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Opportunity for Artists: Seating and Metalwork Commission for Captain Morgan Park, Llanrumney, Cardiff

Deadline: September 5, 2011

Opportunity for Artists

Seating and Metalwork Commission for Captain Morgan Park, Llanrumney, Cardiff


Parks Services at Cardiff Council would like to appoint an artist to work with young people as part of a wider package of proposals to enhance and protect their local outdoor space. The proposals seek to give the park more identity and purpose.

The artist will work collaboratively with specialist fabricators, local children and young people. The work is commissioned by the Parks Service, Cardiff Council, to deliver high quality work which is durable, robust and fit for purpose. The work will be completed by February 2012.

Artists invited to bid for this commission will demonstrate appropriate skills, an excellent track record and the ability to involve members of the public in their process.


The Council formed a steering group to identify opportunities and priorities for the open space, with particular emphasis on children and young people as its future guardians and user group. The steering group is composed of three local councillors, local residents, neighbourhood police, members of the Llanrumney Forum and council staff. Its findings and decisions are based on consultation with the wider local community.

In autumn 2010, the Council consulted local schools and some 770 households to identify community issues regarding the open space and to report back to the steering group. Based on consultation findings, the steering group agreed that a natural play space with ground modelling and rock structures be provided for all ages, in particular older children; with facilities nearby to include seating and artworks to interpret site history.

Public art was identified as a safe and beneficial way to involve local young people in the enhancement proposals, while introducing them to historic themes as part of their local heritage, and to design technology and processes.

The Site

The site, an extensive area of rolling parkland, lies east of the Rumney River and offers spectacular views to the hills north of Cardiff. Covering 2.4 hectares, the site is composed of established amenity grassland with remnant sections of former game woods known as Fishponds Woods. Bounded by high density housing, the open space is remnant of 700 acres of church lands dating from the Norman Conquest which passed to the Kemys, Morgan and Williams families before being purchased by the Council in 1951. This rolling parkland with its veteran sweet chestnut trees and Grade 1 listed Llanrumney Hall forms a fascinating link to Cardiff’s past, playing an important role in local pride and popular myth. Llanrumney Hall, which dates from the early 15th Century is reputedly haunted and believed to have been the home of the pirate Captain Henry Morgan from 1635. Llewellyn ap Gryffyth (c. 1223 – 1282), the last leader of independent Wales, is thought to have been buried on this site before the Hall was built.

The Commission

There are three parts to the commission.

  1. Community involvement and participation in the design and development of the artwork is a key objective of the project. It is envisaged that the selected artist will facilitate 2 days of workshops with the two local primary schools (a day each) to draw out ideas and motifs around certain themes that the artist will have researched in advance. The artist will also need to have experience in consulting with the community. An afternoon consultation meeting will be arranged with the Llanrumney Forum at the John Reynolds Centre.  This will be open for the local community to attend.
  2. To design and make five benches. Two of the benches are intended for a new naturalistic play area, and three are intended to be sited along the footpath from the play area through Fishponds woods. The benches should be made of robust wood and metal, possibly very large sections of wood for the seat and metal bench ends/arm rests. 
  3. To design and make two or more artworks for the boundary of the new play area. It is not intended that the play area be fenced off from the park, however there is a problem with scrambler bikes in the park that can make users of the park feel vulnerable. At two or three areas we would like some form of low railing, screen or other type of structure that would create the feeling of a boundary and to protect the play space from encroachment by vehicles.

We are looking for an artist to either design and make the seating and other artwork themselves, or an artist to design and subcontract the fabrication to a metal fabricator/ blacksmith. If the artist prefers to design only, it will be necessary to show in their expression of interest that they have previously worked in this way or have already researched which fabricator they intend to work with.

Site preparation and installing concrete footings for the seating and other artworks will be the responsibility of the main contractor instructed by Cardiff Council. However, the artist will need to agree the specification of the required footings with the Landscape Officer at the Council’s Parks Service prior to construction. Design dimensions and specification for the seating, other artworks, all footings and trims must be agreed at the earliest date possible during the design process with the Landscape Officer.

Principles to be incorporated in the design

The benches and artworks should incorporate local historical themes in some way to celebrate the site’s association with the pirate, Sir Captain Henry Morgan, who is thought to have lived at the nearby Llanrumney Hall from 1635.

It will be necessary to liaise with the Council’s landscape officer and the contractor for the play area regarding dimensions, locations, specification of paintwork and maintenance issues. The park is mown with a vehicular mower and there needs to be a margin between the artwork and the grass edge in order to protect both artwork and mower blades from damage.

The artist and public art consultant, together with staff from Cardiff Council, will work in partnership to coordinate the consultation with local schools. The artwork designs will be approved by the Council’s landscape officer prior to physical work starting.

Constraints and Requirements.

Issues for the artist to take into consideration when designing the artwork:

Durability of the design and materials

Vulnerability to vandalism

Health and safety issues

The artwork should not have any costly short or long term maintenance requirements

Accessibility for maintenance/replacement of component parts

If necessary, production of a comprehensive maintenance schedule may be required


A budget of £30,000 + vat is available for designing and making the benches and artworks. This is to include the workshops and consultation meeting, research and design fee, materials and fabrication, delivery to site and installation, but not preparation of the site.


The deadline for the completion of the work is the end of February 2012. The proposed timetable for the project is as follows:

September 2011 - short-listing and interviews; appointment of artist;

October - November 2011 – Research; consultation and workshops with schools and community;

Late November 2011 - Presentation of final design;

December 2011 - February 2012 – Fabricate and install artworks.


To apply for the project please send images of your previous work on CD as a powerpoint or pdf document with an image list, a brief CV, and a letter outlining your interest in this project. The Selection Panel will consist of representatives from the Llanrumney Hall Open Space Steering Group and Celfwaith. Reasonable travel expenses to interview will be re-imbursed.

A provisional date for artist interviews has been set for Tuesday 20th September.

Send applications to: Celfwaith, 7 Pontfaen, Cardiff CF23 7DU.

This brief can also be viewed at www.celfwaith.co.uk. For further information contact: Mererid Velios 02920750992   [email protected]

PLEASE NOTE: This is one of two commissions being advertised for parks in Cardiff and artists may wish to apply for both.

The Selected artist will need to be set up on the Council’s Alito system. In order to do this, they will need to register with one of the member schemes of SSIP such as CHAS. There is a fee for this of between £60 and £80 and the artist will need to allow for this within their budget.

Deadline for applications: Monday 5th September 2011

Visit www.celfwaith.co.uk