Via Francigena Sculpture Commission - Dover

Deadline: 18/08/2022

Venue: Dover Seafront  |  City: Dover  |  Country: United Kingdom  |  Charlotte Chapman

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Kent Downs AONB, North Downs Way and Dover District Council would like to commission an artist/architect to design, create and install a sculpture for Dover seafront, marking the end of the Via Francigena. The site-specific artwork will promote the special characteristics of the VF/ North Downs Way and its pilgrimage heritage as a route for reflection, renewal, and inspiration.


Kent Downs AONB and North Downs Way are working with artists to commission a series of Inspiring Views projects along the North Downs Way. These projects include view restoration, conservation work and site-specific artworks that incorporate an opportunity for rest and contemplation.  The artworks will highlight the inspiring views, provide a reason to visit, pause and appreciate each specific location while encouraging interaction from visitors.

Kent Downs AONB & North Downs Way will be working with Dover District Council for the Via Francigena Dover seafront project. The Via Francigena runs from Canterbury to Rome. In Kent, it follows the route of the North Downs Way. The VF is an ancient pilgrimage route, approximately 2700km long. It was walked by Sigeric, Archbishop of Canterbury, in 900 AD, and many have followed in his footsteps since. Currently, around 30,000 people walk the route every year. The European Association of the Via Francigena would like to increase this number substantially in the next few years.


Through the Via Francigena Dover Seafront project, we aim to: 

  • Create an iconic focal point to mark the end of the Via Francigena (VF) in the UK and to attract visits to the VF & North Downs Way in Kent

  • Contribute to an art trail along the North Downs Way National Trail 

  • Improve access to the site for all users, including visitors with disabilities

  • Promote the special characteristics of the VF/ North Downs Way and its pilgrimage heritage as a route for reflection, renewal, and inspiration

  • Engage local resident and businesses through associated activities to provide social and economic benefit of the installations

  • To increase community awareness and local pride in the VF

  • To provide training, engagement and legacy activity to maintain and promote the installation beyond the project timescales 

The Brief 

The selected artwork will include an opportunity for reflection, demonstrate high quality, consider the local environment in the materials used, and celebrate the unique identity of the site. We are open to ideas and suggestions regarding the nature of the work.

Each of the installations should adhere to these four overarching criteria:

  1.  Accessibility: Promoting access and engagement to a wide range of users, including those with additional physical, sensory and mental needs.

  2. Genuine Authentic Kentish provenance; rooted in real research, heritage, pilgrimage, and landscape

  3. Contemporary relevance; speaking to the modern world and local communities

  4. World-class artistic quality; ambitious in quality

The artwork should be installed December 2022.

Installations should be:

  • Relevant to the cultural and environmental context of the area

  • Thought provoking and educational

  • Constructed in environmentally sustainable, low carbon, natural, locally sourced, or recycled materials where possible.

  • Durable and requiring minimal maintenance, resistant to vandalism and robust.

  • Safe and not constitute a hazard to public or the environment

  • Make strong reference to pilgrims perhaps departing Dover Via Francigena on their way to Rome

  • Encourage selfie moments with visitors through clever design encouraging ‘instagrammable’ interaction with people

  • Fully accessible to those with physical & learning disabilities and sensory impairments. 

Points to consider:

  • Any sculpture must be in proportion to the other artworks/street furniture in the vicinity

  • The area is used for staging and food stalls (eg for the Dover Regatta) so it’s essential that the main area is left uncluttered

  • A site visit with the successful artist will take place to discuss the location in more detail

  • DDC will be responsible for the installation (including any necessary surveys) and maintenance of the sculpture 

The Role of the Artist/Craftsperson

The artist will be responsible for the concept, design, fabrication, and installation of the artwork in consultation with The Inspiring Views Project Manager (Kent) and the landowner. The artist will be responsible for submitting a planning application to Dover District Council. The  artist will work within a budget of £10,000. Linked talks and community workshops will have an additional fee up to £1000. (All fees are inclusive of VAT.) 

The Inspiring Views Project Manager (IVPM) will oversee the project delivery and support the appointed artist. The artist will provide drawings and specifications and plan the installation with Dover District Council and the landowner. 

The artist will take part in the press and marketing opportunities relating to the commission and assist in documenting the process. It is essential that the artist participates in talks, and/or community workshops as part of the project delivery. The artist will undergo a DBS check where required. The artist will be expected to provide regular updates on the progress of the project to the IVPM and attend meetings as required. The artist will be required to provide a maintenance plan to the IVPM to preserve the life of the finished installation.

