The Mothership


Open for submissions from

FEBRUARY 17th, 2020

The Mothership project was inspired by the cosmic loneliness of rural skies alongside the domestic sphere, and the idea to invite chance encounters into this unlikely location, ‘in the middle of nowhere’, a home and studio at the edge of a wood.

The project offers time and space for artists, without pressure to produce anything particular. It is a social art project, exploring exchange between host, community and guest, and an experiment in how to operate a residency with minimum means.

Residents have access to farmland, woodland, and the coast. There is potential for some collaboration or exchange about practice with artists based locally.

SInce 2016, over 3 years The Mothership has invited over 60 contemporary artists, mostly from the UK, and including the USA, Georgia and Finland, to be resident in the studio in rural West Dorset. Resident artists are invited to write a post for the Mothership blog during their stay or just after leaving. See the Mothership blog.

In 2020, we are hosting 3 residencies throughout the year – each of which will be a minimum of 3 weeks  – which are offered without cost and will be awarded by a selection panel.

Interested artists are invited to explore the provocation  – ‘RETREAT!

Why do we need to retreat and what are we retreating from? From battle? Taking a break? Are we exploring the borders of individualism/self sufficiency and if so what might we then encounter?’



The Mothership is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and surrounding fields are a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It is 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),  6 miles from the sea (West Bay, Chesil Beach). There are 2 other families on site, a number of animals and pets. Local events/activities/businesses include –  agricultural shows, forestry, care work, tourism, fishing, farming, artisan food and drink, painting and crafts.


The studio is a large, purpose-built  ‘eco-building’, timber frame and straw bale, with wood fired heating, kitchenette, compost toilet and hot shower. Firewood is available to buy at cost in Winter. The studio is located in the same building, next door to Anna’s, and is close to a family house. It is one large room, so can house an individual, couple, family and potentially a group.  It is a live work space so cannot accommodate practice involving dust or fumes. However there is lots of outside space. Tents can be used. Children and dogs are welcome. Childcare at cost can be arranged. There is no smoking on site. The nearest train stations are 13 miles away, the nearest shops are 5 miles away and the public bus service has now been cut. However local supermarkets do deliver to the studio and so having a car is not absolutely necessary. There is no landline wifi, but there is coverage on the 4G mobile network (excellent speeds) for tethering via smart phone or devices.


The Mothership has been an endeavour in sustainability, operated as an exchange with residents covering costs, and with no arts funding. This has enabled freedom from funders agendas and for the focus to be on the artists process, on speculative research and methods. 

This year we are doing things differently and offering 3 residencies at no cost, although artists  need to cover all their own travel, material and domestic expenses.

We can support successful applicants with their funding bids for working at The Mothership. 


The Mothership welcomes the following media and approaches:

  • visual art / audio / writing / live art / moving image / socially engaged / music / theatre / dance

Artists are selected on the basis of current practice and  there are no expectations of a result or product. Our interest is in supporting the thinking/working process of artists. We are interested in practices that engage with contemporary issues in an experimental, thought provoking and critical manner. Individual artists, collaborations and small groups are invited to apply (although the space is best suited to individuals). The project is run by 1 artist with support from  local artist’s collective Seafair. We are not a funded institution or organisation – therefore all residents need to be self motivated and totally independent. The relationship between visiting artists spending time in our community has developed connections through talks and screenings with Force 8, Seafair and others locally. 



Residencies will take place between the following periods in 2020:
April 20th – May 20th
June 1st – July 15th
September 7th – October 21st
Nov 2nd – Dec 16th
Each residency is for  at least 3 weeks. Please state your preferred dates  during the periods stated above.


Applications for 2020 will open on February 17th  for a March 1st deadline.

To apply by email send:


This PDF should not  exceed 10 mB and include:

500 words WHY you are applying, WHAT you propose to do

examples of your Work/Practice as jpegs (x10) / video link (x2) / audio file link (x2) / website

your CV/Bio

short letter of introduction including 1 referee

preferred Dates in 2020

From Feb 17th, send your application by email  to anna AT with the subject line to read MOTHERSHIP_RETREAT2020.

Deadline March 1st 2020.

Thank you very much for your interest.


Thanks to:

Tessa Bide for production assistance at unincorporated collaborations

Sally Lemsford, SEAfair

Delphine Jones Design

The Arts Development Company Culture Plus

Force 8 , Angie Porter, Hester Schofield

Bearkat, Bridport

Megan Durnford

The AA at Hooke Park