and a set of personal portraits.
Dreamsick takes Rizzoli’s dreams of utopia, and sets them against more personal dreams and memories, evaluating the way we think about our future(s).
Dreamsick is not a biography of Rizzoli, but perhaps an extension of his ideas. The show will be built from casual and poetic texts, ‘interrupted’ by soundscapes and wordless action. Dreams and contradictory anecdotes and memories will interweave with stories of Rizzoli and of the burgeoning commercial spaceflight industry, coming together to form a critique of the sort of cynical futurism peddled by Silicon Valley. It will invite its audience to dream better, dream stronger, and dream-in-spite-of.
“I’m incredibly happy and grateful to have been awarded this Fellowship. Like any maker, I feel I have a duty to my subject matter: to explore it as deeply as possible and clothe it in the highest quality theatrical trappings that I can. Without funding, this simply would not be possible, especially at a time like this.”
MA Biodesign, Central Saint Martins, graduated 2021.
Project title: Semi-Skinned
Semi-Skinned is a research and development project, looking at the creation of regenerative plant-based alternatives to animal-derived fabrics, that don’t include plastic sources. The project focuses on creating cruelty-free plant-based fibres and non-woven materials that will be transformed into vegan textiles for the fashion industry.
This project reaches beyond the laboratory setting and involves the voices of farmers, writers and designers to help shape the results and reporting.
Follow the project on Instagram.
“I am blown away by the news of receiving the Mead Fellowship. This award will provide me with the ability to bring an important innovation from an idea to reality. The application process for the award has grown my confidence and I am really grateful that the judges believe in the Semi-Skinned project as much as I do.”
MA Fine Art, Chelsea College of Arts, graduated 2020.
Project title: The chronicles of Bundal and Buddo Islands- documenting the Indus Delta
Veera is researching the Indus Delta, which exists between Karachi and the undulating Arabian Sea. The delta is a complex ecosystem that has an ancient relationship with fisherfolk communities that predates the territorial division of South Asia.
There are long term plans to develop Bundal and Buddo (two of the largest mangrove islands) for commercial purposes. Veera will be filming parts of the delta and conducting field research by interviewing local fishermen and examining species caught between the socio-political tussles. The research around Bundal and Buddo will evolve into an archival website.
“The Mead Award Application process is a huge learning opportunity where you get to understand your project from other peoples’ perspectives. The funding will enable me to pursue an ambitious schedule of filming, recording and archiving which will continue to further my practice. I am very grateful to have been able to share the work with the judges and excited to learn more about myself, my subject matter and engage with feedback.”
BA Fine Art: Sculpture, Wimbledon College of Arts, graduated 2020.
Project title: AWAKEN, STONE!
Awaken, Stone! investigates the ecology, geology and the quarrying history of the Isle of Portland, Dorset, with support from artist-led organisation the Portland Sculpture & Quarry Trust.
Portland is a landscape shaped by the extraction of Portland Stone and Eva is working within this quarried environment to produce masks, performance, video, fiction and workshops with local schools.
Awaken, Stone! engages with the Living Land Archive, an artist’s work representing 38-years of research by artist Hannah Sofaer, who pioneered interdisciplinary exchange between artists, earth scientists, ecologists, environmentalists, theoretical physicists, architects and quarrymen, and holds an extensive geological record.
Drawing on this research and experimenting with casting processes with the geological record, this project will culminate in a masked procession through historic Tout Quarry and an exhibition at the Drill Hall Gallery & Research Space. Awaken, Stone! aims to engage with the elements of Portland and contribute to regeneration - through performance, animating geology and innovating new uses of waste products of the stone industry.
“The Mead Fellowship is an exciting opportunity for me to take my practice to the next level, entering a space of interdisciplinary exchange and working with artists long-established in the field to develop new sustainable processes and communicate urgent issues of climate change through my practice.”