bloc // January 11, 2013

Invitation to tender for a contemporary art commission ⁄⁄

Ceredigion Museum is offering two exciting artists opportunities in 2013:

Summer exhibition 2013: Contemporary Art Residency Brief December 2012

Summary
Ceredigion Museum is inviting artists to tender for a contemporary art commission. The commission comprises of two elements;

• Artist in Residence focusing on the museum collection, working with community groups and the museum staff to develop work that responds and changes over the exhibition period.
• Socially engaged artist working in the public realm to create digital `expressions’ that will feed into the culminating performance.

We particularly welcome artists applying in partnership, or the two elements can be delivered by the same artist if they can demonstrate their vision and capacity to do so. This project will take place in an historic building, creating some constraints requiring a flexible approach.

Background information
Amgueddfa Ceredigion Museum is vibrant, welcoming and housed in a beautiful Edwardian theatre, which, through a programme of heritage and arts displays, exhibitions and events, aims to provide diverse and creative opportunities for Ceredigion’s residents and visitors to engage with the culture and heritage of the county.

The museum is centred around the stunning theatre auditorium, with its ample stage and original proscenium arch. We attempt to honour the intentions of the original owner by filling the auditorium with music and performance whenever we can. Local performers claim the museum has the best acoustics in Aberystwyth.

In contrast to the ornate auditorium the museum also boasts a large temporary exhibitions gallery, which was designed to suit contemporary arts exhibitions. The museum actively collects the work of Ceredigion artists when the opportunity presents itself.

Behind the scenes of the museum the staff manages the collections, to a high professional standard, with particular emphasis on conservation, research and ensuring access to the public. We welcome about 30,000 visitors each year.

In addition to the Coliseum, the museum staff are responsible for displays in several venues throughout Ceredigion, such as New Quay Heritage Centre and Llanon Cottage, extending the reach of our services to communities beyond Aberystwyth.

2013 is Ceredigion Museum’s 40th anniversary. We will be gearing all of the museum’s activities around this fact, using it to promote the Storming the Walls’ project, of which this commission is one element. The main focus of Storming the Wall’s is to involve the community and visitors to Ceredigion in activities that both engage them and offer an opportunity to consult with them in order to produce a forward plan that is responsive to the needs and interests of our users and potential users. Central to this process is increasing participation in order to reach as wide a demographic as possible; this is only possible by offering the opportunity to engage using a range of methods; with art as a primary means of engaging them in an open and accessible way. The contemporary art commission will be instrumental in engaging people in the consultation.

Storming The Walls Project Description
The name Storming the Walls refers to our intention, in 2013, to identify and begin to tackle barriers to pro-active participation in the activities of the museum (both on and off site) for all of Ceredigion’s residents. These barriers may include geographical, social, intellectual, economic and physical factors.

The main focus of Storming the Walls will be to build relationships and facilitate participation, both in the short term and long term, for Ceredigion residents and visitors. In order to understand the needs of our users and potential users, we need to gather data, which will enable us to refine our strategic planning process, with the ultimate aim of accessing funding to redevelop the museum; improve the visitor experience; better reflect the interests of our community; develop audiences; improve interpretation and extend the provision of opportunities to all members of our community to engage with heritage and the arts.

As custodians of a historic theatre and collections of art and cultural artifacts (including buildings outside Aberystwyth), which are much admired by many people in the local community, we have a duty to ensure that our five year strategy is based on thorough research and consultation with users and potential users.

This is a large undertaking and to enable us to maximise the efficacy of the work we need to ensure that we commit adequate time and resources to it. In 2013 we intend to segue our normal activities (exhibition programme, education, events etc.) with the community consultation process. This will result in both an opportunity to gain a better understanding of, and relationship with, our users and also a creative, dynamic and changing programme of exhibitions, events and activities co-curated between community groups, museum staff and artists.

