Maps and Skins artist appointment – deadline 28 February

Maps and Skins media project

Artist brief

Fee: £6,000 (30 days)
Additional funds are available for materials and equipment

Timescale: March – August 2007

Deadline for applications: Wednesday 28th February 2007
Interviews in Newcastle: March 2007 (tbc)

English Heritage and ISIS Arts are seeking to appoint an experienced artist, to work alongside a media company, to work with young people to produce an interactive game as part of a high profile exhibition at Belsay Hall in Northumberland.

Applicants will be expected to have the relevant media skills, experience and an enthusiasm for working with young people from a hard-to-reach audience and proof of producing high quality work in this field.

‘Picture House’

English Heritage will be delivering its fourth major arts and design festival, ‘Picture House’, at Belsay Hall in May 2007. Belsay Hall is an 18th Century property managed by English Heritage, located near Ponteland in Northumberland.

Thirteen artists, designers and scenographers will each make new work for the rooms of Belsay Hall. Each new work will take as its basis the histories that lie within this extraordinary historic site. The results will form a major exhibition that will attract and widen the heritage audience and will present this historical site in an entirely new way.

Three of these artists are commissioned and curated by Dott 07 (Designs of the time 2007). Juha Huuskonen, the Finnish organiser of some of the most exiting and innovative festivals for electronic art and subcultures in the world is curating these three commissions for Dott 07.This is an initiative of the Design Council and the regional development agency, One North East and is a year of community projects that explore how design can make a positive difference to our daily lives.

More information about Belsay and the project is available from the ISIS website:

‘Maps and Skins’ project

‘Maps and Skins’ is the education based arts project that will run alongside the ‘Picture House’ project. It will be co-ordinated by ISIS Arts, an independent visual arts organisation based in Newcastle with overall management resting with a steering group of staff from both organisations.

The project has been funded through a Heritage Lottery ‘Your Heritage’ grant applied for by English Heritage. This contemporary method of interpretation has been chosen to appeal to young people to draw them to the site and gain a greater understanding of their heritage. The project will bridge heritage and the arts by giving young people access to the rich history of Belsay Hall, the people who lived there and the events, which took place.

Drawing inspiration from the theme of Picture House, a group of young people will work with a professional artist to develop, devise and create a virtual game.

As part of creative workshops, led by the artist (and assisted by an education heritage worker) the young people will visit the Belsay site, take part in heritage-themed workshops, and devise creative scenarios, which will form the basis of a computer game creating an interface, which can also be used on the internet and via a touch screen console at the site.

A first stage game will then be produced by a professional media company with experience of producing games, which will be launched at Belsay in July 2007.

Further workshops will be organised and delivered by the appointed artist during the summer. These sessions will be held at Belsay with other groups of young people who will have the opportunity to try out the game and add visuals and text.

Role of the Artist

The artist will:

• Research and develop ideas for a new interactive game around the heritage themes of the Picture House exhibition

• Run creative workshops with young people at Belsay to produce story-boards and original art work towards the production of an interactive computer based game

• Utilise the variety of archives and resources available to the project for example oral history recordings in liaison with the Heritage Education Worker

• Collaborate and engage with the other participating workers, to include an introductory session outlining the approach to project delivery

• Assist in production of leaflet, which will explain how the public visiting the exhibition may interact with the game

• Regular updates and meetings with key individuals/steering group

• Support the production of the final game for exhibition at Belsay Hall from July 2007 and for inclusion on the Picture House website

• Contribute to the overall success of the project by supporting the management, marketing, dissemination and evaluation of the project

Essential skills:

• Relevant skills to run creative workshops with young people

• The ability to research, interpret and present ideas and information

• Experience and enthusiasm for running workshops with young people from a hard-to-reach audience and a commitment to ensuring their ideas are an integral part of the game

• An interest and enthusiasm for heritage and varying methods of interpretation

• Experience of working collaboratively within a project

• Experience of working on fixed term projects with tight deadlines

Key on-site workers, a project steering group and the ISIS Arts education co-ordinator will support the artist throughout the project but it is important that the artist has experience of working with young people.

