Winning Words – Artists Brief


The Dukes, supported by Litfest, are working with Winning Words and the Forward Arts Foundation on a poetry project connected to the Olympics.  Lancaster is one of only seven towns and cities chosen for this project from across the UK (

Year five and six primary school children in the district will work with professional poets in their schools, then create their own poems which connect with the themes of the Olympics.  Many of the poems which the children write will then go on to form a poetry exhibition at The Dukes in October.

There will also be a competition element with the winning poem being selected in July.  The Dukes will commission an artist/builder/sculptor to work with The Dukes team and the winning poem (and poet) to create a permanent, or semi-permanent, artwork inspired by the poem.  The artwork will include, in some way, the text of the poem.  This art-work will be installed in either an internal or external space in the Lancasterdistrict, a space which serves the winning poem.  The art-work will be `unveiled’ on National Poetry Day, Saturday 6th October, 2012.

The Dukes team will liaise with Lancaster City Council and/or other bodies to identify and negotiate the permissions to install the poem at a suitable location. Due to the short timescale of this project, we will need to make pragmatic choices about favoured locations for siting the art work.

Artist Brief

The selected artist will work on the project in the following ways:

  • Develop designs and concepts for the artwork, being inspired by the winning poem and poet. These will include developing ideas on where the work would ideally be sited
  • Assist (as necessary) The Dukes in negotiating the relevant permissions to install the artwork at a suitable location
  • Advise on the approach to ownership and longer–term maintenance of the artwork
  • Complete the final designs and construct the art-work (or oversee its construction)
  • Install the artwork (or oversee its installation)
  • Provide visual material and support for the exhibition of the other poems at The Dukes, ensuring good links between the exhibition and the artwork created, and assist in `hanging’ this exhibition
  • Provide interpretive statements and contributions to press releases as required
  • Be available for press/media interviews as reasonably requested


A fee of £2,500, inclusive of all expenses (including VAT if applicable) and covering all aspects of the project, will be paid to the artist.

Artist Selection

The project aims to match up the interests, experience, skills and ambitions of the artist with the themes and qualities of the winning poem.  We want the artwork created to be fully inspired by the poem itself and we anticipate that certain artists and art-forms will be more suited to certain poems.

We will openly invite artists to state their interest in the project and to give examples of previous work.  Artists will be asked to write a short statement about why they are interested in the project and what they would bring to it.  We are particularly interested in working with an artist who has an existing knowledge of, and connection with, theLancasterdistrict.  Artists will be required to have public liability insurance and a current CRB check in place.

We will then short-list the artists at the same time as we short-list the poems.  Once the winning poem is selected, we plan to invite two or three artists to interview and discuss how they might approach working with the winning poem.  The artist will then be selected.

Timeline – 2012

  • 9th July – Deadline for Expressions of Interest from artists, short-listing
  • 12th July – Winning poem selected, two or three short-listed artists sent poem and invited to consider ways in which they might work with it
  • 18th July – Artist interviews and selection
  • 24th August – Initial designs and concepts for the artwork, including ideas for siting artwork
  • 19th September – Relevant permissions to install the artwork agreed

–          Approach to Dukes exhibitions agreed

  • Week beginning 1st October – Install the artwork
  • 6th October – Public unveiling of artwork
  • Week beginning 8th October Hang Dukes exhibition


Hard copy or email expressions of interest are sought from artists, including the following information:

Short statement outlining artists’ interest in the project and what they would bring to it

  • Visual examples of previous work (or links to this)
  • Summary CV or work history and contact details
  • Any availability issues ref the project timeline

Any queries ahead of the deadline should be sent to Jacqui Wilson – – or Joe Sumsion –

Completed applications should be sent to:  Jacqui Wilson, Theatre Secretary, The Dukes, Moor lane, Lancaster, LA1 1QE,

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