EARTH WATER SKY is Science Gallery Venice’s 3-year residency programme for artists interested in the environment and the latest in cutting edge environmental knowledge. Every year there will be an open call for artists from any art form – digital arts, painting, sculpture, dance, performance, music, multimedia, video, film, photography, writing, drawing – to apply for a 2 month fully funded residency in Venice. The winning artist/s will work with leading scientists from Ca’ Foscari University and the Veneto region.

In the first year of the competition Emma Critchley, the selected winning artist, will be working with Professor Carlo Barbante and his team at Ca’ Foscari who work on the international Ice Memory project. This extraordinary scientific endeavour is building a library of ice from non-polar regions which will be stored in Antarctica comprised of ice cores drilled from endangered glaciers all around the world. From the ice cores  and the air bubbles trapped in the ice which can be dated in some instances as far back as 18,000 BCE, scientists can reconstruct the Earth’s past climate and atmospheric composition. It is an invaluable record of climate change.

Next year, the Ice Memory project goes to several destinations for expeditions and field trips for their research. Amongst several destinations, the major expedition will be to Mount Kilimanjaro's glaciers which is the last ice left in the African continent. Other destinations are e.g. field trips to the Alps.

The residency is fully funded by Fondation Didier et Martine Primat.


Underwater artist Emma Critchley (UK) is the first winner of the three year EARTH WATER SKY residency programme. The jury awarded it to her for ‘the originality and beauty’ of her proposed project which in the words of Professor Carlo Barbante was the most evocative of the Ice Memory project which he leads.

Both Professor Michele Bugliesi, Rector of Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, and Science Gallery Venice’s Director Anna Puccio, consider the residency programme a true added value to the developing Venetian Science Gallery. “We deeply thank the Martine et Didier Primat Foundation for the unique opportunity to host the first three year residency for artists of the whole Network".

Emma Critchley's proposal also crucially matched Science Gallery Venice's mission to connect, participate and surprise emphasising the collaborative process of researching and creating new work inspired by working with the Ice Memory environmental scientists and students at Ca Foscari University of Venice.

Her selection by the jury shows the pioneering spirit of Science Gallery Venice's wish to work with science and art in innovative and unexpected ways to draw attention to Global Challenges. This choice is also fully aligned with the ethics of the funder of the residency, the Didier and Martine Primat's Foundation, whose mandate is to “empower scientists, philosophers and artists to advocate for a more conscious and sustainable way of life.”

There were nearly 150 entrants for the  first Science Gallery Venice Earth Water Sky open call from 32 countries around the world.

For more about Emma Critchley’s work please see her website