Call for Consultant/ Curator Team

Deadline: 17/02/2020  |  Published: 24/01/2020  |  City: Chester  |  Region: Cheshire  |  Country: United Kingdom  |  Cheshire West and Chester

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Cheshire West and Cheshire (CW&C) would like to appoint a Consultant /Curator Team to develop a detailed proposal for a contemporary visual arts biennial in Chester.

Arts and Festivals, Cheshire West and Cheshire would like to appoint a Consultant / Curator Team to develop a detailed proposal for a contemporary visual arts biennial in Chester. 


The visual arts biennial should become part of a programme that helps grow the cultural ecology in Chester and surrounding area. Currently there is no visual arts space or hub for artists to meet, work in, present their work or develop collaborations. As part of addressing this issue we are working in partnership with the University of Chester to implement a series of initiatives that offer a focal point for the visual arts.  Through influencing and creating opportunities for visual arts activity to take place, in various forms, we aim to cultivate an ecology that offers more opportunity for artists to stay and work in the city.    

Contemporary Visual Arts Biennial:

We anticipate that the visual arts biennial will be an ambitious artist-led programme that links sites and encourages movement around the city, enabling more people to see, use and enjoy the underused / underappreciated areas; and promote the city's public realm as a social space for everyone. Commissioning artworks that are provocative and challenge perceptions, that create surprising and unexpected experiences across the city. 

The historic fabric of the city is important to its identity and character and therefore the city’s rich heritage and unusual spaces create both challenges and opportunities. We want to work with artists in visual arts, sound, digital media and new technologies to unlock the potential of our key buildings and streetscape by producing experiences that provoke new ways of appreciating the city and highlighting hidden spaces. 

Consultant/curator role:

We’d like to appoint a team who would research and prepare a feasibility study that will refine the artistic vision, artistic programme and establish the level of ambition. Alongside this, to recommend an appropriate organisational structure and governance required to curate, organise and manage the programme; and help to identify funding and partners in order to make this a sustainable programme. We are aware that a compelling vision and programme is essential in order to secure future partners, funding and investment needed to realise the first iteration; with a view that this will become a sustainable programme. 

It is essential that the team have experience of socially engaged practice and embed this in the development of the artistic programme through democratic processes. 


We have been working closely with partners, including the University of Chester, Open Eye Gallery and Visual Arts Forum to co-author these initiatives; we anticipate that the consultant/curator team will continue these partnerships. This will have particular relevance when using action-research to pilot and test methodologies and processes for co-creation and socially engaged artworks; and when embedding shared ownership of the biennial with the partners and local communities.

Potential themes / areas:

We are interested in potential ideas for a thematic programm that would change with each iteration of the biennial. Within this we'd like there to be an essence that relates to Chester's 'sense of place' and identity; however, this includes how the city connects to wider national and international issues and agendas.

Some current areas of interest are in the:

  • Environment – the local authority has declared that the borough is in a Climate Emergency
  • Socially engaged processes and practice
  • Migration and refugees - Chester is a City of Sanctuary and part of the grassroots movement working towards the vision for the UK to be a welcoming place of safety for people fleeing violence and persecution
  • Age-friendly communities – Cheshire West is part of the network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities in the UK

These themes are indicative and we are open to further thoughts and ideas. 

The fee for the curator/consultant team is: £10,000. This is inclusive of all costs, fees and expenses.


Contact the curator
Who is eligible for this opportunity?
Consultants, Curators, Artists
When is the deadline?
9am, 17th February 2020
How do you decide on proposals?
We will hold an open competition to select the consultant/curator team.
What happens if my proposal is chosen?
Successful applicants will be invited to interview on Wednesday 26th February 2020.
Unsuccessful applicants will not be informed.
What are the selection criteria?
Consultant / Curator Team should be highly collaborative, professional and creative, with demonstrable experience of:

• Strategic work and partnership development
• knowledge and experience of planning and delivery of high quality artworks in a range of diverse and site specific locations
• socially-engaged practice
• working with a range of professional artists from emerging to those of national repute
• fundraising and development
• working collaboratively and experience of working with a range of individuals and organisations including artists, collectives and public bodies.
What is the budget?
The fee for the curator/consultant team is: £10,000. This is inclusive of all costs, fees and expenses

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