UCL East


Student artist in residence programme

Our annual student artist in residence programmes offer a unique opportunity for emerging artists to contribute to academic and creative engagement with the campus and its local communities.

Supporting UCL students in their artistic careers

UCL East is committed to investing in UCL student artists, to provide a platform for their work and to engage in news ways of connecting, developing and interpreting ideas surrounding the new campus.

Their work weaves together research, critique, creative expression and dialogue with those inside and external to the university. The results are rooted to the new UCL East site both physically and ideologically, offering unique perspectives on how we can best use the space and connect with local communities beyond.

Our programmes run each calendar year, the next call for applications will be in autumn 2022.

Artists workshop.

2022 Student Artists in Residence

Annie Lee

Annie Lee, an interdisciplinary studying Fine Art at the Slade, has been featured on TV as a semi-finalist on Sky Arts’ Portrait Artist of the Year 2019. Their work is often site-specific and situation-responsive, investigating how an object’s function and meaning can change depending on its context.

Annie also works as an online art tutor and finds it rewarding “to help young people from a diverse range of backgrounds become more confident in their creativity and engaged with experimental creation”, something they hope to bring to their role as an artist-in-residence. 

“I am excited by this opportunity to explore my practice in a new context and am looking forward to meeting new people and seeing how these connections inform my response to the site.” 

Annie Lee


Olivia Lopez 

Olivia Lopez is a geographer and artist also studying Fine Art at UCL Slade. By combining their knowledge of geography with the lens of fine art, Olivia tries to bridge the gap between science and art, which in turn epitomises UCL’s approach to interdisciplinary learning.  

Their practice is very research oriented, using digital mediums alongside installation, and is aimed at “understanding humanity’s relationship to the environment, exploring themes of migration, territory, and infrastructural development.” 

“I am excited by how UCL has embraced interdisciplinary learning in this development. In this residency, I hope to harness the approaches of science alongside the lens of fine art to create work that helps us understand our environment in a new perspective." 

Olivia Lopez

2021 Student Artists in Residence

Yifan He, our SPiDER Artists in Residence

Artwork from Yifan He

This year we have created a particular type of residency, for a student artist to follow the work of the SPiDER group, which explores our understanding of our digital and physical environments and how to build bridges between the two.

Yifan He is completing their masters degree at The Slade School of Fine Art, and produces multi-media works through participatory and collaborative situations. We're excited to see how their work develops over the year.

Abi Ola

Artist standing in front of artwork.

Having just completed her Master's in Fine Art, fellow Slade School of Fine Art alumna Abi Ola will be our second artist in residence this year.

Abi works with pattern and shape drawn from textiles from a number of historical and cultural origins. With a focus on materiality of the new site and working with people and communities, we look forward to seeing how the residency inspires her work.

      2020 student artists in residence: Pivoting due to COVID-19

      Under normal circumstances, our student artists in residence would have regular access to the UCL East site, to feed directly into their work. Due to Covid-19, this access was all but impossible. For a programme that encourages creative interaction with, and interpretation of a physical space, this would provide quite a challenge.

      Through online events, meetings and conversations with those working on the site's development students were able to pull together information to shape their work. The results are thought-provoking. They encourage us to challenge how we think about the lifecycle of a place, drawing parallels between the ancient and the emerging, and the various ways in which our physical and subjective responses interweave.

      Jacob Blackaller

      Sculpture artwork on the ground.

      "I was drawn to the residency because of the shared association with the notion of planning evident in the large scale nature of the UCL EAST project and my own artistic practice.

      Mine is an excavation without breaking ground. An inability to penetrate the surface. Perhaps it is just a plan for something that will never begin."

      2020 student artist in residence Jacob Blackaller

      Clay pots on the ground.

      The appeal of taking an archaeologist standpoint

      "I adopted a fictional role of archaeologist and anthropologist. Meetings with various teams involved in the EAST project fed me snippets of information but left me with a feeling of detachment from one another. I was left to weave these ideas together."

      Artwork representing archaeological dig.

      Confusion construction and art

      "Walking around the site, it is difficult to have sense of what it will one day look like. Where are the edges? Which part will be building and which will be outside? Is that part staying or going?"

      Ramp-like sculpture on the ground.

      Foggy picture to make art

      "Walking around the site, it is difficult to have sense of what it will one day look like. Where are the edges? Which part will be building and which will be outside? Is that part staying or going?"

      Seren Metcalf

      YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://youtu.be/k3DXtwq4X44

      "I have immersed myself in the building and development of the site and have been gathering research with the intention of creating a performance with East London dancers."

      "A common theme in this project was movement; whether that be designing the building to encourage movement of bodies through the space, movement in terms of positive change, or moving forward on a scheduled timeline.



      Screen shot of art presentation.

      Lines of past, present and future

      "I became interested in the idea of the timeline to create a musical and physical score. Timelines form a key part of the planning process, creating clear lines of past, present and future."

      Line drawing from UCL East student artist in residence.

      A journey through the artist's lens

      "My plan was to present a journey of research through an artist's lens: moving through the history and community of the site, language taken from conversations and meetings, diagrams from plans and the physical actions of the labourers."

      Screenshot of online performance.

      Using the body to map the landscape

      "Dance to me was the perfect way to illustrate a sequence of stories and ideas... I could use the body to tell the stories of the past, illustrate the diagrams from 2D to 3D and borrow movements from those involved in the project."