Ancient Connections: Artist in Residence

Wexford County Council ( WCC) under the Per Cent for Art Scheme and Pembrokeshire County Council ( PCC) Wales, have invited submissions for two Artists in Residence to work in Wexford and Wales, on the theme of Exploring a Shared Past as part of the Ancient Connections cross-border arts, heritage and tourism project linking North Wexford with North Pembrokeshire. Each artist residency is valued at €22,000 to include artist’s fees, materials and final public art outcomes.

This Artist in Residence programme is being awarded under a two-stage open competition. The residency will run from May 2020 – April 2022.

Ancient Connections is a three-year arts, heritage and tourism project linking North Pembrokeshire and North Wexford, funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales co-operation programme, led by Pembrokeshire County Council, together with partners Wexford County Council, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and Visit Wexford. The project runs from May 2020 to April 2022.

The project’s aim is to motivate the communities of North Pembrokeshire and North Wexford to rediscover their shared heritage through research, archaeological activity, creative arts and storytelling, and to be mentors for one another; sharing knowledge, experience and skills to create a stronger sense of identity and place that will continue to flourish in years to come.

One section of the project is called “Exploring a Shared Past” and has a number of distinct components that will be delivered by different teams of researchers and specialists.

  1. Researching and disseminating the core stories of connection.
  2. Geophysical survey/excavation of key sites in Wales and Ireland.
  3. Archaeological excavations at St Patrick’s Chapel, Whitesands, Pembrokeshire.
  4. Establishment of an Archaeological Field School at Ferns.
  5. Historical and folklore surveys and training.

Academic research around the stories of connection, community folklore gathering and a storyteller training scheme are key elements of this project. Story searches are already underway in the communities of North Pembrokeshire and North Wexford led by Abarta Heritage and Angharad Wynne.


At Whitesands, the foundations of a stone-built chapel lie just beneath the surface of the turf. The 2014-16 excavations showed that this stone-built chapel overlies a cemetery dating from the 8th century to the 12th century, which is of great historical and archaeological importance. Phase one of the new excavations has already taken place, in September 2019, with a report outlining the findings. Geophysical surveys are planned on a number of sites in the St Davids area, possibly including the environs of St Davids Cathedral, St Non’s, the environs of Mathry Church, the environs of Llanrhian Church, Waum y Beddau cemetery, Capel yr Hen Fynwent, and the environs of St Justinian’s Chapel.

Ancient Connections proposes to work with two artists-in-residence, one based in Pembrokeshire and one in Wexford. The Wexford-based one will be managed and supported by Wexford County Council arts office, through the Percent for Art Scheme; the artist in Pembrokeshire will be managed by Pembrokeshire County Council. The two artists will be expected to meet, communicate and share knowledge and plans as they develop creative ideas during the course of each residency. There is an additional travel budget of €2,000 per artist to facilitate exchange and travel between the Wexford and Wales residency artists, which will be administered by each local authority. Artists will be encouraged to take part in workshops, talks or other public engagements in relation to the Ancient Connections programme as they arise.

At the end of their residencies, each artist would produce new art works as a response to this period of research and engagement. The artwork will be publicly presented in Pembrokeshire and in Wexford.

The artists can work in any art form or combination of art forms, i.e. visual art, film, writing, theatre, music, sound or traditional arts and must involve a public artistic output at the end. These outputs could be an exhibition, film screening, reading, sculptural installation, performance etc. where members of the public and local communities can be involved and/or attend. The proposal can be submitted from artists working in a single art form or across disciplines or art forms or as an artistic collaboration.

Artists who live in Pembrokeshire or Wexford or can show a demonstrable link to either region have been particularly encouraged to apply.

  • Artists were asked to put their names forward at the beginning of March.
  • All artists will be notified by 30 April.
  • Residencies and public art outcomes – Mid-May  2020 to April 2022

Expression of interest was invited from artists, including artists groups. They were asked to submit CVs, initial thoughts and examples of past work.

Contact details:

For Wexford email: arts ; 00 353 9196369

For Pembrokeshire email: ; 01347 770141 / 07798 925695.

Detailed Proposals

  • Stage Two will comprise of a restricted competition with a shortlist of ten artists (maximum) in total across Wexford and Wales (5 artists – Wexford and 5 Artists -Pembrokeshire). These artists will be invited to develop proposals for the Stage Two of the residency commission.
  • Each artist will be paid €500 on completion and submission of proposal.
  • To assist the artists’ research in developing these proposals the project partners will host information meetings for the shortlisted artists in Wexford and Pembrokeshire providing an overview of the local context with introductions and/ or links to key stakeholders and communities of interest as outlined in the brief.
  • A further Artists Brief will be issued to short-listed candidates at Stage 2 with guidance on the assessment criterion of Stage two assessments.

A selection panel will include project managers from Wexford and Pembrokeshire County Council, Ancient Connections representative, artists/public art curators and community representatives.

Kitty Parsons

Kitty has forgotten how long she has been here now but she loves Pembrokeshire for its beauty and it's people. She spends her time searching out stories for, swimming in the sea , drawing and painting as Snorkelfish and eating cake. She says " has been an opportunity to celebrate this beautiful county and its people. Keep the stories coming. We love to hear from you."

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