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Open Call – Staking Claims on the Distance

Posted: 5 November 2020

Staking Claims on the Distance is an open call developed through The NewBridge Project’s Overmorrow programme, which will support 3 artists to develop and present ideas for an outdoor structure that will act as a public gathering space and permanent monument towards the future.

Deadline: Monday 7 December, 12 noon
*Free to apply*

This open call is for artists specifically based in the UK and is suitable for artists at any stage of their careers.

Fee: £600 for each of the 3 selected artists / A further £1700 will be given to 1 artist who will be selected for the overall summer commission

(Before submitting an application, please make sure to read the full details below)

Key Dates

Open call deadline: Monday 7 December
All applicants will hear back by: Monday 14 December
Maquettes/diagrams/designs produced by: Friday 5 February
Exhibition begins: Monday 15 February
Final Artist and Idea selected by: Friday 26 March
Exhibition Ends: April 2021
Celebration of the Monument: Summer 2021


Public spaces should be antidotes to frenzied cities and bleak, urban sprawl. But neoliberalism and globalism have undermined their civic roles, transforming public spaces into products of spectacle and private interests. For years we have tussled with ideas around ownership of privately-managed public spaces, and the deployment of “hostile architecture” designed to stop people loitering and lingering.

These designs often attack the most vulnerable people in our communities, sending a very clear signal that certain people aren’t wanted. Now more than ever we are seeing individuals and communities across the globe being forced to isolate and separate. Lockdowns have emptied our public spaces or made them unavailable, with benches and resting places in particular being covered in hazard tape or entirely removed. The pandemic has again raised questions around the use of public spaces, and how they are an integral part of our networked cities whether for recreation, movement, habitat or a sense of place.

How do we unlock spaces for their true public value? As part of Overmorrow, The NewBridge Project would like to commission a piece of public furniture that invites social relationships as a permanent monument to the present. We want to commission a monument that memorialises society here and now by enabling people to encounter each other. This space will encourage welcome without hostility, by celebrating the ideologies around building collective futures.

From the open call 3 artists will be selected to design a physical (maquette, 3D model or diagram) of their proposal. These designs will be exhibited in The NewBridge Project gallery in Gateshead along with other supporting material curated by members of the Programme Committee.

As the exhibition draws to a close, of the artists will be selected to develop their concept into a full-size physical structure to be installed in an outdoor setting for public interaction. This will be launched in summer 2021 and will coincide with The NewBridge Project’s move to a new location. Further details about the relocation will shared at a later date, along with a rolling set of events which will be developed by the selected artist and The NewBridge Programme Committee.

Please download the Commissioning Briefthis document has been developed to provide further context about the open call and the ideas and conversations behind Staking Claims on the Distance:

Practical Considerations

Below are some practical considerations to help aid you for when constructing your proposal:

  • Suitable for installation in an outdoor environment – As noted in the summary this structure will most likely be placed in an outdoor environment and will need to withstand all weather types. Please consider what materials will be used.
  • Strong enough to withstand sitting/standing on by the general public
  • Inclusive and accessible by design – The general public will be encouraged to interact with your design, and we would like everyone to be able to access the structure safely. Instead of sitting, you might find some people will be tempted to climb or stand upon the work.
  • Environmentally responsible and consider its environmental footprint – Here at The NewBridge Project we are passionate and commitment reducing our impact on the planet wherever possible by understanding the impacts we have on the environment, measuring these impacts and striving to improve and reduce these impacts.
  • Able to move between locations – Please be realistic in your design, this must be easily transported to the location and easily erected.
  • Enable members of the public to come into contact with each other in a socially distant way – With uncertain times ahead we would encourage you to think about the current restrictions within social distancing, and how this might manifest within the work. We want people to feel safe when interacting with your work.
  • Vandalism – Please be reminded that the work will be displayed outdoors in public setting, unfortunately this means we are unable to police this with security and it will be open to the elements.
  • Dimensions – Please be realistic when developing your idea and the size of the monument. We advise that the footprint should not exceed 2x4m’s. Please do not exceed this size as we will not be able to guarantee it being produced or displayed. 

