Race Relations Acts Residency

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07 March 2017

The Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art seeks applications to be the House of Commons’ Artist-in-Residence, tasked with exploring and celebrating the legacy of the 1965, 1968 and 1976 Race Relations Acts.

*** UPDATE (24/04/17): Successful applicants for this position have now been selected and invited to interview. If you have not been contacted I'm afraid that you have not been selected. We apologise for not being able to contact unsuccessful applicants individually. However please be assured that we very much appreciate your time and effort in applying for this residency, and thank you for your interest in this project. ***

To develop their understanding of how Parliament reacted to demands for racial equality, the Artist-in-Residence will travel across the United Kingdom, visiting and working collaboratively with distinct communities affected by the Acts. In particular, the residency will focus on those with direct experience of life in the UK before the Race Relations Acts, of the campaign for changes in legislation, and of championing the needs of BAME communities today.

Working together with the artist, a specific artwork will be created reflecting each community’s unique experience. These artworks will be exhibited locally before being displayed in Parliament at a special exhibition in early 2019, after which they will be returned permanently to the communities that inspired them.

In addition to researching the community’s experience of the Acts through the collaborative workshops the Artist-in-Residence will explore the official records of Parliament, including the records held in the Parliamentary Archives, and meet with parliamentarians.

Upon completing the residency, the artist will be invited to present a proposal, based on their research and experiences, for an artwork for permanent display in the Houses of Parliament and inclusion in the Parliamentary Art Collection.

Application documents


Alison McGovern MP, Chair of the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art, said:

The art on the walls of the Houses of Parliament reflects the values and interests of the Victorians who commissioned it, and it tells a particular story about British history before the twentieth century.  Unsurprisingly, it has long been noted that these artworks do not  reflect either the modern or historic diversity of the UK’s population.  The Works of Art Committee is committed to rectifying this by increasing, over time, the representation of women and ethnic minorities.  We hope to demonstrate through this project that everyone has a stake and a place in Parliament by celebrating the Race Relations Acts, which were so crucial in the development of the more inclusive democracy we live in today.

Image: Race Relations Act 1965, Parliamentary Archives, HL/PO/PU/1/1965/c73 - Photo: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

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Works of Art (Speaker's Advisory Committee)

The Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art is appointed by the Speaker to advise on matters relating to works of art in the House of Commons