Shropshire-Gallery-at-Shrewsbury-Museum-and-Art-GalleryARTIST BRIEF

Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery – ‘The First Casualty of War is Truth’ Artist in Residence Programme


Install – Week starting 25th May 2015

Opening – 1st June 2015

Private View – 3rd June 2015 (12.00pm to 2.00pm)

De-install – Week starting 6th July 2015


Deadline for Applications: 5.00pm Tuesday 5th May 2015




Shropshire Council are working in partnership with a number of organisations and groups from across the County, to co-ordinate a series of commemorative activities marking 100 years since the First World War.


This consortium group, has received funding from Arts Council England, West Midlands and the Heritage Lottery Fund, to support a range of commemorative arts and heritage projects taking place during 2014 to 2016.


As part of these commemorative projects, Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery is inviting applications from visual artists, who wish to create a body of new work which responds to the First World War and have the opportunity to develop their practice through working in a heritage environment.




Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery at the Music Hall, opened in April 2014. It offers visitors the chance to discover a mix of the old, the new and the curious all within an extraordinary set of buildings. From a medieval town house to an early Victorian public rooms, the Museum spans more than 750 years of history.

The Museum and Art Gallery uses a ‘variety show’ of different ways to inspire visitors to think about Shropshire’s heritage.


The Artist in Residence programme will form part of the venues ambitious contemporary art programme, which includes; a range of artists’ commissions, new museum displays, special exhibitions, events, education and participatory activities.




Project Description


Artists are being invited to produce a body of work, during the Residency, which responds to the following deliberately provocative quotes, which have been used and miss-used by politicians over the decades:

  • In 1918 US Senator Hiram Warren Johnson is purported to have said: ‘The first casualty when war comes is truth’.
  • In 1928 Arthur Ponsonby’s wrote: ‘When war is declared, truth is the first casualty’. (Falsehood in Wartime)
  • Samuel Johnson seems to have had the first word: ‘Among the calamities of war may be jointly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages.’ (from The Idler, 1758) The Guardian Newspaper.


The Residency is open to any type of visual artist, but the work they undertake at the Museum needs to be appropriate to the venue, particularly with regards to health and safety and audiences/participants.


The Residency will be based on the balcony within the Museum, a 97 square metre space, overlooking the main Shropshire Gallery. It will take place over the period of a month from 1st June to 1st July 2015.


During the residency, the balcony space (approx. a third), will be shared with a local group of contemporary artists called re:collect. The re:collect artists are producing a body of work also linked to WW1, which will be exhibited on the balcony. The exact pieces / dimensions etc. are currently being developed.


The aims of the Residency are for the appointed artist:

  • To work in situ at the Museum and Art Gallery, during 1st June to 1st July 2015.
  • To create a piece/s of contemporary art work in situ, which respond to ‘the first casualty of war is truth’, link to WW1 and can be exhibited on the Balcony of the Museum and Art Gallery.
  • To deliver and design two workshops and one public talk during the residency, linked to the overarching theme and which engage the local community and the wider contemporary art sector. The workshops might be focused at local schools, colleges, Friends of the Museum, general public, local arts sector etc.
  • To engage/communicate effectively and creatively with a wide range of people who are visiting the Museum & Art Gallery on a daily basis, so they can learn about and engage with a contemporary art form and respond to WW1.
  • To document and share the creative process of the residency with a wider audience, through an online platform.


The brief has been deliberately left open to encourage imagination.


Please Note:

The chosen artist will have access to:

  • Display Boards
  • Display Cabinets (if required)
  • Electricity Points
  • Tables & Chairs

All artist materials will need to be provided by the artist, other requirements can be discussed with the Museum.


Submission Details:

Submission of tenders for the project will need to be received by:

5.00pm on Tuesday 4th May 2015.

Please send both hard and electronic copies to Alexa Pugh, Arts Development Officer, Email: alexa.pugh@shropshire.gov.uk and Shropshire Archives, Castle Gates, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY1 2AR.


The submission should include:

  1. Your contact details: including name, address, telephone and email
  2. A current CV which gives an introduction/overview of your working practice and clearly demonstrates previous experience relevant to the residency.


  1. A written statement (no more than 4 pages A4) including:
  • Why you would like to apply for this residency.
  • Proposal – your initial thoughts on what you might produce during the residency (including; materials to be used, scale of work and any specialist requirements).
  • What you hope to achieve through the residency.
  • How the residency might increase knowledge and understanding of WW1 and Contemporary Art.
  • Outline content of community workshops, including target participants.
  • Outline content of artist talk, including target participants.


  1. Please also send:
  • Images or evidence of previous relevant work, which will not be returned after completion of the selection process.
  • Names and addresses of two referees who can provide evidence of the quality of your work.


Following Submission:

  • Shortlisting will take place week commencing 4th May 2015
  • Successful artist will be informed by Friday 15th May 2015 – the appointment will be made by a selection panel of Museum Officers and Alexa Pugh, Arts Development Officer.


Residency Budget

A budget allocation of £8,800 has been set aside for this residency; this includes artist fees (at £250 a day for 26 days), workshops & planning (x 2 @ £250), artist talk & planning (x 1 @ £175) materials and transport (£1,625).


The artist will not be an employee of Shropshire Council and will be responsible for all tax and National Insurance payments.




5.00pm on Tuesday 4th May 2015.


Please send both hard and electronic copies to Alexa Pugh, Arts Development Officer


Email: alexa.pugh@shropshire.gov.uk and Shropshire Archives, Castle Gates, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY1 2AR.


For more information, please contact Alexa Pugh, using the above email address or: 01743 257731 and 07990 085619.