How to Submit an Application

You can send your expression of interest in a number of different formats, as a written document (ideally 1 PDF), or an audio / video recording (maximum 3 minutes). If there is another way you wish to apply, then get in touch to let us know.

Please provide:

  • A brief artist statement about your practice, what interests you about taking part in this commission and what parts of the artist brief you’d like to explore. Please also include a brief outline of your initial idea, we understand this might change and evolve if selected. Maximum 500 words / 3 minutes).
  • Up to 5 images of previous works.
  • A link to your website or Instagram if you have one.
  • Upon applying please complete an Equal Opportunities and Diversity Monitoring form– this will be anonymous and saved separately to your expression of interest.
  • The information included in the equal opportunities monitoring form may be taken into account at the final shortlisting stage to help us achieve our diversity and inclusion goals. This is part of our commitment to taking positive action to achieve equality of opportunity throughout our recruitment process

Please send all applications to
the following Within your application please feel free to outline any particular support or any access needs that might be required. If you have any questions about this opportunity, please get in touch by contacting Niomi Fairweather.

Selection Criteria

Applications will be assessed and selected by 4 members of NewBridge’s Programme Committee – Eve Cromwell (artist), Jessica Bennett (curator), Lydia Bailey (artist) and Matt Pickering (artist) and (Programme Director of The NewBridge Project) Niomi Fairweather. The exhibition team will decide as a group the 3 selected artists and the overall artist for the summer commission.

When selecting the panel will take into consideration:

  • Aesthetic qualities of the design and consideration of how the public will interact with it.
  • Accessibility, the structure must be an invitation for all ages and abilities to be able to interact and enjoy.
  • Practicality within the context of budget.
  • How ideas within the artists brief have been explored through the design.
  • The longevity of the structure, is sturdy enough to exist for a long time?
  • How the work will be transported between locations and secured within those locations.
  • The environmental impact of the construction of the design.


artists will be selected to design a physical (maquette, 3D model or diagram) of their proposal

From the open call there will be an initial fee of £600 to support 3 selected artists to design a physical (maquette, 3D model or diagram) of their idea. This must cover artists fee, materials, cost for shipping the model, transport and accommodation to attend exhibition opening if you are from out of the region.

Taking part in the project is flexible, but we suggest a minimum requirement of 2 and a half days of making and 1 scheduled meeting with the exhibition team during the process (if you are applying from out of the region, these meetings can be via video call). The meeting will be an opportunity to check in and establish if any extra support is needed.

As noted in the summary artist will then be selected to develop their concept into a physical structure that is on display to the public. This artist will receive a further £1700, which will further support artists fee, design, materials, cost for shipping the structure.

Different Formats

Listen to the audio version of the Open Call here:



Listen to the audio version of the Commissioning Brief here:


If you would prefer this information on paper, please get in touch and we would be happy to post a paper copy to you.

Eligibility for Applying

We encourage applications from all backgrounds, communities and industries, and are committed to having a team that is made up of diverse skills, experiences and abilities. We actively encourage applications from disabled artists and artists of colour, and value the positive impact that difference this has on our teams. We are committed to equality and diversity within our workforce and all opportunities provided by The NewBridge Project.

This open call is for artists specifically based in the UK and is suitable for artists at any stage of their careers. We are looking for applications from artists from all backgrounds and experiences, please don’t hesitate to contact us should you have any questions.

The NewBridge Project

The NewBridge Project is an active and vibrant artist-led community supporting the development of artists and curators through the provision of space for creative practice, curatorial opportunities and an ambitious artist-led programme of exhibitions, commissions, artist development and events.


This exhibition is part of an ongoing festival developed and produced with The NewBridge Project: Programme Committee. Taking place from October 2020 – April 2021, the festival will include a series of commissions, talks, screenings and events which explore our collective futures with audiences, members and communities. Please check the Overmorrow page for further information.