Individual Residency Programme 2023

The Museum of Loss and Renewal hosted a wide range of residents in 2023.

Each of our residents brings energy, a specific focus and new insights to the little village of Collemacchia, in the municipality of Filignano in Italy’s Molise region.

It is our great pleasure to welcome each resident, as they arrive from countries across the world, and to nurture and care for them during their time with The Museum of Loss and Renewal.

NOVEMBER 2023 | Ashley Tinker

While with The Museum of Loss and Renewal my focus was on creating work inspired by my new environment, and making use of the library to research and embrace greater complexity in my work.

My exploration was into a more organic way of working that allowed for spontaneity, a less representational and literal representation of landscape and excludes the pressure to create completed work for sale.

My period in residence was a self-imposed retreat, during which I could recalibrate with nature and myself while working on drawing techniques. Different from my normal medium of oil paint, my materials were pencil, watercolour and acrylic paint, used to explore landscapes with transposed colour, flirting with abstraction while I explored my own emotions and sense of self through self-portraiture.


AUGUST 2023 | Magdalena Choluj

Cladophora Rupestris, pencil and ink, 2023

I undertook The Museum of Loss and Renewal’s first fully-funded Orkney (Scotland)-Collemacchia (Italy) residency. This residency has been initiated by Tracy Mackenna & Edwin Janssen to foster links between the two remarkable places that are home to The Museum of Loss and Renewal.

I immersed myself in the natural world and ethnobotanical heritage of Collemacchia. Field work, and study of the local flora were the backbone of the project, supported by research into the regional use of plants in the context of their traditional, medicinal, and folkloric use – in the past and in the present day.

I used the residency’s time and space to reflect upon the biodiversity of the region and to document not only the species encountered, but to observe the relationships between residents and the area’s living species. A collection of pen and ink drawings, prints, analogue photographs, and written observations, created during the residency, will explore possible connections between the traditions of Collemacchia and Scotland’s Orkney Islands.


Magdalena Choluj is the recipient of the Orkney-Collemacchia Residency 2023. This opportunity was made possible in part through a generous gift by artist and naturopathic doctor Bonnie Star Marsh.

AUGUST 2023 | Tash Kahn

Kitchen Composition 01, lemon, hair and found objects, 2023

I was initially drawn to this residency because its name felt so apt on a personal level. My life has been stripped back to its bare bones from bereavement and loss these past few years and I feel this peaceful space will help bring about a semblance of renewal.

I came to Collemacchia and delved into the landscape, waking with first light and moving intuitively through the day, letting ideas arrive at their natural pace and not forcing anything. I explored the Molise region’s countryside, collecting objects for ephemeral sculptures and taking photographs with my Polaroid camera. Interesting images were given to fellow resident, Cathy Rose, as starting points for our collaborative project, ‘The Polaroid Stories’, while others were deconstructed and collaged.


AUGUST 2023 | Cathy Rose


During the residency, I made progress on a novel, but my quieter intention was to shake up my creative process. I know my writing becomes freer, more true, when I take the time to go out and look around, have conversations, feel the texture of a new place. I looked forward to the opportunity for that.

The characters in my novel have lofty spiritual ideas of how to “see” more deeply into things, but they often forget to just notice what’s around them. My novel explores how we humans so easily substitute big ideas for experience, how we struggle to stay curious. I was actively mining this terrain.

I also continued my collaboration with fellow resident, artist Tash Kahn, writing flash fiction pieces to accompany Polaroid photos she took around Collemacchia. I love the surprise in seeing what words/stories come in simply looking closely at a single image.


AUGUST 2023 | Conny Hurley & Lucien Anderson

Twice more and then never again (detail). Wooden boat, socks, quilt, dimensions variable, 2022

We work collaboratively. Born out of a shared interest in outdoor adventure, storytelling and ‘giving it a go’, our work plays with fragmented narratives of survival, adaptation and resilience. Our practice is underpinned by Vonnegut’s description of time as ‘a mountain range stretched out before us, with all moments visible at once and indefinitely’.

A residency at The Museum of Loss and Renewal allowed us to engage with the nomadic and deep geological history of Collemacchia and the surrounding mountains. We sought to identify examples of local resilience and investigate models of conservation, ecology, and sustainability. We sat uninterrupted, talking, taking stock and processing our ideas, revisiting archival imagery, exploring new methods of making and continuing an open dialogue where conversation became utensil.


AUGUST 2023 | James Alexander McKenzie

Jimmy Mack Follies (Variation), Performance, Embassy Gallery, Edinburgh, 2023

During my residency, I focused predominantly on developing my cut-up poetry workshop and course. ‘Cut-up’ alludes to the cut-up technique that my lesson employs; it is an experimental lesson that follows a literary collage method that involves cutting up and splicing the work of celebrated poets’ and participants’ material and sometimes blending the two. I spent my time conducting research that relates to my course and refining its form.

