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Community Engagement Public Art Projects, Butterfly Drive, Portsmouth

Deadline: June 16, 2009


In 2008 Portsmouth City Council were awarded a grant of £ 2.5million as part of the Play Pathfinder to improve 28 play areas and build a new Adventure Playground. We are working in partnership with the City’s Parks Department to deliver this Project

Play Pathfinder is distinct from other play initiatives in that its aim, through this funding, is to design & equip play sites that encourage risk & challenge especially for 8 and 13 year olds. Getting away from the 'off-the-peg' play sites and instead designing 'equipment' that use natural materials and stimulate creativity. It is also about creating initiatives that begin to break down the barriers that children have in accessing their local environment as sites of play i.e. attitudes, road danger etc.

To facilitate the departure in thinking behind the design of Play Pathfinder play sites, the dcsf (department for children, schools and families) in partnership with Play England produced the guide to creating successful play spaces – ‘Design for Play.’

Included in this are: the 10 principles for designing successful play spaces – Successful play spaces…

  • Are bespoke
  • Are well located
  • Make use of natural materials
  • Provide a wide range of play experiences
  • Are accessible to both disabled and non-disabled children
  • Meet community needs
  • Allow children of different ages to play together
  • Build in opportunities to experience risk and challenge
  • Are sustainable and appropriately maintained
  •  Allow for change and evolution

We would like to commission site specific bespoke features on three of our Play Pathfinder play sites that includes and engages the local community in either the design or making of these artworks.

Artists' Role

The project is seen as an opportunity for an artist with extensive community experience to work with local schools, local groups and residents to get their ideas and thoughts to shape part of the environment that is on their doorstep. At all times the heart of the proposal should be ideas from the community with a big emphasis on family interaction.

The nature of the artwork will be developed by the artist working with the community through consultation and workshops, which will need to start as soon as possible, as well as with the project team.  The artworks could be of different mediums but all costs of different approaches and fixings should be covered within the fixed budget.

The artist will be expected to consider both the location and context of the site and its significance as an important site of scientific interest. The work should develop a sense of place.

The artist will attend and participate in project meetings and other design discussions and workshops as required.  They will also be expected to undertake independent research if needed.  The artist will be required to provide a two dimensional layout or graphic design and to specify the preferred materials, colours etc. at project meetings to be agreed to include scaled drawings, swatches, visuals and all research materials. 

Fabrication and installation of the work must be completed by end of September 2009.  Due to the functionality of the site the work must also be fire proof, impact resistant, scratch resistant and graffiti proof. Work would need to be concreted in or large posts fixed into the ground. Portsmouth City Council is in partnership with a contractor that will be carrying out the long-term maintenance of the site. The artwork will need to be developed in consultation with this contractor to ensure its long-term maintenance.

Sustainability should be considered as part of the design process.

The Site: Chalk Pit ( Butterfly Drive) Paulsgrove

(The artwork/Earthworks/Community works)

Paulsgrove Chalk Pit is a valuable site for wildlife and is adjacent to the Portsdown Hill Site of Special Scientific Interest. The aim of this commission is that we would like to get the local community onto the site, and for them to experience an artistic, interpretative play trail that helps children to learn about the area’s natural environment in a fun way whilst being sensitive to the area.

We would be looking for an artist who can facilitate local community involvement and who has an understanding and sensitivity to working and developing work in a sensitive nature site. As a suggestion, an entrance feature that explained the trail and then small pieces hidden throughout the area forming a trail could work well in this area.

Download the full artist's brief(37 KB)