GPS: Annual Art Commission FAQs

On Wednesday 9 May 2018, we published an Open Call briefing for Artists' Expressions of Interest to a major new socially-engaged artist led project which uncovers, celebrates and showcases the industrial heritage of Park Royal by connecting it to the lived experience of its contemporary communities and businesses.

To keep the process as open and fair as possible, we’re sharing our responses to all questions about the Open Call:

Background on Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation

What is the OPDC and what do they do?

The OPDC is regenerating and developing a whole new centre and community for west London. We want to make sure that both current and future residents and businesses benefit from the significant investment in the area by two major rail infrastructure projects: High Speed 2 (HS2) and the Elizabeth line (formally Crossrail).

The OPDC was established by the Mayor of London on 1 April 2015 to oversee the delivery of 25,500 new homes and generate 65,000 new jobs for London. OPDC is the Local Planning Authority and regeneration agency for the 650 hectare site. 

For detailed information on the OPDC and our role, please refer to our website.

Before the OPDC was set up, who did the planning in the local area?

The three London Boroughs of Brent, Ealing and Hammersmith & Fulham were responsible for all the planning for their respective boundaries. The boroughs remain responsible for non-planning related services such as waste collection, education provision and highway maintenance.

For more information on Planning at OPDC, please refer to our website.

The Annual Art Commission

Can you share some background about the Annual Art Commission?

The Annual Art Commission is the first art commission to be issued as part of OPDC’s Great Place Scheme. The Great Place Scheme has been supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund. For more information, please see our website

Are you looking at mainly public sculpture on a big scale?

No, the project can take any form. Artists are invited to propose work in any medium including visual arts, music, performance, digital, research-based or social practice. Our only requirement is that the work is participatory, involves the local community and uncovers an aspect of the industrial heritage of Park Royal.

There is no mention of a site/venue where the artwork will be exhibited in the brief. Is it going to be outside somewhere?

The project does not necessarily need to result in a physical piece of artwork as the project can take any form. If you would like to propose a project that will require a site/venue we will endeavour to support you to find an appropriate space(s) in the area, but cannot guarantee this will be possible.



Would you welcome applications from artists without experience of delivering similar projects at this scale, or is that a significant barrier to being awarded the commission?

We welcome applications from everyone. If you have not had experience in delivering projects of this scale, we would advise that you consider how you would ensure you had the right resources and support built into the project budget to enable you to deliver your idea.

Can we look for match funding for the project?

Artists can raise additional funding towards the project from other sources, such as sponsorship or grants, although these would need to be agreed with OPDC in advance. You would still be required to present a proposal for a project that can be delivered within the £50,000 budget, in case you are not successful in securing additional funding to enhance your proposed idea.

Which other artists have already been commissioned as part of the Great Place Scheme?

We are currently in the pilot phase of the three-year Great Place Scheme and this is our first major art commission. To date, we have commissioned two research-based artist residencies to investigate how best to engage with the business and residential communities. Sam Curtis was the first artist-in-residence looking at working with businesses, he will be publishing the findings of his work later this year.

The second artists-in-residence are Rebecca Davis and Eva Sajovic who previously ran a project called People’s Bureau in Elephant and Castle. They will be developing a collaborative project with local residents over the summer.

Where can I find out information learnt through the artists residencies and other work you have done with the communities?

The best place to find this information is via our blog, which is updated regularly and via our enewsletter.

Will you help us manage volunteers if needed?

Working with volunteers is an important part of the overall programme. We are building a solid network of local community members, residents and employees in the area who are keen to volunteer in cultural projects. We will promote opportunities, but the day-to-day management of volunteers on a particular project will need to be undertaken by the appointed artist, with production support from Create London. When working with the public, including volunteers, artists will be required to hold appropriate public liability insurance and prove they have robust safeguarding policies in place.

How would it work if I want to set up a website/online presence?

It may be possible for you to set up a website as part of your art project, however you will need to liaise with Create London and the OPDC Comms team in order to ensure that it is agreed by the Mayor’s Office and that the correct crediting and logos are used in line with our funders’ requirements.