I am interested in sharing variations of my lesson with different audiences including students on arts and humanities programmes, high school students, gallery visitors (employing it as an event to accompany my artistic work), and anyone that finds it useful or interesting for their practice (possibly as an evening class; both as isolated workshops and across an academic term). I considered different manifestations of the course, and its structure and stages if taught as a programme.


AUGUST 2023 | Antonio Forte

Antonio Forte (seated in background) performing live duduk and electronics for Taleen Batalian’s Tender Cargo at the WaterFire Arts Center, 2022

Some recent genealogical research has led me to the ancient, pre-Roman civilization of the Samnites and their now-extinct language, Oscan. Both of my grandfather’s parents emigrated to America from small Molise villages close to Collemacchia. Through residency at The Museum of Loss and Renewal, being in the heart of ancient Samnium, and within proximity of my ancestors’ birthplaces, the mountainous environment that shaped them as individuals, families, and communities may also shape me and my work as a composer and sound artist.

I collected field recordings while exploring the natural and human-inhabited areas, in addition to furthering my research of Oscan, elevating this “dead,” or at least fragmentary, tongue in order to compose new instrumental and vocal music in Oscan. I answered many questions while formulating more questions than could be answered during and after my residency.


AUGUST 2023 | Madison Mondshine

My Spinning Wheel, 2022, Graphite and pastel on paper, 40 x 26 inches

My goal for my time at The Museum of Loss & Renewal was to embrace the joy and play of art making! I aimed to remove any unnecessary pressure I might otherwise place on myself and to give myself permission to produce absolutely anything the current moment compels me to. With this goal in mind, I explored different techniques and tried new approaches knowing that they may or may not work, surrendering all expectations of the outcome. My hope was that working in this way would help restore my trust in the process of art-making and serve as a sweet reminder of how fun and glorious it truly can be!   


AUGUST 2023 | Samuel Russo

The Maids, a queer reimagining of Genet’s play, 2019

While in residence I researched and developed a new play, WELL. The play will explore western cultural beliefs around the mind:body relationship in a post-church world, the impact of physical sickness on mental health and the way in which our actions choices those closest to us. The work will use personal experience and research to craft a fictional narrative centered on a mother and son responding to the threat of illness in increasingly polarising ways. 


AUGUST 2023 | Jacqueline Steinmetz

Moving and Listening, collage

At The Museum of Loss and Renewal I took time to explore the natural elements and principles of sound in space and time by listening to nature’s rhythm and force, inertia and momentum, emerging and dying. In this residency I leant into themes of new beginnings for my writing project Sounds of Transformation.

“We cannot change anything unless we accept it.”
C.G. Jung, Modern Man in Search of a Soul

I am fascinated by the sounds of the forest and how they influence my perception of life. I experiment with creative writing techniques inspired by the environment around me. I use movement, collage making and drawing as starting points. In many ways I experience writing as a result of a dialogue between stopping and moving. Reflecting on my identity as a human in the world I belong to, I explore my relationship with myself as part of nature.


JULY 2023 | Julie Weitz

The Blind Beggar, archival inkjet print, variable dimensions, 2023 (photo: Jackie Langelier)

During my residency period at The Museum of Loss and Renewal, I focussed on the development of my multimedia performance art project titled Doikayt (Hereness). The artwork stages live, character-driven performances at Jewish sites across Eastern Europe to explore themes of loss and healing through a diasporic lens. The project’s first performances were launched in June 2023 during the Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow, Poland.

My time in Collemacchia was used to process the recent performances and plan for the next ones. Specifically, to sketch and work on watercolors that explore the gestures, costumes, colors, and shapes of my performances. I took time for introspection and the seeding of new ideas ahead of a nine-month residency in Poland as a Fulbright Scholar.


JULY 2023 | Erika Hibbert

Blue Water Lily, ink on paper, 150 x 120 cm

Dias Cotinifolia, ink on paper, 150 x 120 cm

I explored the relationships people have with plants and I am interested in the ways people identify with and see themselves in and through plants. The connections are age-old and essential to our existence: from national identities built upon familiarity, to mass generation of plants for food, to the intimate ways individual people have particular connections to specific plants. 

I experienced the local flora of central Italy and explored the ways vegetation is manifest in local society and in the lives of local people. Extending from this, I looked for parallels, similarities and contradictions in the ways people use, abuse, cherish and nurture plants in Molise in comparison with other places I have travelled and lived.


JULY 2023 | Sophia Rosenthal

Sunlight & Rain, oil on wood panel, 14.8 x 21 cm, 2023

With the aim of creating a collection of smaller visuals to inspire new work – a body of sketches from life, writings, rubbings, and photography – I undertook the Taking Time / Prendendo Tempo residency to further explore themes of identity and the notion of belonging. 

