£200k open arts commission and the launch of London’s first Cultural Infrastructure Plan

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We've recently launched The Thamesmead Open, an ambitious, open call, international art competition. With a total budget of £200,000, The Thamesmead Open is designed to establish the area as a cultural destination and innovator.

The competition opening coincides with the publication of our Cultural Infrastructure Plan for Thamesmead, the first to be published in London. ‘A home for culture in London’s new town’ forms a key part of our long-term cultural strategy, and will serve as a blueprint for creating the cultural facilities that Thamesmead must provide to create a culturally rich and vibrant new town for London, which will likely be home to over 100,000 residents by 2030 with 20,000 new homes.

Taken together, the new programmes form part of our long-terms cultural strategy which is a central part of our mission to create great places to live. The plans show how we're prioritising culture in the same way as we plan for housing and transport, because you cannot create great places to live without cultural infrastructure.


The Thamesmead Open

The Thamesmead Open invites artists to react to the unique setting of Thamesmead with proposals that directly respond to the location and encourage engagement with it. The commission is intended to make a bold statement for Thamesmead, putting the area on the map and raising cultural ambitions. Ideas can be presented for any location in Thamesmead, provided that logistics can be met. Submissions should be relevant for the local community, but also reflect the change that is coming.

The Thamesmead Open boasts a total budget of £200,000 over two years to cover artist and organisation fees, production costs and travel. The project can be delivered over two years, and must be completed by March 2022. A panel of judges, which will include Thamesmead residents and representatives from Greenwich Council and Bexley Council, will review applications and select the winner. The winner of the competition will be announced in June.


‘A home for culture’, the Cultural Infrastructure Plan for Thamesmead

‘A home for culture’, responds to the Mayor of London’s plan, published in March 2019, which sets out what is needed to protect and grow London’s cultural facilities and its cultural economy. ‘A home for culture’ sets out plans for a network of cultural spaces such as artists’ studios, exhibition, music, and performance venues and cinemas. It also explains how cultural infrastructure will be protected within Thamesmead’s existing neighbourhoods and prioritised as part of future developments. The plan is based on the principle that culture should be a part of everyday life for Thamesmead’s residents and is a vital component of making great places.

One key recommendation ‘A home for culture’ makes is to explore developing work/live accommodation for artists and for touring creative companies. This accommodation would separate from, and in addition to, all planned affordable housing.