ION-DRI Programme


The Lab – Open call for Artist residency programme 2021

The Lab is an artist residency which will allow a creative partner to observe and safely participate in the life of the lab as a place of work.


The lab itself (as a place of work, as a space – real and fictionalised) is so often hidden and abstracted that it can become shrouded in mystery and perceived as a space where clinical, complex, repetitive activities that don’t directly impact on people’s day-to-day experience of the world happen. The lab environment is foreign and associated with all kinds of connotations for most people who don’t use it: sterile, intimidating, cold, functional. The researchers and managers who use these facilities every day have a very different relationship to these spaces. To them they are familiar, useful and safe.

The Lab is an artist residency which will allow a creative partner to observe and safely participate in the life of the lab as a place of work. In conversation with participating members of the team, expectations and interests will be outlined and will go towards the recruitment of a suitable artist. The ideal creative partner would be a midcareer/established artist confident to work collaboratively across disciplines with a varied group of people. Ideally, it would be an artist who has experience of biomedical research and is comfortable with animal research and someone whose practice is distinctive, yet open and flexible enough to provide a genuine response to the lab setting and to the people who work in it. The artist will be remunerated and supported by UCL Culture in contributing constructively to the residency and in producing work resulting from it. A creative partner will be appointed, with input from the team, to explore the lab environment, lab work and questions raised by this environment. The artist in residence will be invited to rotate between teams within the department. The methodologies used by the artist might include observation, interviews, documentation and will vary depending on their practice. It is a term of the residency that a work or a body of work will be produced during and/or at the end of the residency. The format of the work should remain open to the co-creation process and the creative partner’s practice.


October 15, 2021


Plun-Favreau Group, Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London WC1N 3BG


The duration of the residency is 18 months, preferably starting from late September / early October during which time you are expected to visit the lab regularly.

Indicative timeline:

  • October 2021: Appointment of the artist.
  • November 2021:  Start of the residency with a kick-off meeting to introduce the artist, have an initial visit to the lab facilities and discuss mutual expectations/interests.
  • November/December 2021: Schedule regular check-ins and project milestones with the artist and the team.
  • January/February 2022: Regular check-ins, monitoring and documentation.
  • March/April 2022: Review of the residency and projects for outcome with artist.
  • May 2022 to January 2023: Regular check-ins, monitoring and documentation. Artist works towards completion of artwork/body of work. Marketing plan to announce completion of the residency/launch of the work.
  • February 2023: Launch/display work. Report on project to stakeholders.




We are inviting applications from early-career artists (finished art training no more than 5 years ago and/or have been practicing as an artist for no more than 10 years). We particularly encourage black and minority ethnic candidates, as they are under-represented within the IoN and UCL.

Residing artists should work on one specific project during the stay and give presentations of the development in artist talks, open studio-sessions or as documentations at our webpage.

We encourage artists to present their practice in some form as part of the DRI . The artist is encouraged to collaborate with the lab staff. The residing artist is encouraged to propose a workshop in this context. The precise form of activities will be negotiated with the staff at UCL Culture before a final residency contract is reached.

Offered by the residency

  • Honorarium of £12,000 for the 18-month residency.
  • Making budget of £8,000
  • Residing artists will have access to the Plun-Favreau lab and the expertise of the staff.
  • a public exhibition/performance/presentation of work at the DRI

How to apply

Submit your application to Dr Martine Rouleau at m.rouleau@ucl.ac.uk

The application must include: 

  • CV (pdf of max. 2 pages)
  • Portfolio (pdf of max. 10 pages)
  • Samples of sound work if relevant (as links or mp3)
  • Project proposal (pdf of max. 2 pages) including: concept, timeline and ideas for presentation.

Maximum file size: 20 MB

About the UK DRI at UCL

From lab bench to bedside, and back again. UCL was selected as the hub of the UK DRI in 2016 because of its strength to bring together excellent clinical and basic neuroscience research to advance our understanding of neurodegeneration and identify novel targets and therapeutic approaches for dementia. As the hub, it has a larger research programme and also is the location for the national headquarters team who connect the whole institute together.

About the Plun-Favreau Lab – Mytophagy and Neurodegeneration

In recent years, it has become clear that even in clinically distinct neurodegenerative conditions, there are common underlying themes in how the neurons become sick and die. One such theme is a breakdown in the maintenance of mitochondria, which plays a central role in Parkinson’s disease and in other neurodegenerative conditions.

Mitochondria are the ‘energy powerhouses’ of cells. Their function is vital in long-lived neurons, where mitochondria must be maintained for an entire lifetime, and where a great deal of energy is required for them to function and survive.

The selective autophagy of damaged mitochondria (mitophagy) is critical for cell survival as it maintains optimal cellular energy production whilst avoiding the toxic accumulation of damaged mitochondria. Important information about the control of mitophagy has come from the study of the genes associated with autosomal recessive Parkinson’s disease. Of particular interest, PINK1 (mitochondrial kinase) and Parkin (E3-ubiquitin ligase) have been found to play crucial roles in mitophagy.

Against this background, our lab focuses on the following themes:

- Understanding further the mitophagy process

- Identifying the major molecular players in PINK1-induced mitophagy.

- Unravelling the upstream pathways that regulate the mitophagy process.

- Assessing mitophagy and other mitochondrial dysfunctions in iPSC-derived neurons from patients with Parkinson’s disease, and with other neurodegenerative diseases (E.g Alzheimer’s disease, Frontotemporal Dementia, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, mitochondrial DNA disease etc).

Our ultimate goal is to identify compounds that are able to modulate mitophagy and rescue mitochondrial pathophysiology and neuronal death.

About UCL Culture

UCL Culture is a creative team at large and active across the university, curating and animating UCL content. We believe in the power of open; in opening borders, eyes and minds.

Our teams manage museums, theatres, collections and facilitate engagement. We bring diverse performers and audiences into the heart of UCL to energise the student experience and fuel UCL’s creative culture with cutting edge cultural experiences.

More information about UCL’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion