The Amelia Scott Building Commissions
Open call opportunities for artists, designers and creative practitioners.
On these pages you will find information and advice to help you make a proposal for The Amelia Scott Building artist commissions. You will also find key information and links to the Kent Business Portal, where your proposal will need to be submitted.
- The Commissions
- The Building
- How to Apply
- Individual Commission Briefs & Submitting a Proposal
- Community Engagement
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Site Walk-Through Video
- Press Information
1. The Commissions
We are very excited to open our call for artists and designers to make proposals for 1 or more of the 7 commissions for The Amelia Scott Building as part of the Artscore programme. Through a series of capital works, Artscore places the arts at the centre of The Amelia as a physical entity and service, so enabling the Amelia to sustain a fully engaged public service for the arts within Tunbridge Wells Borough. These bespoke and site-specific artworks, developed by artists working with stakeholders, will establish and reflect on The Amelia’s function as an integrated cultural centre, embedding art and culture into the very fabric of the building.
Each commission brief is a call to propose ideas for a different part of the Amelia Scott Building.
To access each individual commission brief you must first register via the Kent Business Portal. The deadline for submission of proposals for all commissions is Midday Monday 25 January 2021.
Submitted proposals will be considered by the Artist Commission Selection Panel which comprises artists, curators, museum specialists, museum consultants and members of the local community. (The commissioning panel members are not permitted to apply for commissions.)
2. The Building
The Amelia Scott building is an integrated service facility housing a range of arts, heritage, learning and wellbeing services. The building is due to open in spring 2022.
Our goals are to
- champion our unique collections and enhanced programming so that in 5 years’ time we are recognised as a centre for high quality cultural experiences
- Actively pursue best and innovative practice in provision of our specialist and combined services
- create exceptional visitor experiences based on a commitment to outstanding customer services
- become a sustainable cultural entity
Funded by generous grants from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and Kent County Council are working together to create an integrated information, culture and education service for Tunbridge Wells – The Amelia. This exciting, innovative redevelopment will create a space to enable and engage its visitors with the culture and heritage of Tunbridge Wells and the High Weald, learn new skills, socialise, and be inspired.
The Amelia is a major capital project bringing together a variety of cultural, educational and information services in one conserved and modernised set of buildings. This development will provide a welcoming and interactive space for local people and visitors to use and enjoy. A place to explore the heritage and stories of our collections, borrow a book, enrol on an educational course, access local council services and information or register a birth, death, or civil partnership. The building will be visibly full with objects and support an inspirational programme of exhibitions, events, and activities. It will be an active place where individuals and creative enterprises can develop skills, exchange ideas, and make connections through volunteering, creative practice and programmes of engagement and outreach to local communities.
The Amelia will:
- integrate within one space, services and activities provided by the Library, Registration, Museum, Art Gallery, Adult Education, Visitor Information and Gateway.
- tell different stories about Tunbridge Wells and the High Weald, through the display and interpretation of its Museum and Library collections, acting as a historical and reference resource for residents and tourists.
- combine 19th, 20th and 21st century architecture in a space that welcomes and serves its communities socially, culturally, and logistically.
- encourage its users to devise and participate in an engaging programme of learning and educational activities.
The Amelia Scott Building commissions are funded using an Arts Council England Capital Grant awarded in 2017. Arts Council England audit and scrutinise the commissioning process as part of the conditions of funding. The commissions support and contribute to the Arts Council England 2020-2030 strategy Let’s Create which advocates for three outcomes:
Creative People: Everyone can develop and express creativity throughout their life.
Cultural Communities: Villages, towns and cities thrive through a collaborative approach to culture.
A creative and cultural country: England’s cultural sector is innovative, collaborative, and international.
4. How to Apply
The Commissioning Process:
The following flowchart maps the commissioning process from point of interest, to making a proposals, selection, and the installing the work:
5. Individual Commission Briefs & Submitting a Proposal
All proposals must be submitted using the online Kent Business Portal
What to include in the commission proposal:
Each commission brief (see link above) will include the specific details of what you need to include in your proposal. All briefs will broadly ask for the following information:
- Current CV (maximum 2 pages of A4 in length) and artist statement (maximum 250 words)
- Images of and short texts about your previous work that is relevant to the proposal
- A written description of your ideas for the commission, showing how you are responding to the specific requirements of the brief (maximum 1000 words)
- A written description of how your ideas respond to sustainability and value for money, including outlining your experience of working with commission budgets and schedules (maximum 500 words)
- A budget showing how you would allocate the commission amount to the stages of research, production, and installation of the commission
- A schedule showing how you would allocate time to the stages of research, production, and installation of the commission.
- 2 referees who we can contact if you are shortlisted for interview.
Registering on the Kent Business Portal
The Kent Business Portal allows the sharing of information about existing contracts and forthcoming tendering opportunities across councils in the Kent area.
To submit a commission proposal via the Kent Business Portal you must register your details on the portal by visiting their website and clicking on the ‘supplier registration’ button on the left-hand side of the screen.
You will be taken through several steps to register. These include being asked to create a log-in and password for the portal and decide whether you would like to receive email notifications of relevant contract opportunities from Kent and many other local authorities which you can filter so they are relevant to your practice, for example by including search words or phrases such as ‘art’ and ‘art commissions’.
