Women's Refuge Cheadle Mural

Artist Call

OUTSIDE is looking for an artist working in interior mural art to work with a women’s refuge community based in Cheadle (ST10) in the Staffordshire Moorlands.

OUTSIDE wish to recruit a lead artist for a mural project that celebrates the lives of residents and staff of a women’s refuge. The project looks to capture what the refuge means to those who live and work there and also looks to explore how a sense of ‘belonging’ is cultivated and nurtured in that space. You will be supported by the OUTSIDE team including Sarah Bird, creative director; Katie Aldous, operations manager and Emma Dawson Varughese, creative communities producer.

Where and What? The mural artwork will be installed internally, in the welcome and reception space of the building. This area is where the women and children arrive when they first come to the refuge and is therefore a very significant physical space; it is a threshold over which they step, moving into a new and unknown (yet hopeful) space. Please see images in this document: Call for Artist Women’s Refuge Cheadle additional information

NB: due to fire regulations, no fabric hangings can be installed.

A lead artist…

We are looking for a lead artist to co-design, co-curate and complete the artwork for this welcome/reception area. The artist will work with the community at the refuge based in Cheadle (ST10), co-creating the design and co-curating the final product.

Fee: £5,000 inclusive of materials and travel expenses.

Applicant criteria

  • An artist who is committed to, and has previous experience in, co-creation with vulnerable community groups and with those who have been through/continue to move through traumatic life experiences. This experience should demonstrate strong verbal communication skills and the ability to communicate with people at all levels with a solution focused approach, whilst demonstrating empathetic and compassionate ways of working
  • An artist who is an active listener;
  • An artist who has experience and the necessary facilitation skills producing medium-scale public art pieces;
  • Willingness to work evenings and weekends if necessary;
  • An artist who is connected to or interested in the Staffordshire Moorlands (desirable).

About OUTSIDE and the market town of Cheadle (ST10)

OUTSIDE is a new Creative People and Places project, funded through Arts Council England. A participatory arts programme, OUTSIDE is led by people in the Staffordshire Moorlands working with professional artists. Together, they are co-curating arts and cultural activities that take place in, and are about life in, the rural and isolated landscape and settlements, villages and market towns of the Staffordshire Moorlands. outsidearts.org

The Brief

As lead artist, you will co-design, co-curate and complete an interior mural that brings together ideas of what it means to ‘belong’ to the women’s refuge. With an overarching theme of what it means to welcome a woman and her child/children into a new space and thus, into a new chapter of their lives, the artist will learn from residents (with some input from staff, too) about the experience of stepping over that threshold – the moment of entering into the women’s refuge and into a place of hope. As the residents change quite frequently, the artist will need to consider how those who leave the accommodation might ‘leave their mark’ (see this document: Call for Artist Women’s Refuge Cheadle additional information that shows some existing artwork at the refuge on this theme) at the refuge, embodying their feelings and experiences of what living there has meant to them. This might potentially feed into the design and placement of the mural as the artist learns from those who have that very lived experience.

Important themes we would like you to explore:

  • Moving over the threshold, into a place of hope
  • Women and their accompanying children
  • Celebrating ‘belonging’ at the refuge and connecting this with positive moments in the residents’ lives (which act as a catalyst to move on, to rebuild lives, and be hopeful and positive for their futures).

The women’s refuge belongs to an organisation that has an overall aim of creating environments that acknowledge and recognise the trauma of the victims and this piece of work is an important contribution to that. It is a priority of the organisation to see children as victims in their own right, to hear their voices as well those of accompanying adults.

The Process

The artistic process will involve engagement with the community at the women’s refuge. Given the sensitive nature of this project, keeping the families safe is absolute priority and so the artist will work very closely with the manager of the refuge as well as members of the OUTSIDE team.

Timeline and celebrating the completed artwork

Call out to artists: 1st January 2024

Submission of application: 5th February 2024

Interviews: mid-February: date TBC

Appoint artist and approval of work package: 29th February 2024

Completion and celebration of the work: 31st May 2024

Please note that the women and the children who reside at the refuge as well as the staff who work there will be reading the applications and assessing them alongside OUTSIDE staff.

To apply, submit your application (including the below information) by email to hello@outsidearts.org by 5th February 2024.

  • A proposal for the interior mural artwork, including responses to the ‘applicant questions’ (see questions below).
  • Attachments 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).

Applicant Questions:

  • Your name and contact details (phone number, email and preferred methods of contact)
  • Where you are based
  • Tell us about how you would approach the brief and how you would organise your time
  • Please tell us if you have any connections with Cheadle or the Staffordshire Moorlands
  • Is there anything particular that you may need support with?
  • Please tell us about any specific access needs

For any questions, enquiries or support, please email hello@outsidearts.org with the subject line ‘women’s refuge Cheadle commission’

DEADLINE: 5th February 2024, send to hello@outsidearts.org


Photo by Sydney Riggs on Unsplash