Ports, Past and Present

Brief for Writers and Artists

The Ports, Past and Present team are offering 12 bursaries of £5,000 (or equivalent in euros) each towards the production of creative work that will contribute to the aims and objectives of this EU-funded project. Please download a PDF of the full brief below:

Project Overview

The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland-Wales Co-operation Programme. It will develop new tourism opportunities between five port towns and their surrounding coastal communities on either side of the Irish Sea – Dublin, Rosslare, Holyhead, Fishguard and Pembroke Dock, drawing on academic research and community partnerships.

The project aims to bring life and colour to the five ports, enhancing the experience of modern travellers of all ages and interests, and encouraging people to spend more time and money in these towns. It will do this by working with tourism stakeholders and local communities to make passing tourists aware of the deep history of these places.

The project teams will produce information in various formats, working with port authorities, transport carriers, tourism agencies, and local artists and writers to generate new tourism sites/sights/traffic, and commission creative works in the visual arts, literature and film. New audiences will be sought through digital technology including apps and social media. Irish and Welsh language material will be fully integrated throughout the project content.

The project is being led by University College Cork in conjunction with Aberystwyth University, University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies (CAWCS) and Wexford County Council.

Creative Work

As part of this project, we will be commissioning six writers and six visual artists to be based in Wales and Ireland. They will be required to work with the port communities and PPP staff, to explore stories and themes relevant to the history and culture of the five port towns and the crossings made across the Irish Sea. The creative work arising from this research and engagement will then be displayed and exhibited locally and further afield as appropriate, with the support of the project team, and in some cases, local partners. It is hoped that some of the work generated will be displayed permanantly in the local area, for example in local libraries, heritage centres, port terminals or railway stations. Reproductions or mediations of the work will be included in one or more publications documenting the work and the creative process.

The purpose of this work will be to both deepen the knowledge and appreciation of the history and culture of the five port towns and crossings among local communities, and to maximise the tourist potential of these places, encouraging visitors to spend longer exploring the port towns and their environs.

During the process of making the work, artists will take part in public workshops or events organised by the project team. The Ports Past and Present project will also be commissioning a series of short films, and the film makers will be encouraged to work with the artists and writers. These activities and events will be supported and publicised by the project team, and designed to help raise the profile of the participating writers and artists, both locally and further afield.

It is envisaged that a wide range of different kinds of writers and artists with different skill sets will be engaged on the project. Artists and writers will be encouraged to work with each other as appropriate to their work and their locations. Participants should demonstrate an appreciation of the Irish sea area and its meaning for coastal communities.


The project team have identified a number of specific groups and organisations who would be keen to work with artists or writers; more information about these can be supplied on further enquiry. We welcome proposals that engage with any of the following themes, or other themes relevant to the project:

  • Movement of people and animals: work, recreation, migration, pilgrimage.
  • Weather and environment: climate stories, wildlife and the natural world, shipwrecks.
  • The politics of the sea: war and empire, the Irish sea as a landscape of power; borders, tariffs, Brexit.
  • States of mind and body: anxiety, excitement, sea-sickness, boredom, love and loss.

Fees and Expenses

A bursary of £5,000 (or equivalent in euros) will be paid in two instalments, the first after commencement of work, and the second on completion of the work.


The period of activity will be June 2020 – December 2021. The work could be done in stages over the whole of this period, or in one or more short periods of activity. Artists will be invited to take part in related events and exhibitions until the end of the project (October 2022).

Application Process

Time frame:

  • Stage One Deadline: 20 March 2020 (shortlisted applicants informed by 3 April)
  • Stage Two Deadline: proposals submitted by end of April 2020 (12 successful candidates informed by 22 May).
  • Project Activity June 2020-December 2021

Stage 1: Expressions of Interest

Expressions of interest (ca 500 words) are invited from artists and writers, explaining reasons for their interest in the project, and providing a brief CV with relevant examples of previous work. See below for contact details. Selection criteria for Stage One

  • Quality of previous work and track record
  • Ability to engage with communities
  • Relevance to project themes

Stage Two: Invited Proposals

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to develop detailed proposals in conjunction with the project team and community groups (where relevant). Further guidance will be provided at this stage but proposals should cover:

  • the nature and scope of the proposed work
  • suggestions for how the work might be experienced and displayed
  • the nature and scope of engagement with local communities

The closing date for expressions of interest is 20 March 2020.

Applicants may be interviewed, or studio visits made, as part of our decision-making process. Successful applicants will be notified by 22 May 2020.

We welcome proposals involving the use of Welsh and Irish.

Please send expressions of interest to the Ports, Past and Present project co-ordinator Dr Sarah Baylis, University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies:


Twitter: @PortsPastPres

For informal enquiries on the bursaries contact:
mcrampin@cymru.ac.uk (brief for artists)
mary-ann.constantine@cymru.ac.uk (brief for writers)

Previous Post

© 2024 Ports, Past and Present

Theme by Anders Norén