Image: The Patent Room, Ellesmere

This residency is a collaborative project between the Arts Council of Wales, Glandŵr Cymru the Canal and River Trust in Wales and Addo.

Bursary: £12,000 for 6 months starting in November 2015

We are inviting applications from artists, architects or designers with a collaborative/ participative approach to undertake this residency based at the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct on the Shropshire Union Canal.

The residency seeks to investigate the history of the world heritage site in relation to innovation, development and tourism and how this relates to the future of the site. Paying particular attention to the relationship between the site and the neighbouring areas of Trevor, Cefn Mawr and Froncysyllte the artist will look at how local communities shape places and how this influence can be sustainable. Researching the architecture and industry of the past and making this relevant to today will enable a new generation of users to imagine the future for our canal systems.

Across the canal network, more than 96% of canal use today is via the towpath, rather than waterborne activities.


Glandŵr Cymru, the Canal & River Trust in Wales, has teamed up with the Arts Council of Wales to create a series of artists’ residencies across waterways in Wales over a three year period. This project is the fourth of these residencies.

This strategic partnership aims to highlight not only the heritage and historic significance of Wales’ canals, but also celebrate and increase their current relevance to local communities and contemporary Welsh culture. The Trust is exploring how the contemporary arts can play a new role in conserving, animating and re-interpreting the waterways in Wales.

The Site

The artist will have a work base in the area but is expected to work across the site and with communities in Cefn Mawr, Trefor and Froncysyllte.

Built between 1795 and 1808 by Thomas Telford and William Jessop the canal is an outstanding piece of industrial and engineering heritage comprising of embankments, cuttings, tunnels and aqueducts including the stunning Pontcysyllte Aqueduct itself and 31 other listed structures.

The whole length of the site has been designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument of National Importance by Cadw and English Heritage and the international significance of this collection of heritage is recognised by its inscription on 27 June 2009 by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

The landscape value of the site is reflected in its recent designation as an AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), which has resulted from the extension of the Clwydian Range Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to include the Dee Valley as far as Chirk in North East Wales.

The River Dee, a designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and protected by the European Habitat Directive, passes under the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and is internationally important for the presence of species such as the Atlantic Salmon and the Freshwater Pearl Mussel.

The World Heritage Site is already a popular destination with local people and visitors with over 200,000 annual visits recorded at Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and over 12,000 boats each year on the canal. This makes it one of the most popular destinations on the UK canal network.

The Project

Local communities adjacent to the aqueduct are expected to become involved in the residency, as partners, participants or collaborators. There is an opportunity to become involved in future architectural plans for Trevor Basin, examine the wonders of the ‘Patent Room’ at Ellesmere and uncover the untold stories of canal users.

The proposal is therefore to engage an artist for a six-month period to work with Glandŵr Cymru staff and volunteers in order to investigate some of these ideas. The opportunity is part-time and we are able to negotiate concentrated block visits with those artists travelling from further afield. The artist will build on links with external projects locally and regionally in order to aid Glandŵr Cymru’s aim to

  • Make a difference to the communities that the canals serve and to CRT staff by encouraging a greater sense of ownership of the waterways
  • Raise the profile of the waterways
  • Make Wales’ canals and rivers more accessible through high-quality contemporary art activity and engagement experiences
  • Nurture innovation in revitalising and conserving the canals and rivers and improving the waterways environment
  • Create enduring partnerships, particularly with cultural institutes located near or next to the waterways

Taking place between November 2015 and May 2016, the broader aims of the project are to raise the profile of Glandŵr Cymru, develop relationships between existing groups and project partners, exploring and developing ways in which artists may contribute to the development of the organisation and its facilities.

In the longer term we hope that by working with artists, Glandŵr Cymru will embed artistic working practices within their everyday structures, seeing these as important and relevant to their organisations on-going relationship with the public.


Representatives from Glandŵr Cymru, ACW and Addo along-side key local stakeholders will form the Steering Group for the project. Addo will act as the main point of contact between the group and the artist. Local groups and associations will work with the steering group and the artist to identify local participants in the initial stages of the project.


The material outcomes of the residency are open but may take the form of temporary artworks created with input from canal users, volunteers and staff. There is also potential to explore and develop proposals for clearly telling the story of the site (and its impact on artists through the ages) without words for visitors from multiple nations. Interesting and contemporary ways to explore and share the architectural and technological history of this canal system are a key feature of this proposal. Events such as exhibitions, workshops, talks, seminars, and tours may be key elements within the project. A large exhibition, featuring work from the artists across all six planned residencies, is due to take place at a key Welsh venue or gallery at the end of the project in 2017. The artist will be expected to show work produced as part of this residency, or as a result of themes explored during their time in residence, in the final exhibition in 2017.

The Artist

The artist/designer/architect will be someone interested in working within the canal systems of Wales with an interest in environment, architecture or design with previous experience of working with others to develop ideas. An ethos of collaborative practice and engagement is uppermost.

This opportunity is open to UK and International Artists.

Applicants must demonstrate:

  • Creative originality and professionalism in their work
  • The ability and desire to work collaboratively with the public and other partners as part of their creative practice
  • A willingness to immerse themselves in the life and culture of the area
  • An understanding of the issues of working in partnership and the concerns and opportunities presented by rural tourism
  • The artist must be aware of and abide by the laws for working with children and vulnerable adults, should they undertake such work as part of the residency
  • In the event of manufacture/installation of artworks by the artist, the artist must demonstrate current and appropriate indemnity insurance relevant to the artist in person and to any object/s to be manufactured.


The artist will be provided with a flexible space which could be used as a studio/ workspace/ meeting space /gallery.


The selected artist will be paid in installments to be agreed on appointment. This fee is inclusive of all travel costs, living expenses, and studio equipment.

How to Apply:

Addo, School of Art & Design, Glyndwr University, 49 Regent Street, Wrexham LL11 1PF

To apply for this residency, please send the following information to by 5pm BST on Monday 5th October:

  • Up to 10 digital images in a PDF document or a Powerpoint presentation, or a 10-minute (max) 
showreel. All work should be numbered and include, title, date, dimension and media;
  • An up-to-date CV;
  • A brief letter of application that broadly outlines why you are interested in this opportunity 
and how it is relevant to your practice;
  • Two letters of support.

When sending files large files (over 4MB), please provide hyperlinks to online files or
a DropBox containing the files. Information submitted in other formats will not be accepted.

Please note that we do not require a project proposal at this stage as we anticipate that details of activity to be undertaken as part of the residency will be developed following a period of interaction with the area, community and key stakeholders.

Selection Process: 
A panel of key stakeholders involved in the Trevor Basin Project will shortlist candidates for interview from the applications received. 
Interviews will take place in Cardiff on 13th October 2015. Candidates must be available for interview on this date. Up to £100 per artist will be available to cover travel and subsistence expenses incurred by attending an interview. Interviews via Skype may be arranged. At interview, interviewees will be expected to speak in more detail about their work and working processes and the approach that they envisage taking towards the residency.

If you have any queries regarding the recruitment process, please email

Further Information: Project Brief CRT_Trefor_Basin_Final

Contact Details: 
For queries and further information, If you have any further queries about this opportunity, please contact: Tracy Simpson, Addo, 07890203218,