Artist in Residence 

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 private artist bedroom to develop their practice and create an art project  in response to time spent living at the Hostel.

Alicja Mrozowska – Artist in Residence Winter 2022-2023

Alicja’s practice explores identity and the concept of ‘home’ through oil painting, film photography, paper construction and technology.
She incorporates her own experiences, surroundings and relationships with nods to social structures, in a lighthearted way.
These multidimensional artworks hope to prompt acceptance, curiosity and vulnerability. Alongside exhibiting her work, Alicja has participated in group residencies and led creative workshops in the UK, Poland and Germany.

Tell us about what drew you to the opportunity of working as an Artist in Residence at IOU? 
The IOU residency gives you dedicated time, space and structure as well as feedback and support from the brilliant and experienced team. I was drawn to this invaluable ecosystem and the challenge.
I really related to the IOU values creatively and personally so it felt like a good fit.
Since graduating from the University of Salford and moving to Leeds, I have been painting in my home studio (bedroom) while working in 35mm film developing, as a Polish interpreter with the NHS and most recently as a graphic designer. I finally took the plunge to fully focus on my art and the Artist in Residence opportunity aligned nicely. As I’m writing the residency has only begun but the art hostel is a very unique, welcoming place and I’m excited to see how it develops and who it hosts. It’s great to be a small part of the journey and this vibrant community.

Tell us a bit about your work and what you will be focusing on during your residency?
I’ve always used painting to be vulnerable, express myself and make sense of my identity. As my practice and I have grown (fingers crossed) my focus has turned to wider influences that shape identity and align with my interest in migration, representation and social ideology. I hope to portray identity as an open narrative that can be freely explored through being playful with social constructs and the very real, sometimes difficult aspects.

I’m really curious about how oil painting, paper construction, light and sound might converge to become an installation, how combining traditional and new mediums, digital and analogue can enhance the painting content, how it’s experienced and how the audience engages with it.

Alongside this I’m working on a series of standalone paintings inspired by a graphic novel/ comic book workshop I attended as part of a residency in Krakow/Hanover in 2021.
I’m grateful to be able to try out how/if that all works and turn ideas into reality, working between the IOU Hebden Bridge Hostel and the IOU Theatre Studios & Workshop in Halifax.
Though I’m only down the road from my home in Leeds and the woods here are reminiscent of my Polish hometown, Hebden Bridge is a beautiful & bustling place of its own, it will be difficult to leave. I escaped Manchester without a Gallagher haircut and only one second-hand Adidas jacket,
but here my defences are weakened…

Who/what inspires your own making process?
Christina Quarles is an artist whose work really resonated with me and someone I’ve followed for a while, working with similar concepts in entirely her own, interesting and magical way. She teases us with descriptive videos of her additive process but each piece boggles and inspires new questions about the process. She constantly tries new ways of applying paint and brings this unpredictable, raw creativity to each piece. Bit of a paradox but I think her work basically says to look and take in, then forget and
follow your gut.

Music really helps me get into the painting ‘flow’ and of course nothing beats the inspiration of seeing art in person, going to gigs and travelling when possible.

I’m happy to help and chat anytime at the hostel, or find me full-time lurking & occasionally posting at @hebdenbridgehostel or @alicjamrozowska on Instagram. Painting playlist suggestions/exhibition goings on always welcome!Alicja Mrozowska – Artist in Residence


“When I was growing up, we traveled a lot because my parents are both photographers so for their work, we were often going to new locations in Britain or to new countries…

But I always felt hugely connected to ‘Home’ and that was always Hebden Bridge… a small town where everybody knows everyone. I became fascinated by the concept of ‘a sense of place’ and began photographing my friends and everything around me as a way to try to make sense of my place in the world. While doing my degree at Brighton University, I wrote my dissertation on how other photographers investigate this subject and called it, ‘Picturing Home.’

When the world stopped in 2022 my partner and I made a huge decision to uproot ourselves and move to Portugal, in search of a small piece of land where we could live more creatively. Through traveling around Portugal I was able to learn about working with clay, making ceramics and using natural building techniques and I am proud to say that I now know how to build my own home, with my own hands. The fact that a concept so primitive and instinctive as this is so novel to us today, completely blows my mind.

We have returned to Hebden Bridge for the summer and as an artist in residence at the IOU Hostel, it feels really natural to me, to be able to welcome other travelers here too and introduce them to my hometown.

I want to return to my earlier interest in ‘a sense of place’ and explore that through the medium of ceramics. It seems very fitting that the hostel houses the body of work that I intend to make during my stay, which I will call, ‘Picturing Home, revisited.”


“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