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Commission Opportunity: Participatory Artist


Artist Brief 

  1. Introduction 

Big Local Gateshead are seeking to commission an artist, writer, filmmaker, or arts organisation to deliver a programme of high-quality participatory art sessions over a period of up to 6 months. The appointed practitioner would work closely with local people and community groups to document a community-led housing scheme currently in it’s early stages. 


  1. Big Local Gateshead 

Big Local Gateshead is a community organisation based in Teams and ran by local residents who want to improve the area. In 2012 Local Trust established 150 Big Locals across the country, each was given £1m by the National Lottery and 10 years to spend it on the sole condition that each Big Local must be ran by and for the benefit of local people. 

Big Local Gateshead runs it’s own small community centre, a community allotment, and hosts many clubs and groups attended by people from all over the area. In addition we offer support to other residents and organisations through monthly community focus groups and grant schemes. Please enquire for a full list of our ongoing activities, clubs, and opportunities. See below for a map of the Big Local Gateshead area. 

The aims of Big Local Gateshead are: 

  • To enable local people to identify the needs in their community 

  • To increase the skills and confidence of local people 

  • To enable the community to make a difference to the needs it prioritises 

  • Make people feel that their area is an even better place to live 


  1. The Housing Project 

Big Local Gateshead have a duty to provide a legacy to the people living here once our 10 years is up. In order to achieve this we want to build a new housing development of about 15 homes on a site with a long history of anti-social behavior and fly-tipping. The project will provide training, jobs, and affordable homes for local people, the development will be led by the community, and provide an income to help us support more community activities for years to come. 

The housing development is in it’s early stages but has appointed an architect and partner housing association, and site investigations are being carried out. The project is managed by a steering group made up of local residents, who are advised by a team of consultants from business, construction, and local authority. A major community consultation drive is underway to ensure we are building what people in the area want and need, this arts project will form a part of this consultation, and document the development as it moves forward. 


  1. The Arts Project 

We can offer funding of up to £5,625 for the full project. 

We expect this funding to cover an artist or multiple artist's time and all material costs of planning and delivery. We expect a large amount of participatory arts sessions to engage a wide variety of people living or working in the area. This programme of activities is to last no longer than 6 months from the start date. 

We hope the project will increase the participation of local people in all Big Local Gateshead activities, but should primarily focus on our ongoing housing project. We want this project to: 

  • Document the community-led housing process 

  • Record resident’s voices 

  • Include and empower local people 

  • Produce a body of work in response to the above, either in your own practice or collaboratively with local people 

  • Make the housing project, and BLG more visible online and in the area 

We are open to any art form which can accomplish the above, and anticipate responses from visual artists, writers, bloggers, vloggers, or filmmakers. Artists are welcome to submit a joint proposal with other practitioners, and arts organisations are equally welcome to apply. 


  1. The Artist 

A successful applicant will be: 

  • Capable of working with a wide variety of people 

  • Enthusiastic about empowering and including local people in the process 

  • Flexible and adaptable 

  • Experienced in delivering similar projects 

Applicants will be expected to hold an enhanced DBS check not less than 12 months old or be submitted to a new DBS check. They must hold or obtain public liability insurance for a minimum of £5 million and ensure equipment is insured against loss or damages from fire, theft and other risks for the duration of the contract. 


  1. Timeline 

  • Friday 14th of February – Commission launched 

  • Friday 6th of March (midnight) - Deadline for submissions – please send electronically to 

  • Week of March 16th – Shortlisted applicant/s invited for interview 

  • Week of March 23rd – Successful applicant/s to begin work 

  • September 2020 – Project to finish on or before this date 


  1. Application 

To apply please send a PDF or Word document to including reference ‘Arts Application’ in your email title. Please include the following in your application: 

  1. Outline your vision and approach to the project (max 500 words) 

  1. Give a brief biography (max 300 words) of your work and any key organisations or other artists involved in your bid 

  1. Describe your approach to engaging local people to participate in the project (max 300 words) 

  1. Describe what you anticipate the project will produce (max 300 words) 

  1. Summarize 2 previous art projects you have been engaged in (max 300 words) 

  1. Include a simple proposed timeline 

  1. Include a budget outlining your time and material costs 

  1. Include a CV of your relevant skills and experience including 2 references 

  1. Include a link your website or portfolio 


  1. Selection 

Your proposal will be considered against the following criteria: 

  • The track record of the applicant 

  • The quality and ambition of the project 

  • The likely impact of the proposed work 

  • Feasibility and deliverability  

  • Value for money 

Once shortlisted, successful applicants will be contacted by March 16th to arrange an interview. Interviews will be conducted by a panel of local people and professionals employed by Big Local Gateshead. 


  1. Contact Details 

For further information, to discuss a potential proposal, or arrange a visit to Big Local Gateshead please email Christopher Folwell at or call 0191 477 3734.