King Street was once the hub of entertainment in Wigan, and a new project called Streets Apart intends to celebrate this history, uncover hidden stories, and kick start a cultural revival. Created by a consortium of 9 Wigan and Leigh based organisations on a mission to bring world-class cultural activity to King Street, Streets Apart is a three-year project supported by £120,000 investment from national funder Historic England.
Over three years, this locally-rooted programme will commission artists, local creative partners & community groups to co-create unique street art, podcasts outdoor performance and more, culminating in a celebratory festival for the whole community in 2023.
Image Courtesy of Archives: Wigan & Leigh
Performance by Jordan Akkaya. Writing and direction by Martin Green. Direction, filming and editing by Matty Andrews for Aposs Video Production. Images courtesy of Archives: Wigan & Leigh, and Joel Goodman.
4 artists have been commissioned to work alongside local creative partners and community groups, to co-create unique multi-artform projects on King Street.
These commissions mark the beginning of Streets Apart, 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.
The artist(s)/company will be contracted by The Old Courts, who are the lead partner on the Streets Apart Cultural Consortium. Your main point of contact and support will be the Streets Apart Producer (Rosie Scudder), who works 4 days per week for The Old Courts with a focus on national projects, including Streets Apart.
Streets Apart was devised by a consortium of Wigan and Leigh based organisations on a mission to bring world-class cultural activity to King Street. Led by the Old Courts, the Cultural consortium are currently a group with 9 members, including volunteer leaders of local history & heritage societies, youth workers, arts professionals, local pub and club owners, council business managers – and an associate group of teenagers called the Creative Activators. The consortium meets monthly to plan the project, and will be involved in supporting the delivery of the project throughout its three years. You can read more about our Cultural Consortium on the Streets Apart webpage.
We are interested in working with artists working in any artform, you could be interested in making contemporary live performance, visual art, digital art, podcasts, film etc. The work needs to have some presence on King Street, and a strong connection to the stories, the histories, the people of the street. Crucially, we are interested in ways of working that include our communities and are collaborative by nature. King Street will act as our stage or gallery, with artworks animating the street in various ways over the course of Streets Apart. We do not expect artworks to be permanent, or to exist for any pre-determined length of time. That will be discussed with the artist and supported by the Streets Apart producer and consortium.
Artists applying for the Streets Apart commission do not need to be from Wigan or currently based in Wigan. We are interested in national perspectives.
In addition, each commission will be partnered with a/another Wigan based creative partner with complementary skills, based on the needs of the project. This creative partner 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 separately – i.e not out of the £4.5k of creative fees, to work throughout the duration of the project.
As part of our commitment to the project feeling locally rooted, and to encourage collaboration and co-creation across artistic disciplines, each commissioned artist will be paired with a local creative partner who is Wigan borough based, who will be paid to work alongside the artist and with the community throughout the project. Importantly, this does not mean that the lead artist can’t be from Wigan. We would encourage artists who are Wigan based to apply.
We would encourage you to have a look at the resources available to the public about the history of King Street, which are accessible on the Wigan Local History and Heritage Society website, linked on our webpage and here. We do not expect artists applying to be expert in the history of the street, but we do want to work with artists who demonstrate a curiosity and interest in an aspect of this history, that they are interested in exploring further during their commission. Further in-kind research and archival support will be offered to the artist during the commissions, from the volunteer led history and heritage societies that are members of the Cultural Consortium.
We’ve asked you share with us an outline of your idea for your artwork, a suggestion of the kind of practice you would be looking for in a locally based creative partner, and how you might work with them, and for some information about your experience and previous work. We really want to know what interests or excites you about working collaboratively with other artists and with communities on King Street, and how it suits your practice. The application process is designed to help us get to know you, your work and your values, and vice versa, to make sure we’re a good fit for a partnership.
EOIs will be reviewed after the closing date on Thurs 14 Oct, and an initial sift will be done by members of the Old Courts programming and development teams.
After an initial sift, the Streets Apart Cultural Consortium will assess the applications. This will happen in the weeks of 18 and 25 October. We then plan to be in touch with all artists in w/c 1 November, with information about the next stage.
You do not need to know who your locally based creative partner is when you apply for the commission. We do however ask you to share your ideas for the sort of complementary skills you would be looking for in a creative partner. If you do have an idea of a specific person, then you can suggest them in your application, but this isn’t an expectation. Once we have decided on the 3 commissions, we will run a matching process to find a creative partner for each of the commissions. This process will be run in partnership between the commissioned artist and the Streets Apart Producer and Consortium.
The creative fees and wider resource attached to this project will be allocated in partnership with each of the artists and the Streets Apart producer, to best support the idea and practice of the artist’s ideas. Each commission includes artistic fees of £4,500. 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. You may wish to work slowly and regularly across the 5 months between November 21 – Mar 22, or you may wish to run a more condensed process over 2 or 3 weeks. We are open to any approach. If you have your own funding or ideas for match funding, we would be happy for this commissioned to work alongside other resource you have secured or are applying for.
There is additional cash budget for artistic materials/mounting costs, travel & accommodation if needed, and access support for artists and communities. This budget is to be designated in partnership with the Streets Apart Producer and amounts to c. £2,750 per commission.
At Stage 2, we will be looking to meet with a smaller number of applicants, via Zoom, to discuss your project ideas in more detail. We will also ask for a submission of a basic budget and schedule (templates will be provided).
