Textiles Commission

Creative Brief - Artist Call Out

OUTSIDE are working with the League of Artisans to uncover and celebrate the rich textile heritage of Leek as well as the working class histories of individuals and communities who worked in Leek’s textile mills. We wish to recruit a range of artists who will respond to Leek’s textile heritage, and/or interpret oral histories in an inspiring, accessible and relevant way for a wide audience.


Aims of the project:

· To celebrate the textile heritage of Leek

· To explore Leek’s global textile trading relationships

· To interpret and celebrate the stories of working class textile workers in Leek – the oral history collection will happen before the artist starts, so a bank of stories will be available

· To create exciting, innovative art works – we are open to all art forms, which may include visual art, site specific projections, processions, performances, craft or textile pieces, etc

· To deliver art works/projects which engage a wide range of audiences

· To vividly bring to life the heritage stories of our mills, making them accessible, inspiring and meaningful

· To collaborate with the local community and textile steering group


*Your proposal may respond to one or more of these aims.


Timescales and budget:

Call out to artists: 25th January 2024

Submission of application: 29th February 2024

Appoint artist and approval of work plan: 12th March 2024

Presentation of final work: 23rd – 29th September 2024



We have a range of commissions available from £1k up to £7.5k but imagine only one will be funded at the top end of this scale. We envisage the top end commission will respond to the local oral histories and may include projections or artworks on the outside of mill buildings and/or soundscapes, forming part of a walking trail over the week.

We are happy for artists to collaborate and would also welcome artists who are interested in co-creation with communities.


Selection procedure:

Applications will be assessed by our local community steering group alongside the OUTSIDE and League of Artisans team.

Applications will be scored on criteria such as ambition, integrity, legacy, access and sustainability.

We will consider:

Artist’s experience and quality of previous work

Appropriateness of the proposed work

Artist’s experience of co-creation with communities

Artist’s connection to or interest in the Staffordshire Moorlands (desirable)

How the work will compliment the range of other work and activities across Leek Textile Week



Closing date: 29th February 2024

Applicants should complete this form – TEXTILES COMMISSION APPLICATION FORM  – which asks for:

• a proposal for the artwork/activity

• a cv or links to your existing work. If you would prefer, you can also apply by uploading video or audio formats (up to 5 minutes only)

• a budget


For any questions, enquiries or support, please email hello@outsidearts.org with the subject line ‘Textile Workers Commission’



OUTSIDE is a consortium led Creative People & Places Project for the Staffordshire Moorlands. Our purpose is to ensure more people are experiencing and inspired by arts and culture. OUTSIDE is working with residents from across the Staffordshire Moorlands to enrich lives through storytelling which celebrates local people, culture and places. To find out more please head to our website outsidearts.org


About League of Artisans

League of Artisans is a Leek-based non-profit founded in 2022 by Carry Somers, co-founder of Fashion Revolution, Dr Ritu Sethi of Craft Revival Trust, and Sol Marinucci, programme manager of Crafting Futures Argentina. Supported by our global Artisan Advisory Commitee, we promote artisanal skills as a vital response to global challenges, trusting in their transformational power to create alternative futures. For more information, visit leagueofartisans.org


About Leek Textile Week

Produced by League of Artisans, the inaugural Leek Textile Week will take place in September 2024. It will see a celebration of the town’s rich textile heritage, comprising a series of activities, talks and exhibitions that weave threads of the past into the present. To find out more please visit leagueofartisans.org


This project is funded through Arts Council England’s National Lottery Project Grants and Creative People & Places programme and Historic England’s Everyday Heritage Grants: Celebrating Working Class Histories.