ARC Stockton Arts Centre

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River Tees Rediscovered Landscape Partnership - Vanished Communities

ARC Stockton and River Tees Rediscovered are seeking to commission an artist or company to develop a new piece of work exploring the notion of 'community', inspired by the vanished houseboat community of Greatham Creek.

Greatham Creek

The Greatham Creek is a tidal creek between Stockton and Hartlepool, and one of the last remaining saltmarsh areas in Teesmouth. For around a century, Greatham Creek was a popular destination for families across the region who would set up temporary homes in houseboats and cabins along the river where they fished for salmon during the summer months.

Many of the houseboats and cabins remained there until the 1980s until they fell into disrepair and the community vanished.

The Commission

We are looking for an artist or company to use Greatham Creek as a starting point to explore who or what made it a community, what happened when it disappeared and how that informs our idea of community today.

The aims of the commission are to:

  • Tell the story of Greatham Creek, what made it a community and how and why it disappeared
  • Inspire people to think about the idea of a community in today's society, who and what makes a community, and what their role in that might be
  • Present the work and ideas in a way that connects people who don't think they are interested in heritage

We anticipate that the project will include:

  • Research and development in the local area
  • Engagement activity during the creative process
  • A final presentation, in one or more locations

Creative Process

Through River Tees Rediscovered, access can be arranged to the site, relevant photographs and documents and to some of the people who stayed there. A considerable amount of photography and academic research has been carried out around the area, all of which can be made available. ARC will manage the commission, providing a base for the work within its building. Together with the River Tees Rediscovered partnership, it can support the selected artist/company to connect with local individuals and groups during the creative process.

ARC will also support the final staging of the work, which may take place in one or more locations, indoors or outside. 

It is expected that the selected artist or company would spend the equivalent of four weeks minimum working in the area.


A commission fee of £8,500 is available for this work, to cover all artist fees, travel, accommodation, materials and final staging costs.

Some technical and marketing support in kind is available from ARC.

Who can apply?

This opportunity is open to any artist or company with relevant experience. You must be able to demonstrate a track record of delivering community engagement as well as high quality presentation of your work.

How to apply

For additional supporting information about the commission, and details on how to apply, please click here.


The closing date for applications is 10am on Monday 19 March 2018.

The selection process wil take place during March, with the successful candidate notified by 30 March 2018.

The timescale for the work itself is flexible to fit around other existing commitments, but the final sharing will need to take place in July/August 2018.