Art Fund – News Mid Content

Cyfarthfa Castle
and a
National Gallery of Contemporary Art

An Investigative Study

Two significant developments currently under consideration in Wales have the potential to be brought together in a way that benefits both. These are the Welsh Government’s aspiration to create a National Gallery of Contemporary Art – via a chain of galleries across Wales – and the plan to develop Cyfarthfa Castle and Park at Merthyr Tydfil into a major visitor attraction of international quality.

The Cyfarthfa Plan envisages a radical overhaul of the Grade 1 listed castle building that is currently in poor condition, including the possibility of extending the current footprint.

The Cyfarthfa Foundation, that is leading the work at Cyfarthfa, wishes to appoint a consultant/s to explore the ways in which these two propositions might best be married, taking into account the planned parallel development of the history/heritage role of the museum at Cyfarthfa, its existing art collection and the Foundation’s ambitious economic, cultural and social objectives. The process must include a thorough process of public engagement.

Bidders will need to offer expertise, in art and museum/gallery practice – including display, conservation, education and general gallery management – in order to address fully the following agenda:

Physical capacity

1. Cyfarthfa’s existing and potential capacity to meet any space and environmental requirements needed to play a prominent role in the NGCA network. This would include assessment of both existing retained spaces and the potential of envisaged new build.

2. The space needed for the parallel enlargement of the museum to reflect fully the industrial heritage and social history of the area and its relevance to contemporary concerns.

3. The potential of the existing park landscape, as well as proposed park extensions, for the display of sculpture and other environmental art.

4. Identification of the spaces and facilities needed for the implementation of enhanced education and community programmes.


Artistic synergies

5. Exploration of capacity for complementarities or synergies that might exist arising from combinations of

a. commitment to the exploration and display of contemporary practice in all its forms in collaboration with other galleries in the network

b. potential for developing the existing collection, much of which relates to art collectives in the Valleys, towards contemporary work

c. potential for creating a fuller historical context for art from Wales

d. synergies with historical displays and collections.

Education and Community

6. Identification of best practice in education and community engagement, including national and international exemplars.

7. Potential for development of partnerships with voluntary organisations, local schools, colleges, and universities. This must include a strong element of consultation that would also address a wider agenda of cultural identity, industrial heritage and sustainability .

8. Potential for active involvement of artists.

9. Options for the creation of youth and community-based structures to operate alongside the Foundation Board.

Management

10. Identification of the level of staffing, as well as roles required
a. to manage collaboration across the network of participating galleries
b. to manage and develop an exciting programme of exhibitions
c. to run year-round education and community programmes

11. Identification of the core costs of establishing the above programmes of work, together with possible funding sources.

Timescale

The Foundation would require the delivery of a final report within six months, with an interim report not later than July 2023.

Fee
Up to £70k

Applications

Applications should be submitted to the [email protected] by close of play on Friday, 30th December 2022.

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