Coombe Farm Studios was created 40 years ago by artists for artists, the Associate Artist scheme ensures we continue to place artists and artistic practice at the heart of all that we do. It will link us to artists that we’ll work closely with over two years, and together we will help grow creativity in the South West.

Scheme Manifesto:

– Associates can come and use studio space at Coombe for one offs, for free, whenever they can (and it’s available!) either together or separately
– We will walk together, talk together & regularly share what we are doing, to share wisdom and make links between our work
– We will see new work together
– We will invite other people to collaborate with us as/when we can
– We will review one each other’s funding applications, residency applications etc. to ensure they are freaking awesome
– We will share our networks with each other
– We will encourage one another to keep dreaming…and dream aloud to begin to make those dreams possible and to have the courage to push them forward
– We will document our journey through a blog on the Coombe website
– Coombe will apply for funding to try and add value to the scheme, by creating a pot of money, so the associates can invite other artists to come to Coombe to collaborate with them, to make studio spaces available for longer periods of time, and for modest amounts of equipment and materials

“These are exceptional artists who have chosen to live and work in a relatively isolated rural environment, so it’s important that they are supported to make their best work, and for that work to be seen my many.” Lara Lloyd, Director Coombe Farm Studios

Coombe Farm Studios is a rural centre dedicated to growing creativity. Supported by a beautiful environment, great food and people who actively enable the creative process, it’s a place for making and showing work, for meaning-making and for learning.



Emma works in the field of art and ecology, making a range of works using performance, site-specific walks, writing and workshops. Her practice maps processes of exchange between ourselves and others, including animals, weather systems, oceans, forests, cities, towns and countries. She studied BA Theatre and MA Art and Ecology at Dartington College of Arts. She has worked as a visiting lecturer/artist at Dartington College of Arts, Winchester and Plymouth Universities and various other institutes including CCANW, Haldon Forest, Arnolfini, Bristol and Battersea Arts Centre, London. In 2003 she co-founded propeller arts collective whose practice was multi-disciplinary and underpinned by depthful research around perception, orientation and ecology. propeller produced ‘The World Rushed In,’ and ‘We are the Rivers we Swim Through,’- a devised theatre show and performance lecture addressing the disappearance of species and our relationship to climate change. In 2009 propeller made a collaboratively written book titled ‘Five Rooms’ published by Acts of Language. The book, a text on materiality, began with the proposition;’ stone, wood, flesh, bone, copper. What surrounds us and makes us. Our hands work on the stuff of the universe’. Five Rooms was written during a week long residency at Coombe Farm Studios, Dittisham and supported by the Transatlantic Consortium.

A tree falls into writing. Or does writing uproot the tree? The collision of words and things reverberates through this book. Copper – wood – bone – flesh – stone are scattered across the geography of the page, frequently transmuting into one another: stone breathes, the body petrifies, copper sings. The book suggests and enacts not only our dispersal into the life of objects and materials, but also the other in whom we touch coherence through the exchange of voices, writing and naming. Dr Cathy Turner, Convener – Centre for Research into Expanded Dramaturgies, University of Winchester, Wrights and Sites.

The site specific works ‘Fields’ and ‘Village Walk’ were made in Harbertonford, Devon with a range of participants including non-performers and experts from other fields. Processes involved: collecting oral histories, introducing writing and devising tasks to a group of elderly ‘non-performers’ and trained performers and investigated social ecologies through workshops, walks, and conversations on local flooding, weather and wildlife. ‘The village walk was an ambitious project and the result was an unforgettable experience using powerful compositional skills to place objects, people and the attention of the audience’. Dr. Tracey Warr, Lecturer, Art History & Theory, Oxford Brookes University. ‘City Walk’ – was made in Plymouth with collaborator Mary Loveday Edwards for ‘The Animal Gaze.’ Commissioned by Plymouth Visual Arts Consortium tracking between the city’s centers of culture: Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, University of Plymouth, Plymouth College of Art and Plymouth Arts Centre.

