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Leigh-on-Sea Town Council 1996

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Artist in Residence 

Leigh Community Centre offers the use of its attic space to house an Artist in Residence. This position is appointed by Leigh-on-Sea Town Council who hope to work with the appointee to provide creative ideas and artistic services to the Leigh-on-Sea community. All types of art will be considered on a yearly lease for the space.

The next round of applications will be in early 2022, with the position available from April 2022. If you would like to register interest for the residency please contact 

Susan Allen - Artist in Residence 2021 - 2022

Leigh-on-Sea Town Council are extremely pleased to announce their new Artist in Residence for 2021-2022. Local artist, Susan Allen will be taking on the position, based in the studio space at Leigh Community Centre.

Life in Leigh-on-Sea is a source of endless inspiration for Susan, who has lived here since the 1980’s when she moved from her home country of Canada. She has been part of the Leigh Art Trail since 1999 and also regularly teaches in the area and runs life drawing sessions.

Susan has exciting plans for her time at the centre. Keen to share her love of the local landscape with the community, Susan will be offering on-location drawing sketching and painting groups throughout the summer. Small groups will then be guided through the process of developing sketches into completed works, exploring different media and techniques in a safe environment. Making these skills accessible regardless of age or ability sits at the core of Susan’s teaching philosophy and approach to art, and it’s clear through her time spent in the classroom with everyone from young children to retired students that this is something she’ll be continuing throughout her residency. Susan will also continue to offer the Life Drawing Scholarship for students and adults to learn and experience life drawing.  “I truly believe that art is for everyone, whether you’re a beginner or more experienced. Art is great for your mental health too, the relaxation and positivity that it encourages can have a really deep and lasting effect.”

Working alongside the Town Council’s Art Group, Susan will also assist in the creation of exhibitions of all art forms on the Community Art Wall, within the Community Centre.

View more of Susan's work by visiting her Instagram page.

Artist in Residence Brief


Leigh-on-Sea Town Council as operator of Leigh Community Centre aims for the Centre to be more than a facility for room hire within Leigh. It aims to add to the creative life of the community and nurture and develop talent within the town with a diversification of art forms.

The Artist in Residence Scheme contributes to our aims by: 

  • Allowing artists the opportunity to develop their work in a unique context.
  • Agreeing a programme of creative activities within the Centre designed to broaden the range of ages and capabilities involved in the arts
  • Contributing to the artistic life of the town, inspiring and being inspired by other artists, users and staff members who work at the Centre.
  • Broadening the types of experience in the Centre
  • Working with the Art Group to produce internal exhibitions and displays within the Centre

A 12 month residency is offered to an appropriate artist, any art form is considered. We ask that the successful applicant can complete the following:

  • Deliver an interesting and innovative arts programme within the Centre
  • Produce (a) piece(s) of work for display within a designated area of the Centre
  • Assist in the creation of exhibitions of all art forms within the Centre and the community art wall
  • Establish, in conjunction with the Art Group an outreach programme within the community of Leigh and liaise with other artists and art groups in the local area to carry this programme forward
  • To actively promote Leigh-on-Sea Town Council Arts initiatives within the local community
  • Source and advise on grant funding for the arts within the Centre and community

The Application and Appointment Process

  • Applicants shall be a resident of, or work or study within, the Borough of Southend, the Borough of Castle Point or the District of Rochford
  • Applicants, whilst enhancing their own artistic ambitions, shall embrace all appropriate art forms in their programme of creative activities within the Centre.
  • Applicants shall provide two references (one financial).
  • Applicants will be required to submit and make a presentation of an outline programme of creative activities for the Centre to the Art Group as part of their application.
  • Applicants will be expected to show a broad understanding of the work of the Council and the demographics of users of the Centre and to structure their creative programme accordingly.
  • The Art Group will short list, interview and appoint the Artist in Residence.

Facilities & Working Space

  • The Council offers the Attic area within the Centre for the Licence Period of 12 months and will expect the Artist in Residence to immerse themselves in the life of the Centre and will provide a designated space within the Centre for the Artist in Residence to display their own artistic productions for the duration of their residency.
  • The Council will publicise the Artist in Residence's programme and activities through its magazine and website thereby giving them official recognition.

Evaluation, Accountability and Impact

  • Review will take place after the first month, and then again at six months, as an opportunity to resolve any issues, report on progress and achievements and outline plans for the future. 
  • A final evaluation will take place in the last month in order to establish the Artist in Residence's contribution to the Council's aims for the Scheme and also to identify positive developments for the Artist in Residence in terms of commissions, sales and raising their professional profile in the local community and beyond. In order for the programme of an Artist in Residence to continue and improve, the Artist in Residence will provide feedback and suggestions to the Council. 

Financial and Licensing issues

  • The Artist in Residence will occupy the Attic area under a Licence and subject to payment of a monthly rental and on such other terms as described therein in the Licence.
  • No Artist in Residence shall be eligible to apply for the position again within a period of 5 years following their residency.

Copyright and Ownership

  • The copyright and all intellectual property rights in the created works and/or documents will remain vested in the Artist in Residence or the person responsible for their production.
  •  Artist in Residence will be a co-opted member of the Operator's Art Group.

Artist in Residence History 

Leigh Community Centre had been an arts hub for Leigh-on-Sea since the Town Council took over the building in 2012. We ask each of our Artist's in Residence to leave behind a legacy piece to mark their time at the Centre. Our previous artists in residence at Leigh Community Centre are as follows... 

2019 - 21 - Kerry Doyland (extended due to COVID-19)

2017 - 18 - Leigh Art Trail 

2016 - 17 - Mary Lister

2013 - 16 - Madelaine Hanman-Murphy

Mary Lister's Legacy Piece