Artist Brief – Kirkleatham Museum and Festival of Thrift

Our Coast & Pollution

Kirkleatham Museum and the award winning Festival of Thrift are inviting artists to create a piece of outdoor work to be part of Festival of Thrift 2021.


Festival of Thrift and Kirkleatham Museum are inviting artists to create a large sculptural piece for this years Festival, which will also be included as part of the planning and engagement of Our Coast – past, present project.

Artists are asked to respond to the reality, that plastics are polluting our oceans. Conveying a sense of urgency of the issue, covering the three main ways that plastics get into, and pollute, our seas. It should raise awareness of the scale of the problem and the many ways in which plastic is implicated*. The theme coincides with the Year of the English Coast where we will explore a range of issues including rising sea levels due to climate change, water pollution, water safety and reducing water use, as well as inviting artists to explore the theme creatively.

We are seeking creative ideas that are of high quality, engaging and accessible, but also challenging and thought provoking. The piece should be large and visually striking, it must be reusable – able to be taken apart and reassembled.

Artists are welcome to propose using a wide range of materials, including materials washed ashore or waste left on the beach, as part of their sculptural piece.

We are looking for proposals that will include working with a local primary school, which has already been identified and have agreed to take part. This community co-curation element will include a planning workshop in July and workshops creating the piece in September.

The brief also includes:

• Attending Festival of Thrift and interacting with visitors
• Working with the Education Team at the Kirkleatham Museum to develop drop in family craft ideas for Festival of Thrift focused on upcycling plastic – emphasising the idea of re-using and making something that has a genuine use
• Taking part in a short film about the process of creating the piece

We are particularly keen to reduce our carbon footprint and would welcome proposals that consider this and other sustainability issues in the delivery of this project.


This opportunity is open to individual artists or collaborations. We are looking for artists that are:

• Experienced, or interested, in working with primary aged children
• Interested in ecological and environmental themes
• Experienced in, or keen to try, working with found materials

We actively encourage applications from artists who self-identify Black, Asian, ethnically diverse, LGBTQIA+, d/Deaf, neurodiverse and disabled.


The work will be showcased on the Festival of Thrift site, at Kirkleatham Museum.
The museum holds a number of locally donated objects in its store. There may be scope for incorporation of, or inspiration of one or more items in the making of the piece.
For practical reasons, the work may be best created off site, potentially at the local primary school and brought to the museum grounds for the Festival.

The two most important considerations to factor in are how the piece will work within the context of an outdoor festival for a large and transient audience, and how it will be genuinely co-curated with the schoolchildren.

Key Considerations

Specifics you should bear in mind whilst coming up with your idea:

• In a normal year, Festival of Thrift attracts a very large audience of between 35,000 and 40,000 people over the two-day event the piece will need to be robust, and safe enough that visitors can get close up
• The event will go ahead in all but the most inclement of weathers. The piece must be designed to reliably withstand all weathers for the duration of the event.
• You will be required to provide a risk assessment for approval by RCBC and Festival of Thrift
• Artists must have Public Liability Insurance
• The piece should be reusable – able to be taken apart transported and reassembled.

Support to the artist:

In supporting the artist Kirkleatham Museum will:

• Provide a project coordinator support and advice, including a clear schedule
• Recruit the school to take part (due to the nature of the project and possible activities it is proposed that Year 5/6 pupils are chosen to take part)
• Handle the logistics and delivery of the family craft activities at the Festival of Thrift.
• Take responsibility for the installation at the Festival of Thrift, demounting and storing of the sculpture after the festival.
• Organise publicity around the project and the final piece
• Commission a filmmaker
• Technical support from Festival of Thrift for the install, duration and de install at Festival of Thrift.

The commissioned artist is required to keep a journal of their journey in the development of their practice, and the piece. Aspects of this content are to be shared publicly.


The inclusive budget available for this commission is £5,000 +VAT.
The commission total is inclusive of all artists’ fees, collaborator fees, materials, transport, and travel, associated with the work, so your initial indicative budget will need to demonstrate this.
Proposal Deadline – 12noon Friday 9th July 2021
Artists notified of outcome – Monday 12th July
Briefing meeting – Friday 16th July
Approval meeting – August TBC
First workshop in school – September TBC
Second workshop in school – September TBC
Thrift festival – 25th & 26th September

Proposal and submission

Proposals must submitted via email to: museumenquiries@redcar-cleveland.gov.uk, with the subject matter ‘Artist Brief Kirkleatham Museum and Festival of Thrift’.
If you have access requirements, please contact us so that we can arrange an appropriate format for your submission.
The proposal should not exceed two sides of A4 paper, and include an outline budget plan. A number of images / visuals can also be submitted to support your proposal and/or examples of previous work.

Plastic ends up in the ocean three main ways.
1) Throwing plastic in the bin when it could be recycled (when rubbish is being transported to landfill, plastic is often blown away because it’s so lightweight. From there, it can eventually clutter around drains and enter rivers and the sea this way).
2) Littering (rainwater and wind carries plastic waste into streams and rivers, and through drains; careless and improper waste disposal is also a big contributor and internationally much of the UK’s plastic waste that has been shipped overseas for disposal ends up in rivers, then the sea).
3) Products that go down the drain, which release microfibres, which are too small to be filtered out by wastewater plants and end up being consumed by small marine species, eventually even ending up in our food chain.

Enjoy Events



Midsummer Women’s Retreat

Read more



Regular Raceday

Read more



Ladies' Day at Redcar Races

Read more

Board Information

Privacy Policy

We regard your privacy as important and any personal information you give to us will be used in accordance with the Data Protection Act and the General Data Protection Regulations.

We do not store personal information about individuals who visit this site except where they provide contact information via our contact us page and contact forms available on various pages throughout the website.

Any information you provide will only be used for the reasons specified and it will not be shared with any third party without your consent, unless required by law.

Your contact details are kept securely and are only accessed by authorised members of staff as part of the provision of school services. If you do not wish us to keep this contact information please tell us.

This website uses Google Analytics which provides statistical data about the usage of the site. This information is not used to identify individuals, but is collected to provide us with an understanding of the areas of interest on our site and how our site is being used.

If you are connected to the internet you will have an IP Address. This may take the form of a figure, such as 333.333.22.1. The address will be automatically collected and logged as part of the connection of your computer to our web server and may be used to determine the total number of visits to each part of the site. This data is not collected and used for other purposes.

This website contains links to other websites. The School is not responsible for the privacy practices of other sites or organisations and recommends you consult the privacy information on those sites.

This policy will be reviewed and updated versions will be posted on the website.

If you have any questions about the use of your personal information, the Information Commissioner is the independent regulator for both Data Protection and Freedom of Information.