Please note that any costs for travel and accommodation incurred by the artist are included in the overall commissioning fee.  The artist is also responsible for applying for and paying for planning permission.

If, for any reason the installation is not completed by the agreed deadline any fees paid to the artists will be fully refunded to the Project Manager. 

The Artist will be expected to collaborate with an appointed filmmaker and photographer to document and share the creative process and product for promotional purposes. 

Community and Business Participation

This will take the form of walks, talks, and workshops. It will involve targeted local groups of all ages and abilities including local artists and businesses. The community participation programme will be developed with the IVPM and artist. The participation in this programme will increase feelings of local ownership and participation in the installation and will promote the installation as a place to visit for visitors and residents.

Tourism and Press Participation

This may take the form of launch events, press releases, tour operator trips, or attendance at trade fairs.  The tourism and press participation will be developed with the IVPM, Kent Downs EXP Team, Dover District Council and artist in response to travel trade and press need.

Location: North Downs Way Start/ Finish Dover Seafront, 4-5 Waterloo Cres, Dover CT16 1LA

GR: TR 32109 41132 W3W ///sprains.rejoined.supported

Description: Located on the Dover seafront on the seaward side of the paved area that hosts the North Downs Way Start/ Finish sculpture and the Cross Channel Swimmers Sculpture.  Port of Dover have requested that the best location will be between the two trees as shown in attached photos. 

Google Streetview Image

Application Process

To apply, artists/craftspeople must send the following on one pdf document, no more than 5 x A4 pages:

  1. Current CV and website link

  2. Up to four images of relevant work 

  3. Your sculpture proposal. To include: multi angle drawings with dimensions, short written description including proposal concept and inspiration, proposed materials, fixings and production, ways of working and availability to deliver within the project timeline. 

Shortlisted artists will be invited to present their ideas to an online panel on 25th August between 9.30 am and 12.30pm. Each artist will be given twenty-five minutes.

A panel consisting of the NDW (Kent) Arts Trail Project Manager, North Downs Way Trail Manager, Kent Downs AONB EXP Project Lead, Dover District Council, Landowner representative, & Arts Specialist will select the artist. The panel are looking for a high level of craftsmanship, originality of ideas, sympathy with the environment and a willingness to engage with local people, press and tourism.

Deadline for submissions:  18th August 2022

Applications via Curator Space

This work is funded by the European Regional Development Fund Interreg VA France England (Channel) Programme and forms part of the North Downs Way Arts Trail 


  • Where the document refers to the EXPERIENCE Project Team (EPT) this refers to the KCC/ Kent Downs AONB unit and its staff delivering the EXPERIENCE project on behalf of Kent County Council (KCC). 

  • When referring to the EXPERIENCE Project Manager (EPM) this refers to Catherine Bradley, EXPERIENCE Project Manager for the Kent Downs AONB unit.

  • When referring to the North Downs Way Trail Manager (NDWTM) this refers to Peter Morris; part of the Kent Downs EPT.

  • When referring to the EXPERIENCE Business & Tourism Manger (EBTM) this refers to Rebecca Rees; part of the EPT.

  • When referring to the Inspiring Views (IV) project this refers to the inspirational arts trail the EXPERIENCE project will deliver through the project.

  • When referring to the Inspiring Views Artists Brief (IVAB) this refers to the brief the Artist will deliver as agreed by the EPT.

  • When referring to the Inspiring Views Project Manager (IVPM) this refers to Charlotte Chapman who has been appointed by Kent Downs AONB. 

  • When referring to the Inspiring Views Project Management Brief (IVPMB) this refers to the brief the IVPM will deliver on behalf of the EPT. 

  • When referring to DOVER DISTRICT COUNCIL, this refers to Anita Sedgewick as representative of DDC. 


Contact the curator
Who is eligible for this opportunity?
Any artist working in the UK. You will need to be able to get to Dover for site visits and meetings so we imagine this is more likely to be an artist based in the South East.
When is the deadline?
18th August
How many works can I submit?
Two maximum per person.
When is the delivery date?
Installed by December 22
How much does it cost?
It is free to apply.
Are there payments to artists?
£10,000 (inclusive of VAT)
Is there a private view / opening?
We hope to have launch events once the work is installed.
How do you decide on proposals?
Proposals will be shortlisted by a panel. Those shortlisted will be asked to present their ideas to a panel on the 25th August in the morning.
What happens if my proposal is chosen?
Immeditaley after you have been chosen, you will be expected to attend a site visit, finalise your design and prepare your planning application. We are on a short time scale so communication is key.
What kind of proposals are you looking for?
Contemporary proposals that answer the brief.

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