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.

In 2022 we welcomed our first artists – Charlotte Mellor Meecham and Bodie Doyle  who helped us launch the Hostel with Charlotte’s unique illustrations and Bodie’s approach to outdoor graphic art. 

Following an open call for our Winter 2022 residency, which received a high number of responses from artists of all disciplines and communities we have appointed Alicja Mrozowska as Artist in Residence from November 2022- April 2023.

Update from Alicja

Since arriving at the Hostel in Oct last year I have been developing and testing my creative ideas whilst navigating the freedom of life as an Artist in Residence.

I’ve been working combining paper construction, oil painting and light (controlled by reverse projection mapping) resulting in a moving and evolving installation effect, linking to ideas about our physical space and identity, balanced between digital and analogue.

It felt amazing to see this idea and to receive feedback. I have been building more installation elements including recycled bricks and a paper spider plant. Alongside this I’m working on an experimental oil painting workshop and graphic-novel inspired exhibition pieces. Excited to share more soon.

Alicja’s IOU Making It Workshop

‘Experimental Oil’
Wed 3rd May 7.30PM-9.30PM
IOU Studio, Dean Clough, Halifax

Suitable for adults of all levels of experience, beginners are welcome, through a range of prompts and exercises you will be encouraged to explore the painting process and express your creativity. You will have freedom and support as you learn first-hand how to work with unlikely painting materials, with space to play and spark ideas

As well as taking home your own painting, there will be an opportunity to collaborate on a large-scale installation piece, animated with projection mapping.


Introducing 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 Studio 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

Charlotte Mellor Meecham – Artist In Residence Summer 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, whilst it was in its infancy.

Hebden Bridge is where I originate from and I have always been proud to be a part of its creative community. So it felt very fitting to suddenly be in a role where I was welcoming visitors to the town, especially after I had just spent six months travelling in Portugal, constantly on the move, often staying in hostels myself.

Hosting has always been a big part of my nature, whether it has featured in my professional or personal life. It is my belief that if you are in a position to be able to make someone feel welcomed, comfortable and heard then that is a truly special thing and you should do so where possible.

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.

So 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

“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