Storming the Walls will consist of a number of interwoven elements, several of which have been initially instigated by existing community groups with whom the museum is already working:

1. Community Consultation and Evaluation of Ceredigion Museum’s efficacy in meeting the needs and interests of its users and potential users.
2. Summer exhibition 2013: Contemporary Art Commission
3. Llanon Cottage and Tudor Ruin project
4. New Quay: Conservation of Toll Boards and Digital Heritage project
5. Llangeitho Community Exhibition Project
6. Agricultural community engagement project
7. Out on the Town: Ceredigion Young People’s heritage project (phase 1) – including Autumn exhibition 2013

The intention is to maximise the efficacy of each by ensuring that they facilitate the achievement of at least one other element. For example, facilitating the conservation of the harbour toll boards in New Quay will help us to strengthen our relationship with existing contacts and encourage wider participation in our activities within that community, which will form the basis for a digital heritage resource for the Heritage Centre and feed into the Summer exhibition at the museum.

Summer exhibition 2013: Contemporary Art Residency
Ceredigion Museum will host a major participative multi-art form project led by an Artist(s) in Residence to create an evolving series of creative activities and an exhibition / open studio. The project will culminate in a piece of collaborative performance led by Theatr Felinfach.
Please note that Ceredigion Museum is a bilingual museum and that this project will be delivered bilingually. Speaking Welsh is an advantage but not a requirement. Translation and interpretation services are available in-house.

The aims and objectives of the artist in residence are:
• To produce a high quality, artistically innovative, process-driven exhibition that visitors can revisit and keep finding new ways to engage.
• To engage at least six community groups in the above work, identified and engaged by museum staff and partners, allowing an opportunity for self-representation and inspiration for new levels of creativity.
• To enable the artist to develop new work inspired by the museum collection and its communities.
• The artist will be required to be in the gallery for a minimum of one day per week, including at least four Saturdays over the exhibition period.
• To support at least one mentee from Aberystwyth University School of Art.

The aims and objectives of the digital expressions work are:
• To work with a minimum of 4 community groups outside the museum to relate the themes drawn out of the museum and it’s collections to produce digital expressions that will feed into a collaborative performance led by Theatr Felin-Fach.
• To build and develop collaborative partnerships that will underpin the development of the museum into a responsive, creative and dynamic institution.
• To enable the artist to develop new work inspired by the museum collection and its communities.

Key Dates:
• 31st January: Closing date for applications
• 11th February: Interviews
• 11th March: Suggested start date (open to discussion).
• 13th May: Gallery set up (two weeks)
• 24th May: Private view/launch
• 25th May -21st September: Open studio/exhibition
• 1st and 2nd November: Theatre performances at the museum

Resources available to artists:
• Exhibition Gallery
• Museum workshop (in liaison with Museum Technician)
• Empty shop (for installation/development/participation work)
• Staff time
• Museum Collections

What the artist in residence will do
• They will liaise with museum staff, partners and the digital artist on the development and delivery of the exhibition/open studio.
• They will produce high quality, innovative participatory artwork
• They will run workshops and events.
• They will encourage visitors to the museum to engage with the project
• They will work closely with at least 6 community groups, Identified and engaged by museum staff, from Aberystwyth and its immediate environs.
• They will host the gallery a minimum of once a week, including at least four Saturdays over the duration of the exhibition.
• They will act as mentor to at least one Aberystwyth School of Art student
• They will liaise with Theatr Felinfach to input into the performance
• Have their own public liability insurance and equipment insurance.

Budget available for Artist in Residence fees: £17,400

What the digital artist will do
• They will liaise with museum staff, partners and the artist in residence on the development and delivery of the digital expressions.
• They will produce high quality, innovative participatory artwork
• They will work with at least four community groups outside the Aberystwyth area (these will be located in Llanon, New Quay, Llangeitho and from the agricultural community).
• Provide the equipment to deliver the project (additional equipment needs will be considered as appropriate)
• They will liaise with Theatr Felinfach to contribute to the performance, with responsibility for delivering the digital element.
• Have their own public liability insurance

Budget available for Digital Artist:
• Fees £9,000
• Travel £500

What the museum will do
• The museum will manage the project.
• The staff will take responsibility for the physical safety of the museum collections.
• We will provide information about the objects as required
• We will work with the community groups; establishing contact, familiarising them with the project, building trust and consulting with them
• We will support the artists and Theatr Felinfach in their endeavours
• We will liaise with external organisations e.g. Youth Service, Day Centre, etc. to build relationships with the groups.
• We will provide educational resources and activities
• We will undertake the marketing.

