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> > > News: Shape Arts announces winner of the Adam Reynolds Bursary 2012
a grainy image of a man in a woolly jumper reading a book surrounded by birds

Simon Raven: Bird Watching with Sheep

Shape Arts have announced the winner of their prestigious Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary.

This year’s recipient is Simon Raven, a graduate of Ruskin School of Fine Art, Oxford and the Royal College of Art, London. Raven has exhibited at Nottingham Castle, University College London, Reading Experimental Film Festival and Chester’s Up the Wall Festival.

Now he will be working with Camden Arts Centre for three months in order to develop his work further as well as receiving the £5000 bursary.

Raven said: “I'm thrilled to have been selected for the 2012 bursary and to be working alongside Shape and at Camden Art Centre. During my residency I plan to explore Camden’s independent music scene, unique markets, zany architecture and Freud's legacy.”

This latter focus comes from Raven’s interest in contemporary philosopher Slavoj Zizeck’s ideas. Raven explained: “In the hedonistic rush of modern life, psychoanalysis can provide a refuge in which it is 'Okay to be Boring'. My plan is to establish an art space where visitors will be encouraged to experiment with the idea of being boring, in sharp contrast with a lot of disability identity art, which many times appears at pains to be celebratory or upbeat.

In addition, he is taking a cue from London’s current focus in 2012: “I'd like to raise a flag for anyone who has experienced depression or hypomania, and to suggest an alternative mania to that of Olympic London.”

Shape’s CEO Tony Heaton who was a member of the selection panel commented: “We are excited to work with Simon on the residency this year. His uniquely fresh voice offers a great opportunity to engage with new ideas in the context of disability art.”

This is the second year Camden Arts Centre, which was described by the Evening Standard as  ‘London’s best public contemporary arts space’ has hosted the bursary winner and enabled access to their range of skilled arts professionals. The first time was in 2008.

Now in its fifth year, Shape will be touring an exhibition featuring the first four recipients of the bursary during 2012 and 2013.

Raven was one of five shortlisted artists. The others were Katherine Araniello, Leila Galloway, Aaron McPeake and Anne Redmond. All five will be featured in a Shape exhibition to be held in London in late 2012.

The bursary, which is being funded for a second year by the Garfield Weston Foundation, was set up in memory of Adam Reynolds (1959-2005), a sculptor, curator, teacher and a leading figure in the disability-art movement. The provision of the bursary aims to provide time, space and support for artists to develop their creative practice without the pressure to deliver a specific outcome.

Patron of the bursary, sculptor Antony Gormley, says of Reynolds and the bursary, “Adam was inspirational as an artist and a man – seeing his disability as a strength. This bursary is the most practical and powerful way to continue doing what Adam did to make the possible palpable.”