2022 Artist in Residence

2022 Artist in Residence: Saskia Tomkins + Mixed Museum

Created to foster cultural cross-pollination, diversify audiences, and nurture artistic growth, FAI’s Artist in Residence (AIR) program pairs folk musicians with institutions and community organizations through innovative partnerships. Past partnerships have included UNESCO, the International Rescue Committee, Kansas City Ballet, and the WWI Museum. Learn more about past projects here.

The 2022 pairing intentionally focused FAI’s ongoing efforts to examine race and equity issues in the global community through folk music.

About the 2022 AIR Project

For the 2022 project, British-Canadian multi-instrumentalist, Saskia Tomkins was invited to partner with The Mixed Museum in London, England. The result is a commissioned instrumental piece weaving Roma, traditional fiddle, and blues elements to accompany a narrated photo essay exploring Tomkins’ family search to find her grandfather, a segregated African-American G.I. who was forbidden to marry his white girlfriend and required to return to the US. His daughter (Tomkins’ mother) was twice placed in an orphanage as part of England’s buried and rarely-discussed “Brown Babies” era. The video (below) was first aired with live performance at the annual Folk Alliance International Conference in Kansas City, USA, on Friday, May 20, 2022.

About Saskia Tomkins

Saskia Tomkins is a master of violin/fiddle, viola, cello, and nyckelharpa. She is classically trained with a folk background, holds a B.A. (Hons) in Music (Jazz), and won the All Britain Champion Irish Fiddler Award. She has appeared with countless artists including The Chieftains and she is credited with developing the Celtic elements of the Broadway hit “Come From Away.” She performs solo, with multiple ensembles, and is part of several orchestras.

About The Mixed Museum

Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, The Mixed Museum is a non-profit organization seeking to preserve and share the history of Black, Asian, and wider ethnic minority presence and racial mixing in Britain. The museum’s “Brown Babies” exhibition exploring stories of children born to black G.I.s and white women in the Second World War was honored with a Museums Association 2021 Museums Change Lives award.