Artist in Residence

To celebrate the opening of Coachworks in Ashford, proposals are now being sought for a 7-month artist-in-residence opportunity, with a residency fee and allocated rent free studio space.

The Commission:
Turner Works and Ashford Borough Council are looking to commission an exciting artist or creative collective that will help to kick start creative engagement in our ‘meanwhile’ use development – Coachworks in Dover Place. It is important to us that the successful applicant will be an ambassador for creativity, positively engaging with visitors coming to the site, as well as interact and stimulate interest with the many new businesses that begin to take up office incubator, food and beverage spaces.

Historical Development of the site:
The inspiration for the Coachworks name comes from a firm of coachbuilders which was based there for 30 years from the 1960s. Crofords Carriages counted the royal household and Harrods among its customers and the company still operates from the town. The first historic maps of Dover Place (circa mid nineteenth century) show the railway track extending up towards and branching out alongside Dover Place, connecting the Old Corn Store and Mill. This was clearly an industrial area closely connected to the development of the railway in the early to mid-nineteenth century. There was a mix of units in the street including the Lion Brewery, a saw mill and to the north the historic site of the town tannery. The site was contained to the east by the natural boundary of the River Stour, beyond which are shown undeveloped fields.

Dover Place was on the edge of the town and composed of unsociable industries; ones that produced noxious smells or loud noises. The site appears to develop rapidly with many more structures constructed by the late nineteenth century. The public house is erected at this time, although it is not clear whether this has a direct connection to the Lion Brewery it can be deduced that it was essentially to serve the workmen from the industries in and around Dover Place.

Between 2005 up until recently, Ashford Youth Theatre (AYT) were based in the former coachworks building. From this building, AYT rehearsed, put on annual productions, providing a vital training and skills development facility for people wanting to develop their skills in lighting, electrical trades and the technical aspects of performing arts management. AYT also provided support and resources to schools, colleges, other arts organisations, touring companies and emerging artists in the Borough.

Coachworks development:
Developed by Turner Works, Coachworks is a ‘meanwhile’ development opposite Ashford International Station, which will transform Dover Place in Ashford, by reviving disused industrial buildings in the area. The coachworks development is:

  • A co-working space in the old corn store, called The Platform. Up to 200 people will be able to work from this new business incubator.
  • A food and drink destination called The Hothouse. This will also include an event space.
  • The open area between the two buildings will be divided between food spaces and The Event Yard, where film or live sports screenings can take place.

The opening of Coachworks has been considered in two phases. Phase 1, was the open-air yard, opened to the public on Saturday 10th August. The co-working space is scheduled to open on 31 October, along with the Hothouse and indoor food and drink area. The Platform co-working area, upon official opening, will be open seven days a week, from 8am – 8pm. The Yard and the Hothouse will be open Mon-Sat from 9am – midnight, and 9am – 11pm on Sundays.

Detailed commission brief:
The appointed artist will explore the immediate environs and create informal opportunities to speak to development partners, the public, local visitors, and new tenants to better understand the location, aspiration, and various contexts in which people have with the site. This, we hope, will develop into a series of well-planned and accessible monthly events, workshops and/or other activities, resulting in creative work being shared with participants. This may be physical, temporary, ephemeral, printed, photographic, live, film, documentary etc. and must be open to the public.

The use of a dedicated space for the appointed artist is offered by this residency to create and deliver such work. The spec of the space is 12sqm in area, 2.4 up to 3.5m high, has power and basic lighting, floor to ceiling glazing to the exterior and is constructed from exposed timber studwork with OSB timber walls and floor finishes. The space has radiator heating and wifi. It is hoped that the commission will come to an end, as an event in itself, and programmed as part of the Council’s annual festival – Create Platform in mid-July 2020. It may be required that the artist is to also take part or be available for some of the phased opening or themed events being planned for the site.

Artist Selection:
This is an open call process. We are inviting artists to submit proposals for this commission. We are especially keen to hear from Kent based artists.

Upon shortlisting, a number of artists will be invited to attend an interview to present a selection of their previous relevant work and their initial thoughts in response to this brief and how they would approach the commission. The interview selection panel will be made up of representatives from Turner Works and Ashford Borough Council. The selection panel reserves the right not to commission any of the interviewed artists. We want to appoint an artist based on the strength of their past work, experience of working creatively with communities, their proposal for how they will approach this commission, and a willingness to engage in positive social media. Once appointed, the selected artist will need to work collaboratively with Turner Works and Ashford Borough Council to shape their proposal.

The total fee for this commission is £13,000 inclusive, to include all work such as planning, meetings, engagement, creative development time and any events or other agreed project outcomes. In addition, there will be a travel and expenses budget (max. £500) and a separate production and materials budget of £2,500 both to be managed by Coachworks. A payment schedule will be agreed following the first meeting with the artist. The artist will be engaged on a self-employed basis and is responsible for their own tax and national insurance payments, and for their own Public Liability Insurance.

08.11.19 Deadline for submissions (by 12 noon)
11.11.19 Shortlisting
20.11.19 Artist Interview date
22.11.19 Appoint, contracting, PR and artist mobilisation
06.01.20 Potential start date on site
26.07.20 Likely end date of commission

Application process:
Please send to us your proposal for this residency in no more than 500 words, as well as submitting your CV and any helpful links to your previous work.

Please submit your proposal by 12 noon on the 8th November to


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Start Date

22nd October 2019

Closing Date

8th November 2019