Meet the Near Now Fellows

Introducing our third Fellowship cohort: Rachel Ara, Antonio Roberts and Rachel Briscoe

Posted on 16th May 2017

Written by Lee Nicholls

Near Now continues to attract some of the UK’s leading artists, thinkers and makers working across arts, design and technology.

We are proud to announce our third cohort of Fellows, who will benefit from a 10-month Fellowship with Near Now, supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

Between May 2017 and March 2018, Rachel Ara, Antonio Roberts and Rachel Briscoe will work as part of the Near Now Studio, undertaking a tailored programme that will support them to research and create ambitious new work, reach new audiences and progress their careers.

During their Fellowship, we'll share insights into their work and updates on the research and development of their projects.

Rachel Ara

Conceptual and data artist Rachel Ara graduated with a Fine Art BA from Goldsmiths College, London, where she won the prestigious Burston award. Winner of the Aesthetica Art Prize 2016 for “This Much I’m Worth”, the self-evaluating artwork. Pulling on her experiences as a computer system designer and skilled maker, the digital sculpture draws on data and complex algorithms to calculate its own value in real time.

Her work is nonconformist with a socio-political edge that often incorporates humour and irony with feminist & queer concerns.

During her time as a Near Now fellow she is researching and working on a complex sculpture using multiple techniques and technologies that will interrogate themselves and aims to be relevant and engaging to the audience.

She lives and works in London.


Antonio Roberts

Antonio Roberts is a New Media artist and Curator based in Birmingham, UK. His artwork uses glitch art, hacking and technology-driven processes to explore issues surrounding open source software, free culture and collaborative practices.

He has exhibited work at Furtherfield Gallery, Tate Britain, Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art in Chicago, US, Birmingham Open Media and University of Birmingham, and Jerwood Visual Arts.

He has curated exhibitions including GLI.TC/H Birmingham, the Birmingham editions of Bring Your Own Beamer, µChip 3, Stealth, and No Copyright Infringement Intended.

He is a Curator at Vivid Projects, Near Now Fellow, and is part of the Advisory Group for New Art West Midlands.

As a Near Now fellow, he will be researching the impact that automation and artificial intelligence is having on the roles of artists and curators. Specifically, he will be seeking to address where the role of the author lies when aesthetic and curatorial decisions are being quantified.


Rachel Briscoe

Rachel works as a maker, dramaturg, writer, director and producer, specialising in interactive/immersive/playable experiences. She is creative director of fanSHEN, a company she co-founded in 2007; working with a semi-permanent ensemble of talented collaborators from varied backgrounds, she makes ambitious work that achieves accessibility and appeal to diverse audiences by synthesising complex subject matter into dynamic formats.

She is interested in elegant and playful work which proves that ‘political’ doesn’t have to be done with a sledgehammer; and in creating contexts where people surprise themselves with their own creativity and humanity. Rachel comes from a theatre background. As a director, she studied on the National Theatre’s Directors’ Course; as a writer, she is a graduate of the Royal Court programme and Soho Theatre Young Writers. Now she makes something which may or may not be theatre, mostly not in theatres, and often without actors.

As a Near Now fellow, she is interested in researching work that combines live performance with the affordances of technology, to ask big questions about how we live. She’s particularly interested in human irrationality and the aesthetics of an emotional response, as we interact more and more with things that are not human.


Meet the Fellows Event

Join us at Broadway on Monday 17 July, 6:00pm - 8:00pm to meet the Fellows, learn more about their work, and be the first to hear about their ambitions for the Fellowship.

Header image credit: CAD model for 'This Much I'm Worth (The self-evaluating artwork)' by Rachel Ara


Lee Nicholls

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