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Residencies, Zines, Mentoring and more: Metal New Artist Network – Opportunities for early career artists

Residency Jenna Unwin

It’s been a busy 2022 so far for the Metal New Artist Network, with local artists taking part in residency opportunities, a mentorship programme, and participating in a nationwide zine.

So what is the Metal New Artist Network?
Since July 2020, Metal has been hosting an online programme designed by artists for artists, to help share knowledge and expertise on how to survive and flourish as an early career artist. The motivation for starting the network was the many barriers people can face in the first few years of their career, needing opportunities and experience but often lacking the skills and confidence to find or create those opportunities.

The programme consists of artist-led training sessions, creative workshops, networking and sharing opportunities. The network and all sessions are free to join and designed by those in the network, responding to the needs of artists and finding routes to be able to support them. The group aims to connect artists with others and provide opportunities to make and show work.

Recently there have been a host of opportunities, from mentoring with established artists to a collective, zine project. Over the summer we held a series of residencies for early career artists to build confidence in their work, and make connections with local artists and organisations within the city.

ZineAnvil – Metal New Artist Network Zine
In April 2022, Metal announced a call for submissions of artwork, essays, poetry and more, that capture the experiences of being an early career artist. These submissions were curated and placed into a zine, Anvil. Made up of 16 submissions from early career artists from across the UK, Anvil showcases the work of creatives within the Metal New Artist Network. Together they share advice, motivation and/or provocations about the reality of starting an arts career.

Local artists Lauren Kendrick, Caroule Bouvier, and Laura Skinsley had their artworks included in the zine, which have been distributed nationally and made available free online. You can view the zine and order your copy at

Residency Opportunities for Early Career Artists
Over the summer, six artists were awarded a residency to develop their practice and build confidence. Two spent their residency in Peterborough, local artists Sophie Lau and Jenna Unwin.

Sophie Lau is a British Chinese multidisciplinary creative. During their residency Sophie started to create a full-length collection of multilingual poetry, as well as exploring different types of audio to present their work. Their practice is divided between writing personal essays and opinion pieces for
various media publications, as well as creative writing and poetry performance.

Jenna Unwin is a dance and theatre artist based in a small village outside Cambridgeshire. She used the residency to have conversations with people based in the Fens and rural communities to capture their stories and experiences of growing up or living in these areas. These stories of love, traditions and loss were then explored in the creation of a theatre and dance performance.

Metal New Artist Mentoring programme
‘The mentorship has allowed me to examine my relationship to myself and my work and to start treating both with more compassion. It has given me the means to grant self-permission to take risks and to invest time and resources into my work. And to stop being so hard on myself.’ – Metal New Artist Network Mentee

Near the end of last year, the Metal New Artist hosted twelve mentoring opportunities to match up early career artists with 6 brilliant and experienced artists. Each successful mentee was assigned a mentor and given a minimum of 4 hour-long sessions with them, online or in person.

Peterborough artists Leia Ankers and Charlie Barlow were two of the 12 successful mentees who took part in the programme. Charlie Barlow is an artist working in sculpture and performance, who used the opportunity to focus on the ideas of a piece of work based on waste in Peterborough. Leia Ankers is a photographer, who used the mentoring opportunity to help develop a series called ‘Power Mountain’ which documents a hydroelectric power station disguised within a Welsh mountain.

To discover even more about what our Metal New Artist Network offers, to book onto the next workshop and to join the network visit or get in touch with

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