Within Sir John Soane’s Museum, the Drawing Office is the earliest surviving example of a working architectural office. To mark the 200th anniversary of its installation, Sir John Soane’s Museum is beginning a programme of restoration, new multi-layered digital interpretation, and the launch of the Museum’s first residency programme. The Drawing Office sits in the heart of the Museum, access via a staircase outside Soane’s celebrated Picture Room.

The historic importance of the Museum, its archive and collections are well known. What is less well known is the work the Museum does with contemporary artists and the relevance of the Museum and its collection to artists, architects and designers practicing now . The residency will enable Sir John Soane’s Museum to develop its work with contemporary practitioners, whilst complementing the broader work of the organisation.

Two artist residents will be hosted annually from 2023, for three months each, during the Spring (March to May) and the Autumn (September to November).



We intend this exciting new opportunity to be as open as possible to engage with a wide range of artists, architects, designers and makers at all stages of their careers, and to be understanding of their individual circumstances. Those working in all disciplines are encouraged to enter, who practice both observational and conceptual work. Drawing must be central to all applicants’ practice. Entries will be accepted from individuals and collaborations. The Museum is keen to encourage residents to engage with departments across the Museum including the archive, library, education and commercial activities etc. It is important to the Museum that the artist is able to fully commit to the residency taking account of any regular commitments, and this will be checked before the interview stage.


The Drawing Office sits within a Grade 1 listed building, and its size makes the possibility of making work in the space very limited. In addition, the temperature and conditions may limit the kind of work that can be made, however in addition to working in dry materials in the Office, residents will be able to use the Museum’s collections, exhibitions or education programme, related scholarship or the commercial operation as inspiration for their time at the Soane. Applicants should be aware that restrictions will be in place to protect the Museum’s collections.

The Office is accessed via a narrow staircase. Applicants with specific access requirements are eligible to apply, but as there is no lift, alternative working arrangements will be provided.


Nichola Johnson (Chair)

Former Director of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia and Trustee of Sir John Soane’s Museum

Pablo Bronstein


Helen Dorey

Deputy Director and Inspectress at Sir John Soane's Museum

Haroon Mirza


Jonathan Watkins

Director, Ikon Gallery

Sarah Wigglesworth



The Selectors will be looking for a high-quality self-directing practitioner who will use this new opportunity to best develop their practice and who will use the residency to best enhance the work of the Museum. How drawing is used as part of applicants’ work will be a key selection criteria. The Museum is keen to engage with the resident to maximise the associated benefits and will dedicate in-house resources to ensuring that artists make the most of the experience of working in this very special organisation. The Drawing Office was innovative at its time and the Soane wants to engage with an artist practitioner who will be original in their approach to the residency.


Artists will be contracted for a minimum of 12 days working either in the Museum or in their studio during the three month period. The artist will be engaged over a pre-agreed number of days in the Museum either working on site, taking part in public engagement or educational activity or using the research facilities.

There will be an honorarium of £1,500 per artist or collaboration, to cover materials, travel and other expenses.

There will also be the possibility of an allowance for each artist on a case by case basis, to help cover accommodation, at the discretion of the Project Managers. Please note that this will not cover international artists’ travel expenses or Visa application fees.


Step 1

Complete the online application form with your details to register and then click the green button “Submit your Entry”.

Step 2
Once registered, you will be able log in at any time before the deadline to upload your CV and images of your work, and finalise details of your application. This will include:

  • Select which residency you would like to apply for: Spring or Autumn 2023
  • Upload a maximum of 6 images of recent work
  • Upload a one page A4 CV
  • A brief outline of how you envisage the residency contributing to the development of your practice
  • A brief statement of how you might approach the residency
  • Preferred ways of working, possible locations within the Museum and which department – if any – you would like to align yourself with
  • What experience you might have already with taking part in public engagement
  • Details of your other work commitments during the residency period
  • How you will document your residency

Step 3
Following the online selection, a short list of artists will be invited to take part in an interview. This will take place with the selection panel either in person at the Sir John Soane’s Museum or online as required.


There is no application fee for this residency.


4 October 2022Deadline for applications
28 October 2022Artists informed of results for shortlist
Week commencing 14 November 2022Shortlisted artists invited for interview
Week commencing 21 November Shortlisted artists informed of results
January 2023Public announcement of Residency Artists
March - May 2023Spring Residency to take place
September - November 2023Autumn Residency to take place

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