Blackburn Artist Opportunity

Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery/ Phase 1 Artist Brief

 Creativity Works background:

Creativity Works is a consortium consisting of Pennine Lancashire Arts Officers, Arts Council North West, Lancashire County Council, Creative Lancashire, Elevate and Curious Minds. The partnership provides the infrastructure for joint working, shared approaches, economies of scale working across the sub region and alignment to the Multi Area Agreement as well as districts Local Area Agreement’s.

 Creativity Works was initially set up in 2000, supporting Creative Industries in Pennine Lancashire. In 2008 it extended its remit to work strategically on four priority areas: Health, Business, Regeneration and People, to raise the profile of and participation in, quality arts practice in the region.

 The engagement programme of work that this project belongs to, began in September 2009. The aim of this work is to increase engagement in the arts through working with local heritage venues.  This project forms part of the initial programme of activity that will happen with each partner venue.

 Project background:

In 2008, Star Paper Mill in Blackburn closed down after 133 years of production on the site. When the site closed, the curatorial staff from Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery were invited to take any of the records, archives or objects they felt would preserve the sites history. Most of what they collected where records and pictures. In partnership with Lancashire County Records Service and Blackburn Library Service, they are now going through a process of identification and documentation of these objects and archives. The services are working with local volunteers, some who are ex-employees of the site, to carry out this work. There is a display cabinet being used in Livesey Library, the local library to the mill, to temporarily display some of the archive.

 Alongside this project, Creativity Works are working throughout East Lancashire to utilise empty shop spaces in town centres. This commission is part of a larger scheme of work that brings together empty shop spaces and local heritage venues as a way of increase community engagement with arts and heritage. There will be an opportunity in each of the six Pennine Lancashire local authorities to work in partnership with a local heritage venue to increase engagement in the visual arts through the use of an empty shop. The commission is to work in Blackburn.


  • To increase engagement in the arts in Blackburn with Darwen
  • To work with the community and local voluntary groups to engage the local people with their recent past through arts activity and discussion
  • To use the empty shop space as a platform for arts activity
  • To raise the profile of Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery in the town centre
  • To encourage conversation and discussion
  • To use arts activity to link together the Star Paper Mill project’s new archives with BMAG collection of print and books, and make these relevant to the community
  • To explore the themes these subjects suggest such as story telling, paper usage and communication
  • To create new art work that can be used to further engage the public with BMAG

 Project brief:

We would like to recruit an artist to develop work that will engage the community with the findings of the Star Paper Mill project, stimulate conversation or reminiscences and produce new work with the community. This activity will take place in the empty shop space in Blackburn town centre, bringing the communities around the mill into the town centre. As mentioned in the aims, BMAG have a collection of books and print of national importance and this may also be a source of inspiration for the project. We want the communities of Blackburn to reconnect with the collections of BMAG, and their interest in Star Paper Mill will be a good vehicle for doing this. Proposals can be using any art form from craft techniques to new media, but they must show how working with the community will directly influence the outcome. The outcome of this project must be something that further connects the community and leaves a legacy, depending on the form, this maybe something that gets distributed to a certain neighbourhood or goes into the museum collection.

Project Structure:

This project will take place in an empty shop (venue tbc) in Blackburn. We have the use of this space for four weeks in July 2010. As part of the project you must:

  • Be in the shop space for at least four half day sessions a week, one of which must be a Saturday afternoon. There are a total of 18 half day session paid for in the budget and these can be divided up in the planning stages with the artist.
  • The sessions will be divided up into a mix of time working with community and voluntary groups and open sessions for the public to drop in
  • The artist may also use the space out of these hours
  • Organise the installation/distribution of the outcome of the project (there is one paid artist day in the budget for this).
  • Undertake an online blog to document the progress of the project to further engage the community


 18 x 0.5 artists days @ £90 = £1,620

1 x full artist day (installation) = £180

Materials = £450

Total = £2,250

 How to apply:

 To apply, please send us:

 1. An outline of how you would approach this project. This should include:

  • How you would approach working with the community and voluntary groups
  • The themes you would be interested in exploring
  • Methods you might use to create new work
  • A draft budget

2. Examples of previous work/projects that you have undertaken

3. A full CV

4. A letter of application stating what interests you about this project.

 Please send application, or for more information, by email to Laura Rodgers, Creativity Works Arts Engagement Officer,

 Closing date: 26/03/2010 (12 noon)

Interview date: 12/04/2010


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