Artistic and academic

The Horniman works with many specialist and talented artists and academics, who create work in response to the collections.

Artists and academics research and develop new work in response to our collections of anthropology, natural history, musical instruments and the living collections.

Sometimes these works are displayed, published or performed at the Museum and Gardens. 

You can find information about current opportunities, residencies and any future commission opportunities below.

The Horniman has partnered with Goldsmiths’ on the MA in Anthropology and Museum Practice.

The MA combines academic expertise with practical information from museum professionals across the spectrum of disciplines at the Museum.


Artist and writer Harun Morrison has been appointed to the Decolonising Natural History residency in partnership with the Delfina Foundation

In 2006, alongside Helen Walker, Harun co-founded collective practice They Are Here. Recent commissions include I’ll Bring You Flowers (2019), Survival Kit 10, Riga, and Laughing Matter (2018) at Studio Voltaire co-commissioned by Block Universe, which saw the gallery converted into a comedy club. The performance 40 Temps, 8 Days (2017) at Tate Modern highlighted the use of temp labour at the institution in the context of the wider gig-economy.

Harun is a former artist-in-residence with Arts Catalyst, Furtherfield, IASPIS and Botyrka Konsthall. He has also been a visiting artist at various universities and is associate faculty for the studio program Conditions, in Croydon. In recent years Morrison has co-designed a number of community gardens, including the conversion of a car park in Dagenham, East London on the Beacontree Estate, and Bootle Library in Liverpool, commissioned by Rule of Threes.

In 2021, his work will be shown at the Dakar Biennial, Senegal, and Eastside Projects in Birmingham. His forthcoming novel, The Escape Artist, will be published by Book Works in 2022. Since 2019, he has been a trustee of the Black Cultural Archive.

Nathalie Cooper has joined the Horniman to complete a PhD research project interrogating the legacies of empire in the Horniman’s early institutional history. This project is in collaboration with the University of Warwick and generously funded by Midlands4Cities.

Over the next four years, Nathalie will investigate the provenance of the Horniman’s founding collections and its links to imperial violence, while also taking a critical look at the practices of collection, display and interpretation employed by the Museum during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. She is particularly interested in the taxonomic operations of the Horniman and how this has shaped, and continues to shape, our engagement with material cultures.

Dr. Dan Byrne-Smith, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art Theory at Chelsea College of Arts, has been welcomed to the Horniman Museum and Gardens as our first Horniman Museum Art, Design and Natural History Fellow, in an exciting new collaboration between the Horniman and Camberwell, Chelsea, Wimbledon Graduate School, University of the Arts London (UAL).

Over three years, Dan will explore the Horniman’s acclaimed Natural History collection through the lens of science fiction, examining how audiences might engage with the collection to encourage and develop awareness around the environmental issues currently affecting the future of our planet.

A powerful force in popular culture, science fiction has the ability to engage and entertain and has a long history of imagining threats to the natural world, illuminating the dangers that will emerge in the future if not addressed in the here and now. Hollywood cinema offers bleak visions of environmental catastrophe, from 1970s films such as Silent Running and Soylent Green to the endless desert of 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road. These films all hold the audiences of today accountable for the depicted futures.

Science fiction can also offer profoundly critical perspectives on relationships between humans and the natural world. These ideas can be traced back to the writings of Mary Shelley, Jules Verne, and H.G. Wells. Today, authors such as Margaret Atwood and Nnedi Okorafor continue to explore the boundaries between humans and other life in their speculative works.

The topics that Dan will explore during his Fellowship include global climate change, the biodiversity crisis and species extinction, evolution and non-human networks. The Fellowship will also offer ways to imagine diverse environments through science-fiction motifs and ideas and explore the challenges and risks they face.

Bringing together different facets of his research interests, Dan will explore the balance between seriousness and entertainment that science fiction offers, starting new conversations about the role of the Horniman’s Natural History collection, looking at new forms of engagement between people and collections and ultimately how those engagements can make a difference. Dan is considering a range of engagement options including blog posts, symposia on the theme of science fiction and natural history, and working directly with the Horniman’s audiences.

Artquest, in partnership with the Horniman, have been offering artistic opportunities since 2016.

Artist in residence have included Joshua Sofaer, Alex Julyan and Helena Hunter.

In 2019, Artquest’s Peer Forum at the Horniman was awarded to Borbála Soós who will be working with a group of artists around the theme of rewilding.