2011 British School at Rome Photoworks Fellow, Sian Bonnell, is blogging direct from her Roman residency.

Sian Bonnell is the 2011 Photoworks Senior Research Fellow in photography and lens based media at The British School at Rome. Her residency will run from April – June 2011.

This is the second biennial Photoworks Fellowship at The British School at Rome. It’s just one of the ways Photoworks is active internationally and one of the many opportunities we offer to emerging and mid-career artists to help develop their practice. This Fellowship offers a period of research time for an artist to explore a specified area of interest. Photoworks will work with the artist to identify future potential opportunities following the residency.

The Fellowship selection follows an open submission call to mid career photographers. Photoworks Head of Projects, Celia Davies, explains, ‘The Fellowship is set up to support photographers practice; to provide a rare and much needed opportunity to create time and space for artists to develop their ideas in a conducive, stimulating and supportive environment. Sian was selected as we felt her proposal fully embraced Rome as a context in which to make new work. In relation to her own artistic enquiry, we could see that this opportunity would really allow Sian to push her practice forward and prove an important juncture in her career.’

Sian says: ‘I will be questioning the role of the photograph in creating fictions, the role of the camera as conduit for the intentions of the photographer and both the visual and written contexts surrounding these,’ says Sian, ‘I’m particularly interested in the role of ‘place’. How the intention of the artist/photographer can be conveyed via a still or moving image transforming an ordinary place into a sinister one or obversely a place of wonder.’

Sian adds, ‘I haven’t had the luxury of a prolonged period of time devoted solely to my practice since I was a student (and I know that I wasn’t wise in my use of time back then). To be given time to study, travel and make new work is wonderful enough, but to be given three months in Rome is the most amazing opportunity. I know it will allow my work to refine and mature and for this I am so grateful; I will employ it to the fullest.’

So how is she getting on? What are the best-dressed priests wearing this season? And how exactly do you cook an artichoke? 

Sian shares her adventures in and around Rome and offers us a glimpse of her work in progress. Reading her witty posts, you really get a sense of her research interests and her fascination with all things Catholic – from St Anthony to nun’s shoes, the latest fashion for priests to new secret Roman cults.

You can read Sian’s blog here.


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