We are delighted to announce the appointment of the 2016 Foundling Fellows. They are: actress and social entrepreneur Lily Cole, musician Sam Lee and artist Bob and Roberta Smith.
Each Fellow will devise a project that animates the relationship between philanthropy, creativity and children’s welfare, inspired by the principles of the great founding figures of the original Foundling Hospital – philanthropist Thomas Coram, composer George Frideric Handel and artist William Hogarth.
The biennial Foundling Fellowship scheme was established in 2008 with funding from the Clore Duffield Foundation. For each cycle, three leading creative figures are selected to join the Fellowship. Twelve Fellows have been appointed to date and they are: Damon Albarn, Cerrie Burnell, Emma Kirkby, Michael Morpurgo, Cornelia Parker, Grayson Perry, Lemn Sissay, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Chris Watson, Julian Lloyd Webber, Richard Wentworth and Jacqueline Wilson.
Lily Cole is an actress and social entrepreneur. An advocate for socio-political and environmental issues, she has employed technology, writing, filmmaking and public speaking as means to build awareness and encourage dialogue. In late 2013 she launched impossible.com, a social network that encourages users to exchange skills and services for free in the hope of encouraging a peer-to-peer gift economy. Lily has spoken at The World Economic Forum’s meeting in Davos (2013), Google’s Zeitgeist conference (2012) and Wired (2012), is an affiliate at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, and often writes for national and international press. Impossible Utopias, originally submitted as the thesis for her undergraduate degree, is Lily’s first book.
Sam Lee is a singer and song collector, whose repertoire is steeped in folklore and history and inspired by the natural world. With a rich and resonant voice, he is also the founder and driving force behind the eclectic, award-winning folk club The Nest Collective, which has brought traditional music to all kinds of new stages and venues as well as engaging new and often younger audiences. Sam’s debut album, Ground of its Own was conceived after winning the prestigious Arts Foundation Prize in 2011 and nominated for the 2012 Mercury Music Prize. His second album, The Fade in Time (2015), has been equally feted with his version of the song Lovely Molly awarded Best Traditional Song at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2016. As founder of a burgeoning song collectors’ movement, he has helped to inspire a new generation of performers to draw on living source singers, rather than just books and records.
Bob and Roberta Smith RA is the pseudonym of the artist Patrick Brill. Training as a sign painter in New York he uses text as an art form, creating colourful slogans on banners and placards that challenge elitism and advocate the importance of creativity in politics and education. His best known works are Make Art Not War (1997) and Letter to Michael Gove (2011), a letter to the UK Secretary of State for Education reprimanding him for the “destruction of Britain’s ability to draw, design and sing”. A regular speaker at conferences and symposia, he initiated the Arts’ Party Conference 2013, a forum for artists and organisations to debate the role of art and design in schools.
Previous Foundling Fellowship projects have included: Superman was a Foundling by poet Lemn Sissay, a striking mural exploring fostering and adoption in popular culture which inspired the Museum’s recent exhibition Drawing on Childhood; Hetty Feather, the much-loved children’s book by Dame Jacqueline Wilson which has since been developed into six books selling over 35 million copies; Dawn Chorus, a site-specific sound installation developed by care leavers with sound artist Chris Watson; and FOUND, an exhibition curated by Royal Academician Cornelia Parker that featured work by 69 celebrated artists.