Call for proposals

Location: Neighbourhoods of St Peter’s and St Paul’s, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

Commissioner: We Create Arts Action Group/University of Gloucestershire/Take A Part CIC

Artist Fee: £10,000

Production budget: £10,000

Duration: October 2019 – September 2020

Proposal deadline: 5pm, Friday 11 October 2019

D!G is a public realm project to develop a durational social artwork that engages new audiences, supports local talent development, and contributes to research at the University of Gloucestershire. This will take place through an artist residency, a Creative Enterprise Programme, and the re-modelling of Hardwick Gallery. Proposals are invited for an artist-in-residence to devise and deliver an ambitious project that engages with the people and places of St Peter’s and St Paul’s over the period of one year.


The communities of St Paul’s and St Peter’s are situated to the north west of Cheltenham, close to the town centre. The area is steeped in working history and is of vital importance to the development and success of the Regency town. Former industries include the brewery, railway docks, abattoir and gasworks. Currently the area is home to 2 university campuses, 3 primary schools, the Honeybourne Line pedestrian and cycle path, Cheltenham Animal Shelter, an award-winning Sri Lankan restaurant, St Paul’s Community Hub, the School House Café social enterprise, supported youth housing, Cheltenham Borough Homes, St Paul’s Residents Association, St Peter’s & The Moors Big Local, Leisure @ Cheltenham and Prince of Wales stadium sports centres, St Paul’s Medical Centre, and a number of church affiliated resources such as Gas Green Community Centre and The Rock. The reach of the project extends to approximately 3,000 households.

The area has a number of small green spaces each within their own community: the Edible Garden at the University of Gloucestershire, Elmfield Park, St Paul’s Walk, Hardwick Green (adjacent to Hardwick campus), Midwinter allotments, and the Drop-In wildlife garden (run in partnership with the Wildlife Trust).

The University of Gloucestershire’s Hardwick campus is situated between the two neighbourhoods. Early in 2016, Hardwick Gallery and Take A Part CIC established an Arts Action Group with local residents who were keen to change perceptions about the area and to see it develop its creative potential. Through regular meetings “Love St Peter’s, Love St Paul’s” was devised. The project saw four contemporary artists commissioned to investigate the rich history of the locality and create workshops with residents in film-making, social baking, museum-making, and a mobile pottery studio.

The resulting artwork was presented at Hardwick Gallery in September 2017 where participants shared their achievements with public and academic communities. A symposium, Cultural Dreaming, was held in June 2017 to explore the role of galleries in social activism, with artists and invited speakers from institutions and organisations across the UK.

From this process the Arts Action Group identified the need for further and more durational opportunities to reach more people in the community, as well as the need to invest in local artist/makers to develop professional skills, and the seed of D!G was planted.


Commissioned by We Create Arts Action Group in partnership with the School of Arts at the University of Gloucestershire and Take A Part CIC, the artist-in-residence (or artists-in-residence – we welcome a collaborative approach) will be experienced in social practice, place-making and public engagement and will work with Hardwick Gallery and residents of St Peter’s and St Paul’s to devise an ambitious year-long programme of cross-generational activities and micro-commissions. There is a preference for communal activities based around food – planting, growing, cooking and eating – creative workshops and celebratory events, although we are very open to considering other kinds of proposals.


This series of workshops and field trips for local artists, craftspeople and makers will be delivered by specialist trainers.


Hardwick Gallery will provide the base for the residency/activity programme. In 2019-20 the gallery’s exhibition programme is dedicated to a theme of collaboration and participation, presenting the work of leading contemporary practitioners. The gallery will also include space for changing displays of artwork relating to D!G, an accessible social/study space where meetings and community gatherings can take place, a workstation for the commissioned artist, and a test-space for students and local artists. The gallery has a website at http://hardwickgallery.org/, a mailing list and social media for the commissioned artist to engage with as part of their work. University of Gloucestershire is prepared to make an area of green-space adjacent to Hardwick Campus available for the D!G project.


D!G will enable people who are underserved by cultural opportunities to experience high quality and engaging contemporary art with free-of-charge activities and events as participants and audience members. The aim of the artist residency is to create a durational social artwork and/or artworks that respond to the communities of St Peter’s and St Paul’s and to research undertaken by the artist-in-residence. The project will take place within the St Peter’s/St Paul’s area and will have a strong presence within the community, through its visual and social impact.