I wandered through the streets and footpaths of the village of Collemacchia, exploring the surrounding natural landscape, whilst reflecting and developing in more depth the autobiographical, sensitive, and introspective nature of my painting practice. I actively shared new work and engaged in discussions with fellow residents and The Museum of Loss and Renewal curators.


JULY 2023 | Deborah Scott

Essence Bubble with Mt Rainier I, 12″ x 12″, oil on archival museum board, 2022

During my residency at The Museum of Loss and Renewal I delved deeply into the concept of ‘essence’ and explored its connection to my studio practice.

I drew inspiration from the local landscapes and ancient paths around Collemacchia, considering how our relationship with nature has evolved over time and how it remains reflected in the lifeblood of the world around us. I was excited to interact with other artists during my residency, exchanging ideas and perspectives that enrich my explorations.

This was a unique opportunity to explore other artists’ areas of focus and to create something that reflects my experiences. By weaving Aristotle’s teachings into my artistic practice, I created a body of work that reflected the quintessence of artists and individuals who have contributed to The Museum of Loss and Renewal.


JULY 2023 | Cynthia Ludlum

The Art of Leadership, watercolour, ink, marigold leaves on watercolour paper, 18” x 24”, 2022

This residency provided an opportunity for me to work on personal research that is directly related to my PhD study. My academic and artistic interests lie in developing an expressive arts based coaching model that focuses on helping educators cope with first hand and secondary trauma. I am curious about which expressive arts practices might help educators flourish in specific environments.

During my residency, my aim was to create artwork in response to my photographs, rememberings, and drawings collected at the vast archaeological site of Pompeii. I have a strong desire to dive deeply into my personal herstory by making artwork in response to being in my family’s homeland for the first time.

I wonder about how drawing from a real and imagined space, while also having the time and space to respond to what we express, might impact our way of knowing and understanding our deepest self. What tools and what environments help form resilient healing relationships? I am curious how being in Italy might shape the way I conduct my research. As I care for and learn more about myself, how might this better inform my research process?


JULY 2023 | Claire McGory

You see, I left home for a reason. Yes, I was enthralled with a nomadic philosophy, a heavenly ambiguity of ample minds suckling on the prose of adventure, but as a predicate towards life I left not for the unknown or that desire which stuck irrevocably to the ribs of recognition, but to the isolated reason which permeated all, a quest like that of a soft-spoken lullaby, bespoken of hope which beseeched my grave affair, a phrase which you know as well as I, if not better: the search for meaning. Yes, I left and I leave at the cusp of this, a promising illusion that intertwined with train rides and foreign cities, distant cultures and cafes with conversations, sat squarely in between a lonely reality like a kiss from afar and a love letter to someone I wanted to but didn’t yet know. I left in the pursuit of something more, and I am still unsure if I ever found it.

Excerpt from a novel in progress

During my time in residence, I continued to develop my novel, to fill in the gaps with its missing pieces that crave time and space to uncover. I aimed to gain a clarity of voice in tandem with my narrative as I furthered along this process of becoming, recognizing the artist and storyteller I am at heart, and how this finds its footing in the real world.

I documented the process with my camera: day-to-day life in Collemacchia, this shared space of solace for creative minds, and the pursuit of a writer who wants to begin and is simply figuring out how to be.


JULY 2023 | Hugo Moline and Heidi Axelsen

Tilling Shoes. From The Visitors. Katoomba, 2017.

While at The Museum of Loss and Renewal Heidi and Hugo worked on their continued interest in how strategies of deep and enduring public care and maintenance can be incorporated into the structure of cities and processes of city-making, between art and architecture.

Following a presentation of their critical-participatory urban design project ‘Open Field Agency’ at the EURA conference in Reykjavik, the residency was an opportunity for Heidi and Hugo to critically reflect on this and other past projects and to outline future directions for their collective creative practice. They worked on concepts for an upcoming exhibition at The Lock-Up in Newcastle, Australia as well as their shortlisted entry for a major new public artwork in Western Sydney.


MAY 2023 | Ellen Dubreuil

During my residency at The Museum of Loss and Renewal I was writing, keeping a sketchbook, reading and researching, making mixed media work, and wandering to get to know a landscape that was foreign to me.

Recently, I have been examining collections and museums as a sort of collective unconscious, and as a way of managing loss and longing. I used the time, space, community and library at The Museum of Loss and Renewal to continue my exploration of the human (and my personal and familial) impulse to collect, to save and salvage, and to place sometimes seemingly unrelated objects and images next to one another to tell stories and conjure magic.

I am interested in the energy and memory of objects, images, and places, and the stories the world around us tells us if we pay attention. Time in Collemacchia allowed me to examine these ideas more closely.


