Developing proposals for public art commissions and competitions consumes significant resources, and does not always lead to a successful outcome. This workshop outlines strategies to make the most out of proposals regardless of their success within the commissioning or competition process. The workshop combines artistic and curatorial perspectives alongside an introduction to the work of the London-based organisation Theatrum Mundi, revealing further cues to rethink specific proposal contexts as sites of production.

The workshop questions the commissioner-led nature of the briefing-process, and uncovers tactics to support artist-led proposal-development. It positions the proposal not only as a means of realising work, but as an opportunity to advance individual practice and challenge existing production and engagement methodologies in response to diverse urban, spatial and cultural contexts. Through this process, proposals for unrealised projects are re-imagined as powerful assets for presentations, teaching, developing new work and discovering new partnerships.

This workshop is open to artists working in all disciplines. It is aimed at both established artists who have experience developing proposals for public art commissions as well as emerging artists who are working to advance towards opportunities in this domain.

Workshop leaders (L to R): Jennie Guy, Sven Anderson & Lou-Atessa Marcellin

Workshop Leaders:

Jennie Guy is a curator and public art strategist based in Dublin. Jennie curates, consults and manages a range of public and private art commissions, including Island City: Cork’s Urban Sculpture Trail and recent public artworks by Andy Fitz, Marie Farrington, Niamh McCann, Ruth Lyons, Adam Gibney and David Beattie. She is the founder and director of Art School, a groundbreaking framework that explores strategies for placing artists within sites of education, and the editor of Curriculum: Contemporary Art Goes to School, a new book published by Intellect Books. In conjunction with her independent practice, she served as the manager of programme and operations at Fire Station Artists’ Studios in Dublin between 2016 and 2022. She holds a BA english and history from Trinity College Dublin and an MA in visual arts practices from IADT.

Sven Anderson is an artist, researcher and consultant based between Dublin and London. Sven has over 20 years of experience leading interdisciplinary projects that expand the role of public art in the context of architecture, urban design and spatial planning. Sven co-curated Ireland’s pavilion for the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale in 2021, and served as lead partner in multiple international architectural competitions including a proposal for the UK Holocaust Memorial which received honourable mention in 2017. In 2021 he was awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Individual Fellowship to work with Theatrum Mundi to explore the role of sound in shaping the public realm. Sven is currently Assistant Professor of Film at Trinity College Dublin, where he is initiating a new master’s programme in intermedia practices. He holds a BA from Cornell University and a PhD from the Graduate School of Creative Arts and Media (GradCAM) at TU Dublin.

Lou-Atessa Marcellin is co-director leading on programmes, outreach and communication at Theatrum Mundi. Lou researches ideas of ecosophy in the ecological framework which interconnects social and environmental spheres. With a background in fine art, a graduate of the Royal College of Art (MA Performance) and UAL Camberwell College of Art (BA Photography), she founded the multidisciplinary research platform Diaspore and more recently a seasonal school called RONCES exploring the making of landscapes in the rural and the urban environment. She has been a visiting lecturer for UAL, the Royal College of Art, The Slade and Goldsmith University.

Theatrum Mundi, Alexandra Lacroix, Marta Gentilucci and Collectif Chapelle Charbon. Voi[e,x,s]: Chapelle Charbon #2. Workshop. Video still. Paris. 2019.

Theatrum Mundi is a centre for research and experimentation in the public culture of cities. Based in London and Paris, Theatrum Mundi’s work spans the UK, Europe and the Mediterranean. The organisation’s core mission is to expand the crafts of city-making through the arts and to diversify who has a voice in these processes. Theatrum Mundi’s work brings together people with a range of backgrounds and perspectives on cities and culture, including artists, activists, architects, urbanists, students, scholars, and community leaders as well as the broader public. Theatrum Mundi was founded in 2012 by Professor Richard Sennett and Dr. Adam Kaasa through a series of conversations driven by a curiosity about the links between the crafts of performance and of city-making. Fostering dialogue between artists and urbanists – and expanding the scope of both domains of practice – remains Theatrum Mundi’s core mission, and generates projects combining research and creative experimentation.