Arts Upper Hunter is seeking Expressions of Interest from creatives across all art forms to participate in a non-acquisitive artist residency program centred around recognising and commemorating Liddell Power Station in the Hunter Valley as it is retired, decommissioned, demolished and transformed. Artists will produce new work, with a view to exhibition in 2023 (TBC) and 2024. The Liddell closure is a significant event in the region, during a significant transition of the energy industry.
The program is being delivered in partnership with AGL, the Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre, and others.
Application is by Expression Of Interest (EOI). Applications open on Tuesday 31 January and close on Friday 24 February 2023 for residencies starting in March.
How to Apply
• Read the information in this document.
• Book a place on an Open Day visit for 14 February or 23 February (optional but recommended).
• Contact an Arts Upper Hunter staff member to discuss your idea or ideas.
• Complete the Liddell Works artist residency application form (click here) by 5pm 24 February 2023, including your proposal, CV, background and supporting material.
You can download a pdf of this page (Call For Expressions of Interest) here.
Built in 1972, the Liddell Power Station once provided more than half the electricity for NSW. Throughout more than 50 years of operation, Liddell has been owned by the NSW Government then sold to AGL but has always been a worksite of great employee pride, dedication and ingenuity. More recently Liddell has often been at the heart of the energy industry debate.
In April 2022, one of its four giant turbines was retired and the remaining three will follow in April 2023. The station will then be decommissioned before demolition begins in early 2024. The demolition process is expected to take two years and will prepare the site for ongoing use as an industrial energy hub.
Liddell WORKS is a creative program that both marks the complex legacy of this iconic industrial edifice and helps to document its transformation. Here is a place of history and a place of metamorphosis.
This is an open project that changes alongside Liddell’s own transformation. Vital moments of daily work, employee commitment and pride, shutting down, moving on, demolition, salvage and new building will be illuminated. Subject to strict safety requirements, areas of the power station and site may be available for access and use, prior to decommissioning and demolition. Through the Liddell WORKS program, artists and cultural workers will visit, record, create. The goal is to:
- Witness, gather & record
- Express and draw connections
- Commemorate with clarity, honesty and respect
The core of Liddell WORKS is this artist residency program, open to creatives across the region and beyond, culminating in a major exhibition at the Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre in 2024. Other events and activities will also be happening.
We expect that works produced through the residency program will have a variety of expressions, and be developed through a variety of engagements with the site and/or the workforce, at different times in the closure process.
Outcomes already planned include:
- some works-in-progress or completed works to be included in AGL’s own commemoration program in April 2023 (where possible).
- an exhibition devoted to the project at Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre in 2024, with a symposium and catalogue that dives deeper into the history, heritage and legacy surrounding Liddell.
- one or more performances at a venue – to be decided.
- some documentation and recording of the artists’ process as their work progresses.
Outcomes still to be confirmed may include:
- on-line presentation via a website or channel
- performance or installation at the Power Station – with or without audience (but with potential for digital streaming/access).
Visits to Liddell – before the residency
Open Days. Two Open Days are planned to allow prospective applicants to visit the site, for approximately 3 hours. This will be the first opportunity to record and document, sketch, photograph, meet workers (TBC) and “start work”. Numbers are restricted and the visits are accompanied by AGL staff. Enclosed footwear (preferably work boots) and clothing with long sleeves and legs are required – other safety gear (high vis, helmet, safety glasses and ear protection) are supplied.
It’s essential that you contact us ASAP to put your name down for a visit. This is because all visitors to the site must complete an online induction some time before their first visit, including the open days. PLACES ARE LIMITED.
Dates and times of Open Days:
Tuesday 14 February 10am-1pm.
Apply by Monday 6 February, induction must be completed by Friday 10 Feb.
Thursday 23 February 10am-1pm.
Apply by Thursday 16 February (the earlier the better); induction must be completed by Monday 20 Feb.
To apply for a site visit, please send an email to email@example.com detailing: your name, email address, phone number, whether you prefer Tuesday 14 Feb, Thursday 23 Feb or either date, and a couple of lines on your art form. Feel free to add your questions or to comment on your needs during the visit (access, desire to speak to workers, etc).
Looking into Liddell
No single theme encapsulates the program, but we encourage applicants to investigate the history and technology of Liddell. A simple starting point might be this Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liddell_Power_Station.
We will be looking for a range of works. You are not expected to cover everything in your application. We encourage you to pick one or two directions and achieve a bold outcome.
History & Resource Pack. AGL is assembling a resource pack that delves into the history of the site, the workforce, how the power station has worked, the future and more. As the project progresses, many applicants will be hungry for more information, and we are happy to promote exchanges with workers and the company. We will provide access to these resources as soon as they’re available.
April 2022 – Unit 3 retired (last year)
April 2023 – Units 1,2 & 4 to retire
May 2023 – Decommissioning begins (approx. 6 months)
Early 2024 – Demolition begins (approx. 2 years)
Ongoing – Energy hub planning and feasibility studies
Artist Residencies: Visits and Access
For Liddell WORKS, “residency” does not mean living on-site but having access to the site before, during or after decommissioning. Providing access is one of AGL’s most important contributions and we are grateful for their support. Please be aware that Liddell is an operational industrial site with strict safety requirements, and that site access will always be by agreement with AGL and supervised.
