Open Call for Artists; Celebrate Newham and creativity in Stratford

January 13, 2022

We’re looking for artists to put forward proposals for an exciting new commission opportunity for Stratford High Street in East London.

In 2021 Creative Land Trust agreed with London Borough Newham (LBN) to take on a lease and refurbish a disused Grade II listed building just behind Stratford Town Hall, at the junction of West Ham Lane and Stratford’s high street The Broadway. Alice Billings House (ABH) is a property owned by the Council and was built c.1905 as two matching blocks of firefighters’ accommodation with a courtyard between.

The property is currently unused but has enormous potential to better to serve the local community, due to its layout and location adjacent to the high street. A capital project to sensitively and effectively restore the property for a new use, will provide a focal point for creative activity, a cultural hub with public facing facilities like a café offer and gallery space, as well as studios for local makers, designers and visual, digital and performance artists to work and collaborate in proximity to the town centre.

Our vision for the site includes the creation of affordable studio spaces, but also activation of associated space (notably the courtyard) for public use, generating a community asset around a café and gallery/exhibition space. This will take place across 2022, with parts of the site being activated in 2022 and 2023.  As a historic property in a high street location, ABH is an important site for the local area, and the re-activation of this space for public beneficial use needs to reflect its location, its history and all the vibrancy and creativity that Newham has to offer.

Download the full brief, and area map.

Proposed areas for applicants commission proposals, more imagery available on request.

The Brief 

Following receipt of funds from Greater London Authority’s High Streets for All Challenge, Creative Land Trust is looking for applicants to put forward proposals for a project, e.g. a temporary artwork, an installation, or intervention on the streets in proximity to Alice Billings House, a new property in Creative Land Trust’s portfolio that will be turned into artist studios.

Proposals can be put forward by individual artists or makers, partnerships between artists and/or makers, collectives, and/or other bodies working together to deliver the brief. While Alice Billings House is in disrepair and currently closed to the public, applicants will have the opportunity to visit the property to get a sense of its history, its current place within a town centre, and the future opportunities coming out of the refurbishment project, ahead of submitting their proposals.

Objectives  

The project should do a few things:

– Have a physical and visual outcome, creating a sense of interest, intrigue, engagement, and excitement that animates the high street;

– Tell a story about the new activities and creativity that will begin to take place at Alice Billings House, pointing to it and letting everyone know what is coming;

– Celebrate Newham and creativity in Stratford and along the high street;

– Be relevant to Newham, using the voice of the local community, for example, via local cultural organisations, schools, youth clubs, older peoples’ groups and neighbourhood community centres;

– Consider accessibility issues within the public realm.

Deliverables  

We are seeking to appoint an applicant with an innovative and bold response to the brief.  We actively support proposals from applicants from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds.

Applicants should:

– Have a practice that is socially engaged;

– Have a track record of producing work that engages and involves local communities, removing barriers to participation in the arts;

– Be based at home or in work in the Borough of Newham or neighbouring boroughs, or have proven close association to activities with the Borough of Newham.

Download the full brief, and area map.