Artist in Residence – Open Call

Re:discover Barrow Lost Shops

A High Street Heritage Action Zone project

Art Gene and BarrowFull are seeking a visual artist to take up a residency to create artwork in Duke Street, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. 

Film Still from Re:discover Barrow – An Armchair Walk, Colin Aldred

The Brief

This is an exciting opportunity for a ‘temporary’ work to be sited in/on Duke Street, an impressive historic artery in the centre of Barrow-in-Furness between the Town Hall and the public library. The work could be (following negotiation with owners) in empty shop units, on windows, a billboard or the pavement, in bus shelters, flower beds or anywhere to reflect the artist’s practice, but would need to be visible within the street. To explore the street on Google maps click here.

This contemporary commission should reference the history of Duke Street and engage with local people through focussed workshops, events or public facing research & development.

The work will need to be fabricated and installed, within budget, by October 2023.

This commission forms part of a four-year programme of cultural events on Duke Street, in partnership with Barrow Borough Council, Barrow’s Cultural Consortium and the funders, led by Historic England. The programme is supported and managed by Art Gene, the cultural lead for the programme.

Historical and creative films about Duke Street, a theatre performance, and a creative museum/art installation are popular artworks already created by local arts companies Signal Film and Media, Art Gene, Theatre Factory and Full of Noises.

We are in the final year of the programme. The focus this year is on the visual arts, featuring an additional commission in the street (already awarded to a local artist) and a wrap-up exhibition, bringing together the history of the Lost Shops and the artworks previously produced in first three years.


Artist’s fee £4,500. Based on 12 days @£250 per day (£3000), plus allowance for travel and accommodation and an exhibition show fee totalling £1,500. (All £4,500 will be paid to the artist in two instalments.)

An additional artists’ materials budget of up to £2,000 is available. We can make our access fund available to support disabled artists.

Art Gene will provide 24-hour access to a studio, fabrication and office space at Art Gene, The Nan Tait Centre, Bath Street, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria LA14 5TY, a short distance from Duke Street. If you would like a detailed conversation about the accessibility of the space in relation to your needs, please contact us.


Residency period in Barrow: August/September 2023, to be negotiated with the artist.

Four engagement sessions to be delivered in Barrow, which could be as part of the R&D for the artwork.

The artist must be available in person for the launch of the work on Duke Street, likely to be in September or October 2023.

It is intended that work(s) created throughout the residency will be temporary and site specific in nature. The duration will be dependent on the form they take.

Actual works, a photo representation, or associated works will form a key part of a Re:discover Barrow Lost Shops – High Street Heritage Action Zone exhibition in the Art Gene Gallery, in early 2024.

Works produced by the artist will form part of a catalogue of the cultural programme of Lost Shops, featuring the history of the shops on Duke Street, artworks, performance, film and theatre works. The artist will be expected to produce a short, written statement for the catalogue to explain the thinking behind the artwork.

The residency will be shared online, and promoted through Art Gene’s newsletter, social media and within the local press.

How to apply

We encourage applications from all and especially artists who are under-represented in UK visual arts including disabled, Black, Asian or minority ethnic and LGBTQ+ artists.

To apply please send:

  • a CV
  • an expression of interest and proposal for how you would approach the residency and and engage with the community in the process (up to one page of A4)
  • 10 images of your work
  • Your access rider, if applicable (optional)
  • Our online equal opportunities monitoring form (Note: in Q1&2 choose the date of your application from the drop down menu; in Q12 choose ‘By myself’. Thank you.)

Via email to by 10am on 20 June 2023.

If you would like any assistance with the application or interview process, please let Rachael know.

Shortlisted artists will be notified the following week for an online interview on 26 or 27 June 2023.

Thank you in advance for your interest in working with us.

About Art Gene 

Art Gene is an artist-led research and production charity based in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, working to regenerate the social, natural and built environment through visual arts practice. We work collaboratively with communities.

The project is part of Art Gene’s REAL Barrow programme, which brings communities and specialists into a conversation about this place through research, engagement, participatory events, and the creation of artworks.

About BarrowFull

BarrowFull is one of 39 Creative People and Places programmes, which focus on parts of the country where involvement in creativity and culture is significantly below the national average. Barrow’s vision is that everyone in Barrow will have the opportunity to experience and be inspired by distinctive arts and culture in their local community. BarrowFull’s mission is to co-create exceptional arts and cultural activity with the people of Barrow working in partnerships with local, national and international examples of excellent, socially engaged creative practice and sharing learning in return.

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