Open Call: Community Garden ‘Messages of Hope’ Installation

Radcliffe School is a large secondary school in Milton Keynes that serves a diverse student population, and areas of significant social deprivation. Situated in the heart of the school, a community garden dedicated to the wellbeing of students is being created. The garden will be available to any student that requires a space to visit in order to restore calm in their lives, reflect on their thoughts and feelings and talk with ease to a dedicated core cohort of Sixth Form students trained to listen to the younger students.

Radcliffe are looking to commission an artist to work intensively with the Sixth Formers to create a piece of work that will give messages of hope to the younger users of the garden, and provide an opportunity for the Sixth Formers to reflect upon their own (sometimes difficult) journeys to think about what they needed to hear when they were younger. We are seeking an artist who can come and work with students to explore ideas and then help create the installation. The Sixth Formers will work closely with the artist to reflect upon and generate these messages of hope and to take an active part on the creation of an installation that will remain in the garden.

The school are open to a wide range of interpretations of this brief, but would like a final piece that is in keeping with the nature of the garden as a place of quiet reflection. The messages may be obvious or somewhat hidden, hanging from the trees, floating in the water, painted on the walls, transmitted as audio files, or attached to the furniture, but they must be durable, attractive and a defining feature of the sanctuary garden. This could be a sculptured piece, a mural, a specific focal point or an idea that could continue as an ongoing project. e.g. Hanging chimes, sun catchers, dream catchers, thought stations.

We are asking that the artist spends a series of 4 half days with the Sixth Formers (a group of between 12 and 20 students) during the week commencing the 3rd of July, and ensures that the work is installed before the school opens again in the summer. The total fee for this work, inclusive of VAT time, prep, travel, materials and installation is £800. The artist will be supported by a pastoral member of staff during their workshops with the young people.

This commission is funded by the Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes Collaborative Network, run by the University of Bedfordshire, brokered by The Culture Challenge, and the final decision will be made by Radcliffe School. To make an expression of interest please briefly outline your approach, costs and availability during the week commencing 3rd July*, email by midnight on the 27th June. Applications will be informed by the 29th of June.

*Because of the tight turnaround, if the right person is not available during the week commencing 3rd July, we may postpone this project until September. So if you have a great idea but can’t make the dates, please do let us know!

Photograph by Cat Lane of The Higgins