Read a paper Emma wrote with performance partner Mary Loveday Edwards here entitled ‘Place is Learning Us,’ for ‘The Home and The World’ 2012

Current practice: Emma’s interdisciplinary practice makes spaces for dialogue with specialists and amateurs from diverse backgrounds; ornithology, meteorology, architecture, economics, education, housing, memory, ageing, and place. Emma is developing an ongoing series of small scale research gatherings with a low-key intimate atmosphere the groups encourage reciprocal learning and teaching;
‘study room’ a space to share ideas, fascinations and questions around memory, place and time through presentations and exercises.
‘warm up’ exploring embodied approaches to place, body, listening and relatedness. Practicing a variety of methods for attending to changing internal and external landscapes.
Currently Emma is writing the memoirs of her mother Kathleen Bush (78) and mother in law Gail Gauden (73). This project emerges after four years as a full time mother and opens wider research into relatedness with place, belonging, memory and loss. Emma is a research associate with RANE; Research in Art, Nature and Environment and has previously worked as an Arts Administrator for propeller arts collective, Aune Head Arts and Encounters Arts.


is a print maker; with a first class B.A. in Illustration and a postgraduate scholarship from The Royal Drawing School, after which she achieved a first class M.A. in Children’s Book Illustration at CSA. She has always been drawn to narrative and is passionate about drawing. Working primarily on location, allowing the changing weather and uncontrollable factors of working outdoors to influence the direction of the work. Works begun outdoors are completed in situ; using sheets of paper taped together, Jo can fold up parts of the drawing and work on smaller sections. This allows her to work through wind and rain, in tough locations. These works inform her print and picture books placing the work firmly in the natural world and allowing memory and a ‘sense of place’ to influence the direction of the work. Jo is motivated by her love and fascination of the natural world; wild and managed landscapes and the edges of human made and wild coexist or vie for power. She is passionate about igniting wonder in everyday nature and weather. Her earliest memory of drawing is tracing buildings, trees and lights with her fingers on the car window on long drives home. She would later, try to draw these memories but was frustrated that she could never capture the sense of weather, the blurred lights in the rain, the cosy feeling of being indoors, wrapped up against a storm. When Jo started drawing on location, she suddenly found she could express this through her marks, and that rain falling on the ink, or wind blowing the paint, added to this sense of place, drama and intimacy.Jo has delivered many illustration projects and exhibition including Tee design for Finistere’s Artist Series in the Spring/Summer range 2018
FInistere are committed to ethical and eco innovative surf wear. Take a look at the tee here, Jo is a workshop leader and teacher and has taught at institutions such as Cambridge School of Art and The Fitzwilliam Museum as well as various primary and secondary schools. She is teaching drawing and printmaking at Coombe and is published across various media, including novels, picture books, clothing, and journals. Her picture book ‘Selkie’ is for sale here 

@josephine_birch” instagram


Belinda is a performer and theatre maker, she attended English National Ballet School,
during her training she started to develop her own work and created solo and a group choreography shown at English National Ballet School Galas, after graduating she choreographed The Hunt a short film shown at BAFTA cinema and volcano film festival.

She has had a full career performing extensively in many aspects of theatre including, Classical & contemporary dance, musicals, film, TV and choreography. As her career developed she started to combine both acting and dance and worked with Mathew Bourne in New Adventures, she was involved in the creative process, choreographing and performing lead roles and performing world wide in many productions such as Swan Lake, Cinderella, The Car Man, Nutcracker and Play Without Words all of which have won Tony Awards and Evening standard awards. She has freelanced with Directors, Choreographers and Theatres such as, The Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Saddlers Wells, The Old Vic, Simon McBurney, Michael Kegan Dolan, Terrence Donavan, Nigel Charnock, Sarah Homer, Litza Bixler and Chis Marney.

