Call for proposals: Lancashire Digital Engagement Commission – deadline 2 February 2009

folly, a leading digital arts organisation working in the Northwest of England and online, seeks to engage an artist in innovative creative consultation activity in the county of Lancashire.

folly wishes strengthen our offer of high quality digital arts provision in Lancashire. To achieve this, thanks to a grant from Lancashire County Council (LCC), folly is offering a £3500 artist’s commission to develop and deliver a project for and with the people of Lancashire in Spring 2009. This “Digital Engagement Commission” will question the role of digital arts and its meaning and benefits for audiences in Lancashire – people who live or work in the county, visitors and those who have an interest in engaging with it virtually.

Project outline and background information

According to Lancashire County Council’s Cultural Strategy (, “Lancashire is a county of great diversity, both in its environment and its communities. It boasts beautiful and dramatic rural landscapes and has a rich built heritage embedded in its
cities, towns and villages. It is also home to 1.1 million people who provide its energy, innovation and spirit of enterprise.”

Lancashire is situated between the conurbation of Manchester and Liverpool to the South, Cumbria and the Lake District National Park to the North and the Yorkshire Dales to the East.

folly’s programme of digital arts activities includes a broad range of projects using new and emergent technologies in creative ways. folly supports work that enriches lives and encourages people to engage with digital arts and cultural activity through projects that place great emphasis on process, production and participation.

Specialists in the creative use of technology and arts participation online, folly is interested in how society makes sense of the world through art and technology. folly works across sectors and challenges traditional arts values by acting as facilitators of engaging and rich experiences, enabling artists and audiences to rethink content, value and meaning of the arts. folly believes in the power of networks and communal thinking and takes a collaborative approach to developing projects.

With this in mind the commissioned artist will undertake innovative consultation with the people of Lancashire, questioning the role of digital arts and its meaning and benefits for them. The artist will reach these people physically at sessions held at a maximum of five libraries in Lancashire county, developing appropriate sessions in liaison with LCC Libraries and Information Services and folly.

The artist will make the consultation process publicly visible in an engaging and creative online platform. The participatory consultation activities should take the form of both unique and engaging physical sessions and virtual engagement via the publicly accessible online platform. This platform could be developed especially by the artist or could make use of existing social networks. Any software developed for the project would be licensed under the latest general public license and any other works developed as part of the project would be licensed under creative commons attributions share alike.

Expected outcomes of this commission:

* A series of unique artist led sessions with various groups, taking place across the county of Lancashire at a maximum of five libraries The location of the libraries will be identified by LCC. The sessions should:
– offer a variety of audiences the chance to experience and find out more about digital art and what new technologies can offer them creatively
– allow participants to have their say about what digital arts provision would be most meaningful/relevant/interesting to them
– build a sense of ownership and encourage the development of audience-led ideas which have a real chance of happening in the future

* An online platform for continued public engagement with the project and questions/issues it raises. This platform will:
– make the whole consultation process visible in an easily accessible and understandable way
– allow for ongoing engagement with the questions and issues raised through the project, for both attendees of physical sessions and new virtual participants from across the county.

* The findings of the commissioned artist’s activities are intended to inform folly’s methodology for future delivery in Lancashire.

* Artistic outcomes and ideas generated through the artist’s engagement with people in Lancashire and online are hoped to actively feed into folly’s artistic programme for 2009 and beyond.

The fee available for this project is £3500 ex VAT, with an additional £1000 available for travel, accommodation and other expenses.

The successful applicant will need to be available to attend physical sessions throughout the county of Lancashire in February, March and April 2009, as well as being available to engage virtually with audiences throughout the project’s life. It is anticipated that the online platform will remain live beyond the project’s physical life, continuing to develop and grow through input from it’s users.

In addition to the stated fee, folly will host the web presence and moderate user-generated content if required. folly also has some technical equipment which can be made available for the physical sessions and a body of web-based and physical projects which can be drawn from and used/discussed throughout the consultation process if appropriate. The artist and project will be supported by folly’s artistic programming and technical staff.

Deadline for applications: 2nd February 2009

Applications should include a recent CV, evidence of previous relevant work, a proposal of how you intend to achieve the outcomes stated above and an indication of how you anticipate spending the £3500 budget. Please also include a completed equal opportunities monitoring form, available to download from the folly website at

folly is committed to Equal Opportunities in our employment, programme and services.

For an informal discussion or any questions please contact Jennifer Stoddart, Projects Manager on jennifer.stoddart ‘at’ or phone 01524 388550 during office hours.

For information on folly’s full programme of digital arts activities in the Northwest and online explore

Applications should be sent by email to Wendy Rogerson, folly Administrator – wendy.rogerson ‘at’ – by 12 noon GMT on Monday 2nd February 2009.