Rossendale Project (Rossendale Museum)

Rossendale 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:

 Rossendale Museum is a local museum that has a diverse collection of objects, with a particular interest in objects that have a relationship to Rossendale. The museum has a range of permanent exhibitions and a gallery space that hosts a programme of ongoing exhibitions by artists and makers. As well as the objects on display, the museum has a fascinating collection of objects in storage ranging from Victorian clothing, patchworks and wallpaper to stuffed animal and shells. We are looking to use these ‘hidden collections’ to increase engagement in the arts and with this venue.

 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 Rossendale.


  • To increase engagement with the arts in Rossendale
  • To explore the hidden collections of Rossendale Museum and use them to excite the communities of Rossendale.
  • To raise the profile of Rossendale Museum in Rawtenstall town centre
  • To encourage discussion and dialogue through activity to explore how people engage with the arts and their barriers in visiting heritage venues.
  • To create new work in any form, which will, in itself, further engage the communities in the arts.
  • To work with existing voluntary and community groups in the area.

 Project brief:

 We would like to recruit an artist to work with the staff and collections of Rossendale Museum. Rossendale Museum has a number of permanent exhibitions of which it is known for in the area. We would like to use the unseen collections that are stored in the museums attic as inspirations for a project that will challenge and excite the communities of Rossendale. Highlights of these collections include Victorian clothing, samplers, patchwork quilts, stuffed animals, shells, wallpaper and local history. Inspiration can also be drawn from the building the museum is housed in which was built in the 1840 as a family home and turned into a museum in 1902. Original wallpaper from the time it was a family home still covers the walls in some rooms. To fully explore the potential of the museum we plan to give the artist one week to spend in the museum and with its staff to fully develop their idea. The project will then be based at the empty shop. We would like to see a project that makes the museum relevant to the interest of communities today and shows a different side to the museum. There is potential to take objects out to the empty shop space, but this will be dependant on conversations with the museum.

Projects should have engagement and developing shared work at the core of them. Dependant on what the resulting work is there are a number of options for exhibiting outcomes. Work should link the audiences that have engaged with the project in the town centre with the museum and encourage these audiences to visit.

Proposals can be made to work in any art form. We are looking for projects that are innovative and artists who have had experience working on such projects with a real interest in developing work with communities.

 We would like to see a project that:

  • Uses innovative approaches to engage the community and local voluntary groups with the production of new work as well as interaction with the collection
  • Uses the Rossendale open studio event in June to engage artist groups in the area
  • Encourages discussion and conversation
  • Links the museum with the town centre
  • Can use any art form, or a combination of art forms, from craft to new media
  • Results in new work created in collaboration with the community

 Project Structure:

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

  • Spend one week in the museum as a research stage (times to be arranged)
  • Be in the empty shop space for a timetable arranged between the Artist, Museum and Arts Engagement Officer. There are a total of 15 half day session paid for in the budget and these can be divided up in the planning stages.
  • 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


 1 week research time = £500

15 x 0.5 artists days @ £90 = £1,350

1 x full artist day (installation) = £180

Materials = £470

Total = £2,500

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 06/04/2010


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