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At the heart of our work is a commitment to working with artists across disciplines from the UK and overseas. Our central aim is to provide the environment and support to encourage artists to make confident new works that stretch their practice.  We emphasise freedom to experiment and explore without pre-prescribed outcome whilst encouraging conversation, collaboration and a sharing of knowledge across disciplines, communities and sectors. We believe this helps to forge new thoughts and ideas and contribute in specific ways to the places where we are based.


Our International Artists-in-Residence programme brings established artists from around the globe to the UK.  Up to eight residencies are awarded annually bringing international perspectives and connections to our programme and creating opportunities and networks for UK artists abroad.

We are currently working on exchange programmes with Shanghai Arts School in China – as well as our Re-imagine India funded project, Different Trains 1947. Both these projects are led from our Liverpool base.


Partnerships with artists from the USA have built up over the last few years. We instigated major new commissions from US moving image artists, Jem Cohen who created a feature length documentary film that premiered at Estuary 2016 after a period of residency at Metal Southend, and Bill Morrison who created (for the first time) a visual component to the seminal work Different Trains by US composer Steve Reich.


In March 2017, we will be travelling to Brazil for a research and development trip to explore further a burgeoning relationship between Metal and People’s Palace Projects – specifically their brand new residency facility Casa Rio in Rio de Janeiro and a future residency facility currently being built in the Amazon. This partnership will be nurtured to provide exchanges between UK and Brazilian artists.


In 2013 we formalised the criteria for our ‘Time and Space’ artists-in-residence programme, introducing an application and selection process open to any artist working in the UK and Europe. These residencies enable artists to access Metal’s spaces and facilities, as well as the advice and expertise of staff. In 2016 we awarded 28 T&S residencies to artists from 12 different countries across Europe (including the UK).


This increasing relationship with artists across Europe through Time and Space has been encouraged through a number of other partnerships we have been working to create across the continent. In October 2015 we took 6 UK artists to Berlin to speak at the LOOP festival, after a 5 day LAB in Liverpool partnered by the technology company, Ableton.


French photographer, Franck Gerard spent 4 weeks at Metal in Southend following a strengthening of a professional and artistic exchange between Estuary 2016 and two European estuarine projects, Estuaire in Nantes and St Nazaire and the 500th anniversary of the city and port of Le Havre in 2017.


Metal in Peterborough led a major new commission, exhibition and publication by artists Lucy and Jorge Orta. The project included ten new commissions for UK artists who visited Studio Orta – Les Moulins in Boissey-le-Chatel for a residential LAB as part of the award.