The Mothership


unincorporated collaborations and Anna Best launched The Mothership in Dorset in March 2016. This started as a social art project, an experiment in autonomy and scale, exploring the relationship between host and guest and the exchange that can occur.

This opportunity is for contemporary artists seeking the qualities of a rural retreat, potential collaboration, the rural and marine location. Artists are invited to work however they want. Work is selected on the basis of current practice and there are no expectations of a product although an invitation to contribute a talk or small workshop is extended. Our interest is in supporting the working process of artists whose practice engages with contemporary issues in an experimental, thought provoking and critical manner.

The residencies range in length from a weekend to six weeks and can be scheduled as one period or several visits.

Mothership Artist Residency blog


unincorporated collaborations are inviting artists whose practice explores one or more of the following themes/subjects:

  • climate change/weather
  • rural social/political
  • land/agriculture
  • childhood/parenthood/the domestic sphere

and welcomes the following media/approaches

  • audio
  • writing
  • collaboration
  • performance
  • moving image
  • socially engaged


How it works

This residency offers the artist the opportunity to work independently on a project and process of their choosing. There are no expectations of a ‘finished product’ although a presentation can be arranged if the artist desires. Past residents have spent the time for example variously researching for a film, sleeping, reading, walking, devising new theatre, performing on the beach at night, making objects within the woodland, collecting beach clay, meeting local artists, fundraising, investigating bus service cuts…

Residents are invited to contribute  back to the place in several ways. Primarily by spending a small proportion of their stay, for example, engaging with the family, the village or surrounding community (introductions can be facilitated by Anna). The amount of time you spend on this can be discussed before your stay, e.g.  a 6 week stay – one weekend, or a weekend stay – an hour.

What form the contribution would take might include:

  • an open studio event,
  • making links/interventions with local individuals or organisations such as Hooke Park, bell ringers, the primary or secondary school, participation in local events etc,
  • skill sharing sessions with the family,
  • Giving a talk about their practice at a Bridport venue with Force8 Collective – a group including a performance artist, sculptor, curator, writer, socially engaged artist, video maker and sound artist.

Residents will also be asked to write an entry for the Mothership Tumblr blog about their work during or just after the residency. This aims for a cross-fertilisation of ideas around this context with the diverse artists who have been on site at different times. We invite you to post the blog yourself.

Anna Best has previously curated a project in the area in 2011 – Road For The Future, in which invited artists had self directed residencies over a period of one year. These included Adam Chodzko, Judith Dean, Anna Lucas, Ella Gibbs and Amy Plant.

She is currently working with Hester Schofield and others as Force 8 presenting Mothership artist’s talks at Bridport Arts Centre.  Force 8 have previously presented Mission Space: a pilot project in the West Bay Methodist Chapel in summer 2016, a camping convention summer 17 at the Mothership and a symposium event at the Architectural Association at Hooke Park.



Residents will live and work in a large, purpose-built  ‘eco-studio’; timber frame and straw bales with wood fired heating, kitchenette, and a compost toilet and shower. The studio is located next door to Anna’s studio and a family home with children and several animals. The studio space is one large room, so could house an individual, couple or potentially a family, we have hosted a group of 5.  There are no neighbours and lots of outside space. Children are very welcome.


Free wifi is not provided. Visitors can tether to the local 4G mobile network, via their own smart devices if they choose, or pay to purchase a top-up bundle to add onto Anna’s wifi.


There is also the option of staying in the Buccaneer caravan for your residency. This is a small trailer-type caravan with electricity and a log burner but no running water. Toilet and shower facilities are shared with the studio (they’re outside of the main studio) and the drinking water tap and washing up facilities are outside, ‘camping-style’. The caravan has two small double beds in it and plenty of storage space but this is within the one, small, living space so would best suit individuals or couples.


This residency is in an area that has been designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Residents will be staying on a smallholding, located on the edge of ancient woodland, 1 mile from the village of Powerstock (pop. 300 with a primary school and village pub) and 5 miles from the town of Bridport (pop. 14,000 with amenities, 2 theatres and art centre), and 6 miles from the sea (West Bay, Chesil Beach).

Local events/activities/businesses include –  charity fundraisers, agricultural shows, forestry, care work, tourism, fishing, farming, artisan food and drink and art venues dealing mostly with painting and crafts.


The Mothership is, as an endeavour in self sustainability, an unpaid residency with a fee charged per person towards overheads and costs for staying here. This is £100 per adult per week for the studio, £50 for the caravan.  For stays of less than a week, it’s £30 per adult per night for the studio, £10 for the caravan. Negotiation is always possible.

Upon being accepted, residents are asked to send the total sum to Unincorporated Collaborations via BACs. Your dates will then be confirmed. This sum may be substituted by contributing to communal tasks (garden, wood, animals) at £10 per hour during your stay. In this case, you will be refunded the funds via cheque at the end of your stay.

All travel, domestic, catering and work production expenses will be borne by the artist.

Firewood is available to buy at cost during your stay and kindling to be replaced.  Heating is needed between October and May.


There is no deadline, apply anytime but it is first-come-first served and we are only curating up to Dec 31st 2017.

Please send your CV, a covering letter including 1 referee, along with any media that we can look at. Your example of work can take any form.

Questions we would like you to answer in this application are:

  • Why are you interested in coming here?
  • What would you like to work on?
  • What would you like to share with the family/local community?
  • Ideal dates?

Send your application by email  to anna AT with the subject line to read “Mothership” and please have patience waiting for a response which may take some time.

Sign up to the mailing list.

Thank you for your interest.


Thanks to

Tessa Bide for production assistance at unincorporated collaborations.

Delphine Jones Design

The Arts Development Company Culture Plus