It Takes A Region To Raise An Artist receives research funding

We’re delighted to announce that a funding application submitted by our academic partner, CAMEo, at the University of Leicester, to undertake research into the East Midlands’ visual arts ecology and economy in partnership with CVAN EM, has been successful. The research is funded by Midlands 4 Cities Doctoral Training Partnership and the Arts & Humanities Research Council, through the Creative Economy Engagement Fellowship Programme.

Over the next ten months Post-doctoral researcher Dr Antoinette Burchill will explore the regional sector’s strengths and gaps, as well as the challenges to and opportunities for artistic growth and sustainability here, and will highlight who’s doing what, where.

The research will comprise a mapping exercise of East Midlands visual artists and arts organisations, networks, educational providers and affiliated organisations (galleries, museums, charities, festivals), plus a preliminary scoping of existing audiences, networks and connections; in-depth interviews with key providers and brokers of visual arts work and career opportunities (educators, managers, commissioners, owners of museums and galleries, workspaces, policy-makers); and a workforce survey with visual artists on career development needs and opportunities.

It will produce an audit of provision, providers and practitioners, a report detailing the strengths, weaknesses and barriers in the regional visual arts economy, and a regional summit to share the findings and celebrate the first phase of our forthcoming programme. The Fellowship will offer us access to research capacity that will support strategies of organisational growth; provide us with key data to inform external funding bids, and help shape the provision of, It Takes A Region To Raise An Artist, a planned programme of support to the regional visual arts ecology.

Antoinette will be managed by CAMEo Director, Professor Mark Banks, who will co-design the research with her and will participate in a programme of tailored training and mentoring, to help her gain experience of and skills in leading academic research projects; extend her range of work experience and contacts, and expand her knowledge of the priorities of the visual arts sector in relation to creative economy policy. CAMEo will also support Antoinette to develop additional publishing/co-publishing opportunities from within the project.

CVAN EM Director Elizabeth Hawley Lingham commented:

“We are delighted that the application for funding was successful. The award gives us the opportunity to maintain our partnership with CAMEo. It follows on naturally from the collaborative element that CAMEo brought to our Document project. It’s great to have Antoinette on board, her knowledge of the region and commitment , as well as her approach will bring the research to life. Crucially, the research will provide us with evidence that will be invaluable in assessing what the East Midlands visual arts sector needs to grow and thrive.”

Professor Mark Banks added:

‘I’m delighted that CAMEo will once again be working with CVAN EM on another exciting project. #ItTakesARegionTo presents a great opportunity for us to better understand the visual arts economy in the East Midlands and to help develop new connections, relationships and networks that can raise participation and opportunity for regional artists. Over the next 10 months, we will be gathering data and intelligence, and closely working with artists and organisations from across the region to show how the East Midlands already possesses a vibrant and dynamic visual arts sector, but one that also has great untapped potential’.

On her appointment Antoinette commented:

It takes a Region to Make an Artist is a strategic project that combines my strengths as a researcher and my previous role in strategic arts development, for Derby City Council between 2006 and 2011. I’m excited about connecting with artists and arts organisations across the region in order to identify the existing strengths, aspects for development, and to identify barriers to success.”



CAMEo is an interdisciplinary platform for academic research as well as for collaborations with culture and media practitioners. It was launched in 2016 to provide new understandings of the cultural industries, the ‘creative economy’, arts, media and cultural policy, consumer culture dynamics, and the mediation and representation of cultural and economic life. Together with a wide range of partners CAMEo explores the diverse and complex ways in which cultural and media economies are being defined, valued, enacted, experienced and represented. Its research also seeks to foreground issues of participation, sustainability and social justice in cultural and media economies.

Dr Antoinette Burchill is a visual artist, mischief-maker and interdisciplinary researcher. She has been a professional artist since 1995 and holds a BA in Fine Art (University of Derby, 1998), and MA in Art and the Public Sphere (Loughborough University, 2013). She has performed at street arts festivals including Mintfest, Bedlam Fair, Derby Festé, Devizes International Street Festival, and Widcombe Rising. In 2015 she founded Freckled Mischief Street Theatre. Her doctoral thesis Exploring Agonism with Mischief: Participatory Performance in the Public Realm (Loughborough University, 2018) examined Chantal Mouffe’s application of agonism through art practice. Antoinette’s research interests focus on art, participation, politicised practice, and public engagement in the public realm. Her enterprising research delivers social, cultural and economic impacts. Alongside the AHRC Creative Economy Engagement Fellow role at CAMEo, University of Leicester, the Antoinette also teaches in Fine Art Studio Practice, and Art History and Visual Culture at Loughborough University.

The Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership (M4C) is an AHRC-funded collaboration between the University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University, the University of Warwick, Coventry University, De Montfort University, the University of Leicester, Nottingham Trent University, and the University of Nottingham. M4C provides combined research expertise for the personal and professional development of the next generation of arts and humanities doctoral researchers.

Through the partnership, M4C aims to deliver excellence in all aspects of research supervision and training, providing access to a wide range of facilities and support networks across eight campuses and to a diverse range of partners in the cultural, creative and heritage sectors.


Keep an eye on #ItTakesARegionTo for updates.

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