Kyoko Tachibana – Visiting Speaker

Kyoko Tachibana visited the University of Cumbria to give a talk on her practice and artists residencies. Kyoko is a Japanese born and based, working primarily in the art sector. Her most recent roles include being the Programme Director at S-AIR, (Sapporo Artist In Residence). The non-profit organisation hosts partnering artists and curators on an exchange programme, offering them to work in the unique environment and respond to it artistically. Tachibana also spoke of her current residency at London’s Art Catalyst as a Resident Curator.

Tachibana spoke to the audience firstly about the historical context of Sapporo, capital of Hokkaido. The island has a very brief history, roughly only lasting around 150 years or so. Previous to this, the island was inhabited by the Ainu people, an indigenous group who have lived on the land for many years before. During the industrial revolution of Hokkaido, the island was built quickly in order to house all of the new citizens. They modernised the land, and quickly designed buildings in order to keep with the trends of design at the time.

The aim of the talks was to show how well partnerships and exchange programmes work. Tachibana showed us work from previous exchange programmes; such as Justin Ambrosino, Andi Schmeid, and Mat Cowan. The work was very diverse, however was coming more from a fine art and film background.

The exchange programme requirements were also spoken of as not only do the artists in residence produce work, but they are also required to base themselves in a local community or school and provide workshops. This ensures that both parties receive the best possible outcome from the residency.

Tachibana went on to explore the most recent project regarding nuclear decommissioning. This was particularly interesting as it shows an outsider, who lives on the doorstep of a nuclear power plant, what could happen following its closure or if a nuclear disaster was to happen.

Overall, although a possibility, I don’t believe that I could carry out an artist residency abroad due to health reasons. However, they are an excellent opportunity to anyone who undertakes them, providing invaluable experience.

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