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Artist Commissions 2021-2023

Vernon's right hand - photographic artwork


We are pleased to announce two new commissions from the Women Artists of the North East Library; a co-commission with Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA) and a design commission from the library.

Header Image above ‘Vernon’s right hand’, 2016 Video work, Fiona Larkin

MIMA Co-commission

In 2021 Women Artists of the North East Library are working with Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA) to co-commission a North-East based artist to develop new work responding to histories of women making art in the Tees Valley.

We are hugely delighted to announce that Fiona Larkin is our first ever commissioned artist as part of this programme and will be supported by a 6 month research and development period with the Library and the MIMA Collection, culminating in a presentation of her new work in 2023.

Fiona will be responding to both collections and exploring the various histories of women making art in the Tees Valley region.


‘My Dearie Dearie’, 2018 Video work, Fiona Larkin


Fiona Larkin is an Irish artist living and working in Whitley Bay, UK. She works mainly in photography and moving image which stems from a practice of performance to camera work. She is concerned with ideas of perspective shift, of long looking and the possibility for alongsideness as a productive and creative structure.

Fiona received an MFA from the University of Ulster in 2002. She has participated in International residencies in Tokyo and New York and has been the recipient of several Arts Council NI awards. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally with work shown in Belfast, Derry, Dublin, Spain and Japan. From 2007-2010 she taught Fine Art in University of Ulster, Belfast and currently teaches at Northumbria. Fiona holds a PhD from Northumbria University. Thesis titled ‘Empathic Attention; Feeling Into and Intimacy in Contemporary Art Practice’ (2018)  

MIMA’s Collection includes works by British and International artists, art and craft from the mid-1800s to the present day, post–Second World War British painting, contemporary drawing from the Americas, twentieth-century British ceramics, European contemporary jewellery, and international contemporary installation. It also houses works inherited from the Middlesbrough Art Gallery, the Cleveland Gallery and the Cleveland Craft Centre. 

This co-commission runs in tandem with a programme of ‘Open Library’ events at MIMA that share the MIMA & Women Artists of the North East Library collections and invite artists to run collaborative events with us. During the Library’s residency at MIMA we will be working with artist Jade Sweeting, Navigator North and Althea Greenan from the Women’s Art Library.

This co-commission and programme has been funded by an 18 month Arts Council Project Grant supporting development of the library and growth of our collection and networks. 

Ceramic Mask (2019) Sally Pilkington

WANE Library Design Commission

In Summer 2021 we are commissioning illustrator and graphic designer Sally Pilkington to design a new Donations Card for the library.

The library is built on your donations and we love hearing the reasons you want to be part of the library collection. Each one of Sally’s Donations Cards will have a space for you to record a message about why you are donating. Your contributions build a bigger more diverse narrative of women’s creative work in our region and that is why they are so important.

From August everyone who makes a donation will be invited to complete one of Sally’s limited edition donation cards to sit alongside their donated item.  

Sally will also be designing a flyer and a set of posters for our next programme of events at MIMA.

Sally Pilkington is a graphic designer and illustrator based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. She works across a diverse range of projects from print and web design to murals and installations, creating playful designs with paper cutting, collage, lino-print and hand-drawing. Her work includes the design and delivery of participatory projects, visual identity design, and artist-led collaborations. With a passion for projects that drive positive social change, Sally works collaboratively to shape meaningful projects that make a difference.

Images: Designs for 10×10 Creative Gateshead (2020), British Society for the History of Philosophy (2020) and Friends of the Newcastle City Baths

All by Sally Pilkington