Call to Artists: Christmas Light Festival 2017 Wayfinding Brief


Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival is a long running festive event, previously attracting over 100,000 people as audiences and participants across the festival weekend. Christmas Light Festival takes places between Friday 17th to Sunday 19th November 2017. The festival begins as over 35,000 people enjoy the famous lantern parade and late night themed opening at museums and arts centres. On Saturday, Oxford’s world-class museums, galleries and art centres will again be opening their doors for themed events and activities. Throughout the weekend, you’ll also find a festive market in Broad Street, which will offer visitors gifts, local ales, mulled wine and plenty of produce from across the Thames Valley and Cotswolds.


OVADA and Christmas Light Festival are commissioning an artist to design and produce Wayfinding structures, working with BTEC/A-level art students to create the final pieces. The pieces will be positioned around Oxford to help audiences navigate the city and festival activity. The map below shows our primary event areas.

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The piece should be a high-quality installation using a combination of various media. We are looking for an artist(s), collaborative group or company with experience of creating outdoor pieces to apply to this brief. The artist or company will have an interest in creating installations in public spaces and will have experience of working with students and young people.

The pieces should be:

  • Of high quality, to be used year on year for a number of years.
  • Suitable for outdoor use.
  • Clearly sign post to key festival areas (Broad Street, Gloucester Green, Westgate Centre and Oxford Castle).
  • Have a consideration of the surrounding environment/Oxford’s layout.

We would like a light based element to be included in the design. The piece could also incorporate an interactive element for audiences to engage. It should not be based on a single theme, so that it can be used year on year. It might be that additional units are commissioned in future years.


28 August: Deadline for submissions.

Early September: Interview w/c 4 September and appointment of artist.

The artist will present their final ideas to the Commissioners in w/c 18th September. Contact sessions with students from City of Oxford College to be arranged through Christmas Light Festival Outreach Coordinator and OVADA.

Early October until November 2017: Production of Work

Regular meetings/contact between the artist(s) and OVADA will be required during this period.

Delivery of contact sessions with City of Oxford for the production of wayfinders.

Risk Assessments, Method Statements to be submitted to production w/c 16 October 2017.

Work should be completed not later than Monday 13 November 2017.

17 November 2017: Installation of Wayfinders.

19 November 2017: Wayfinders removed and kept in storage by Christmas Light Festival.

December 2017: Contribution to Evaluation.


£5,000 to include all planning, delivery, travel, materials, fabrication, installation and evaluation. In addition, OVADA and Christmas Light Festival will promote the project within general festival marketing and provide photographic documentation of the Wayfinders in situ for the artists to use freely. They will also provide production support for the installation of the Wayfinders.


The Artist(s) or company will be shortlisted using the following criteria:

  • Experience of creating work for public spaces and/or working on outdoor projects.
  • Demonstrable experience of working with students and young people.
  • Reputation in chosen art form, with a track record of high quality artistic practice.
  • Experience of partnership working within and beyond the arts sector.
  • Experience of managing budgets and working to deadlines.

Shortlisted artist(s) will be invited to discuss their ideas further at interview with representatives from OVADA and Christmas Light Festival.  This will be held w/c 4 September 2017 in Oxford City Centre.

Depending on the number of applicants we may not be able to provide individual feedback for applicants.


We are not expecting to receive a proposal for a specific work/design at this stage and instead wish to hear about the process you would undertake in order to reach that point and any initial ideas you may have about the brief or festival in general.

Please submit an expression of interest no longer than 3 x A4 pages, which must include the following:

  • Your skills and experience relevant to this project with particular reference to the above criteria.
  • Information about your current practice.
  • Indicative budget breakdown.
  • How you would approach the collaboration with theBTEC/A-level art students?
  • How you would consider working with the surrounding environment/Oxford’s layout?
  • The names and contact details of 2 Referees, with a description of their relationship to you.

You should also attach up to 8 images (maximum 1MB each) of your work or relevant projects. Alternatively you may provide a web link to photos and videos of your work.

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: 28 August 2017 at 12 noon.

Proposals should be sent by email to:

For more information on the Christmas Light Festival go to

If you have any questions regarding the brief please contact:

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