Deadline: 25/04/2022  |  Published: 11/03/2022  |  City: Portland, Dorset  |  Region: Dorset  |  Country: United Kingdom  |  b-side CIC

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Expressions of interest invited from artists experienced in community engagement, co-creation and socially engaged practice, for a commission on the Isle of Portland, Dorset . Fee: £4000 plus travel & accommodation allowance and additional budget of up to £2000 for materials and equipment.

b-side is inviting expressions of interest from artists or artist collaborations who have social engagement and site sensitivity at the heart of their practice, for a commission working with the community in response to the site of a ruined cottage on the seafront facing Chesil Beach on the Isle of Portland, Dorset as part of a Heritage Lottery funded project called This Land.

This Land Project

This Land is a two-year project exploring and celebrating the unique natural and built heritage of the isle of Portland, Dorset and responds directly to community concerns about their environment. Exploring land use and access, land and property rights, biodiversity and climate change, the project aims to raise awareness, gather and share knowledge, and upskill and empower the community to protect and enhance their environment.

The project focuses on two ‘at risk’ sites and aims to reach those who might not usually get involved in heritage. The two sites are the remains of a Tudor cottage in Brandy Row on the seafront at Chiswell and the last remaining area of unquarried/agricultural landscape at Portland Bill.

The project programme includes activities and discussion events exploring the biodiversity and history of Portland, and will open up conversations around threats and opportunities for the Island. What does the future hold for these sites? How does an island adapt to environmental change? How do we best enhance and protect our environment? 

Our aim is to encourage, facilitate and support a dialogue that gives a voice to different points of view, whilst also researching and documenting existing built and natural environmental heritage. Key project activity will involve residents in research activities to discover and uncover histories, gather data, learning new skills in the process.

Artist commissions will respond to and interpret the community-led research and create artworks/activities/dialogue engaging a wide range of people, sharing knowledge, and raising awareness of environmental issues for residents and visiting audiences.

Additional background info

This brief is for artist/artist collaboration to work in response to the Brandy Row site, Chiswell.

The Brandy Row site is an area of council-owned land currently used for fishing stores. Once a row of Tudor stone and thatch cottages, the buildings were heavily damaged by storms and allowed to deteriorate since. However, the remains of one of the cottages still stands. Working with the community, a Research Facilitator and artists we will explore the past of this site, capture any stories and record memories, creating an archive of the site and its context on Portland.

What is the story of this building? What can we uncover about the past? We will focus on exploring laws, customs, property rights and the effects of climate change on this vulnerable coastal seafront position. Situated in an at risk area with sea levels rising – can this building be saved and what innovative ideas might we explore for its future? What are the options that support and preserve this prominent part of Portland as a community asset?

'This Land' project starts in May 2022 with a Research Facilitator supporting community-led research exploring both sites. A public event on Sat 18 June will share the initial research with a wider audience. The research will also be shown in some form during our festival 8-11th Sept 2022.

This commission is for an artist/s to work alongside and/or in response to the community-led research and the issues described above relating to the Brandy Row site and context. The artist/s work will develop activities that extend the community reach beyond the research group and engage those who might not usually get involved in cultural projects.

We are open to artists working in any medium whose creative process includes various methods, stages or outcomes such as: collaboration or co-creation, works in progress, sharing of process to a visiting audience, final artistic outcome and reflection process. As part of their work we would like artists to incorporate a form of consultation that captures residents and visitor ideas for the future use of this site as a community asset. Residents that currently use the site for storing fishing gear would be encouraged to participate and contribute to this future vision that would include their storage arrangements continuing in some form. 

b-side will introduce the artist/artists to our network of partners and residents on the island, to community groups or individuals who are interested in the project and to venues for workshops etc. and to act as a sounding board for creative elements of the project where required. Key partners for the Brandy Row site are The Portland Building Preservation Trust.

Key dates for project activities and outcomes can be negotiated but should include either a final outcome OR sharing of work in progress at b-side’s festival September 08 -11, 2022, with the option of a further or final opportunity for sharing in September 2023.


Project period April 2022 – September 2023

Community research period with facilitator: May/June 2022

Public display/presentation/engagement events: 18 June 2022 and 8 – 11, Sept 2022, also June and September 2023

Fee: £4000 plus travel & accommodation allowance

Materials: additional budget of up to £2000 for materials and equipment (depending on agreed proposal)

Deadline for applications: 25 April 2022

Apply by video?

As well as written responses, we can accept audio and video responses too. If you want to submit responses to any of the above via video or audio, please record your video/audio response, save it on Youtube/Vimeo/ Google Drive/Dropbox, and then add the link to the video within the CuratorSpace form (where the written response would usually go).  Max video length 7 mins total

Any queries please contact: 


Please let us know if you need any of the information in a different format. Additionally, please contact us if there is anything we can do to make the application process more accessible to you.

For further support email Molly Scarborough (b-side's Access lead):

About b-side

We are a cultural organisation based on Portland, b-side’s ethos is to develop projects that sustain or enhance the distinctive geographical character of a place - its environment, heritage, aesthetics, culture, and wellbeing of residents. b-side commissions artists from all disciplines to make site-specific artworks and community engagement projects in response to the Isle of Portland and showcases the work in a festival format. We work with communities to uncover histories and hidden narratives, which are shared widely across physical and digital platforms.


b-side are committed to minimising our environmental impact. We encourage everyone we work with to consider the carbon footprint related to any activities as part of their work with us, including to re-purpose or recycle all materials from workshops, exhibitions, installations and performances.


b-side values diversity and are working to make our application and commissioning process accessible to all. We welcome proposals from those currently under-represented in the arts and encourage disabled artists to apply. We will endeavour to work with artists to mitigate barriers to making their work for the festival. We welcome access documents from artists at any stage of the process. Some more info on access documents can be found here:


It's really useful for us to monitor who applies for our opportunities, to see who we reach and who is missing. Please would you complete a short questionnaire to help us?

Your answers are completely anonymous and will not be read alongside your main application. We don’t believe people fit easily into boxes so for any answer you can select Other to self-identify, and you are also welcome to select Prefer Not to Say.

Click HERE to take part.

This monitoring form helps us to understand who we are reaching and how we can improve access to our opportunities. If you have any questions about this form, please email


Contact the curator
Who is eligible for this opportunity?
This opportunity is open to individuals and/or partnerships/collaborations. Artists should have sound experience of socially engaged practice and be confident in working with diverse participants with various experiences of arts projects.
When is the deadline?
25 April 2022
How do you decide on proposals?
All proposals are read, longlisted and then shortlisted, some artists will be invited for an interview and after this, the final selection is made by b-side team and community partners.

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