Major Public Art Commission

A fantastic opportunity with a commission value of £100,000 to use art to bring to life a public passage way in a new building in Southwark.

Glengall Road, Southwark

Aspire Via Studios is working with Artelier and the Southern Housing Group to source applications for a new artwork to transform a passageway in Southwark, making it an appealing site for passers-by and a local landmark that reflects the thriving culture of the community.

Deadline for initial Expressions of Interest is 19th April 2022. Following Expressions of Interest any artist(s) invited to submit a Proposal at Stage 2 will receive a £500 proposal development fee. To deliver the project a budget of £100,000 is available, this must include all Artist(s) fees, production costs, third party fabricators, installation, and all expenses.

Interested? Read on.......


Full Brief, Process Description, Timeline & How to Apply

Southern Housing Group are developing a new mixed-use site at 49-53 Glengall Road, Southwark on the corner with Bianca Road. The development will create 170 homes, as well as 3,855 sqm of light industrial workspace. The site was previously used as a factory, and the new design sees many of the original elements being retained, such as a chimney and the original façade along Glengall Road. The project’s design has a contemporary, industrial feel that combines an authentic connection to local materials and the incorporation of pleasant garden and public realm spaces.

As part of the development, Southern Housing have a commitment to providing public art at street level that will enhance the experience of the site for residents, users of the workspace, and the wider community. The key site for the public realm artwork will be Glengall Passage, which links the street with an internal courtyard.

The passageway includes an abundant lightwell, and is the access point for the light industrial workshops. Therefore, it will be heavily used by the residents to access their homes via communal entrances, as well as by general public pedestrians. The new artwork commission will seek to transform this passageway, making it an appealing site for passers-by and a local landmark that reflects the thriving culture of the community.

The Commission

The client team have reviewed the development site and identified a key location for the artwork. The main focus of the artwork will be situated within the open passageway that leads from Glengall Road through into the residential development. The passageway visualised below is a long and enclosed linear space with an open atrium mid-way along. Then space has various doors and entrances along the full length. The atrium part of the space is significant and offers a different dynamic and more open-air artwork opportunity. The overall space is fairly challenging and we welcome proposals from artist to envisage this as an opportunity to create an elevated experience. The scope can include the walls, floors, ceiling, lighting and other aspects. Our ambition is for the art to have an experiential and multidimensional aspect, rather than a standalone sculpture.

Careful consideration should be given to the materials used, how it is installed and the long-term durability and maintenance. The artist should use their creative way of working to develop an artwork that responds to the unique historical and cultural context of the site to engage and inspire the passerby using this space. We imagine the artwork to have an element of architectural integration, as well as having an element of surprise and wonderment. We also welcome artistic practices which have a collaborative mode of working which may also engage with the community in some way.

Whilst we have certain parameters for the location and for the art to have contextual relevance, we are keen to free up the reigns and embrace the creative responses from artists. We welcome proposal from a full spectrum of disciplines, including: sculpture; painting; multimedia; and installation; and many others. This opportunity is suited to both emerging and more established artists, preferably located in Southwark or with a connection to the area or site. We are not necessarily seeking artists with public art experience, rather we are more interested in the quality of the contextual response and creative potential of the ideas put forward to us. We acknowledge that some artists may not have public art experience, but as long as they demonstrate an understanding of the challenges we are able to provide curatorial support and some technical expertise to help realise the artwork.

Plan & Visuals

Context - Introduction

The historical context of the Glengall Road site is a key source of inspiration. The heritage of the Glengall Road site presents an opportunity for exploring how a rich and vital industrial past is intertwined with local lives. Southwark was the industrial heartland of London from the medieval period and throughout tthe Industrial Revolution, providing the capital with essential timber, gas, mineral water, quicklime, leather and beer. Many resources were transported via the Victorian Grand Surrey Canal, which ran close to the Glengall Road site. In the early 20th century, particularly vibrant industries were in close proximity to Glengall Road: the site of R.White’s Lemonade factory and the production of music records at the Edison Bell factory.

As manufacturing industries faded away in the mid-20th century, former warehouses and factories became ideal spaces for creatives to produce new work and exhibit. These public spaces exemplify Southwark’s crossover between an industrial past and an artistic present, and solidify the area’s importance to London’s experimental artistic scene. The Glengall Road development continues this tradition as a site of production – a significant portion of the mixed-use development will be artists’ studios, reviving the tradition of making in the area. Artists’ proposals should respond to an aspect of the site’s broad historical context, offering a reflection on local heritage whilst bringing a contemporary edge. Importantly, the artist will have the freedom to explore their own lines of enquiry to develop a work that have contextual relevance and meaning. The Glengall Road art committee have researched and identified three historical areas which may serve as potential inspiration for the artwork, the detailed contexts of which are described below. These historical points of interest were selected as a result of consultations with members of the community. Artists can freely interpret these as inspiration, but are not prescribed to follow this as welcome the development of their own research that engages with the site’s locality.

