A Contemporary Take On Arts & Crafts

Speke Hall's Artist in Residence, Alice May Williams

Renowned artist Alice May Williams is to spend the summer at Speke Hall as part of the first ever Artist Residency to take place here. Alice has been commissioned by the National Trust as part of its Trust New Art programme to create a vibrant piece of contemporary art, inspired by Speke’s Victorian Arts & Crafts heritage.

 “By bringing contemporary art installations into historic buildings such as Speke Hall, we hope to add a new and exciting layer to our visitors’ experience” says Hannah Pierce, the Trust’s Contemporary Art Programme Manager. “It also enables young, dynamic artists to create new work in spaces which wouldn’t normally be accessible, which can inspire and challenge their creative process. We are delighted to welcome Alice May Williams in her role as Artist in Residence to Speke as part of the Bluecoat’s off-site programme. Alice was selected from over 90 UK-wide applicants by a panel which included guest selector Marie-Anne McQuay, Head of Programme at Bluecoat.”

Alice will undertake research in June and July in order to develop her new site specific artwork that will highlight Speke Hall’s relationship with the Arts and Crafts movement.

“I am very excited to be taking up a residency in Speke Hall for the summer” says Alice. “I’m also looking forward to living amongst the arts and crafts wallpapers and delving into the archives of this building's fascinating history and inhabitants. Inspired by William Morris’s 1890 utopian fantasy ‘News from Nowhere’ which imagines London in 2102, I will be imagining - with the help of some imaginative workshop participants – possible fictional futures of Speke Hall and its community.”

Alice’s residency will be part of a season of Arts & Crafts at Speke Hall, when visitors can enjoy free talks and tours and an exhibition exploring Frederick Leyland's tenancy of the Hall and the artistic heritage he left behind.

Alice May Williams will be giving an Artist Talk at Bluecoat on Wednesday, 13 July at 6pm. Admission is by ticket only – to book go to www.thebluecoat.org.uk

Hidden Speke opens on 23 September – 27 November 2016, and will launch what is to be an ongoing programme of activities by contemporary artists at Speke.