Delfina Foundation: Residency Space
Established by Delfina herself, a philanthropist, on Bermondsey Street in the early 1980s, The Delfina Trust recently became the Delfina Foundation and moved to its new premises by St James’ Park in 2007. In 2014 a partnership between architects from Cairo and London, the space extended into its next door Edwardian house to add 8 bedrooms for residents.
Now, the space has a residency programme which allows artists and curators from all over the world to stay in London for up to three months and execute a research or arts project without requiring participants to exhibit or pass over any final works (pressure-free!) As it becomes more and more difficult for creatives to come and work in the capital – for long or just short periods – Delfina provides an opportunity, via its good relations with the Home Office. This is something spurred by Delfina herself who recognised that such a number of international students study here, yet have to leave due to visa restrictions, and that this could be a way for the capital to keep that international richness within its art scene.
As well as its residencies, Delfina Foundation invites artists, arts professionals and experts across society to engage and collaborate through discussions, exhibitions, performances, and workshops at the London base – and with leading institutions internationally – via its themed public programmes. These follow themes of The Public Domain, Performance as Process and The Politics of Food which has now splintered into realms such as Sex, Diet and Disaster or Market and Movement.
The gallery space is currently home to Then For Now which was geared toward Frieze Week sales, but is usually used as a space for the residents to experiment and collaborate (Delfina is co-working rather than divided into studios, to encourage sharing).In general, as far as funding is concerned, Delfina funds 50% of the projects, with private patrons handling the rest. All in all, a great model, whose alumni include Chantal Joffe, Eva Rothschild and Tacita Dean, and one which is worth bearing in mind as both an unofficially charitable venture as well as being commercially viable.
More on Delfina herself in this BBC production, and in the next post, we meet one of the current artists…