Pier Projects Announce New Art Commission for Felixstowe

During this pandemic life hasn’t been easy for anyone, but in the professional world the creative industry has had a particularly hard time of it. And the Felixstowe peninsula is particularly rich in creatives, from musicians and theatre practitioners to visual artists.

With venues closed or at limited capacity it has been very difficult to get work out there  – but now arts facilitators Pier Projects have announced a new paid commission to celebrate walking within Felixstowe, with the outcome being a site specific installation or map for the public to engage with and enjoy.

Who Are Pier Projects ?

Pier Projects was founded and is led by curator Natalie Pace and arts educator Louise Stratford who both live in West Suffolk and met at the now defunct Smiths Row Gallery in Bury St Edmunds, and through a shared love of both arts and endurance swimming and running decided form a new alliance to work together as arts facilitators.

According to their website their remit is to ‘commission  projects which inform their  non-dualistic approaches to art and health, believing  contemporary art to be vital to the wellbeing, development and sustainability of individuals, communities and cultures.’ 

‘Pier Projects believe art to be a humanistic enquiry , largely in the public realm, where we believe the impact of art to be most potent. Our work is located in the coastal town of Felixstowe, Suffolk: this context drives our programming’

Previous projects have include Adam Bridland’s installation ‘Upon Every Wave’ at Felixstowe Ferrry, Caroline Wright’s ‘Breath in a Beach Hut’ in 2018 and Anna Brownstead’s sound installation in Landguard Fort ‘Sierra Tango Foxtrot’ in 2019.

Pier Projects is a registered CIC, operating as a not-for-profit company.

What is the Commission?

The commission, to be developed and delivered in 2021, will explore walking as a creative practice and offer a new artwork or map for people to explore the town

Pier Projects explain – ‘Conversations have revealed that coastal walking is seen as one of the greatest benefits of living in Felixstowe as well as a primary reason for visitors coming to the town. There is also evidence that being the sea can have positive benefits for mind and body, defined as ‘blue health’. Historically known for health-based activity such as bathing, relaxing and holidays – Felixstowe is a fascinating and relevant place to think about wellbeing and has increased significance post-covid

The project intends to reconnect people with their local environment and places within their town and promote wellbeing.  It also aims to contribute to personal and collective reflection, support recovery from trauma and develop a spirit of collective endeavour and sense of pride in Felixstowe.’

The artist will bring their experience and interests to create a new work shaped by Felixstowe communities. A newly-formed Community Panel will select the artist from a shortlist of three. Residents will be asked to nominate sites, views or locations within the town that are significant to them and young people will be consulted through an established partnership including Level Two Youth Project and other initiatives in the town. These places and memories will feed into the development of the final commission. The estimated launch date is October 2021, subject to social distancing measures.  

How to apply:

You can  download the full brief here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vS2BM3pQVf0jHnUhANRI2oXAk-GHHvJ8kWjtKCJfIhf84OFZUqy7tL-rMh7ZglOmvvvo_X2B24Mmaxg/pub

Deadline for applications: Midday on  Monday 15 March

Commission’s Aims and Objectives

  • To provide a rich context for an artist to create a new work inspired by the specificities of Felixstowe and its people that may include the coastal location, the port or other relevant sites, stories and histories
  • To support Felixstowe communities to have a confident voice in shaping the creative offer of the town
  • To develop a thought-provoking project that reconnects people         
  • To enable the artist, Pier Projects and the public to consider the political as well as social meaning of ‘health’ in new, critical directions
  • To support Pier Projects to explore new ways of working more collaboratively with Felixstowe communities and open-up new pathways to cultural decision-making processes

Pier Projects are looking to support an artist who can show some of the following qualities:

  • A demonstrable, ambitious and inclusive social practice
  • Experience of creating site or place-specific work
  • An interest in critical connections between contemporary art and health and /or walking as an interdisciplinary practice
  • Experience of working with communities, listening and responding to their unique needs and aspirations
  • A strong vision that enables opportunities for creative risk-taking
  • A flexible and responsive approach, especially within this unpredictable landscape
  • An interest in Pier Projects’ curatorial approach and the town of Felixstowe

How to apply:

 Please submit one PDF file (3 sides max.) including:

1. CV to include any relevant examples of relevant past work and details of two referees

2. Outline your interest explaining;

 i) Why you would like to be considered and how your experience is appropriate

You may wish to talk about specific past projects that are relevant or you are proud of and why this opportunity is for you. Please read and refer to the Artist Experience section carefully.

 ii) How you might respond to the brief

You may wish to talk about specific thematics or questions that guide your project. Please read and refer to the Project Aims section carefully. They are not looking for a final or fully formed proposal at this stage – a more developed idea is only required should you be shortlisted.

This can be done via either

  • via written statement (in no more than 800 words- you do not have to use all the wordcount and bullet points are fine)
  • short video (less than four minutes please)

Please submit your application to pierprojectsorg@gmail.com with the ‘Subject Line’ Walking Commission.

If you are submitting a video, please send via WeTransfer, titled with your full name                                        

Deadline for applications: Midday on  Monday 15 March

If any of this application procedure provides a challenge, please get in touch with Pier Projects via their website.

Please do not send additional catalogues or other material in the post as it will not be reviewed or returned.  

Selection Process:

Artists’ submissions will be reviewed and shortlisted by Pier Projects in the first instance.  The commissioned artist will then be selected from the shortlist by a small community panel made up of Felixstowe residents.  Three shortlisted artists will be invited to share their idea with the panel. Shortlisted artists will be provided a fee for their presentation. Due to covid19, these are very likely to happen online but will be reviewed  in line with Government advice in March.

Artist Support

The artist will be supported by Pier Projects’ curatorial staff. Pier Projects will undertake the operational side of gathering public nominations, stakeholder liaison and will provide continual creative support.

The Artist will receive a fee of £3,000 plus a budget of £1,000 for travel, expenses or materials.

Commitment to Widening Opportunity

Pier Projects is committed to supporting artists, making new work. We understand the complex juggling acts of practicing artists and will endeavour to work flexibly. The commission is not expected to be full-time, nor consecutive days but the artist is expected to commit to working for 15 days or 100 hours in total.

Key dates:

  • January – Applications open
  • March 15 – Applications close
  • Shortlisted artists notified
  • Early April -Shortlisted artists to Felixstowe to present to community panel        
  • Selected artist notified and commissioning process begins                
  • October – Walking Project launches with celebratory event

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