MAY 2023 | Deborah Fallas

During my residency in Collemacchia, my key focus was to experiment. I am a painter who normally paints the natural landscape in my immediate environment, but while at The Museum of Loss and Renewal, my investigation was into the idea that not every piece of work has to be finished, or resolved. My time was spent exploring my own work and the local environment, moving between the indoor studio and the outdoors as studio.

Experimenting means using materials, techniques, mark making and colour palettes that are different or new to me, and creating textures. This was a time to play and to see where that took me, while being open to opportunities to simplify and abstract my work.

Being in the company of artists from across the world was another important component of my residency, and wass valuable because art can be a very solitary business. I feel that this chance to reflect, explore and develop had only a profound and positive influence on my painting, and how and where I position myself in the art world.


MAY 2023 | Nick Verhaeghe

During my residency period, my focus was on exploring the intersection of photography and nature, inspired by the concept of a ‘garden hermit’.

I experimented with alternative photographic techniques and materials, pushing the technical limitations of the medium while delving into how photography shapes memory. Embracing imperfections and allowing nature to play a role in the artistic process, I worked with minimal resources, gathering materials from The Museum of Loss and Renewal’s location to create elixirs for developing my photographic papers.

My technical camera was used as both a shooting camera and an enlarger, testing shooting on photographic paper and creating paper negatives.

Through self-sustainability and pushing creative boundaries, my goal was to create a unique body of work that reflects my reverence for fleeting moments and inspires others to embrace experimentation in their artistic practices.


MAY 2023 | Helen Horgan

I am a visual artist with a background in Graphic Design and Philosophy of language. What interests me is the crossover between visual and verbal language and how the languages of different mediums interact.

Most recently I have become intrigued by the documentary filming process and how the camera frame can contain unfolding activity in a way that highlights its dramatic components.

In March 2020, I experienced the first Covid-19 lockdown while in Calabria, Italy, travelling in a camper van converted into a mobile studio and tiny home. The decision to continue travelling has had a profound effect on my art practice. My persistent displacement has been eased by developing ways of encountering the surrounding environment through journaling, filming and audiofield recording.

I have become interested in topics such as: the camper van as technology and medium; wild versus civilised; sustainable art practices and nomadic engagements with place. At The Museum of Loss and Renewal I reflected on these subject matters while considering the effect that the landscape and people of Collemacchia have on my creative process.


MAY 2023 | Belle Seretis

As an illustrator I am constantly searching for new material to reference and inspire.

At home in Australia, it feels as if I am regurgitating the same scenery, the same people in my work. As a character designer, this is not an ideal situation, therefore I hoped that by traveling to an unknown place my concept work would gain new legs and that I would be able to introduce fresh ideas to my repertoire.

During the Taking Time / Prendendo Tempo residency I explored the area around Collemacchia and drew on scenery, people and objects to spark new creations in my character and environment work.


MAY 2023 | Sally Osborn

Plants Placards Protest, slip painted ceramic & wood

Guided by the work of German Modernist architect Bruno Taut and his explosive illustrated manifesto ‘Alpine Architectur’ (1920) I explored the local landscape making drawings, and recording and collecting any dead vegetation.

I was on the look out for any ‘striped’ vegetation – a generally unstable group of plants. Any suitable dead material was burned to produce ash. At a later date the ash will be incorporated into my ceramic glazes. Applied to experimental ceramic sculptures, echos of Taut’s visionary thinking and radical drawings will be made manifest.


MAY 2023 | Mhairi Killin

Still from Am Beul Chaluim Chille / Calling Time (with Niall O’Gallagher and Michael Begg), 2022

The poetic name of The Museum of Loss and Renewal evoked a strong desire in me to explore a specific point in my practice within this particular environment. To capture a potential moment of loss, and to hold it still long enough to transform it into renewal; to take time to evaluate, reflect on, and create an outline for my practice alongside the evolution of a recent multi disciplinary and collaborative project – this was my purpose in Collemacchia.

By staying close to core, within a landscape which is different to my Scottish island home, and with a group of supportive peers, I drew a forward path, and gently offered my own energy to the creative ecology of the Museum as I found my way, circled, got lost, and encountered other ways.


MAY 2023 | Flora DeBechi

My work is concerned with the potential of raw materials, from microcosm to macrocosm in differing states of flux.

Engaging with processes of capturing, waiting and transformation, works span the mediums of sculpture, video, sound, and installation. Observation and engagement with different ideas of time in terms of landscape informs process and ways of living. I am interested in exploring different interactions with time through moving image both in digital and analogue mediums.

I used the period in residence for reflection and experimental research focussing on early windows and Argyrotype photography made from natural incidental light; Argyrotype photography is an early form of photography where the coated paper becomes dark when in contact with UV light. This alchemical process creates a synchronous appearing and disappearing of sunlight temporarily recorded.


Supported by The Hope Scott Trust