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Irwell Sculpture Trail

Bursaries and Training Programme

The 1ST Out Bursary Scheme was set up in 2000 as part of the Irwell Sculpture Trail project. The aims are to showcase the best recent fine art graduates in the North West region and enable them to gain the practical skills they need to enter the public art field, and to extend the range of artworks along the Irwell Sculpture Trail in order to enhance public awareness and understanding of the environment.

The value of each bursary in cash and kind is estimated at about £5,000 per participant, comprising a modest bursary of £1,500 to cover living costs, travel, materials and installation costs. In addition, bursary holders are supported by free use of studio space or a workspace, training sessions on practical aspects of public art led by expert consultants, and support from a project team including an experienced Artist/Mentor, the Irwell Sculpture Trail Projects Officer, the County Public Art Officer and officers of the relevant District or Borough Council. Each year, there have been five bursary holders who take up the bursary in September, and present their completed work starting in March the following year.

Presentations on the Bursary Scheme and how to apply for an opportunity are delivered by the IST Projects Officer to a variety of art courses in the North West region and applications invited from final year undergraduates or recent graduates. Tutors are asked to support the applications with a reference. From these, five participants are selected by the bursary project team and each is commissioned to produce a temporary or ephemeral work for a location within a defined geographical stretch of the Irwell Sculpture Trail.

In the first year the bursaries were offered (2000/01), a structured training programme was developed, managed and in many cases delivered directly by staff from the Irwell Sculpture Trail. A Lead Artist/Mentor, Jason E Bowman, was appointed specifically to work with, and give close support to the graduate artists as they developed their artwork proposals and constructed and installed the works themselves. The training programme was as follows:-

Sept 2000

Briefing day - graduate artists with Mentor and project team, with a formal session on developing a professional project proposal

Oct 2000

Tour of Irwell Sculpture trail sites

Individual practical workshops in presentation skills

Introduction to public art, with external consultant (also open to other artists in the area)

Budgeting with IST artists

Feedback day on draft proposals by Mentor and project team

Nov 2000

Presentation and interview for each graduate artist with external panel, leading to formal approval for their proposals

Individual written feedback and one-to-one session for graduates

Contracts and risk assessment half day

Dec 2000 - Mar 2001

Ongoing support from Mentor as projects develop

Evaluation half day – critique of completed works with project team

April 2001

Installation and launch event

The bursary holders in 2000/01 made works around Summerseat and were:-

Clare Negus, Manchester Metropolitan University

Cennydd Hywel Rees, Manchester Metropolitan University

Anita Burrows, University of Central Lancashire

Lucie Curran, University of Central Lancashire

Louise Brooks, University of Salford

In the following year 2001/02, the formal training workshops element of the bursary programme was organised by Irwell Sculpture Trail jointly with re:work creative enterprises. re:work is a new section within the Cultural Services Division of Bury Metropolitan Borough Council, set up, with project funding from the European Regional Development Fund and Single Regeneration Budget, to support the Borough’s flourishing sector of artists and small and medium sized creative enterprises seeking to become established and successful businesses. The workshops in 2001/02 were open to the five bursary holders and other artists in the Bury area wishing to develop their skills in the public and community arts fields. The workshop programme was:-

Sept 2001

Introduction to public art

Oct 2001

Marketing your Artform and Presentation Skills

Budgeting and Business Planning

Nov 2001

Community Consultation

Jan 2002

Creativity and Regeneration

In addition, the five selected graduate artists were also supported, as in the first year, by briefings, one-to-one sessions and formal feedback with the project team, and by mentoring with Linda Mallett, an experienced artist in the public art field.

In 2001/02 the graduate artists made works for locations around Bacup using a range of materials and means including photography, text messaging, recycled materials and butterflies. The artists involved were:-

Lorraine Berry, University of Central Lancashire

Kathryn Darbyshire, University of Central Lancashire

Karin Gage, University of Central Lancashire

Malcolm Halliwell, University of Central Lancashire

Stephen Hunt, Salford University

In 2002/03, five bursary holders received practical training and mentoring, and made work between September 2002 and March 2003 for locations in the Salford Quays and Ordsall stretch of the Trail. They also had opportunities to shadow an artist commissioned by the Irwell Sculpture Trail to make permanent work in the Salford area.

re:work is currently seeking funding for a mentoring programme for artists, following the success of its first programme of artists training. re:work offers managed artists’ studios in Bury and is working to strengthen links between the Local Authority and community organisations in order to create further opportunities for artists to work in the Borough.

© Copyright Joanna Morland 2002