The artist will have 30 days (£6,000) to spend on the project and a minimum of 20 days will involve working with the young people. The rest of the time will be for meeting, research, planning and development. There is a further materials and equipment hire budget of £2,000 for the production of artwork during the project.

At the start of the project the artist will run a session for key workers introducing them to their art practise and their proposed approach to working with young people.

The workshops

The workshops will respond to the ideas and needs of the participants and will take place at Belsay Hall.

At this stage the management group is very open and flexible as to the type of game produced but it must bear reference to the rich cultural heritage of Belsay and involve the young people in a meaningful way from the early ideas stage through to final production.

As the game is being developed we envisage that it will be necessary to give the young people ways of noting down their thoughts and feelings, making sketches or storyboards, taking pictures etc. The workshops may include icebreaker sessions, led and self-guided tours of the site (heritage interpretation), meeting the designers participating in the ‘Picture House’ exhibition, exploring current games and gaming technologies, digital photographic and video sessions and story-board creation.

The young people

The project will work with young people of school age (11-16) who are at risk of exclusion or disaffection from mainstream education. Anecdotal evidence shows that young people in this age group are less likely to participate in heritage activities and feel heritage is less relevant to them than primary age children. Research has also shown that interpretative material involving interactive messaging, audio and visual elements is becoming an increasingly popular way of encouraging young people to engage in heritage activity.

The Platform

A Windows multimedia PC will be housed in the new discovery/access room located near the entrance of Belsay and will be how the game is accessed. Digital cameras and inputs, scanner, Bluetooth input and OCR software will also be provided.


An exciting and engaging game, which bridges heritage and the arts and that responds to the ideas of the young people involved


A steering group comprising of representatives from English Heritage, Belsay’s Picture House exhibition and ISIS Arts will manage the project and support the artist taking part in this project. Regular monthly meetings will be held either at Belsay or in Newcastle at the ISIS offices.

The artist will be supported by the ISIS Arts education project co-ordinator. The co-ordinator will be responsible for contracting the appointed artist, administering the project budget, setting up the programme of workshops, setting up and administering the steering group meetings, assisting with the organising of the final exhibition and launch event at Belsay, facilitating the production of the publicity and marketing, in liaison with English Heritage, and for monitoring and evaluating the project.


March 6th Recruitment of Media Company
Mid March 2007 Recruitment of artist
March-April 2007 Artist research and project planning
April-May 2007 Workshops with young people
May-July 2007 Production of first stage game
Early July 2007 Installation of game on site and Picture House website
July 17th 2007 Launch and celebration event at Belsay
August 2007 Workshops at Belsay during Picture House exhibition
September-October Production of final game

Introduction to English Heritage

English Heritage is the Government’s statutory adviser on the historic environment . We report to Parliament through the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. English Heritage is funded in part by the Government and in part from revenue earned from our historic properties and other services. We work in partnership with the central government departments, local authorities, voluntary bodies and the private sector to: conserve and enhance the historic environment; broaden public access to heritage; and to increase people’s understanding of the past. We also care for over 400 historic buildings, many of which are open to the public and educational groups.

The work of the Learning Department is to engage new and existing audiences with the historic environment through dedicated programmes of education and outreach. We aim to help people understand and learn from the historic environment, to value it, care for it and – ultimately – enjoy it. We work with a variety of partners including schools, LEAs and other organisations to engage over 500,000 learners at our properties per year. Further information can be found at

Introduction to ISIS Arts

For 15 years ISIS Arts has been at the forefront of pioneering exciting new opportunities for artists in the field of media arts from its base in North East England. Founded by arts graduates with a passion for lens-based media, ISIS is committed to producing challenging work of exceptional quality that is accessible to diverse audiences, but most importantly is artist-led.

Our work falls into three main strands – artist residencies and commissions, artist professional development and education, with schools or based within a community setting. We place equal value on these areas of work, believing artists need to be supported to develop their practise and that artists can in turn support their communities through programmes of arts in education.

With a busy digital studio, ISIS promotes the use of new media in the arts and works with around 90 artists a year on projects and training. For further information visit

Application procedure

There is no application form. Please send a current CV and a 2-page outline describing why you would be suitable for this role, your relevant skills and how you would approach the residency working with the young people.