Art-Science Commission on Membrane Disrupting Peptides with Therapeutic Potential for Cancer

Deadline: 17/12/2019  |  Published: 17/11/2019  |  Venue: The University of Leeds / St. James’s University Hospital, Leeds  |  City: Leeds  |  Region: West Yorkshire  |  Country: United Kingdom  |  Paul Beales

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A group of scientists primarily based at the University of Leeds, we are developing peptides (small biomolecules) to selectively damage the surface of cancer cells as a potential new type of cancer treatment. We are seeking an artist to work with us to develop an artwork in response to our research that will serve as a means of accessible science communication with patients and the public, with the opportunity to be on long-term display in St James’s University Hospital, part of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

Who are we?

We are a group of laboratory scientific researchers collaborating on a project to develop peptides that can specifically attack and break down the surface, or membranes, of cancer cells which have a different molecular composition compared to those of healthy cells. Core to our current work is a naturally occurring peptide that acts more strongly on cancer cell membranes than normal cells.  

We understand the basic principles of how this peptide achieves selectivity for cancer cell membranes and we are studying this in more detail. We also hope we can improve the design of peptides to make them suitable for drug development. Our team is mostly based at the University of Leeds and is highly multidisciplinary, spanning chemistry, physics and medicine. We also have external collaboration in chemistry at Durham University and biology at the University of York. This research is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and led by Dr Paul Beales (https://beales.leeds.ac.uk).

What do we seek?

We are looking to work with an artist who will produce a commissioned artwork inspired by our research into membrane-active peptides for public display in clinical settings. It is planned that the artwork will be displayed for three months in the atrium of the Bexley Wing at St James’s University Hospital, which is part of the Yorkshire Cancer Centre. This will be followed by long-term display in the new Clinical Research Facility (CRF; Director, Professor Chris Twelves), also within the Bexley Wing; the CRF, where patients will take part in clinical trials, will open in January 2020.

The art work will raise awareness of publicly funded research that could lead to new therapies, while helping to provide a relaxing and interesting environment for patients and relatives at what is a difficult time.

Who are we looking for?

We are looking an artist or artists able to use their art to engage an audience and inspire fascination and amazement in scientific concepts and principles. The artist may work in any medium with the proviso that the artwork produced is suitable for long-term continuous display without the need for regular maintenance. It is essential that the artist has experience and/or interest in working within the intersections of art and science. Ideally, the artist should have experience working in collaboration with and learning from scientists, academic or industry experts or be able to demonstrate a willingness to do so.

The commission may be sculptural, wall mounted or freestanding and innovation in concept and materials is welcomed, within the constraints of a clinical environment; this latter aspect will be discussed in detail with the successful individual(s).

We are seeking proposals that respond to our scientific research and not to the social impacts of cancer. We are not looking for something that is illustrative or a form of visualisation of a scientific concept. The artwork should be an artistic response to our science that captures an interest and fascination for the research.

We would also expect the selected artist(s) to capture and record their experiences in analogue or digital forms such as blogs/vlogs, photos, etc. that can be used to publicise the commission online and through social media.

For this commission opportunity, we will provide:

  • An artist’s (or artists’) fee of £2,000
  • A materials, manufacturing and delivery budget, up to a maximum of £2,500
  • Travel, evaluation and public appearance expenses, up to a maximum of £500
  • Access to project meetings and one-to-one interaction with members of the project team at the University of Leeds and St James’s University Hospital, at different stages of their career


Time-line and milestones for the commission:

  • Application deadline: 17th Dec 2019
  • Selection, interviews with artists: mid-January 2020
  • Research stage, including visits to the University of Leeds and St James’s University Hospital: February/March 2020
  • Working up ideas, preparing and making models (if appropriate): April/May 2020
  • Completion of art work: end of August 2020


Who can apply?

We welcome proposals from artists working in all types of media (subject to the requirements of the clinical environment) and at any stage of their career.

Artists can be based anywhere, but besides (flexible) contact via phone and internet, we will expect several visits to the University of Leeds and public displays or appearances at St James’s University Hospital.

Selection

All applications will be reviewed by a committee consisting of members of the research project team from the University of Leeds, artists, staff from St James’s University Hospital and representatives from local patient and public involvement groups.

A short-list will be drawn up from the written applications. Interviews (by Skype or in person) will then be held with the short-listed applicants to decide the final award of the commission.

Please note that while the artist retains the intellectual property rights and reproduction rights of the artwork, the research group do expect to take ownership of the artwork at the end of the commissioning process and to use documentation of it for grants and publicity purposes.

 

Make a submission Contact the curator
Who is eligible for this opportunity?
• We welcome proposals from artists working in all types of media (subject to the requirements of the clinical environment) and at any stage of their career.
• Artists can be based anywhere, but besides (flexible) contact via phone and internet, we will expect several visits to the University of Leeds and public displays or appearances at St James’s University Hospital.
When is the deadline?
Tuesday 17th December 2019
When is the delivery date?
End of August 2020
Are there payments to artists?
For this commission opportunity, we will provide:
• An artist’s (or artists’) fee of £2,000
• A materials, manufacturing and delivery budget, up to a maximum of £2,500
• Travel, evaluation and public appearance expenses, up to a maximum of £500
• Access to project meetings and one-to-one interaction with members of the project team at the University of Leeds and St James’s University Hospital, at different stages of their career.
Who will own the artwork?
Please note that while the artist retains the intellectual property rights and reproduction rights of the artwork, the research group do expect to take ownership of the artwork at the end of the commissioning process and to use documentation of it for grants and publicity purposes.

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