Context – Points of Interest

1. Tracing the Lost Grand Surrey Canal

The Victorians spurred Southwark’s industry by constructing the Grand Surrey Canal from 1800-1810, connecting the area to the Thames. Providing crucial access to imported resources, the canal was a lifeblood for local industries, and is integral to Southwark’s heritage. Whilst the canal was filled in 1972, it remains in living memory. The Grand Surrey Canal ran along the North side of Bianca Road, adjacent to the new development, and flowed parallel to the public realm corridor for which the artwork will be commissioned. The lost canal can be traced through many urban placenames that mark its former route, including ‘Glengall Wharf’, which is opposite the development site. Near to Glengall Road, such as in Burgess Park, the canal’s bridges still stand although the movement below them is now pedestrian. the lost canal can be traced opposite the new Glengall Road development.

2. Glengall Road & the Lemonade Factory

R. White’s first brewed lemonade in 1845 on a site in present-day Burgess Park. Over the next century, they opened many factories in the local area – including the exact site of the new Glengall Road development – employing hundreds locally. Known as the nation’s favourite lemonade, R. White’s have famously always used real lemons, and their recipe remains almost unchanged today. In present day Burgess Park, R. White’s vintage glass bottles are still commonly discovered buried on the canal site, serving as a reminder of the former factories in the area.

3. The Edison Bell Factory & Local Music Innovation

In the early 20th century, the site on Glengall Road opposite the new development was the factory of Edison Bell – the first distributor and early manufacturer of gramophones and records in the UK, and a global innovator of early music technology. Their Glengall Road factory saw Edison Bell evolve from producing recording cylinders and phonographs, to gramophone discs and 78rpm records. Having sole manufacturing rights within the UK during the early 20th century, Edison Bell quickly became a household name. The local area therefore has a unique significance to music history.


Stage 1 – Expressions of Interest

• 1st April 2022 – open call for Expressions of Interest

• 19th April 2022 – deadline for Expressions of Interest

Stage 2 – Initial Proposal

• 27th April – shortlisted artists invited to develop proposals

• 18th May 2022 – deadline for initial proposals

• 23rd to 25th May 2022 – interviews and final artist(s) proposal appointed

Stage 3 – Proposal Development

• 26th May to 28th June 2022 proposal development with the client team

• Research and community engagement

Stage 4 – Artwork Production

• 29th June 2022 to 1st March 2023 – artwork production

Stage 5 – Installation

• 1st April – 1st May 2023 – installation onsite


Following Expressions of Interest any artist(s) invited to submit a Proposal at Stage 2 will receive a £500 proposal development fee. To deliver the project a budget of £100,000 is available, this must include all Artist(s) fees, production costs, third party fabricators, installation, and all expenses.

How to apply

Stage 1 – Expressions of Interest

  • Cover Letter – to include: why you are interest in the project; your initial responses to the context; and an impression of how you could envisage the direction of your artwork

  • Portfolio – presentation of previous works to provide an overview of your practice

  • Artist Statement – text to give us an understanding of how you work and your lines of enquiry

  • Relevant work – examples of relevant commissions or exhibitions

  • CV – to include biography, education, qualifications, commissioning and exhibiting experience

Expressions of Interest should be emailed to by 19th April 2022 by 5pm

Stage 2 – Initial Proposal

Further information will be issued, outlining the proposal requirements if selected following the Expression of Interest stage. It is likely that the artist will be required to provide:

  • Detailed statement relating to the concepts within the work and how it will relate to the context

  • Proposed research and community engagement

  • Visuals, drawings, mock-ups of the proposed artwork

  • Proposed materials and samples

  • Technical consideration for durability, installation and maintenance

  • Draft budget including artist fee, artwork materials, fabrication and installation

  • Outline timeline

Selection Criteria

Stage 1 – Expressions of Interest

An assessment will be made on the following criteria:

  • Suitability of the artist practice

  • Quality and relevance of the initial proposal

  • Creative potential, approach and ambition

  • Achievability and feasibility of initial proposal

  • Quality of portfolio and realisation of artwork commissions

  • Artist’s connection to the locality and knowledge of the area

  • Qualifications, past experience and relevant projects

Stage 2 – Initial Proposals

An assessment will be made on the following criteria:

  • Relevance of the developed proposal, the concepts explored and how it will relate to the context

  • Quality of visuals, drawings, mock-ups of the proposed artwork

  • Achievability and feasibility of proposal

  • Effectiveness of proposed research and community engagement

  • Detail of proposed fabrication, technical consideration for durability, installation and maintenance

  • Accuracy of the budget and value for money in fabrication and artist’s fee

  • Realistic timeline with sufficient contingency and allowances

  • Artist’s connection to the locality and understanding of the area

  • Artist’s understanding of the projects demands and their ability to manage the process


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