Lead Artist Commission – Liverpool
To animate, bring to life and educate Liverpool’s residents about the city’s experience of COVID-19 so far.
As part of the ongoing Covid recovery work with Public Health, Culture Liverpool will use high quality and engaging cultural activity to animate, bring to life and educate Liverpool’s residents about the city’s experience of COVID-19 so far, as documented in the Public Health Annual Report 19/20 (PHAR). Key messages of the project will be crucial in spreading awareness of the virus and how it has impacted our communities, and in building up people’s resilience ahead of the next phase of the pandemic response – including ensuring wide-spread community vaccination. Working closely with Culture Liverpool, this project will commission a multi-media, accessible and unique programme of work to animate public health information in the public realm. Building on past projects, the programme will be called ‘Visible Virals’, a series of socially engaging and playful works in the public realm and venues all over the city. The name of the project draws parallels between how we will disseminate information and how viruses operate. We would commission an artist or artists’ collective to reach out and positively engage with thousands of people. The project will ‘introduce’ creative ideas to specific populations and allow the work to take on an intelligent life of its own, with the ‘artworks’ adapting in response to their ‘hosts’ through both physical and digital participation. Transient in nature, and light touch, the artworks will infiltrate public spaces and infrastructures in the city, building in magnitude and inviting participation. Artists Brief Liverpool City Council are seeking a Lead Artist / Artists Collective / Arts Organisation to work with Public Health, Culture Liverpool and other relevant partners on this exciting new commission. Visible Virals will: • Animate the PHAR, focussing on its themes of: o Innovation, the city has been a leader in responding to the pandemic, o impact on our communities – people have lost their loved ones and livelihoods, o significant moments for Liverpool, o positive outcomes and how we can learn from our experience over the last year, o how the city has pulled together to help those in need – we are better & stronger together o the future • Engage large numbers of participants in Liverpool throughout Summer – Autumn 2021 • Educate / raise awareness of how viruses spread and why things like social distancing, hand washing, face coverings, fresh air work • Educate / raise awareness of why vaccines work • Recognise the impact on mental health and raise awareness of the support we have available in Liverpool, with a particular focus on people who have been shielding • Offer Participation – enabling active engagement, implementation and ownership • Engage partners in ongoing discussion • Animate Liverpool’s public realm – and so have the effect of unifying public perception of the pandemic • Generate a high level of impact with audiences – cumulatively or through ‘big hits’ at intervals throughout the project • Create artworks that respond to change/interaction – to ‘host’ feedback both physically and digitally • Encourage dialogues with partners/ audiences • Leave a lasting positive legacy in the city’s collective imagination and a sense of hope The project requires broad reach across the Liverpool population, as the aim is to increase wide-spread awareness of the key public health messages and information. However, we know from our work that BAME and lower socio-economic communities are typically hardest to reach in terms of public health messaging, and these groups will therefore be a particular priority for engagement. The artist/s will need to expand our reach and engagement through this project within areas in the city which have experienced lower rates of COVID testing – including but not restricted to Clubmoor, Norris Green, Kirkdale, Kensington, Anfield, and Picton. This project is an opportunity to engage in a completely different way with communities who we often struggle to reach – using public art and creative interventions to broaden and deepen our engagement. Improving such engagement at the time of this project will be crucial, as we seek to maximise take up of the vaccination programme across all communities over the summer. The work will provoke public discussion and reflection on the city’s experience of Covid-19, and it will encourage resilience and boost community spirit as we head into the next phase of responding to the virus.
Estimated contract dates
Expression of interest window
From 04/08/2021 12:30 to 18/08/2021 10:00