artist in residence programme


Residencies are an important part of artist careers and development. They offer space for artists to work in, and are also an important way for these artists to grow their practice, beyond selling a product like a painting or a sculpture.

Traditionally, residencies take place in art galleries and museums, but increasingly they also happen in a huge variety of environments, like hospitals, churches and town halls - even airports, car parks and cargo ships.

St. Margaret’s House offers an opportunity for artists to become engaged with local people, and to allow our heritage, our community work, and our unique perspective on the stories of Bethnal Green to stir new creative directions for artists.

We renovated a room above our workshop space here to create a new studio space, with big windows and bright white walls, which our artists can use to work on their practice.

We asked our local gallery friends to suggest artists who they believed would benefit from the experience of working with us, and our first artist, Ayesha Tan Jones, was nominated by Lindsay Friend, Director of the brilliant IMT Gallery.

Ayesha is a recent graduate of Central St Martins College of Art and Design. Their work fuses activism and art to present an alternative, queer, optimistic dystopia. Ayesha approaches activism through art, creating diverse, eco-conscious narratives that aim to connect, enthral and induce audiences to think more sustainably and ethically. Traversing pop music, sculpture, alter-egos, digital image and video work, Ayesha sanctifies these mediums as tools in their craft.


Ayesha is also the founder of Shadow Sistxrs Fight Club, a physical and meta-physical self defence class, combining Brazilian JuJitsu and magical/medicinal herbalism to create a holistic approach to self defence. SSFC is a way to explore a safety and strength through community ritual and collective. In June 2016, Ayesha was awarded the Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s graduate residency award.

The residency programme is one new aspect of our work that creates meaningful opportunities for artists to engage with local people. East London is one of the richest and most vibrant centres for contemporary art in the world, and Bethnal Green alone has some of London’s most exciting galleries – like Chisenhale, Maureen Paley, and The Approach. These places are all free to enter, but we know that there are reasons aside from just financial that stop people wanting to spend time in galleries.


We want to look more closely at the barriers that prevent people from visiting these places – and our arts programme will offer opportunities in the coming months to explore how we can make art a more everyday experience that more people can participate in.

We are incredibly excited to welcome Ayesha to our programme, and look forward to sharing news in the coming weeks and months!

If you want to ask about the artist in residence programme, please contact Siobhan, our Community Arts Manager: