The University of Cumbria Institute of the Arts, in partnership with Carlisle City Council, announces Immersion/Emergence, a new artist residency project at The Old Fire Station, Carlisle, supported by Arts Council England. The project invites artists to take up residence in the City and develop new work in response to the urban and rural landscape of the city-region after last year’s flood. Working in partnership with Carlisle City Council, artists will have access to office and exhibition space within the Old Fire Station to use as a lab for research, production and exposition.

Cllr. Anne Quilter, Portfolio Holder for Culture, Heritage and Leisure said, “we are delighted to have formed a partnership with the University of Cumbria. We are committed to delivering a cultural offer for the City of Carlisle and this activity demonstrates a significant step-change to how we work together to provide opportunities for artists across a range of forms whilst recognising the economic value of their work”.

Roddy Hunter, Director of the Institute of the Arts, commented “As artists and educators, we are committed to our community and city and promote artistic practice as important and unique in exploring the world around us, with all its social, economic and environmental complexities. We are delighted to work in partnership with the City Council and with Arts Council support to make a significant contribution toward placing the arts at the centre of the City’s renewal following Storm Desmond last year”.

For further information contact Mark Wilson on 01228 588572 or email to

Call for Proposals

The Brief

In acknowledgement of the principles of immersion and its value as a condition of ‘getting to know’ a place, it is expected that these residencies will also reflect in some way on recent floods in Carlisle – the first in 2005 which in the long term, prompted the Fire and Rescue Service permanently to vacate the building and the second, in 2015, only 7 months after opening as an Arts Centre, which then required a further year of refurbishment to the building. Floods are an environmental effect that increasingly haunt many of the world’s populations. How we respond to this threat and to flooding events themselves inevitably demands that we draw on faculties and insights previously untested. In Carlisle for instance, thousands of people were affected and every one of those people carries experiences and stories that will stay with them for the rest of their lives – stories made at the unruly intersection of the elemental and the domestic – of despair, resourcefulness and resilience.

We wish to encourage a broad range of proposals from artists interested in working across disciplines and who bring a variety of approaches to the idea of ‘site’. A demonstration of this approach will be examined as part of the selection process.

The OFS Arts Centre is already a busy and successful music, theatre and comedy venue but this project, in establishing a programme of artist residences, will effectively be commissioning new contemporary artworks and activity to inform and enrich the cultural identity of the City


Each Artist Resident will receive a bursary of up to £5,000 to be paid in instalments over the period of their residency.

Individuals (or collaborative artists) will be provided with office and exhibition space in the OFS building to use as a lab for research and production. 

Residents will also deliver a (modest) schedule of public events, comprising for example, a workshop, a lecture, a seminar – the details of which programme will be negotiated as part of the appointment.

There will be an exhibition (or equivalent) at the conclusion of each residency. 

In addition to the space, for production purposes, the Residents will also have access to University of Cumbria Institute of the Arts (UCIA) workshops and labs, situated a 15-minute walk away, at Brampton Road Campus.

It is expected that during the period of the Residency, each Resident will offer tutorials and/or a formal lecture to undergraduate/postgraduate students at the UCIA


Submissions are invited from practicing artists living in the UK and working in any medium/media. It is anticipated that site-specificity, site-sensitive or socially-engaged approaches will be regarded favourably in the panel’s selections. Applicants must be able to demonstrate their eligibility to work in the UK


In the first instance we invite artists to apply with research proposals in response to the above.

On selection by panel, the six most promising applicants will receive a bursary of £300 each to develop their ideas

The two successful applicants will be selected from this shortlist on the basis of their developed submissions


Open-call: 03 January 2017
Submission Deadline: 03 February 2017
Project Panel meets:   w/c 06 February 2017
Shortlist Announced: 09 February 2017
Proposal Development: 10 February – 03 March 2017
(during this period, artists will be invited to present their ideas to the Project Panel)
Exhibition:  13 March – 24 April 2017
Exhibition Private View: Thursday 16 March 2017
Creative Space Period: March – 30 October 2017
Exhibition    30 October – 01 December 2017

Please note that all dates are approximate and may be subject to change with minimum notice.

To Apply:

Please send a PDF proposal using the application form including:

Deadline for applications 16.00hrs Friday 03 February 2017

Application Form

Download the Application Form

Please complete all sections and return to

Deadline for application: 1600 hrs on Friday 03 February 2017

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