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The arts

The College has enjoyed a strong involvement with the arts throughout its history

Artist in Residence

The Artist in Residence scheme, generously supported by Suling Mead (Chan 1975), through the Mead Foundation encourages engagement between practising artists and any area of scholarship in the Collegiate University. Artists live and work in Girton for an entire academic year, mingling with Fellows, staff and students on a day-to-day basis. There are workshops, exhibitions, and related activities, setting the scene for a new genre of interdisciplinary artworks produced and inspired by the College setting. A wide range of artists and disciplines have been supported since the scheme’s creation in 2013 by Suling Mead from 2013 to the present, and Ruth Whaley (1974) from 2013 to 2018, and we are very grateful for their generous support.

If you would like to purchase any piece of art from the Artist in Residence (whether current or previous), please contact the Development Office via email: or by phone: +44 (0) 1223 765 685.

Current holder for 2019-20: Luke Burton

Luke studied painting at Chelsea College of Art (BA, 2005) and Sculpture at Royal College of Art ( MA, 2011). He has shown his work internationally including at venues such as ICA, London; National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; Kinokino Kunstal, Sandnes, Norway; Technopolis Museum, Athens; Yarat Art Centre, Baku; Manoir di Martigny, Martigny; PADA, Lisbon. His work is in various private and institutional collections. He will have a solo show at Girton College as part of his residency in June 2021 and has upcoming exhibitions at Bosse and Baum, London and Gallery Woong at Korean International Art Fair, Seoul in September 2020. Luke is represented by Bosse and Baum Gallery in London.


Luke’s tour of his studio at Girton

Previous Artists in Residence

Simeon Barclay draws upon a multidisciplinary practice to consider how memory, images and objects coalesce to form an index for contemplating subjectivity and its construction within contemporary culture.

Barclay received his BA from Leeds Metropolitan University Leeds and MFA from Goldsmiths College, London. His work has been exhibited at Workplace Foundation, Gateshead; Holden Gallery, Manchester; The Tetley, Leeds; Tate Britain, London; Cubitt, London; Baltic Centre for Contemporay Art, Gateshead; The Bluecoat, Liverpool; G39, Cardiff; Jerwood Space, London; South London Gallery, London; Copperfield Gallery, London; Galerie Lisa Kandlhofer, Vienna; W139, Amsterdam; Baltic 39, Newcastle; Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels; Arcadia Missa, New York; Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool. He lives and works in Leeds, UK.


All pieces in ‘Poetic Dissonance’ are for sale and the proceeds support both the Artist and the Artist in Residence scheme at Girton. Please see the free booklet for some images and price guide (available at Porters’ Lodge). 

Yelena’s practice continually questions what painting can be and how it operates in contemporary conditions. The work pulls the histories of abstraction into sharper focus creating ‘slow’ images that serve as an antidote to digital culture. Her Evaporating Paintings balance between vanishing and materialisation, as if undergoing a light sensitive photographic process. The recent body of work presented at After Image, a solo show at Nottingham Contemporary, reflects on the value and ownership of artworks, their display and distribution in public/private spaces.

Yelena graduated with Distinction from MA Painting at the Royal College of Art in 2011. In 2014, she was shortlisted for the Arts Foundation Award in Painting and selected to be part of Thames and Hudson’s new publication 100 Painters of Tomorrow. In 2016, her work was included in Vitamin P3 (The 108 International Artists Revolutionizing Painting Today), published by Phaidon Press.

Instagram: @yelena_popova

To find out more about Yelena and her work, visit:

Prior to studying art Vadgama worked as a production assistant for the BBC and later at various post-production facilities where he specialised in editing and motion graphics. He later graduated with a BA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in 2009.  His practice utilises a range of mediums including digital video, animation, holography and large scale projection. These mediums are often manipulated via a combination of analogue and digital intervention and displayed in as both small or large scale immersive installations.

Instagram: @sonnyvadgama

Tom graduated with a BA in Fine Art from the Chelsea College of Art and Design in 2007. He works in a variety of media, exploring sound and text as a complement to his drawings, paintings and performances. His focus is on exploring creativity as a means to understanding human behaviour. The work is inspired initially by landscape, particularly that of West Yorkshire and the Calder Valley where he grew up.

Instagram: @colden_drystone

To find out more about Tom and his work, visit:

The Jane Martin Poetry Prize

The National Poetry Competition - Applications for 2024 now open!

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Explore the art treasures on show at Girton College

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