Council launches £90k public art commission to celebrate the story of the River Cam

News release from 2 February 2018, 12:19pm

CAMBRIDGE City Council has launched a large public art commission opportunity to celebrate and promote the story of the River Cam and its role in shaping Cambridge.

The commission involves the appointment of an artist in residence from May 2018 to May 2019 who will organise a programme of events and activities designed to give the local community the opportunity to participate creatively in research about the river Cam.  

The artist will engage with a wide variety of people, including local residents and businesses and those who actively use or have an interest in the river.  Through this engagement work, the artist will connect local people to the story of the relationship of the river to the foundation of Cambridge as a city.

People who would like to join in with the engagement programme can email the public art team to be included on the mailing list at 

The research and engagement will then culminate in a work (or works) of public art that have involved local communities in the formation of the concepts, and are therefore relevant to local people and have city wide impact and benefit.

The £90k commission is being funded by Public Art S106 contributions from developers, which have been negotiated specifically for public art and cannot be used for anything else.

Cllr Anna Smith, Executive Councillor for Streets and Open Spaces, said: “I’m delighted to announce this commission. The river is very special to Cambridge, and is even part of our city’s coat of arms. It connects communities and is valued by residents and visitors alike.

“This project is a fantastic way not only to produce high quality art, but to connect people, to build skills, to educate and to provide a cultural offer. We want to ensure that the project produces high quality art and involves local people in the process. We welcome applications from local artists and those who come from outside of the area, and I look forward to seeing the bids.” 

Margaret Greeves, Chair of the Public Art Panel which considers public art commissions in Cambridge, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for the people of Cambridge to become involved in an art project that will explore the history of the river Cam and its part in the growth and development of the city over time.”

Artists are invited to apply for the opportunity via the council’s procurement portal Applications close on 28 February 2018.