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Artist Open Call: Bus Project

October 2021

Bus Project Brief

We're looking to commission two St Helens-based artists to create new artworks for local buses based on the climate change emergency.

An illustration of the inside of a bus with the coving area highlighted in pink
Bus Coving - illustration by Grace Collins

Art Everywhere, for Everyone

We are Heart of Glass, a St Helens-based arts organisation.

We believe that art has the power to bring us together and create change, for the people of our community, and the place we call home. We unlock stories, reimagine public spaces, ask awkward questions and forge new connections. Why? Because we know that art can transform lives and deeply affect our relationship with the world around us. Art is the starting point for each and every journey.

Art belongs everywhere. Our parks, our buildings and our streets. The closer it is to all of us the more it has the ability to illuminate, inspire and create change. Over the past 6 years, through collaboration and conversation, we’ve supported thousands of people to share their stories and learn from the stories of others.

We believe that by working together, collaborating, experimenting and listening, the end result can be truly transformative, whether that’s a workshop, an exhibition, a live art show or a festival.

Our commitment to inclusion

Diverse representation across all of our work is our priority. We are very keen to hear from and we encourage submissions from people who experience racism; identify with coming from a disadvantaged background; people who are D/deaf, disabled or neurodiverse; and people who identify as LGBTQIA+.

We are committed to inclusive working practices and understand there may be barriers people face when considering an opportunity like this. We are not perfect and we want to do better in making these processes as accessible as possible. If you are interested in this opportunity but feel there are things that may prevent you from getting involved please get in touch. However you define access, whether that be disability, white spaces, money, access to the internet, childcare, institutional transphobia or other forms of exclusion please let us know how we can support you in making your application and throughout the selection process.

The opportunity

This opportunity is for artists who live, study or work in the borough of St Helens. We are looking for artists who have previous experience of creating artworks with people and are interested in making work collaboratively, bringing in community voices to their work, and are interested in responding to the theme of climate change emergency.

We have partnered with Arriva Buses for this commission to produce artwork for the coving* inside of the local bus network in St Helens which will be installed for a minimum of 3 months.

*Coving is where you would find a typical advert on a rectangle panel above a seat on the bus. 280mm (height) x 609mm (length).

We would like the artworks to focus on themes related to climate change and St Helens

The exact number of covings for the project will be determined through conversation with Heart of Glass. There is the opportunity for each artists’ work to be presented on up to 10 buses. There are 2 covings available per bus, which could mean the opportunity for each artist to use 20 covings in total. You could create 1 artwork that replicates on the 20 covings or create different artworks.

You can work in any medium but the artwork will be presented in 2D printed form on the coving.

You can collaborate with other people within the cost of the budget to realise your work (e.g. if you are a writer you can work with a designer).

As part of the process of creating the artwork we would expect you to work with people in St Helens to talk about climate change emergency. We would like your final artwork to reflect the perspective of people who live in St Helens. Your project could focus on a few people’s experiences or the experience of a particular community (a community could be your neighbours or an organised group or business).


Deadline for application: 19 November

Artist/s informed of decision: 23 November

Proposal submitted: 04 December

Artwork design submitted: 24 January

Presented on Arriva Bus: 28 February


£1750 (inclusive of VAT) - fee (approx 7 days work including research, production, evaluation) and production (any costs in addition to your fee - travel, fees for other creatives etc). Heart of Glass will cover the costs of designer (to ensure finished artworks are fitting to the coving spec) print and install of the coving separate to this budget.

How to apply

The closing date for applications for the commission is 19 November 2021.

If you would like to be considered for the commission please send us:

  • your detailed and up-to-date CV and examples of your work; and

  • a supporting statement of no more than 350 words with initial ideas for what you might do or who you might want to speak to during your research.

In writing your supporting statement please do also consider your audience on the buses, and how they might engage with the work? What would you like to share with people on the bus? Is there something you would like to ask people? How would you like them to respond?

We are happy to receive the above information in a format that suits you, be that written, audio or visual.

Completed applications should be submitted to info@heartofglass.org.uk with ‘The Bus Project’ in the subject header.

When you have applied we will send you our equal opportunities monitoring form for you to complete. The information on the form will be treated as confidential, and used for statistical purposes only. The form will not be treated as part of your application.

If you require any further information about the process of us appointing artists for this commission, need additional information about the role or wish to have an informal discussion then please contact info@heartofglass.org.uk

This job pack is available in large text on request.

For access support please also contact info@heartofglass.org.uk.

If you are unable to email and need to telephone please call 07421 455 599. Please be aware that this phone is not answered everyday, but if you leave a message we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Listen to the audio version of our application pack here

The selection process

A community panel of 4 people with staff from Heart of Glass will make the decision based on artistic quality and innovation of the idea proposed. We will be looking at how the proposed idea could engage with audiences and its relevance to the climate change emergency.

We have clear procedures to ensure fairness within our recruitment:

  • Your equality monitoring form will be kept separate from your application. No one within the selection process will view your monitoring data;

  • Your application will be assessed based on the selection process.

  • We endeavour to process applications in ways that remove unconscious bias, with regards to gender and race, this includes removing your name from your application;

  • We use the social model of disability recognising that some people experience disabling barriers. We are committed to supporting any access requirements for this application and selection process, please do not hesitate to contact us if you need access support.

  • The selection panel will be made up of people from diverse backgrounds, this may include different socio-economic, sexuality, gender and ethnic backgrounds;

This project is part of the The Buses programme, part of Heart of Glass’ Creative People and Places Programme