Cultivating spaces for extraordinary artists

Cultivating (more) Flight in Blue Skies

Project Announces Second Residency and Commission

Cultivating (more) Flight in Blue Skies is the second residency and commission opportunity produced by Coventry Biennial, DASH and Talking Birds that is designed to support a Midlands based d/Deaf, disabled or neurodivergent visual artist to produce a new artwork or project that will be presented as a part of Coventry Biennial 2021.

We are delighted to announce that this opportunity has been awarded to Warwickshire-based artist Rosa Francesca.

During the NEST residency with Talking Birds, Rosa will develop a new participatory project that combines wigs and mobile technology called “Don’t Touch my Hair!” that will be presented as a part of the Real-Life Science-Fiction HYPER-PATH during the 3rd Coventry Biennial.

Reflecting on the opportunity, Rosa says:

“Having enjoyed Coventry Biennial in previous years, I’m really excited for this opportunity to take part and hope that through my work I can engage the public in some interesting conversations about race, hair and technology. I will be looking specifically at the culture and stigma surrounding Black women’s hair, and how mobile technology can liberate us and allow us to share these experiences in unique ways. I’m looking forward to seeing where this residency takes me!”​​​​​​​

She has developed a new participatory project that combines wigs and mobile technology called Don’t Touch my Hair: Protective Styles for Black Futures.

Rosa explains: “I am exploring the subject of Black hair and the Natural Hair movement, and particularly looking at how Black women’s relationship with their hair is often intruded upon, either physically by white people touching it without consent, or through unsolicited advice and comments on its styling. My project is a cybernetic wig, using a variety of sensors as well as a mobile phone to create an interactive wig that entices and reprimands users to interact with the work.”

She continues: As a mixed-race woman coming from an African-American family, I have had my own share of negative and troubling experiences concerning how others approach my hair. I had my long frizzy hair cut off at the age of 18, not wanting to deal with the stigma and time consuming maintenance anymore.”

Rosa’s project will be presented at The Hyper-Lab during Coventry Biennial 2021.

More About the Residency: ​​​​​​

The residency is offered by Talking Birds as a continuation of their Nest Residency programme that provides time, space and conversation with other artists, and is designed to allow an artist to think, experiment and take a punt on one of those 'What if...?' ideas.

The commission is offered by DASH and Coventry Biennial as a continuation of both organisations' creative professional development work and their public programmes.

For full details visit the Coventry Biennial website.