If, for example, my project required me to be based in Park Royal would you be able to provide space or do I need to include rent in my budget breakdown?

Currently OPDC does not have any workspace available in Park Royal. If the project required space for an artist to be based within, or for activities to happen, we will endeavour to support you to find this space, and to negotiate with potential venues, but hire costs would have to be factored into your budget.

Within the submission process it states that no image or video files should be included, but are we able to include images that are embedded within a PDF? 

Yes, images can be included within a PDF portfolio (max 5 pages) to demonstrate previous work, as well as links to online content. Please do not send separate image or video files.

Can we apply for the Annual Art Commission as a collective with different artists participating in the delivery of our proposal? If so, do we submit a CV & portfolio for the collective or for each of the individual artists?

We welcome proposals from artists, groups of artists or organisations. However, one individual or organisation will need to be the lead contact, who will be responsible for receipt of the grant, as well as reporting back to us.

Please only send one CV and portfolio which summarises the lead artist/organisation’s background and experience. Additional information about the individual artists could be provided through a link to relevant online content.

Can you advise what support we could expect, or not, from OPDC (and/or Create London?) in respect of reaching the workers in Park Royal, the leaders of the businesses and the residents within the Park Royal area and adjacent areas?

We have been building many relationships in the area and would be happy to arrange introductions where appropriate.

If the project has a public outcome (eg: event, performance) we would work together with the selected artists on a joint communications plan to ensure as many local people are able to attend/participate. 

Is there a potential venue for any workshops, or would it be more appropriate for the chosen artist to work with different groups within their own environment - school, workplace etc.?

The venue for workshops or other participatory activity would depend entirely on the selected project and groups which the artist intends to work with. We would endeavour to support you to find appropriate partners to work with.

Do you wish to see details of our proposed artwork ideas within the Expression Of Interest?

For full details on our expectations, please refer to the Submission Process section within the Open Call brief. It states that you should include: “Your initial response to the industrial heritage of Park Royal and how you would approach the commission (max 500 words)”  – so yes, please give an outline of your idea and how you would approach delivering it.

The local area

Are there opportunities to view the area?

We recently ran two tours for people interested in applying for the Annual Art Commission so that they had the opportunity to learn more about Park Royal and the surrounding areas. Unfortunately, we are unable to organise additional tours but we are happy to share a map of the route, to help you explore the area, please get in touch to request this. Some of our recent walks and tours are also described on our blog.

Do you have a list of businesses in Park Royal?

The most recent list is the Park Royal Atlas which was published by the Greater London Authority in May 2014.

Do you have any data about people working in Park Royal, where they live, how far they travel etc?

This information can be found in the Park Royal Transport Study which is one of the supporting studies for our Local Plan, published in June 2017.

Are there any factories which are abandoned or working factories which are open to collaborative projects? 

There are no abandoned or empty sites that we know of or have access to. We are slowly building relationships with businesses that may be open to collaboration. We will aim to support the selected artist to develop a relationship with businesses if relevant to the success of the selected project.

What existing heritage information exists about Park Royal?

OPDC has published a Heritage Strategy which builds on Historic England’s Old Oak Outline Historic Area Assessment. The Heritage Strategy provides detailed research into the rich history of Old Oak and Park Royal including the arrival of railways and the Grand Union Canal, the story of Wormwood Scrubs and the emergence of industry. This information is used to define recommendations for our heritage work programme.

There are also many local history groups/societies that publish information, as well as local archives in Brent, Ealing and Hammersmith & Fulham.

What can you tell us about the demographics of the area?

OPDC published a Socio-Economic Baseline Study in 2016 as one of the supporting studies for our Local Plan. Additional data is available from each of the three local boroughs:

What other cultural activities such as festivals are happening in the area?

Please see the event listings for each of the three boroughs for relevant information:

Our supporters

The Great Place Scheme has been supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

National Lottery and Arts Council England

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