The Auckland Project announces £25,000 commissions for artwork on unique building Wednesday, 16 August 2023

The Auckland Project is announcing a special opportunity for a UK illustrator or artist to design nine large-scale shutter panels, which will be displayed on Auckland Tower.

The successful artist will secure a £25,000 commission and spend the coming months designing their artwork, which will be unveiled in Spring next year.

Auckland Tower is the first point of interaction for those visiting The Auckland Project. The striking building was designed by Níall McLaughlin Architects and opened to the public in October 2018.

Arranged in collaboration with Arts&Heritage, which connects contemporary artists with historic organisations, illustrators and artists are invited to share their existing portfolio of work and an initial 250-word response. The shortlisted artists are then invited to an interview with key stakeholders in October, including Ted Carden, Assistant Professor at Northumbria School of Design, Northumbria University.

Clare Baron, Head of Exhibitions at The Auckland Project, said: “Bishop Auckland has a rich history spanning over 2000 years, right back to the arrival of the Roman army at Binchester. Standing in a prominent position on the Market Place, the Auckland Tower is designed to tell this story. It is a landmark to celebrate our past and shared heritage, but it also represents the beginning of a new chapter in the town’s history.


“With a wealth of talented artists, illustrators and designers around the UK, we hope that this commission will create a lasting legacy. It is an opportunity to become part of the story – to have a permanent place in Bishop Auckland’s history, whilst helping to build and inspire a vibrant future.”


The Auckland Project is seeking submissions that bring the history of the site to life. Whilst the story of the nine shutter panels does not need to be linear, applicants are encouraged to capture a sense of the passing time, with the successful designs being printed in long lasting enamel on steel.


The brief for the work, and application form and background information are available to all applicants on the website:

Stephanie Allen, Chief Executive at Arts&Heritage, added: “It’s a pleasure to work together with The Auckland Project to find the perfect artist or illustrator to leave their creative stamp on Auckland Tower for many years to come.

“The building itself is extremely unique with a dramatic 29 metre tower that gives unrivalled views across the rural parkland and area. We look forward to receiving a range of creative responses that bring together Bishop Auckland's rich history of faith, architecture, industry and the natural environment.”

Applications open on Thursday 17th August at 9am on and close on Monday 18th September at 5pm. All entries should be emailed to [email protected].

The Auckland Project tells the remarkable story of Bishop Auckland, from the powerful Prince Bishops of Durham to the town’s surprising connection to the Golden Age of Spanish Art.

The Auckland Project has an Annual Pass which provides unlimited entry to its attractions for 12 months, along with a changing programme of exhibitions and events throughout the year. Entry to Auckland Tower is free for all.

To book tickets or to find out more about The Auckland Project, please visit