Skip navigation

Great North Run Culture Artist Commission

Great North Run Culture, a partner of Northumbria University, are offering a £4000 commission to a final year or recent graduate to create a piece of work that responds to and captures the spirit of one of the World's top sporting events.

The Graduate Commission, organised by Great North Run Culture, awards a final-year undergraduate from Northumbria University or recent graduate from any creative arts department £4000 to create a new work that responds to and captures the spirit of the world’s largest half-marathon. The new work will be premiered in the North East in September 2016 as part of Great North Run Culture’s annual event of exhibitions and programmes.

This commission is the second of its kind, after launching in 2014 in which graduates Hope Stebbing and Oliver Perry were successfully awarded the commission to create work that will be exhibited during the 2015 Great North Run. Click here to read more about the artists currently associated with this commission.


Please submit a brief outline, on not more than one A4 page, describing how you would approach this commission. Please note that no part of the work or the creation of the work may obstruct the route or runners in any way.

The one page detail of your approach to this commission should convey: 

    • Your main idea or theme and how it will show The Great North Run, its course, participants or atmosphere in a new and original way. 
    • The visual style, look and sound. 
    • How you will achieve this technically. 
    • How it will engage with a mass audience.

You may suggest potential site or venue for the work, if appropriate, but this is not central to the proposal as Great North Run Culture will assist the commissioned artist with this.

The commission is open to artists and creative practitioners working in any medium, including but not restricted to film, photography, painting, sculpture writing, and performance. Collaborative submissions are also welcomed.

The commission will fit within Great North Run Culture’s body of work which has focused on topics as wide as the participants and their stories, the physical exertion and movement of runners, the architecture of the route and the archives of footage of The Great North Run. The Graduate Commission should add something new and original to this collection.

We strongly advise people to look at clips and examples of previous work on our website

We are looking for high-quality work which shows original thought and ideas. The quality of idea is more important than the length of your experience of practice. The new work should excite, surprise and challenge a wide range of audiences, including those who may not be familiar with contemporary arts.



The commission must be completed and delivered by 31 July 2016, by this date you will need to deliver a master copy of the work in the media specified in your proposal. 

By 1 April 2016, we will also require:

    • 2 still images suitable for press and marketing
    • A 100 word description of the work

We will work with you throughout the project to gather documentation and promotional materials, including, but not limited to, photographs, blog posts and video interviews. 

Northumbria University will also be able to provide in-kind support to the selected artist with studio space on campus.


This is a two stage commissioning process. You are invited to submit an expression of interest, consisting of a brief outline of your approach to this commission, an estimated budget, a short statement about your practice, a current CV/s and supporting material. Please see below 'What to send'' section for a full list of what you need to submit. 

The deadline for this application is Wednesday 14 October 2015.

From these expressions of interest the selection panel will shortlist three artists or collaborations to develop proposals for presentation and discussion with the panel. This meeting will take place in Newcastle in the week of 9 November 2015. Following the presentation and interview the successful artist will be chosen. The panel will be Great North Run Culture Director, Beth Bate, plus Fiona Crisp, Ronan McCrea and Paul Dolan from Northumbria University.

The 2015 Great North Run is on Sunday 13 September 2015. We strongly recommend you visit the event in order to inform your proposal.


The total budget for the commission is £4,000, which includes the artist fee, all production costs and VAT.

As part of your expression of interest, please give an estimated budget with approximate figures for how you would spend this budget. Remember to ensure that you calculate and allocate your fee and associated expenses from the £4,000 total, as well as the direct production costs.


This award is open to the following Northumbria University creative arts undergraduates and graduates:

  • Final year Undergraduates
  • Current Postgraduate students and Graduate Studio Northumbria (GSN) artists
  • Any artist having graduated from a taught programme at Northumbria or GSN within the last two years

Where a recent graduate is awarded the commission, Northumbria University will offer a studio space at Graduate Studio Northumbria for the duration of the production period which includes access to University facilities. GSN contract terms and conditions will apply. 

Please note, you do not have to be based in the UK to apply. If you have any queries about eligibility, please get in touch.


Please email your expressions of interest to . You should include: 

    • A written description of your approach to the commission on no more than one page
    • An estimated budget, on a separate sheet, including your fees and production costs
    • An artist statement of no more than 200 words, describing your practice. For collaborations, each artist may submit individual statements.
    • A current CV for each artist or collaborator, of no more than 2 pages.


Supporting material may consist of: 

    • Links to websites featuring work with clear instructions as to which pieces to view
    • Up to 10 images attached to your email, saved ata minimum of 300dpi asjpegs or tiffs, and no larger than 2MB each. Note, for digital animation, film or interactive work please submit images in as a high a resolution as possible.
    • A short DVD show reel, with clear instructions as to which pieces to view
    • CD-R with up to 10 images, saved at a minimum of 300dpi as jpegs or tif fs
    • A small selection of print, leaflets, books etc.

Please note: 

    • Do not send master copies, as we cannot be responsible for any lost or damaged material.
    • Any supporting material that is not in the described format will not be eligible for consideration.
    • We will be unable to return supporting information unless you include a stamped SAE.


If you wish to apply or submit supporting materials by post, please clearly mark them with your name and send to:

‘Northumbria University Commission’
Great North Run Culture
Newcastle House
Albany Court
Monarch Road
Newcastle upon Tyne

If you have any queries relating to this commission, please contact us at No correspondence can be entered into after the initial selection of artists.



Closing date for applications Wednesday 2nd December 2015
Short-listed artist presentations                                            Wednesday 16th December 2015
Selected artist notified

Thursday 17th December 2015

Work completed 31st July 2016

For a downloadable version of these instructions click here.

Great North Run Culture are always looking for people to join their team of enthusiastic volunteers, if you are interested in volunteering click here.


Our Courses

The Department of Arts has a number of undergraduate and postgraduate courses available for study.

a group of people around each other

Undergraduate Open Day Events

Looking to study in with us in September? Our Undergraduate Open Day Events are the perfect opportunity for you to find out as much as you can about our wide range of courses and world-class facilities.

Research at Northumbria

Research at Northumbria

Research is the life blood of a University and at Northumbria University we pride ourselves on research that makes a difference; research that has application and affects people's lives.

Latest News and Features

Film set
Sophie Woodward with her Student Artist of the Year award from the Fine Art Trade Guild
MFA student Celia Burbush, MFA co-Programme Leader Gavin Butt and Deputy Head of Arts, Steve Gilroy, are pictured outside the new look Gallery North.
Sarah Munro, Director of BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art stood next to Professor Katy Shaw, Director of Cultural Partnerships at Northumbria University, in front of The Travelling Gallery bus in the Quad on Northumbria University's campus.
Gallery North opening times for Chika Annen's Meta-Playground exhibition are 12.30pm-4.30pm Tuesday to Friday and 10am-2pm on Saturdays.
Northumbria University News, Autumn 2021 edition.
More news

Back to top