The project will be informed by engagement with residents, who will have opportunities to participate in aspects of its production. The artist-in-residence will also programme a series of micro-commissions that bring in other practitioners and support local artists. Project activities will be documented photographically to create strong marketing and evaluation materials, and for exhibition and research presentations. The project forms part of a research impact case study into the effects of arts activity on community activism.

Where possible the artist-in-residence should involve students from the School of Arts in the production of the project to provide opportunities to develop professional practice.


The communities of St Peter’s and St Paul’s include two of the most disadvantaged areas of Cheltenham, ranking in the top 10% most deprived nationally according to the Index of Multiple Deprivation 2015. Although a small geographic area it is densely occupied, hosting many disparate communities. A relatively high proportion of residents are on benefits of some kind, being in the top quartile for Gloucestershire.

As community representatives, the Arts Action Group are in contact with residents, groups and local networks of artists and makers who may engage with the project, and will support the project at a local level. AAG members will assist with tasks relating to marketing and communications, social media, etc. to spread the word and respond to enquiries. Certain elements of D!G will extend to people outside of the immediate area in order to develop wider networks of interest and positive community relations while still responding to the interests of local residents.

We Create have a dedicated website at https://www.we-create.org.uk/ to provide information and document projects. Public communications will need to be effective across multiple platforms and include traditional forms of publicity such as roadside banners, printed leaflets and posters.


The selection panel will be looking for an artist or artist collaboration with a strong track record in contemporary social art practice and an innovative, relevant, pragmatic and detailed project proposal that extends what we thought was possible. The proposal should include: a detailed project plan and timeline (including engagement strategies); a detailed budget; a section on relevant previous projects; contact details for commissioners/managers of last three projects (completed or not); a selection of images (6 maximum); biography and cv. Referees will only be contacted if the proposal is shortlisted.

Proposals should be emailed to hardwickgallery@glos.ac.uk as a single pdf no bigger than 1MB. The deadline for proposals is 5pm, Friday 11 October 2019. Applicants will be shortlisted and invited to give a presentation to the selection panel on Friday 18 or Monday 21 October. We anticipate receiving a high volume of responses and apologise that if you do not hear from us you have not been successful. We will be unable to provide individual feedback.

The artist-in-residence

  • will have appropriate strategies for engaging members of the public in arts activities
  • will have experience of organising and promoting arts events
  • will have experience of designing, fabricating and installing artworks appropriate to those proposed
  • will regularly update a project blog or vlog and provide social media content
  • will have an interest in using recycled or sustainable materials
  • will be expected to hold public liability insurance of £5,000,000
  • will be expected to work in a safe and professional manner to comply with relevant health and safety legislation and requirements, and will provide risk assessments prior to undertaking activities
  • will provide a safeguarding policy
  • will provide a DBS disclosure


The artist-in-residence fee is £10,000 (inclusive of VAT). This is inclusive of all personal expenses and is based on a commitment of two days per week averaged over a year. Half of this time should be working in the community and focused on engagement and participatory events.

The production budget is up to £10,000 (inclusive of VAT). This will fund all costs associated with producing a social artwork, public events and micro-commissions. A detailed budget breakdown will be required as part of the project proposal.

The budget holder is the University of Gloucestershire. The project manager will manage the budget and will submit invoices on the artist(s) behalf. It is expected that the budget for the commission will be paid in arrears in agreed stages to be set out in a contract between the artist(s) and the University.

PROJECT TIMELINE (subject to revision)

September 2019

  • Open Call for artist-in-residence is publicised and distributed
  • Creative Enterprise Programme schedule is publicised
  • Hardwick Gallery curated programme commences

October 2019

  • Shortlist and appoint artist-in-residence
  • Form student working groups
  • Field trips commence
  • Call for informal interventions in Hardwick Gallery

November 2019

  • Delivery of Creative Enterprise Programme workshops
  • Artist(s) begins work: community meetings, outline programme of activities/engagement/ micro commissions through to July 2020

July 2020

  • Celebratory event
  • Research project ends

September – October 2020

  • Exhibition
  • Documentation and evaluation completed


Please direct further enquiries to Sarah Bowden (Curator, Hardwick Gallery): sbowden@glos.ac.uk