Public Art Competition for new/emerging artists, The Knowsley Harold Wilson Centenary Art Fund

Deadline: 5.00pm Monday 1 February 2016.

Artist Brief – To create a public art work to celebrate former Prime Minister Harold Wilson [The Right Honourable the Lord Wilson of Rievaulx KG OBE FRS FSS PC]

The Knowsley Harold Wilson Centenary Art Fund would like to commission an emerging new artist to create a piece of ‘portable’ public art to commemorate Harold Wilson’s time in Merseyside (Liverpool City Region) and in particular the work he did to remove the ‘Pen’ system’ and the policies he put forward to protect workers’ rights.

The art work will need to be innovative and interactive and to be able to be transported to locations around the UK including Knowsley (the constituency Harold represented), Huddersfield, (where Harold was born) and Oxford (where Harold graduated with an outstanding first class Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics).


– To create a legacy
– To share an understanding of Harold Wilson’s significance
– To increase engagement in historical and political discussion
– To link Harold Wilson to the next generation


The Knowsley Harold Wilson Centenary Art Fund would like to commission a new and emerging artist to create an art work that will reflect and celebrate Harold Wilson’s political achievements, drawing upon his character, values and strong held beliefs in social justice including:

– He was born on 11 March 1916, in Huddersfield, Yorkshire and this year marks the centenary of the birth of Harold Wilson
– He served as Prime Minister for almost 8 years
– He led the Labour Party for 13 years
– He was MP for parts of Knowsley
– He was educated at Oxford

– As Prime Minister, he oversaw a period of great social and industrial change. Enacted a range of social reforms, including abolition of capital punishment, decriminalisation of homosexual acts between consenting adults in private, and divorce reform
– He oversaw Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and set up a legal framework for health and safety at work
– He introduced legislation for Equal Pay for women
– He established the Open University
– He abolished the notorious ‘pen system’ for dock workers

Values and themes

– He had a strong commitment to social justice
– He was committed to the importance of creating opportunities in life for people of all backgrounds
– Committed to developing legislation to bring about better working conditions and greater equality in the workplace
– Promoting greater tolerance and recognition of the importance of the diversity of peoples’ life styles and personal backgrounds
– He was a Trade Union supporter
– He had strong Socialist values
– He was a ‘man of the people’
– He had excellent ability to deal with hecklers


The amount for this commission is £10,000 – £15,000.
This will need to include expenses, research, engagement, design, materials, production, maintenance, transport, fixings etc. The budget is subject to the Knowsley Harold Wilson Centenary Art Fund securing funding.

Location for the art work

The art work will need to be able to be transported easily to locations around the UK including Knowsley, Huddersfield, and Oxford.

Areas for display within the locations (Knowsley, Huddersfield, and Oxford) will be identified and agreed in consultation with the artist and

The Knowsley Harold Wilson Centenary Art Fund.

Design Considerations

The art work will need to:
– Create a meaningful, positive impression of Harold Wilson’s legacy for users of the area
– Bring attention to the anniversary and engage people through the sharing of knowledge about Harold Wilson
– The art work will need to be fixed in some way so that even though the art work is portable the art work will still need to be secure in its temporary place
– Will need to be durable and require little maintenance
– Be unique and of a high quality
– Be able to be transported with relative ease
– Be an attraction for visitors and engage a wide range of members of the community where it is situated
– Be clear and prominent
– Be easily understood and easily interpreted
– Create an experience that is engaging for all ages
– Create something which commemorates the 100th year of the birth of Harold Wilson and in particular the removal of the ‘pen system’.
– Create an external or internal portable art work(s) that people can interact with safely
– Be made from any material so long as it meets all the above design considerations
– Be innovative and interactive
– Create the art work within the suggested budget and time scale

Issue request of expression interest – 8th January 2016

Closing date for applications – 1st February 2016

Evaluation period to select 3-5 artists to submit a proposal – 1st -7th February 2016

Issue request for design proposal for the art work – 8th February 2016

Design period 8th February – 6th March 2016

Artists and design selected 7th March 2016

Announce commission award Week commencing 7th March 2016

Installation of art work to commence once funding is secured – TBC


The Knowsley Harold Wilson Foundation Art Fund would like ‘ideas’ for a portable piece of public art that the selected artist will then create, make and install in the selected area. Proposals will be selected by the Knowsley Harold Wilson Centenary Art Fund and are particularly interested in new and emerging artists applying. It is expected that the artist will draw out key ideas related to the brief and input into the feasibility of a portable artwork, considering the methodology and location.



If it is necessary for The Knowsley Harold Wilson Centenary Art Fund to make amendments or additions to this commission, all artists who have expressed an interest will be notified in writing and, if appropriate, the deadline for receipt of applications will be extended to reflect the amendments.

The Knowsley Harold Wilson Centenary Art Fund reserves the right to cancel this process at any time or not to progress with any ideas submitted. The Knowsley Harold Wilson Centenary Art Fund is not liable for any costs resulting from any cancellation of the process or for any other costs incurred by those expressing an interest in the commission.

How to apply

Competition Stage 1: Quality and Experience

At this stage The Knowsley Harold Wilson Centenary Art Fund are interested in receiving expressions of interest particularly from new and emerging artists which should include:
1. An imaginative outline of your initial response to the brief (in no more than 300 words)
2. Initial ideas or concepts for the work (that are achievable within the given budget)
3. Information on the methodology, materials, your preferred working process and approach for undertaking the work
4. Current CV and max of (10) relevant images of previous art works
5. Information on those personnel who will lead and be involved in this commission
6. Public liability insurance cover of £5m
Work samples will not be returned.

7. Total cost (including detail of days, daily rates, fabrication, installation, expenses and other costs)

Cost example
Research and development
Indication of any future maintenance costs

Closing date
Please send your application to by 5.00pm Monday 1st February 2016
Competition Stage 2: Design of art work

The Knowsley Harold Wilson Centenary Art Fund will select a minimum of 3 new and emerging artists from the submissions to develop a design proposal for the art work.

Taking into consideration all the above the selected artist will be expected to create a design that captures the aim of the brief and the aspirations for the art work. You will need to consider all the above whilst designing the work including materials, costs and themes.

There will be a fee of £300 offered at this stage to the three new and emerging artists that are selected to develop designs

The Harold Wilson Centenary Art Fund will then select the winning design and commission the artist to create the art work; the timing of this will be funding dependent.

Expression of interest

Please send your ‘Competition Stage 1’ application to Kate Brady
Office of Rt Hon George Howarth MP
Labour MP for Knowsley
Lathom House I North Mersey Business Centre
Woodward Road I Kirkby I Merseyside I L33 7UY

For further information
Please contact for any further information