Freelands Artist Programme

September 2018 - September 2023

The PS² Freelands Artist Programme is an initiative funded by the Freelands Foundation that supports creative and professional development for emerging artists based in Northern Ireland, and fosters long term relationships and collaborations between artists and arts organisations.

Selected from an annual open call for applications, the PS² Freelands Artist Programme artists work across a range of media including photography, painting, dance, film, sculpture, installation and performance and represent the type of fresh, ambitious and publically interactive approaches to art production found in Northern Ireland today. 

Over a period of two years, each cohort will focus on and develop significant new work, generously funded by the London-based Freelands Foundation. They are supported by the PS² Freelands Artist Programme Project Curator, invited mentors, peer learning and critique. The programme also includes the realisation of projects in PS², research trips, a yearly symposium, the possibility to show work in the Freelands Gallery, London, and the use of PS²’s equipment and workshop space.

The artists selected for the 2018-20 cohort are:

Janie Doherty, Michael Hanna, Julie Lovett, Jan McCullough and Emily McFarland

More information about their work can be found here.

Cohort 1 and 2 meeting in December 2019. Image. N.Sim

The artists selected for the 2019-21 are:

BROWN&BRÍ, Jane Butler, Mitch Conlon, Jasmin Märker, Thomas Wells

More information about their work can be found here.

The Freelands Artist Programme was created to support and enhance collaboration between 80 emerging artists and four arts organisations from across the UK, to build and strengthen professional arts practice outside of London.  As with all the Foundation’s initiatives to date, the programme was established following extensive research into the current landscape of post-university support for emerging artists in the UK.

Alongside PS², Belfast/ Northern Ireland are Site Gallery, Sheffield, England; g39 in Cardiff, Wales and Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland. This new programme from Freelands Foundation will provide funding totalling £1.5 million over a five-year period. Each institution will curate a series of two-year programmes with five artists annually, allowing those artists to receive much needed support across both creative and professional development.

The winning institutions taking part in the programme were chosen by a selection panel as follows: Elisabeth Murdoch, Freelands Foundation Founder & Chair; Simeon Barclay, Artist; Sacha Craddock, Curator and Writer; Polly Staple, Director of Chisenhale Gallery; and Mark Wallinger, Artist.

The artists selected by the partnering organisations for the first cohort (2018-2020) of the Freelands Artist Programme are:

G39, Cardiff, Wales

Kelly Best, Ian Watson, Fern Thomas, Neasa Terry, Jennifer Taylor.

Site Gallery, Sheffield, England

Zoyander Street, Yuen Fong Ling, Alison J Carr, Siân Williams, Lucy Vann.

Talbot Rice Gallery, The University of Edinburgh

Aideen Doran; Rosie O’Grady;Sulaïman Majali; Stephanie Mann; Tako Taal.

Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland

Site Gallery, Sheffield, England

The artists selected by the partnering organisations for the second cohort (2019-2021) are:

G39, Cardiff, Wales

Becca Thomas and Clare Charles, Will Roberts, Freya Dooley, Rebecca Gould, Rhiannon Lowe

Site Gallery, Sheffield, England

James Clarkson, Maud Haya–Baviera, Victoria Lucas, Conor Rogers, Jo Whittle

Talbot Rice Gallery, The University of Edinburgh

Mona Yoo, Eothen Stearn, Jenny Hogarth, Rae-Yen Song, Sarah Rose

g39, Cardiff, Wales

PS², Belfast, Northern Ireland


PS², as an artist-run organisation-, has always worked with artists at the start to mid-career and encouraged risk taking and experiment, radicalness and difference, and resolve to site context. We have a strong belief of the social relevance of art and are keen to support community engaged and context specific projects.
PS² was awarded this funding just after the volunteer run arts-collective heard that it had surprisingly lost its annual funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland due to funding cuts. To make the situation worse, PS² had also lost its premise in North Street due to the regeneration process in the city centre area. Despite this grave situation for the organisation, the artists and the Board decided to struggle on.

The Freedlands Award came just at the right time and was seen as a cheerful recognition by the Foundation of the many projects with emerging artists which PS² has supported over the years.

For PS², the Freelands Artist Programme is an ideal opportunity to support artists at the start to mid-career level and to strengthen the arts ecology and the potential for contemporary Arts in Northern Ireland. By the end of the 5 year programme, twenty artists will have participated, so please bear in mind that this call-out for emerging artists will be repeated every year until 2021.

It is hoped that the Freelands Artist Programme will energise emerging artists and contribute to making the region culturally cool and exciting.

The next open call for artists to participate in the PS² Freelands Artist Programme 2020-2022 cohort will be in summer 2020.

This programme is funded by the Freelands Foundation.