Opportunity: Volunteer Voices – Blue Sky Ideas

4th April 2022


OPEN CALL for artist Ideas for 4 major heritage sites in the North, as part of the Volunteer Voices project, run by Newcastle University and Arts&Heritage.


Background to the project

Volunteer Voices is a collaborative project between Newcastle University and Arts&Heritage with a group of heritage volunteers who wanted to develop their understanding and knowledge of contemporary art. It has been very successful and for the final part of this project, we are supporting the volunteers through the process of selecting an artist for a micro-commission for their heritage site. This micro-commission will run very similarly to our Blue Sky Museums project of 2020 and will result in 4 artist Ideas for 4 major heritage sites in the north of England.

What we want from you

Having looked at the Artist Briefs (below), prepared by the volunteers for their heritage sites, we want to receive Ideas from artists working in any medium. What if there were no limits on your artistic Idea – no practical constraints, no budgets – the Idea doesn’t even need to be technically possible, and can be as simple and/or complicated as you want.

We are looking for maximum creativity and audacious imagination, and want to receive your imagined artwork in visual, audio, film – or any other form we can display on our website. Don’t think about how it could be made or the cost of it – just send us good visuals, film edits, sound files – anything that gives us a clear, lively description of your Idea. The response you send us is, in itself, the artwork, so stretch your imagination and ambition to its fullest. You can find examples of the sort of thing we are looking for on our Blue Sky Museums page.

What happens next

The volunteers will select one Idea per site, and each selected artistic response will receive £500 to be shown on the Arts&Heritage website, as well as promotion.  Depending on how you present your initial Idea, we may ask for additional information in order for us to present it on our website if yours is selected. We would like to stress that the responses we are inviting will not result in a full-scale commission – this is an opportunity for artists to engage in untethered idea development, without any restrictions.

Key dates

4 April – applications open

13 May – deadline to receive all applications

10 June – artists informed of volunteers’ selection

24 June – selected ideas displayed online

Further information

All further details can be downloaded in this application pack. If you have any questions that are not answered in the pack, please email Becky Orwin at becky@artsandheritage.org.uk

Artist’s Briefs

Durham Cathedral

Belsay Hall, Castle, Quarry and Gardens

Hadrian’s Wall

Ushaw Historic House, Chapels and Gardens

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