Call Out: Streets Apart Artists Commissions


This is an open call out to artists interested in co-creating work with communities on Wigan’s King Street.

We are looking to support the development of 3 new artworks which take inspiration from the stories and histories of King Street, to be created and shared between July 2022 – February 2023.

These commissions mark the second stage of the Streets Apart programme, a cultural programme that seeks to unearth and celebrate diverse histories and imagine a different future for King Street, through artist-and-community led projects.

In 2021, The Streets Apart consortium, led by The Old Courts, commissioned the first set of artists to work alongside local creative partners and community groups to co-create different multi-artform projects on King Street. You can read more about those artists here.

Who can apply?

  • Artists living in Wigan & Leigh
  • Artists from elsewhere in England
  • Artists working in any artistic discipline that lends itself to a collaborative process of making and sharing


Commissioned artists will be partnered with a/another Wigan & Leigh-based creative practitioner to work with throughout the project.

The Street

King Street is widely known in Wigan for its party-hard, 10 drinks for £10, 11pm-6am culture. What once was a focal point for community, arts and entertainment in the early 20th century, has shifted to focus almost exclusively upon late night bars and nightclubs. But this isn’t the whole story.

In 2020, older people came together on King Street to find company in the street’s sports bar. Families ate together here, people visited the Job Centre, shoppers cut-through the street to catch their bus. In the 1800s, the sick & poor lined up outside Wigan Dispensary for medicine & food, during the second world war, people ate at make-shift communal kitchens in the Royal Court Theatre, whilst refugees were welcomed into the former Wigan Baptist Church.

King Street has the potential to be a place for people from Wigan, the Borough and beyond to come together. The street is within 150 metres of Wigan Wallgate and Wigan North-Western stations. The Leeds and Liverpool Canal runs parallel, and a 267-space outdoor car park sits at its south end. Feeding the main street are small side streets and passages. King Street can be closed to traffic and pedestrianised, whilst large open spaces including Wigan Market Place can be reached on foot in 5 minutes.

King Street was once the hub of entertainment in Wigan. All along its 1,000ft, crowds spilled out of the Royal Court Theatre (1886), the Hippodrome (1904) and County Playhouse (1916). By 2023, King Street will once again be home to a flagship cultural venue, with the Royal Court restored and re-opened.

King Street is one of 69 Heritage Action Zones (HAZ) across England selected to receive funding and support in a new scheme to help champion historic high Streets.

The Commissions

Streets Apart will bring cultural life back to the street, showcasing the creativity of the borough and beyond. Our three-year programme will reimagine King Street as a destination for the whole community; animating the street with multi-form artworks inspired by its stories and co-created by artists, local creative partners, and our communities.

We are eager to hear from artists whose practice and lived experience is suited to:

  • Co-creating with the community
  • Responding to social and historical context
  • Uncovering untold stories and working with people who are typically under-heard and under-represented
  • Creating new ways of being together, whether that be physically on a high street or remotely via digital technologies.


Each commission includes artistic fees of £4,500, plus additional cash budget for travel & subsistence, materials and access support as required (See ‘The Budget’ section below)

Commissioned artists will be expected to

  • Respond to King Street’s cultural and social heritage, making use of research we will provide (and any of the artists’ own research) into its past
  • Be collaborative in their approach, working in partnership with a/another Wigan based creative practitioner, with the community and with the Streets Apart project team
  • Create a new artwork in their chosen form. We are particularly interested in projects driven by a strong collaborative process, and which involve some opportunity for the public to interact during the making and presentation on King Street itself.
  • Participate in the documentation of the project
  • Consider the ongoing impact of Covid 19 on communities, and centre accessibility in their work (i.e. creating multiple opportunities and modes of engagement with the project)

The Budget

Each commission includes artistic fees of £4,500, plus additional cash budget for travel & subsistence, materials and access support to be designated in partnership with the Streets Apart Producer (c. £2,750)

The artistic fees have been budgeted based on an average rate of pay of £150 p/day, for 15 days of freelance employment, for 2 artists per commission. However, we are open to proposals that suggest a different allocation of these fees. Our aim is to best support the ideas and working style of the artists who apply.

In addition, each commission will be partnered with a/another Wigan & Leigh based creative practitioner with complementary skills, based on the needs of the project. They might be a DJ, a muralist, a dancer or a poet. This practitioner will be recruited in partnership with the commissioned artist(s) and paid to work throughout the duration of the project.

In-kind support will be provided in the form of:

  • Workspace at The Old Courts, or similar space provided by Streets Apart Cultural Consortium
  • Project development support from the Streets Apart Producer
  • Expertise offered by the Streets Apart Consortium (which includes a broad range of cultural, heritage, youth & business partners, see below)

How do I find out more?

We are holding an online information session about this commission and the Streets Apart programme on Thurs 30th June between 12pm-1pm. You can sign up to attend this session by booking online here.

How do I apply?

For Stage 1 of the application, we would like to hear your responses to the following questions:

1. What is your idea for the creation of a new co-created artwork on Wigan’s King Street? (300 words)

2. As part of this commission, we will be partnering each lead artist with a/another Wigan Borough based creative practitioner; to co-create the project, together with the community. What complimentary skills would you be looking for this creative practitioner to bring to your idea, and how do you imagine working together? (150 words).

3. What experience do you have that supports your approach and delivery of this project? (150 words)

You can share this information with us in 2 ways:

  • Written text, keeping to the word limits for each question
  • Or a maximum 180 second video or audio file


Please email all applications, videos or audio clips to

The application link also provides space for you to share examples of your work with us to support this application.

Trailers, videos, websites and images are all useful for us to see. We will not be able to read full scripts, and if you are submitting a video it is helpful if it is around 2 mins in length, or for you to let us know what sections to watch of a longer video in one of your answers above

If you require access support to complete an application, or if this approach doesn’t work for you, please contact Projects Officer Beth Ellis ( to arrange support or to discuss a different way of applying.

Deadline:  Monday 11th July, 5pm

Selection Process

We will let you know by Friday 15st July if you have been invited to Stage 2 of the application process. Interviews will be held W/C 18th of July.

Stage 2 will involve a short online conversation with the Streets Apart Project Producer, followed by the submission of a basic budget and schedule (templates will be provided).

Stage 2 applications will be reviewed, and successful projects selected by the Streets Apart Consortium, led by The Old Courts and a group of local arts professionals, King Street business owners, youth workers, young people and representatives from Wigan’s local history society. For a full list of Consortium partners, see below and visit the Streets Apart webpage.

Commissioned artists will be matched with a/another Wigan-based creative practitioner with complementary skills and experience, based on the needs of the project. This will be discussed at your Stage 2 conversation. Commissioned artists will be involved in this matching process, with the intention of establishing a positive working partnership which allows each party to play to their strengths and learn from each other.

Cultural Consortium

The Old Courts

Wigan Council

Healthy Arts

Stolen Thread Productions

Wigan Little Theatre

Wigan Local History & Heritage Society

Wigan Buildings Preservation Trust

Wigan Youth Zone

SL Leisure

Creative Activators