Successful candidates will be offered two half-day visits (in small groups). Further access is possible, subject to negotiation and availability, and the needs of your project. We will generally aim to “package” visits with several creative people visiting at the same time. If there’s a good reason for more access, please do make the case in your EOI – it will not disqualify your application. We understand that you may discover that you would like more access, or a different form of access, as your project progresses.
Access to the site will evolve through its transformation: from active coal-fired power station; to decommissioning industrial site; to demolition site; to building site; to future usage.
Public access is restricted. All visitors must be approved by Liddell staff and complete the safety training and an induction course prior to visiting.
Our goal is to make this program as accessible as we can manage. We encourage artists who may have individual access issues, such as mobility, visual impairment, a disability, or other considerations, to participate and apply.
We are also aware of sensitivities to the many issues involved in the history and future of Liddell. This is particularly true around the time of closure, which will be an emotional event for many people, including workers past and present. The ultimate goal of Liddell WORKS is to speak truth, recognise the site’s contribution to our community and region, connect people, and offer respect and kindness, dialogue, ideas, vision and creative expression.
Artist Fee and Anticipated Outcome
An artist fee of $3,000 ex GST is offered for each residency. This fee is intended to invest in the development of a new work responding to the history and/or transformation of the Liddell site. There may be some support for presentation, to be negotiated closer to the exhibition/performance. Superannuation will also be added at the current rate where appropriate, as required by the Australian Tax Office.
You are welcome to seek more funding from other sources, and we will happily provide a Letter of Support if that is appropriate. Given the tight timeframe, we can also advise on ways to seek more support after the residency has commenced.
As well as the Residencies, a growing list of other activities and events is happening both at the site and in the wider community.
- A First Nations dance project is under development.
- A weaving project by First Nations artists is also under development.
- Other happenings are also under consideration, which may require facilitators, performers and volunteers.
- AGL is planning their own series of events and commemorations, to include both existing and former employees, and the broader public.
Your project may fit neatly into one or more of the other activities and we would love artists to stay abreast of the whole program – there may be an opportunity for you to further explore your themes or discuss your approach, with payment possible if that’s appropriate.
What to Include in Your EOI
1. Background on your creative practice and career to this point.
2. Your proposed creative response to Liddell’s history and/or future – ie your idea.
3. Your anticipated access needs for visiting and presenting work, engaging with the workforce, whether that be visiting the site (before shut-down, after shut-down), performing on site, leaving equipment, etc.
4. The timeline for your production, particularly as it syncs with Liddell’s own timeline.
5. Links to your work or inspirations that you think are relevant to our decision-making.
6. Sundry details, such as your ABN, and whether you have Public Liability Insurance (you will be required to have PLI if your application is successful).
You can download a pdf of this page (Call For Expressions of Interest) here.
To help you think about how to submit, you might wish to consider these questions:
● Why do you want to create work centred on this place, on these people?
● How do you hope to engage with the people or the place, with the history or the future? What don’t you know and you’re hoping to discover? What do you want to bear witness to? Note that engaging with the workforce is not essential. Some projects will, others won’t.
● What response do you expect your work might elicit in an audience?
● When would you like to start? How long would your project be? What milestones along the way?
● What magic, or fun, or beauty, or deep understanding, or irony, or awe, or intensity would you bring to your project and why?
● How would you like to exhibit or perform your work? What support might you need for exhibition or performance?
● If your project has a First Nations cultural component, what consultation have you taken or do you intend to undertake?
How to Submit Your EOI
Complete the application form here for the savable on-line application form [https://form.jotform.com/230228837611050] by 5pm Friday 24 February 2023. Note that your response answer outlining your idea can be submitted as a video or audio – please provide a link if you’re using video or audio (eg Dropbox link). And we are keen to see or hear or read examples of your work relevant to the Liddell WORKS program.
The most competitive applications for participation will be from creatives who:
● Live in the Hunter Valley (some places in the program are restricted to the Arts Upper Hunter region, defined by the Local Government Areas of Dungog, Muswellbrook, Singleton and Upper Hunter – others are open to the whole Hunter Valley).
● Have had a conversation with either the AUH Liddell Project Officer or the AUH Executive Director on their project – this is especially important if an access issue might affect the production or installation of your work.
As well as excellence, the Assessment Team will be considering the diversity of art forms and expressions across the chosen applicants.
Your proposal will be assessed by representatives of Arts Upper Hunter, the Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre and Singleton Arts & Cultural Centre.
Current staff of Arts Upper Hunter are not permitted to apply for a residency. A representative of AGL will be involved in a consultative capacity. While their role is hands-off in terms of creative decisions, they are the major providers of access to both the place and employees.
Payment will be made in instalments, with 80% up front and the remainder on completion of the Residency. You will be required to sign a contract with Arts Upper Hunter, to fill out a Supplier Application Form so we can confirm bank account details, and to supply a Tax Invoice or Invoice.
Arts Upper Hunter
Arts Upper Hunter is the peak body for the creative industries across the shires of Dungog, Muswellbrook, Singleton and Upper Hunter. We provide advice, connection, advocacy, governance, promotions and skills development for artists and their communities across our region.
Project Contact Details
All enquiries regarding the Expression of Interest can be directed to:
Marina Lee-Warner, Project Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0498 742 731.
John O’Brien, Executive Director, email@example.com, 0409 382 509.
Image of Liddell taken by John O’Brien