The registration process includes an authorisation step which means you will be sent an email with a link to complete the process. Once you have completed this step you will be able to access the commissions briefs and submit your proposal.
Ideally, make sure that you are registered on the portal in plenty of time to submit the proposal. It normally takes around 30 minutes to go through the registration process and be accepted as a potential supplier.
If you encounter difficulties when registering, there are user guides with instructions on how to use the system and a frequently asked questions section to guide you through the process.
If you have any concerns with registering please contact the portal help-desk: ProContractSuppliers@proactis.com.
Submitting a proposal using the Kent Business Portal
You can access the commissions opportunities in 2 ways once you have registered on the Kent Business Portal.
- Once you have logged into the Kent Business Portal, you can search by typing ‘Amelia Scott’ in the search box on the right hand side of the screen next to ‘opportunities’ then pressing the green ‘go’ button next to it. This will produce a list of the 7 commissions briefs. Click on the blue underlined title to access a brief and follow the instructions to submit your proposal.
- If you have included the search phrase ‘art commissions’ when registering, you should automatically be notified about the Amelia Scott Building commission opportunities. You can follow the links from this notification to take you to the relevant pages and submit your proposal.
Each commission brief has a section outlining how we would like the artists to engage with Tunbridge Wells Borough residents through the commissioning process. The extent of engagement depends on the nature of the commission and the timescales for development and production. The commission briefs ask for different types of engagement:
- Co-creation: we would expect the commission process to be led by an artist working collaboratively with a group of Tunbridge Wells residents that may or may not already exist as a community group. Co-creation can happen at any or all the stages of development and production of the work and is defined by creating a project that enables shared ownership through a full range of participation. We would expect artists to demonstrate their experience of working on co-creation projects and outline how they would approach working in this way for the given commission.
- Advisory: The brief identifies that engagement should happen through consultation with residents who form a knowledge and experience related advisory board, for example an access panel. We would expect the artist to identify key points in the development and production of the commission when the advisory board should be approached for their advice, and relate in the proposal how they would work with the advisory board to receive and respond to their advice.
The commissions ask for community engagement to happen as part of the commissions because we believe that working in this way can inspire interest in and ownership of The Amelia Scott Building and the services that will be provided in it. Artists will need to show their commitment to this aim in their proposal, and this can be expressed in different ways. For example:
- Consulting with local experts during the research stage of the commission to understand how the building and commission operate in their local context
- Employing local expertise to contribute to the fabrication of a commission
- Considering how engagement as a way of sharing transferable skills may benefit residents’ experience beyond the commissioning period
For all community engagement activity, artists should consider the extent of engagement they expect from residents when contributing to the commissions, and how they should be compensated for the resources they bring. They should also consider what, if any, are the longer-term impacts of engagement.
7. Frequently Asked Questions
In this section you will find a list of general frequently asked questions and answers. Any questions relating to specific elements of the individual briefs and the proposal process must be asked via the Kent Business Portal. Answers will then be shared for the benefit of all those making a proposal.
For any other general questions please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Do I need to register on the Kent Business Portal to make a proposal?
Yes. We cannot accept proposals submitted to us in any other way. If you are having difficulties using the Kent Business Portal please contact their helpdesk directly ProContractSuppliers@proactis.com.
I am a sole trader and not VAT registered – can I still apply for the commissions?
Yes – we are expecting many artists who practice as sole traders to apply. If you are not registered for VAT remember that you will need to include your VAT costs within in your budget.
Can I visit The Amelia Scott Building before I submit a proposal?
Due to current local restrictions please be aware that it is not recommended to arrange a site visit to The Amelia Scott Building – which is currently under construction. Please refer to the ‘walk-through’ video on this page, and the images and plans for each commission brief. Do contact us via email if you require further information: email@example.com
What help can Amelia staff offer to artists when making a proposal?
Please contact us if you have a specific question about local information such as community groups, local history or require some technical data that is not provided on this website. We regret that we cannot advise on individual applications before submitting proposals. Feedback for unsuccessful applicants will be available via the Kent Business Portal.
What will the digital interviews be like?
The digital interviews will last between 30 and 45 minutes. We will use Microsoft Teams or Skype for Business as the digital platform for the interview. We will ask you to prepare a presentation of your ideas which you can present with slides if you wish. We will also send you a set of interview questions to prepare before the interview. A selection of people from the commissioning panel will be present at the interview, along with one or both Cultural Projects Managers.
How many commissions can I apply for?
There is no limit to the number of commissions you can apply for but please be mindful that you should not propose the same idea for more than one brief.
Do I need insurance to be considered for a commission?
You do not need to have insurance in place when applying for a commission, but we will expect that you have the necessary cover in place on signing a contract with us. We expect this cover to be as follows: Public Liability Insurance for £10 million; Public Indemnity Insurance for £2 million; Employers Liability Insurance £5 million (Employers Liability Insurance applies only if you have employees).
Who was Amelia Scott?
Who was Amelia Scott?
8. Site Walk-Through Video
Walk-through video of the Amelia Scott building during construction (Nov. 2020) by build contractors Willmott Dixon Interiors.
9. Press Information
For press enquiries and high res images please contact the commissioning team: firstname.lastname@example.org
Press Release available to download