Budget for materials/equipment, to be spread over both elements: £3,000
Printing costs will be provided in-house (unless bigger than A1 width)
Plinths, cases and other display equipment available

Selection of the Artists
The artist(s) will be recruited through an open selection process.. Thos that have been screened by staff and partners with experience in delivering arts projects will be displayed in the museum for feedback from participating community groups. The artists that have excited the most interest will be invited for interview. The interviews will be a two stage process; the first stage will be an informal discussion with the interview board (museum, Theatr Felinfach and the School of Art staff) and representatives from participant groups in which the artist gives a 15 minute presentation of their ideas and answers resulting questions; the second stage is a more formal interview with the interview board.

Partners:

Theatr Felin-fach

Theatr Felin-fach is considered as a leader in delivering community arts projects in a Welsh language and bi-lingual context, that ensures access to all

Theatre Felin-fach uses the arts to promote:
• the creative development of individuals and groups
• the development of skills and proficiency in the arts
• social inclusion
• personal development
• linguistic and cultural integration
• participation in the arts
• celebration of cultural expression

Theatr Felin-fach’s work programme includes:
• Participative artistic programmes, using drama, theatre, dance and the media in general and community productions
• A programme of professional touring productions
• A varied programme of drama, theatre, dance and technical workshops
• Participative art programmes for children and young people, including 8 Drama Clubs, 2 Youth Theatre Companies, 3 dance companies
• Informal training opportunities in the technical fields of theatre, radio studio and broadcasting
• Informal training opportunities in the field of producing and directing drama/theatre
• Creative writing programmes
• A Local Culture programme which works with schools and rural communities
• A Dance in the Community Programme
• Advice, training and support for individuals
• Professional advice and support for community and Third Sector organisations

How Theatr Felin-fach will contribute to the project:
• Theatr Felin-fach and Ceredigion Museum will work in partnership to deliver their ‘Prosiect Storia’ in two local rural communities. This project aims to engage Welsh speakers, learners and non-Welsh speakers in creative, social, language appropriate activities that express local cultural identity. The museum will help to facilitate this project using its collection and integrate the outcome into either the exhibition and/or performances at the museum, depending on the creative work of the artist(s).

• Theatr Felinfach will work with 12-14 young people to create a short film made up of exciting images that will celebrate the characteristics of Ceredigion, that will be featured at the museum during the exhibition and/or performance. A bilingual narrative / voice-over will be developed to coincide with the images, which will touch upon some of the history of the county and represent themes and icons of relevance to the area.

• Theatr Felin-fach will facilitate the performance at the museum, working with a range of participants engaged through activities delivered by themselves and the museum and the artist(s)

• Theatr Felin-fach are bringing £8,500 from a separate Cynnal y Cardi bid, which will cover their costs, to the £91,760 ‘Storming the Walls’ Cynnal y Cardi funding.

Aberystwyth University School of Art
The teaching of art at Aberystwyth has a distinguished history that goes back to 1917, when it was one of only a few British universities to be concerned with the Art and Crafts Movement. Today, the School boasts a broad portfolio of undergraduate and postgraduate degree schemes, allowing either specialised or interdisciplinary studies of Fine Art, Art History, and Museum and Gallery Studies.

Set in its own grounds, the School is self-contained within a stylish interior that houses spacious and well-lit studios for painting and photography, darkrooms, print workshops, a Mac suite, as well as lecture theatres and seminar rooms. Allowing students to move with ease from one area of study to another and to remain in close contact with the staff, the proximity of these working spaces fosters a strong sense of community and cooperation.

The School also accommodates a museum, modern galleries, and extensive art archives. At the heart of the teaching programme, these resources express the School’s commitment to serve the interests of the public, which turns out to see our students’ annual degree shows.

The listed building, which celebrated its centenary in 2007, has been adapted to meet the needs of today’s fine art education while retaining many of its original features. It is an elegant symbol of the School’s aim to link the traditional and the contemporary.

How the School of Art will contribute to the project:
• The School of Art will help steer the project, providing expertise and staff time to select and support the artist(s)
• They will run the selection process for the Mentee-ship and support the mentee as appropriate

Contact Details
Alice Briggs (Assistant Curator)
Amgueddfa Ceredigion Museum
Terrace Road
Aberystwyth
Ceredigion
SY23 2AQ

01970 633 086

alice.briggs@ceredigion.gov.uk

Application Deadline 31st January 2013