Starting Out

Questions for you and your team

  • What are the aims of the project?
  • Why do we want to work with an artist?
  • What is the aim of our commission (if it is different from the project)?
  • Who is the audience?

Creating a brief can help inform and define what it is you want to achieve, and whether you share this with the artist or with other organisations.

A clear, researched brief that is open enough to allow artists to respond creatively is key.  Outlined within this are the vision, art form (when appropriate), context, budget and timescales for the commission or project.

Developing a brief can be a helpful means of sharing information with the artist and other key stakeholders.

Even if it is not shared with the artist, developing a brief can help you give shape to what your project is, figure out what makes it relevant to an artist, and why it is something that would benefit from involving an artist or artistic project.

Evidence of senior staff involvement, or broad department interest in, and commitment to, a partnership through co-development and signoff of a brief is a means of also demonstrating the commitment the institution has to the project and commission, and ensures that all are aware of how things are being pitched.

A brief template created by the University of Edinburgh Art Collection is included for reference and adaptation in the helpful resources section.

This is a live toolkit.  Please help us to develop and improve it by leaving comments in our feedback form.  Thank you.

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