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 and

Production budget:          £20,000 (incl. VAT)

Duration:                           February – October 2020

EOI deadline:                    5pm, Friday 15 November 2019


D!G is a public realm project working with the people and places of St Peter’s and St Paul’s to engage new and existing arts audiences and support creative practice. A lead artist is sought to develop a durational social artwork and a series of micro-commissions over a period of nine months, with a base at Hardwick Gallery.


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 of the Regency town. Former industries include the brewery, railway docks, abattoir and gasworks. Currently the area is home to two university campuses, three primary schools, the Honeybourne Line cycle route and footpath, 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, the leisure centre and Prince of Wales sports stadium, St Paul’s Medical Centre, Gas Green and The Rock community centres, and a number of green spaces. The reach of the project extends to approx. 3,000 households.

The University of Gloucestershire’s Hardwick arts 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 see the area develop its creative potential and to change perceptions of the area.

Through regular meetings the pilot project Love St Peter’s, Love St Paul’s was devised where four contemporary artists were commissioned to investigate the history of the locality and create workshops with residents in film-making, social baking, museum-making, and a mobile pottery studio.

The resulting artworks were presented at Hardwick Gallery in September 2017, and a symposium, Cultural Dreaming, was held to explore the role of galleries in social activism. From this process the AAG identified the need for further commissioning opportunities to reach more people in the community over a longer term, as well as the need to invest in local artists/makers to develop professional skills.


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 collaborators, participants and audience members. The aim of the project is to create a responsive, ambitious, durational social artwork driven by engagement with the communities of St Peter’s and St Paul’s and research undertaken by the lead artist, and a series of micro-commissions with contemporary practitioners and local artists.

Commissioned by We Create Arts Action Group in partnership with Hardwick Gallery in the School of Arts at the University of Gloucestershire, and Take A Part CIC, the lead artist (or lead artists – we welcome a collaborative approach) will be experienced in social practice, place-making and public engagement. 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.

Where possible the lead artist will involve students from the School of Arts in the production of the project to provide opportunities to develop professional practice. D!G forms part of a University of Gloucestershire research impact case study.


In 2019-20 the gallery’s exhibition programme is themed around collaboration and participation, presenting the work of leading contemporary practitioners. The gallery will host the lead artist, providing a workspace and display area for documentation relating to the project. The gallery has a social area where gatherings can take place and a bookable space for students and local artists to present experimental practice. The gallery has a website http://hardwickgallery.org/, a mailing list and social media platforms which the commissioned artist may engage with as part of their work.


A series of workshops and field trips for local artists, craftspeople and makers will be delivered by specialist trainers independently of the lead artist project, but it’s anticipated that they will feed into each other.


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 distinct communities.

As community representatives, the Arts Action Group connects with local residents, social groups and networks of artists and makers, and will support the project at a local level to assist with tasks relating to publicity, 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.

We Create have a website 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. 

Previously the community have expressed an interest in communal activities based around food (growing, cooking, eating together), creative workshops and celebratory events, however we are very open to considering other kinds of proposals. The University of Gloucestershire is able to make an area of publicly accessible green-space adjacent to Hardwick Campus available for D!G if useful to the selected project.

The project requires that the artist(s):

  • will have tried and tested strategies for engaging members of the public in arts activities
  • will have experience of organising and promoting arts events
  • will regularly update a project blog or vlog and provide social media content
  • will hold public liability insurance of £5,000,000
  • will work in a safe and professional manner to comply with relevant health and safety legislation, and will provide risk assessments prior to undertaking activities
  • will provide a safeguarding policy and DBS disclosure


Initially we are seeking expressions of interest from artists with a strong track record in contemporary art practice with a commitment to social engagement. The EOI should include a covering letter, an artist cv, and a link to websites with examples of work.

Expressions of interest should be emailed to hardwickgallery@glos.ac.uk as a single pdf no bigger than 1MB. The deadline for EOIs is 5pm, Friday 15 November 2019. Applicants will be shortlisted and invited to prepare a detailed project proposal, and if further selected to give a presentation to the selection panel on Friday 6 December.



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