Further shortlisting will then take place, and we will decide on the 3 commissions. We will then work with the lead artists to recruit the creative partner for each project, the process for this will be devised with each artist depending on the need of the project and the sort of partner you are looking for.
It is our aim for the whole process to be concluded and projects starting to get underway by 22 November.
Applications will be sifted by members of the programming and development teams at The Old Courts, before being assessed and shortlisted by the Streets Apart Cultural Consortium. All applications will be read by at least 2 members of the network, and we will be flagging any conflict of interest to ensure fairness.
We are holding informal information sessions via Zoom on Thursday 23 September (12-1pm) and Monday 11 October (4-5pm). You will be able to ask questions and hear more about the opportunity during these sessions. You can sign up for one of these sessions by following the ‘FIND OUT MORE’ link on the Streets Apart main page. The first information session will be recorded, and parts of the session will be made available online for anyone who cannot attend at these times.
If you need to talk to us about a different way of applying, please contact Rosie Scudder (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please note that Rosie is away from her desk between Friday 24 September and Monday 11 October, and will respond to queries when she is back. If you question is urgent and needs answering before then, please contact email@example.com and we will try our best to help.
For the first stage expressions of interest, we will provide general feedback about the applications which we will share on email. For Stage 2 we will give individual feedback wherever requested.
Wigan Little Theatre,
Deputy Chair and Publicity Officer
WLT is a voluntary organisation run by and for anyone interested in providing high quality, wide-ranging, traditional and innovative theatre, accessible to all. WLT has contributed to the cultural life in the borough for over 75 years and believes that everyone can benefit from involvement in the arts, whatever form they choose. We welcome volunteers with skills on stage, back stage, front of house, technical and administrative.
“The Streets Apart project is a platform to encourage participation in the arts which will lead to awareness about Wigan’s long history in entertainment. It will open up memories of the past and how our town has always valued ‘having a good night out’. It will also inspire us to revive and develop our view of how we continue to enjoy ourselves well into the next decades.”
Wigan Local History and Heritage Society
WLHHS promote and help to maintain an interest in the rich heritage and history of Wigan, initiating and encouraging research and also raising awareness and campaigning publicly on issues where heritage is at risk. The society’s aim is to excite and engage people of all ages to discover and preserve Wigan heritage by bringing it to life creatively for the present and future generations of Wigan.
“We are pleased to be part of the King Street Project and look forward to the new awakening of this important historic area of the town.”
Theatre Project Manager/ Treasurer
Healthy Arts is a not-for-profit organisation of North West arts professionals who deliver workshops and events using heritage and the arts to improve peoples’ lives.
“It is a very exciting time for culture and the arts in Wigan and we are looking forward to bringing fresh creativity to King Street by sharing our skills within the cultural programme that is Streets Apart!”
Stolen Thread Productions CIC
Elise is a company Director of Stolen Thread located at The Way Theatre/Studio in Leigh Spinners Mill. As a theatre/film/events producer she aims to support her hometown in bringing high quality art through the medium of the performing arts. She is currently studying Creative Events Management at AUB but continues to run her business locally and works nationally on a range of projects from theatre productions to widely known music festivals.
“It’s an honour to be part of such a large project, supporting our community to revive the arts in the Wigan and Leigh Borough on such a huge scale. Truly amazing!”
Wigan Building Preservation Trust
Wigan Building Preservation Trust is a charity formed in 2016 with an objective to record and preserve the historical, architectural and constructional heritage structures in and around Wigan. The Trust maintains close links with the Wigan World and the Local History and Heritage Websites.
“King St has been the barometer of the fortune of Wigan for almost two centuries, I am pleased have been given an opportunity to get involved in this project which may help to reinstate the Street as a ‘shop window’ for the town.“
SL Leisure Facilities
SL Leisure Facilities is a company local to Wigan specialising in hospitality and has a vested interest in King Street with three venues on the street. Morty’s – a sports bar & restaurant; Partyhaus – a live room & late night bar; Reef – a late night bar/nightclub. We also have the historic Wiend Bar up on The Wiend which is a friendly cocktail bar in a building dating back around 200-300 years.
“We’re excited for what the theatre will bring to King Street and help to follow the suit of Morty’s & Partyhaus in further diversifying the street.”
Wigan Youth Zone
Nikki is Deputy Head at Wigan Youth Zone and also part of the local cultural education partnership. Nikki has worked in the arts sector as a musician, songwriter and facilitator for 10 years. She is passionate about all young people having access to the arts, to high quality facilities and opportunities and creating pathways into creative industries.
“I’m really excited about the streets apart project, I think it will be great for Wigan and another example of Wigan’s pioneering approach to culture and community”
Twitter: @NikkiWYZ @WiganYouthZone
Facebook: Wigan Youth Zone
The cultural programme will unearth stories that bring King Street’s diverse histories to life; celebrating the rich assortment of past, present and future users of the high street.
The programme, designed by the consortium, will include 7 commissions offered to artists based both nationally and within the Wigan and Leigh borough.
We are excited to be working with The Creative Activators in the design and delivery of this programme. The Creative Activators are a group of 14-19 year olds shaking up the arts scene in Wigan, supported by Culture Unlocked, Wigan & Leigh’s Cultural Education Partnership.
Streets Apart Producer