IOU has created a rolling 6 month opportunity for artists to live, work and develop their creative practice at the IOU Hebden Bridge Hostel.

The Artist in Residency opportunity is open to artists specialising in any art form interested in IOU’s approach. The residency includes living rent and bill free in a self contained artist apartment to develop their practice and create an art project  in response to time spent living at the Hostel.

Current Artist in Residence – Georgia D’Silva 

This opportunity has special significance for me, tracing back to my first visit to Hebden  Bridge in early 2022. During a spontaneous coach trip, the driver said she felt passionate about bringing passengers to Hebden Bridge, as for her, it was a place of  reflection and peace. As I strolled by the canal, I felt it too, igniting daydreams of calling it home. 

The allure of Calderdale’s vibrant community and the collaborative ethos of IOU captivated me. Itching to expand the parameters of my practice, I envision a residency marked by sustained dialogue with staff, fellow artists, locals, and hostel guests. 

Navigating a pivotal juncture in my career post-graduation, I found myself at a crossroads, seeking new directions unconfined by academic structures. This residency will offer an ideal setting for this transformative phase, aligning with my evolving perspectives on memory, place, and experience, marking the commencement of a new chapter in my creative journey. 

IOU’s interdisciplinary approach and innovative use of technology align seamlessly with my desire to incorporate movement and explore audio within my installations.  Ultimately, a successful residency would be a holistic experience, enabling me to create  work that transcends my current imagination, shaped by the unique setting and the  vibrant community at its heart’

I like to describe myself as a melancholic prisoner of wistful awareness. At the root of  my practice is a process of documenting, then using found, repurposed, and low budget materials to meticulously craft everyday realities.  

I create small-scale dioramas, dealing with notions of memory and place. My work has assimilated dollhouse rooms, whilst being devoid of figures, asking the viewer to interact inquisitively and playfully. Time and time again, I am drawn to cardboard. The material has this sense fragility and transitoriness which mirrors the fleeting nature of  the present that causes my brow to corrugate. 

I have worked and lived in Hyde Park, Leeds, for the past three years, where my practice has focussed on the paradoxes of the young adult experience. Both the shared and polarised perspectives of place within my local community fascinated me, and my  sculptures became part of these conversations. My artworks encompass space,  materiality, lighting, and sound, to evoke a subjective narrative’

Left and below Georgia’s work No.1013 exhibited at FUAM 2023 show at Leeds University Library Galleries.

Previous Artists in Residence

Beth Cockcroft was the IOU Artist in Residence from May-October 2023

As part of her residency Beth co-curated the Connection To Nature – an exhibition as part the female led arts collective In the Flesh

The exhibition featured works including abstract paintings, illustrations, zines and DIY prints by young artists from across our region, Manchester and the North.

Beth also led workshops at the IOU Studio and Hostel to explore Mindful Drawing and Mindful Journaling – using the Connection In Nature theme

“I saw the residency as an opportunity to devote my time to creating without so many external pressures, and reconnect with and reflect on what inspires me. I also saw it as an opportunity to reconnect with the local area- a place I grew up in before moving around the country- as I truly think Calderdale has its own unique culture and sense of community. 

I share a lot of the same motivations/inspirations as IOU, as they seek to engage local communities and audiences, taking inspiration from Calderdale’s nature and culture whilst pushing the boundaries of experimentation. I thought with sharing the same priorities, we’d be able to come up with some really exciting ideas! 

I’m looking forward to experimenting with and pushing the boundaries of the type of artist I consider myself to be, whilst making new connections through the Hostel & IOU. I’m excited to use my art practice to engage audiences through workshops, events and exhibitions in the area. I’m also looking forward to being able to devote time to reconnecting with nature and my own thoughts, and building confidence as an artist”. 

“I believe art can be used to process emotions/feelings and enhance wellbeing- in communities and workshops as well as on a therapeutic, personal level and this is how I use art in my personal practice. 

Inspired by nature, local folklore, ‘feminine’ identity and shared experience, I experiment with traditional craft to explore surreal narratives and abstract worlds. Process-based and esoteric, I use intuitive drawing and playful experimentation- prioritising the process of creating rather than focusing on a perfect final result. 

I’m currently working on a zine; collecting images, sketches and found objects whilst on walks in the local area in the hopes to compile my own little image reference book. I’ll use this as inspiration for my project moving forward, focusing on local folklore and our connection with nature”.

Alicja Mrozowska was the IOU Artist in Residence from October 2022-May 2023.

In May she led an IOU Making It workshop ‘Experimental Oils’ where 25 participants explored alternative painting techniques and canvases

“Working with IOU as Artist in Residence has been an amazing experience that has progressed my work and my confidence as an artist. Acquainting myself with Hebden Bridge and Halifax has prompted me to reflect on who I am as an artist, what the essence of my work is and observe things from the perspective of the audience through meeting guests, studio visitors and people in the community. The studio and hostel spaces are unique ecosystems with a great team, that have inspired me and encouraged new ideas to form and grow.

I have been able to realise ideas that lived in my head, develop these with critical feedback, validation and perspective. I have been able to build on knowledge of combining art forms including painting and projection mapping, and make work for different contexts with practical, technical and programming advice.”

square pattern in blue and green

To complete her time as Artist in Residence Alicja has completed a stunning painting that is now displayed in the Hostel dining and living space.  She is also developing  a programme of work to exhibit at IOU Walkway Gallery for the Calderdale Year of Culture 2024

“I feel that the hostel reception piece is an example of my confidence growing. I have elevated my painting technique to a larger scale, incorporated new ways of working with paper, used found materials and simplified the subject matter, content with saying less. Moving forward I’m excited for new challenges, continuing to learn and working with IOU in the future”

See more of Alicja’s work 

Charlotte Mellor Meecham
Artist in Residence May-October 2022

“My time at the IOU hostel was a truly unique experience and I am extremely grateful that I got to be a part of the project in my home town, whilst it was in its infancy.

Within my art practise, I work in many different ways. I am an illustrator but I am also a maker, often favouring projects where I can build 3-dimensional objects with my hands.



woman in red top and headscarf sits behind a silver desk
A wall display of decorative headresses and a mirror

As the artist in residence, I was able to design and customise nine different pairs of headsets so that they can feature not only as a creative display within the hostel, but as something that the guests can use to listen to music or have silent discos.

I love to make things that balance both function and form, plus I have years of experience making headdresses for festivals and events, so I was thrilled to be able to harness these interests and complete a project that will hopefully stay a unique feature of the IOU Hostel for years to come.”

See more of Charlotte’s work

Bodie Cameron
Artist in Residence May-October 2022

“A chair is still a chair, even when there’s no one sittin’ there
But a chair is not a house and a house is not a home.
When I was 20 I talked to Dionne Warwick on the phone in a house I couldn’t afford to rent and eventually had to flee.
Dionne has a song called “A House Is Not A Home”.
It was written for her by Bacharach and David for a film of the same name.
The film is about a New York Madam called Polly Adler who ran a bordello in Manhattan.
When I was 33 I lived a few blocks away from Polly Adler’s in a flophouse on the Bowery, it was £10 a night and the rooms had no ceilings.
I’ve moved house a total of 38 times, I’m not sure if I ever moved home.

The work I am making at the IOU Hostel is about home- what makes one, what you call it, how it feels to get there.”

Bodie Cameron