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Manon selected for Future Wales Fellowship

Former Coleg Menai student Manon Awst is one eight artists chosen for the project, which will explore the impact of climate change on our day-to-day lives

Former Coleg Menai student Manon Awst has been selected for the Future Wales Fellowship 2023-25.

Manon is one of eight artists chosen for the scheme, which will support them to look at the impact climate change has on everyday life.

Each artist will receive a grant of £25,000 to spend 16 months undertaking creative research on the theme of 'connection to nature'.

It is an opportunity to challenge the understanding of our relationship to nature, how to reconnect with it, and to explore the artist’s own relationship with nature.

Manon, who is based in Caernarfon, makes sculptures and site-specific artworks woven with ecological narratives.

She studied the Art Foundation course at Coleg Menai, before going on to study Architecture at the University of Cambridge and Artistic Research at the Royal College of Art, London.

Manon’s rooted interest in geology and the deep structure of landscapes helps her forge new ways of working with sculptural materials, and her most recent work has focused on the ecological and cultural value of peatlands.

She is a recent recipient of a Henry Moore Foundation Artist Award and was part of Up Projects’ Public Art Practitioners Programme in 2022. Her work is part of the National Library of Wales, UK Government and Welsh Parliament collections, and she has long-term installations on the Wales Coast Path at Nant Gwrtheyrn and at Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin.

Manon has been selected for the Future Wales Fellowship along with Zillah Bowes, Cheryl Beer, Eric Lesdema, Alison Neighbour, Simmy Singh, Julia Thomas and Iestyn Tyne.

The Future Wales Fellowship is part of the Creative Nature Programme between Natural Resources Wales and Arts Council of Wales, which aims to cultivate the relationship between the arts and the natural environment, as part of a shared commitment to improve the environmental and cultural well-being of Wales.

Natural Resources Wales and Arts Council of Wales are joined by additional partners National Trust Cymru and the Elan Valley Trust this year for the ‘connection to nature’ theme. Peak Cymru, in collaboration with arts manager Elen Roberts, will host the development programme for the fellows.

Judith Musker Turner, who is currently leading the Arts Council's work on the arts and climate justice, said: “Artists were invited to apply to join the Future Wales Fellowship in an open call-out in August and September 2023.

“It was an extremely competitive process, and we received an incredible 188 applications from a diverse set of talented people from across Wales. We would like to thank each and every one of them for their time and interest.

“We are delighted to have selected eight exceptional individuals for the Fellowship. However, we also wish to acknowledge the enormous amount of care, passion and understanding of connection to nature and climate change issues amongst artists and creative individuals in Wales, which is demonstrated by the strength of the response to this opportunity.”

Joe Roberts, from National Resources Wales, said: “How connected we feel to nature has a strong influence on how we act towards it.

“This Fellowship will explore our individual and cultural relationship with nature through creative enquiry. In collaboration with the project partners, Peak Cymru will be making a space for the fellows to experiment, explore, question and challenge.

“We look forward to seeing how this exciting new cohort will bring together its collective knowledge, passion and experience to respond to the theme.

“Wales’ creative community has once again shown its dedication and enthusiasm to inspire a better future for our planet. We were humbled by the strength of the applications we received, and will continue to build our partnership with the cultural sector so that more artists can use their voices to help nurture society’s relationship with nature.”

For more information about the Future Wales Fellowship 2023-25, click here.

For more information about the Art Foundation courses at Coleg Menai, Coleg Llandrillo and Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor, click here.