Great Exhibition of The North Commission Opportunity

Deadline: 17/09/2017  |  Published: 15/08/2017  |  Venue: Sage Gateshead  |  City: Gateshead  |  Region: Tyne and Wear  |  Country: United Kingdom  |  Amy Connell

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In 2018 Sage Gateshead will be a lead partner in Great Exhibition of the North, a one off event celebrating the Story of the North of England. The Great Exhibition will celebrate the great art, design and innovation which is coming from the north and look to the future. As a lead cultural partner and in collaboration with Baltic and other local partners, Sage Gateshead will put together a programme of activity in and around the Gateshead Quays to create one of the ‘hub’ sites for the Great Exhibition. Sage Gateshead would like to commission an individual, collective or company, from or based in the north, to create a transformational installation for the public spaces in our Foster + Partners building. This will be our lead commission for Great Exhibition of the North.

Commission Opportunity

Sage Gateshead would like to commission an individual, collective or company, from or based in the north, to create a transformational installation for the public spaces in our Foster + Partners building. This will be our lead commission for Great Exhibition of the North.

It will launch on Friday 22 June and run throughout the festival duration of 77 days until 3 September 2018.

The installation will respond to the Great Exhibition of the North, (GEOTN) objectives by being impactful and instilling a sense of wonder and surprise in our audiences.

It will act as a reason to visit Sage; a destination attraction that transforms, reveals and interacts with our building, audiences and wider programme.

The work must be ambitious and showcase the latest thinking in innovative production, audience interactivity, immersion and high quality experience.

We want our audiences to take away from this commission a sense of wonder, experiencing something they have never experienced before. We want them to feel surprised and uplifted. We want them to feel excited and inspired about the future of the north. We want people to rave about this and recommend it to their networks.

What it could do for us. It Could...

• Play with and transform our building internally and externally, the surrounding area and beyond.

• Exist virtually and online as well as in the physical world.

• Provide moments of changed state throughout the exhibition period, be animated in different ways at different times.

• Utilise public participation, data and feedback

• Leave a legacy of content and infrastructure that will be useful to Sage in the future.

Style and Interpretation

We are open to a wide range of artistic styles but specifically interested in making use of the most innovative technology to create a transformational experience within our building.


Sage Gateshead’s programme as part of the Great Exhibition of the North is designed to attract new audiences into our building.

This commission plays a crucial part in underpinning Sage Gateshead’s programme, providing a constant reason to visit. It should act as a foot in the door moment for those who have never visited us before. It will be a catalyst for changing perceptions that Sage is a traditional classical institution.-4-

We are dividing the programme up to target adults across the first six weeks of the festival and families throughout the school holidays so the installation must work for both audiences.

The audience for the programme will be both local and tourists visiting Newcastle Gateshead for the first time that have no prior knowledge of Sage Gateshead.


We do not want to prescribe content, but would like you to consider the question of the future of the north and to reflect on the centrality which music has for Sage Gateshead.


The installation must work within Sage Gateshead which has a unique set of constraints:

• It must work in both the daytime and evening and with a variety of different light levels.

• It must work for multiple people to congregate and experience.

• It must work in a high footfall area and robustly withstand the traffic.

• It must work in multi-functional spaces including operational spaces such as café, ticket office; each with accompanying requirements.

• It must work and co-exist with our wider programme or activity for the duration.

• It must be accessible – physically and intellectually.

• People must visit us – they must not walk past us.

• It must be possible to ‘turn off’ for instances when we need the space to be used in its regular state.

Development Schedule

Site Visits August 2017

Deadline for initial proposals Sunday 17 September 2017

Invitation to interview October 2017

Appoint successful artist October 2017

Initial design concept December 2017

Final design concept March 2018

Installation June 2018

Launch June 2018

De-rigg September 2018

Site Visit

We invite interested parties to book on to a site visit with key members of the project team to take a building tour and find out more about our ambitions for this work.

Site visits are available on Friday 25 August and Wednesday 30 August. Please contact Amy Connell on to book a space.


Sage Gateshead will work with the selected artist or company on finalising the artistic direction and will provide technical advice and guidance throughout.


Sage Gateshead will create a look and feel for all activity across the programme for the duration of the festival. The installation will need to work as part of this.

Initial Proposals

To respond to this commission opportunity please send us an artistic proposal by Sunday 17 September 2017 including:

A CV or biography

A written description of your idea and how it responds to this brief (500 words)

No more than five images illustrating your idea (PNG files)

No more than two minutes of video or sound illustrating our idea (YouTube link)

Two examples of previous similar work you have delivered.

An indicative budget (please use the template below)

Artistic Fee

Sub-contractor fees


Equipment purchases/hire


Accommodation and travel







Contact the curator
When is the deadline?
The deadline for initial submissions is Sunday 17th September 2017.
When is the delivery date?
The Installation will be active from June 2018 to September 2018 to coincide with the dates of The Great Exhibition of The North.
When do I need to collect my work?
The De-rig of the installation will be scheduled for September 2018.
What are the exhibition opening hours?
The opening hours for the installation will be the same as those set for the opening times of Sage Gateshead.
Does the location have disabled access?
Yes, our whole building is accessible.
How do you decide on proposals?
Each submission will firstly be reviewed by a panel of professionals working on the Great Exhibition of The North 2018, before being shortlisted. Those that are shortlisted will then be asked to come in for an interview/presentation to discuss their submission further, before a final decision will be made.

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