ARG Funding – Art Commissions – Open Call

2nd December 2021

Barnsley Museums and Heritage Trust are seeking proposals from artists based in South Yorkshire for a series of art commissions across Barnsley Museums venues.

What is the funding?

The programme is funded by the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) utilising Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) monies dedicated to supporting the cultural and creative industries across the region.

This project is one of seven Prioritised Recovery Projects, part of a £2 million economic investment, funded by Barnsley Council and South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority . As part of Barnsley’s Economic Recovery Action Plan, these projects will help the local economy bounce back from Covid. The programme aims to support people, businesses, traders, charities or community organisations to safeguard existing jobs as well as creating new jobs and businesses.

South Yorkshire Mayor Dan Jarvis said:
“There is no doubt that South Yorkshire is home to a wealth of creative talent. The arts, culture and heritage sectors have been hit hard by the impact of the pandemic and investing in these areas is an essential part of their recovery and renewal. If supported and nurtured, the Creative Industries can help drive growth in our region and realise untapped potential. Culture adds colour to people’s lives and I hope this funding will help make our region a great place to live, study, work, visit and invest in.”

Who are we?

Barnsley Museums and Heritage Trust are a fundraising charity set up in 2015 to help preserve, enhance, and champion Barnsley’s heritage for the future.

We aim to safeguard Barnsley’s heritage and provide new and exciting exhibitions and learning experiences for people of all ages and backgrounds.

You can find out more about who we are and our values at

What are we looking for?

We are inviting proposals for art commissions at five venues across the Borough of Barnsley. The budgets quoted are inclusive of all fees, materials, expenses and VAT. We have a total funding pot of £30,000 to distribute.

We encourage artistic collaborations and projects that involve community engagement and explore a sense of place. The requirements are deliberately vague in order not to constrain the proposals.
We strongly encourage you to visit our website to delve deeper or visit the site you are interested in if at all possible.

You are welcome to submit a proposal for more than one commission.

Elsecar Heritage Centre

Set within the attractive conservation village of Elsecar, Elsecar Heritage Centre is a unique family attraction and a working hub of industry. With a nearby park, canal-side walks and access to the Trans Pennine Trail, Elsecar Heritage Centre is a fascinating day out for all the family.

Visitors to Elsecar Heritage Centre will find an interesting variety of individual craft workshops, artist studios, antique centres and exhibitions alongside a children’s indoor play centre, cafe and a historical steam railway. The restored ironworks and colliery workshops are also home to Elsecar Visitor Centre which houses a small exhibition about Elsecar’s past. The Newcomen Beam Engine is one of South Yorkshire’s finest surviving legacies of the Industrial Revolution. Built in 1795 the Engine was designed to extract water from Elsecar New Colliery to allow the exploration of deeper coal seams.

Find out more about the history of the site here

Commission 1 – £8000
To design and install a placemaking piece to decorate this gable end wall.

Commission 2 – £5000
A commission, in any media, that explores the 20th century stories of the people who lived and worked in Elsecar – this might result in a temporary installation or pop-up exhibition.

Worsbrough Mill

Worsbrough Mill is a 17th Century working water mill set in 240 acres of tranquil Country Park. It is an amazing place to visit, have fun and see history come to life for all the family. The working mill produces a range of premium quality organic flours and associated products for trade and retail customers using water power from the River Dove. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely day out exploring the Country Park either on foot on by bicycle. The 60 acre reservoir is a haven for wildlife and regularly attracts birdwatchers and anglers. The site has recently been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) as part the Dearne Valley Wetlands.
Find out more here –

Commission 3 – £2,000
A stone or wood carving that explores the special natural heritage of Worsbrough

Cannon Hall Museum, Park and Gardens

The Museum is home to collections of fine and decorative arts, all displayed in a beautiful country house with a long and rich history. The park and gardens at Cannon Hall were created with the same love and passion as the Spencer Stanhope family invested in the Hall. Every inch was meticulously planned and executed to create a truly spectacular landscape.

Find out more here –

Commission 4- £5000
A commission that explores the connections between the Cannon Hall landscape and the artworks on display in the museum in any medium.

Commission 5 – £5000
To create a work in glass or ceramics for the museum collection that explores issues of decolonisation, and or slavery and the British Country House.
Fins out more about our collections here –
Link to story of Cannon Hall and the Slave Trade:

Experience Barnsley
Experience Barnsley opened in 2013 but collecting the objects, photos, documents, films and stories happened over several years before opening. Telling these stories has only been possible because of the amazing support and donations of material from people living in the borough, and from those who left Barnsley but still feel the strong ties of shared heritage. It is also home to the Borough’s Archives.

The museum was a finalist for the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2021

Find out more here –

Commission 6 – £2500
A film or animation which explores the diversity of our collections and how they act as ‘Barnsley’s Memory Box’ or explores ‘Barnsley and the World’

Cooper Gallery

Samuel Joshua Cooper purchased the Gallery building in 1912 when its occupants, the Holgate Grammar School, moved premises to Shaw Lane. His intention was to provide an art gallery for the people of Barnsley and to place his own art collection there for all to freely enjoy. Sadly, Samuel died in 1913 and did not live to see the opening of the Gallery in 1914. Before his death he had arranged for a board of Trustees to establish and maintain the Gallery and the collection of 275 paintings and drawings.

The permanent art collection ranges from the 17th to 20th centuries and contains over 400 works. After the initial gift of 275 paintings by Mr Cooper, the Gallery also received several gifts of artworks from the visionary art collector Sir Michael Sadler. The Fox family, who were local brewers, donated paintings as well as funding the construction of the Gallery’s Fox Wing in 1934.

The collection was further enriched in 1978 by the Addy Bequest and in 2001 by the donation of pictures previously belonging to the Sutherland brothers. The most recent addition to the Gallery is a selection of studio pottery collected by the local artist, Malcolm Whittaker.

Find out more here –

Commission 7 – £2500

To create a portrait of Paul Elmhirst, long standing Chair of the Cooper Gallery of a standard to be displayed and accessioned into the permanent collection. It is anticipated the portrait will be set in the gallery / amongst the artworks on display.


Please email the following information to by 4th January 2022 Decisions week commencing 10th January 2022. Work to be completed and invoices paid by 31 March 2022.

1. Your contact details (name, phone number, address, email)

2. A brief statement about your work to date (no more than 300 words)

3. Tell us about the commission/s you want to undertake and how you will do it

4. Tell us what you hope to get out of the commission the future opportunities it may lead to (no more than 300 words)

5. Tell us about your connections and commitment to the cultural development of Barnsley and wider South Yorkshire (no more than 300 words)

6. An example of your work (weblink or an attachment)

7. A brief project timeline

8. An indicative budget for how you will spend the budget

9. Any access needs you may have and costs relating to this 10. The contact details of a professional reference (e.g an organisation you have worked with)

Download the PDF

ARG Funding – Art Commissions – Open Call