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Gallery interventions: installation commission

£2,000 (exc VAT)
Contract To be completed Friday 9 July 2021


People’s History Museum (PHM) is the national museum of democracy, telling the story of its development in Britain: past, present, and future.  The museum provides opportunities for all people to learn about, be inspired by and get involved in ideas worth fighting for; ideas such as equality, social justice, co-operation, and a fair world for all.

PHM is currently exploring the theme of migration through a programme of exhibitions, events, activities and discussions.  The approach to the theme was developed in response to a series of public consultations which took place in early 2019.  The programme has been co-created with a Community Programme Team, made up of people whose lives have been shaped by migration, who have been working with the museum since summer 2019.

The project

In response to the consultation, PHM has chosen to move away from its traditional approach of a single, large scale temporary exhibition to an adventurous project focusing on challenging the migration narratives in its main galleries and finding new ways of highlighting the stories of migration across the 200 years of history they tell.  The Community Programme Team are leading on developing the ideas and undertaking research for this project.  They are now looking for a number of artists and designers to work with to realise their ideas.

The result of this project will be a series of gallery interventions installed throughout the museum’s main galleries which interrupt the usual visitor experience.  Visitors will be taken on a journey following several different stories exploring the contributions of migrants in Britain and the differing reasons why people migrate, presented through a series of installations and animations.  These will be displayed in the museum’s main galleries from summer 2021.

The key objectives of the project are to:

  1. Work with communities to highlight and promote the diverse and multicultural history of Britain while reflecting on cross cutting factors such as colonisation, slavery, the industrial revolution, the arms trade, climate change etc, and the role these factors play in past and present migration movements
  2. Work with communities to explore and highlight the experiences of recent migrants and the impact of hostile environment policies. We will use this learning to support grassroots action to counter these policies and alleviate their consequences
  3. Act as a centre for thought provoking and bold conversations around issues including racism, classism, the rise of the far right, xenophobia and Brexit
  4. Utilise radical approaches to community led programming and cultural democracy


The project has been made possible through funding from Art Fund and Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.

What we are looking for

PHM is looking for an artist with experience of working on community led projects to create an installation in their chosen media that will highlight the unseen contribution migrants make to the UK economy, which is heavily dependent on their labour.

The installation will be temporarily installed in the main galleries at the museum as part of the wider gallery interventions project and could be a single piece or multiple pieces spread throughout.  It will be included within a Family Friendly trail resource which will take visitors on a journey throughout the main galleries, bringing together the separate components of the project.  Find out more about the commission opportunities for the other elements of the project.

The artist will work alongside the Community Programme Team and respond to the following key ideas and themes they have identified and developed throughout the project:

  • The UK is keen to reap the benefits migration has had in the agricultural sector such as well stocked supermarkets and affordably priced food, but when it comes to the unethical industry practices and conditions migrants face, many people are unaware or bury their heads in the sand
  • There is a double standard in the way migrants are treated in the hospitality sector. Migration is recognised as essential to this sector’s success (62,000 new EU migrant workers are needed annually in order to sustain UK hotels, bars and restaurants).  However, migrant workers continue to be treated with suspicion and face a ‘hostile environment’, compounded by the results of the 2016 EU Referendum
  • The recent pandemic has brought the contribution and sacrifices of migrant workers in the NHS and care sector into stark relief; the personal stories of these individuals, their experience of arriving in the UK, and how they have shaped our health service, should be better known and widely celebrated



The final installation:

  • should engage a diverse range of visitors in new and stimulating ways, including families
  • could be a 2D or 3D installation, film, or other digital work that is accessible and appropriate for the main gallery spaces
  • should adhere to PHM’s conservation requirements


Take a 3D tour to explore the museum’s main galleries.  An onsite visit can be arranged with the successful artist.


There is a maximum budget of £2,000 (exclusive of VAT) available for the delivery of this element of the project including all artist fees, production costs and expenses.

Intellectual property rights

  • PHM will require EITHER a perpetual exclusive licence OR a perpetual non-exclusive licence to use the installation including digital copies specifically for PHM’s purposes
  • The supplier will be responsible for rights clearance of all content used that is owned by third parties, including documenting and recording these permissions in line with General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and supplying this information to PHM
  • PHM will be responsible for clearing copyright of content supplied from its collection
  • The installation will be returned to the supplier after display, by the end of December 2022 at the latest


Interview / selection process

Reflective of the community led nature of this project, the Community Programme Team will be deeply involved in both the shortlisting of expressions of interest and the interview sessions for this commission, with support from PHM staff.

Key dates / schedule for tender

  • Installation commission brief distributed: Friday 12 February 2021
  • Expressions of interest returned by email to 12 March 2021
  • Shortlisting and shortlisted artists notified: w/c Monday 15 March 2021
  • Shortlisted artists invited to interview by a small panel most likely using digital platform Zoom: w/c Monday 22 March 2021
  • Successful artist notified: by Wednesday 31 March 2021
  • Successful artist works with Community Programme Team on developing and producing the installation: April 2021 – end June 2021
  • Delivery date for installation: Friday 9 July 2021


The deadlines outlined above are subject to change due to the ongoing uncertainty created by the Covid-19 pandemic.  The project timeline may need to be adapted and we may require some flexibility to work beyond these dates.

We are aiming to share the outcomes of this project in summer 2021 but we will look at creative ways to do this digitally if the museum remains closed and physical installation is not possible.

Expression of interest

If you would like to submit an expression of interest please return a PDF with the following information to PHM Programme Officer Zofia Kufeldt by email to by 5.00pm on Friday 12 March 2021:

  • Full contact details
  • Relevant examples from your portfolio
  • A statement outlining your understanding of the brief and why you want to work on this project
  • A propose timeline of development and delivery planned to meet the brief by the deadlines outlined above
  • An outline of how you would divide the budget between your fees and other costs


If you have any queries or would like to discuss this further, please contact Zofia Kufeldt by email at

As an equal opportunities employer, we welcome applications from all suitably qualified persons.  We would particularly welcome applications from people who have lived experience of migration and those who are under-represented in the arts and culture sector.

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