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Allenheads Contemporary Arts











School House  accommodation  (+44) 1434685040  


Old School House Accommodation, Venue Hire

and Creative Residencies

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Setting the Fell on Fire

Price £12.00  Hardback

95%…. as far as the eye can see



ACA Self funded residencies

ACA is based at the Old School House which overlooks Allenheads, England’s highest village.  It has panoramic views over the North Pennines in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, often referred to as ‘England’s Last Wilderness’.

This independent arts organisation has been delivering innovative contemporary arts projects for 18 years.  As a creative hub for artists in North East England, it provides residencies and exhibiting experiences for a wide range of artists from students and emerging artists through to mid career and internationally recognised.  

ACA are now inviting applications for self-directed residencies. Residencies lasting between 1- 5 months are open to creative practitioners working in all media including writers and musicians.   Shorter stays can sometimes be offered.  Residencies include accommodation, studio space and professional support if required.

Self-Directed Residencies at ACA allow artists to immerse themselves in an intense period of personal research with no pressure to produce completed works. There is also potential to network with individuals, arts organisations and institutions that have links with ACA and to present work for exhibition at our gallery. These winter residencies are not themed or sponsored, leaving artists to develop their own projects.  

Artists will however, find a nurturing atmosphere with support and scope for research, creativity and production.  Artistic Director Alan Smith will be on hand to help artists optimise their time at ACA.  Alan has an established career as an artist and project director, he recently brought together artists and scientists in a week long international residency ‘95% or as far as the eye can see’.

Residential accommodation

The west wing of the Old School House has recently been refurbished to provide spacious, self-contained, accommodation for visitors. It is an impressive space which includes an open-plan living area with high ceilings, a wood-burning stove, big comfortable sofas and a long dining table with a fitted oak kitchen, 4 private or shared bedrooms, 2 shared bathrooms and laundry facilities.

The ‘Classroom’ Studio Space

Located in the east wing of the Old School House, the ‘Classroom’ studio measures approximately 8m x 9m. A light and airy space with high ceilings, central heating, access to Internet, SD projector and speakers, blackout blinds, open fire, access to water, bathroom, kitchen.

For larger groups, additional studio spaces can be provided in the village of Allenheads.


Artists provide: Transport, food, materials, a contribution towards logs & coal subsidised fee for accommodation

ACA provides: Accommodation, studio space, professional support, (2 consultations included each week, additional tuition or guidance available on request). Electricity – with some restrictions, hot water, central heating, fully equipped self-catering kitchen, laundry facilities.

Accommodation fees example based on 4 people staying at same time;

Single bedroom; £175 per week,  £460 per month

Shared (twin or double room), £150 per week, £420 per month

Prices vary for groups of 1 – 12, and for duration of stay.

Please contact us for prices for your requirements.

Deposit and Cancellation Policy

Upon acceptance into the program, the successful applicant will be asked to submit a deposit of 50% of the total cost of their residency in order to secure their place in the program. In the event of cancellation after committing to the accepted program, ACA reserves the right to retain up to and including the full amount on deposit. We will make every effort to find a substitute artist to take the place of the accepted artist in the event of cancellation. A minimum £50 processing fee will be retained if another artist agrees to take your place.

Application process

Open to all creative practitioners.

Dates/Deadlines: This programme runs from November 2013 – March 2014.  

Please contact us if you are interested in staying at other dates in the future.  

Make your application as early as possible.

Please include

Name and Contact details.

Preferred start and end dates, please indicate any flexibity with dates.

Brief Biography including website address & links to work if available.

Brief statement of current work and interests.

Brief description about why this residency appeals to you and what you hope to achieve.

Are you applying as an individual, or a group?


ACA is located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the North Pennines; there are many opportunities for hiking and biking, as well as wild swimming or skiing, if weather conditions allow.  The area is rich in wildlife and history; visits to Hadrian’s Wall and other archaeological sites, as well as the disused mines in nearby Nenthead, are recommended.  Surrounded by open moors, forests, waterfalls and rivers, Allenheads has a friendly pub, café and a heritage centre, all within walking distance of the Old School House.

Transport and Public Amenities

Allenheads is a 1 hour drive from Newcastle Upon Tyne, in the North East of England.  Newcastle has the nearest airport and Hexham, the nearest train station.  A bus service from Allenheads to Hexham runs daily (except on Sundays), and takes approximately 30 minutes.  Hexham is a large semi-rural town with shops, supermarkets, as well as most public facilities and amenities.  The closer village of Allendale (7 miles away) has a good, small supermarket.

Quotes from previous visitors

“It would be hard to find a place more rural and remote, yet on the inside it has the feel of a New York studio loft.”  Elaine Williams, The Guardian.

“We came here for a creative working retreat and wanted to escape the distractions of our usual working environment. This was the perfect location for a productive period of time in stunning surroundings.  The accommodation was amazing too!”  Carlo and Nick from Empty Shop, Gateshead.

“We had an amazing time, relaxing and working very hard in the studio.  This is the perfect environment for being creative.” Penny, Matt Stalker and Fables

ACA is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to providing creative spaces and opportunities for artists and writers.