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Arnolfini - est 1961

We’re delighted to announce our Writer-in-Residence for Vertigo Sea.

Artist and activist Cleo Lake is a native Bristolian of Afro Jamaican and Scottish roots. Primarily known for her work as a dance artist, Cleo is also a writer, filmmaker and actress and has led and produced collaborative projects including ‘Foundations: a dance and music expression’ in 2007/8 (a response to the Cabot Circus development) and ‘Journey of the Griot’, an intergenerational musical as part of the Colston Hall foyer opening celebrations in 2009.

In 2013 Cleo was awarded an ADAD (Association of Dance of the African Diaspora) award and spent time researching the Homowo festival in Ghana. Her interests include ancient festival rituals, historic migrations, masquerade, costume and rebellion, both from a European and Pan-African perspective. As a poet Cleo plays on words and with words, often using facets of patois mixed with what on the surface seems to be ‘mumbo jumbo’.

Cleo said: “I’m an artist who wears her heart in her work and is driven by truth and justice. I’m delighted to be taking the position of Writer in Residence at Arnolfini, and John Akomfrah’s work is one of my biggest and growing influences.”

Dominik Czechowski, Senior Curator, said: “Through this residency, we hope to provide an opportunity for an emerging writer to spend time developing new work in response to Arnolfini’s programme. We’re also keen to encourage an independent and critical perspective in order to enhance engagement with the exhibition.”

Find out more about Cleo’s work on her website:

Cleo will develop new writing and performative work responding to the exhibition and themes of Vertigo Sea, over the next few months. Keep an eye on the Arnolfini Blog for updates!