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Artist Village 2016

Open call – Culture Lab, residency and Commissions

Deadline to Apply: 8 APRIL 2016 –  APPLY HERE.

Artist Village is a project in which 8 visual artists will get the chance to spend time in Chalkwell Park, developing new ambitious work to be experienced within the outdoor festival context of Village Green 2016 – an annual multi-arts festival run by Metal in Chalkwell Park, Southend-on-Sea.

Now in its 8th year, Village Green attracts 25k people from all ages and backgrounds who come to enjoy an eclectic line up of music, poetry, theatre, dance, workshops, spoken word (and more) within the beautiful setting of Chalkwell Park. Artist Village will provide a strong visual layer to the festival experience for all of these people and will provide exposure to huge audiences for all artists involved.

Participating artists will enter into a focussed and immersive experience where they are able to try something new in an environment completely different to the traditional white cube setting. The artworks created will respond not only the natural features of the park and infrastructure of the festival (stages, tents market stalls etc), but will also consider the way audiences are able to encounter and interact with them.

This opportunity is open to all artists based in UK, working in any discipline. 6 artists have already been invited to take part in Artist Village 2016, however we are looking to select two artists via open submission process to join the group – taking part in a Culture LAB, build week and developing work to be exhibited within the context of Village Green Festival 2015.

The work, where appropriate, will include some level of community engagement, whether through research, collaboration or the sharing of skills through workshop activity. Whilst the range of artists’ proposals will emerge through the LAB process, potential commissions could focus around collective experience, landscape, scale, perception, temporality, sound, community, colour or the many other themes that connect to the idea of a festival.

Culture Lab and Build Week come with a combined fee of £850 per artist for taking part in the process, as well as full board and accommodation. There will also be £500 for materials/equipment hire.

Metal staff will provide support to each artist throughout the process through mentoring, helping source materials, helping install and transport the work if needed. We will make a short film about the process and will also promote the artists online through social media, both the Metal and Village Green websites, through the  press and also in the Village Green programme

Artist Village has been made possible through kind support from Arts Council England and Metal

How It Will Work

Selected artists will be required to attend the Culture LAB week at Metal in Southend (Monday 30th May – Friday 3rd June 2016) and the festival build-up week (Monday 4th July to Sunday 10th).

Village Green: Next Generation (Schools day) will take place on Friday 8th July. We will be organising tours of the artist village works on this day for school children. There could also be opportunities for artists to run workshops for school groups on this day.

Village Green festival will take place on Saturday 9th July (this is the main event day for the public).  Take down will happen on Sunday 10th July 2016.

Metal has been running professional development Culture LABs for practicing artists of all disciplines for a number of years from all our spaces in Peterborough, Liverpool and Southend. These week-long, residential LABs offer an intensive, peer to peer opportunity for critical learning and development of practice in a supported and ‘safe’ environment, allowing for experimentation and risk. This intensive week will be mentored by visiting artists/curators alongside staff from Metal to support the ideas development and planning.  

Following the LAB, the selected artists will have 4 weeks development time back in their own studios to continue working and developing their commissions before returning to Chalkwell park for the week leading up to Village Green. During this second week on site, the artists will camp in the park and finish building their work in a communal studio marquee, before installing the works around the site in their final locations. During this week we will also host an evening of Pecha Kucha style talks which the public will be invited to attend. This will give them an insight into the practices of artists taking part before they encounter the work at the festival.

A further group feedback session will be scheduled for early August (date to be determined).


Each selected artist will receive:-

  • £1350 for participation in Culture Lab, build week and to realise a project or work for Artist Village 2016
  • All accommodation and food will be covered by Metal for the duration of Culture Lab and Build week. Artists will stay in a hotel during the Culture Lab and will then camp in the park during Build week. 

Key Dates

  • Application Deadline: Friday 8th April 2016
  • Successful artists notified: w/c 11th April 2016
  • Artist Village Culture LAB: Monday 30th May – Friday 3rd June 2016   N.B. all artists MUST be able to attend this week
  • Artist Village Build week/ Village Green Festival/ Take Down Mon 4th – Sunday 10th July 2016 N.B. all artists MUST be able to attend this week
  • Artist Feedback Session: Early August 2016


How to apply

Artists are invited to apply from any artistic discipline. We welcome applications from artists at different stages in their career.

Please complete our online APPLICATION FORM and upload CV and relevant images.

We ask you for a general statement about your artistic practice – alongside an additional outline of your initial response to what interests you about this opportunity.

The application process does not need to contain a proposal for a specific piece of work as we hope these will emerge throughout the Culture Lab process, but applicants should outline what they are looking to gain from working within an outdoor festival context.

If you require any further information please contact Metal on 01702 470700 or

Notification of selected artists will be in the week of 11th April.

About Metal

Metal was founded by Jude Kelly CBE in 2002 and was created as an artistic laboratory to champion the need for continual investment in artistic investigation and the development of innovative ideas that could shift the thinking in the UK cultural sector. We provide innovative, multi-disciplinary residency space for artists from the UK and overseas in Liverpool, Southend on Sea and Peterborough.

Alongside providing space for artists and thinkers to develop their ideas and further the philosophy of their work, we are interested in how this artistic process, and the practice of artists can input into, and potentially influence political and social issues of the day. Through our artistic programme we draw out evidence and ideas for a better understanding of the artist’s role in civic life, and ensure that these are shared with a wide and diverse set of partners.  These ideas are showcased and disseminated on a regular basis through residencies, exhibitions, events, performance, discussion and publications.





Image: Hand painted signs by Charlotte Wright, Village Green 2015. Photo by Metal.




Open Call: Village Green Artist Village 2016