Belinda has also Directed her own work that has performed at Nationally including The Egg Theatre-Bath, The Place-London, BAC, Phoenix Theatre-Exeter and Drama Centre -London.
In 2008 Belinda founded Bound 2B Theatre, a physical theatre company that has a strong commitment to making work, with and for young people. B2B Theatre have been a resident company at The Corn Exchange Newbury to create “The Night Time Whisperers” which was co- commissioned by The Corn Exchange and The Arts Council England and toured in London, Newbury and Devon.

Belinda took part on the Young Directors Programme supported by John Retallack – Company of Angels for which she directed a physical theatre piece Pandora’s box.
John Retallack nominated her for a fellowship from the Arts Foundation as a creator of young peoples theatre, which she won. She used the fellowship to develop herself further in puppetry, combining voice, movement, clowning and Directing.

She collaborated with The SHAC to create workshops Schools, raising awareness about Drugs and Alcohol and devised performances and workshops for The Theatre Royal Plymouth’s ‘Peoples company’ and ‘Our Space’ a theatre group that aims to challenge perceptions of social exclusion. In 2015 she was part of Dance UK mentor and leadership programme, nominated by Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures.
Belinda on twitter


Sarah Gillespie’s art career started in Paris in the early 80s. When I arrived back at my father’s house in the June, I think he – a first generation Irish immigrant – took one look at me and said, ‘well, if you’re going to be an artist, you’d better go to Paris’. I remember being bundled into the car at 4.00 am one morning, with my portfolio in the back and setting off for Calais”. There Sarah spent a year studying 16&17C methods and materials at the Atelier Neo-Medici and says it was “an unbelievable education.” After Paris Sarah went to Oxford to the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art for three years and has since exhibited extensively. She is a a Royal West of England Acadamician and represented by Baux Arts Bath.

Focusing on just a few locations and subjects Gillespie draws us into a world where we find ourselves mesmerised by moments of everyday beauty and interconnectedness….The charcoal and ink Gillespie uses to conjure up these intricate drawings perfectly capture the fleeting character of her subject matter, their essentially fugitive and fluid substance leaving a trace that seems to caress the paper rather than physically imposing itself on the surface. She can achieve the most dazzling darks imaginable with charcoal, but there is always the feeling that these areas of intense black are on the cusp of dissolving into light, or being blown away on a gust of wind. ‘Gillespie allows us to see things in almost forensic detail, and yet as we look at these drawings and investigate the worlds they bring to light, we come to realise a startling truth – that Gillespie is in reality an abstract artist. Her works are not about making faithfully accurate copies of the physical world. They are about making visible the invisible and giving form to the intangible.- Revd. Richard Davey instagram


Kate did her foundation in art & design at Falmouth College of Art and went on to do her BA in Fine Art and Art History at Goldsmiths College of Arts and her MA in Fine Art as Cotemporary Practice at Famlouth School of Art. Kate has had numerous solo shows in the UK and Germany including live performance drawing and sound art exhibitions. She has also exhibited in many group shows, including Eyestorm Milan, Mauger Modern Art Bath, and Noise Festival at the Liverpool Biennial. She has regularly collaborated with, and enjoys working with, artists from other disciplines including Gareth Ballyn and sound artist Ben Hudson.

Kate’s creates art works in a variety of mediums and subjects, she is particularly inspired by a sense of place; the stories, people, land or waterscapes around her. Taking great pleasure in the particularities of each of the mediums she uses, Kate is passionately ‘hands on’ in her processes, using unusual or poetically appropriate materials is a key feature of her work; site specifically gathered ash, charcoal, mud, sand or stones, sounds, beachcombed fabric or even cowshit. Her artwork has taken the form of printmaking, installations, paintings, drawings, live events, text, sculpture, textiles and sound art. Kate has experienced residencies in London and India and has a great love for being tutor or workshop leader (she currently teaches weekly for Plymouth College of Arts for their Young Arts Club and leads residential printmaking workshops for adults at Coombe). Kate relishes collaborating with a wide spectrum of artists and to sharing ideas and techniques with new audiences of any age.

Kate on twitter / instagram