Dark Skies/Blue Skies: Call for Proposals

Artist Call for Proposals, 21.02.18

The Cultural Spring and NEPN invite proposals from a lead artist, collective or arts organisation for an innovative participatory project with and for the people of Sunderland.
The commission is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.  Please download the full brief Dark Skies Blue Skies Call for Proposals

Main Purpose and Aims

The project will see high-quality photographic artists working with community members to imagine and give creative form to future-facing aspirations through publicly sited artworks and/or publications. The project aims to create confident cultural activists who recognise their own creative potential.

The project is inspired by the creative and scientific desire to explore the world and understand our place in it, and by the wish to imaginatively explore the future. We are particularly keen to receive innovative proposals that fuse currents of creativity shared by science, technology and photography. Proposals could incorporate a journey through early traditional photographic process as a means to record and imagine the world (photo-grams, cyanotypes, stereo-grams) as well as contemporary photographic technologies such as mobile phones with which we share and communicate our lived experiences.

This commission will be developed through community consultation, using a collaborative methodology and shared sense of ownership of the project. We will commission an artist(s) for whom social engagement is integral to their approach.

Project outcomes should be:

  • Innovative and ambitious in scope
  • of the highest artistic quality
  • Relevant, diverse and inclusive for the communities of Sunderland

Additionally, they should:

  • Raise aspiration and represent the experiences and future hopes of Sunderland residents
  • Increase the profile of culture, specifically photography, locally, nationally and internationally.

Commission Details

May 2018 – November 2018 (7 months), with the final public event/s in November 2018

Commission Fee: The Lead Artist/Organisation fee for this commission is up to £25,000 (expected to be at least 70 days, inclusive of VAT and expenses (travel/accommodation)).

Deadline for proposals: Monday 26 March, 5pm. 

Please download the full Dark Skies/Blue Skies Call for Proposals here.



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