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Bow Church Restoration Commission

Sunday, January 14, 2018 - 23:59

Bow Church Restoration Project

Call for Artists for Commissions               

Deadline: Sunday 14th January 2018
Artist Fee: £3,000

Artwork launch:  March / April 2018

This year begins a major restoration project at Bow Church, funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and likely to take over five years to complete. The first stage of the restoration involves specialist builders removing dirt and excess mortar from the masonry of the iconic church tower – which dates back from the 15th century – revealing layer upon layer of history, told by the stones.

Bow Church, assisted by Nunnery Gallery, seeks to commission an artist to produce a new work alongside the early stages of the restoration to attract audiences and, through the artwork, expose the layers of historical narrative present in the Bow Church building.

We are interested in all media, however, the work – or an element of it – must lend itself to being shared digitally.  There is a desire to install the work (or a digital iteration) within the Church itself, and potentially in Bow Arts sites (e.g. the Nunnery Gallery café) to further engage visitors with the Church’s history. The work will be a major part of the restoration project and has the potential to be the focus of guided walks and facilitated community visits.

The commission will need to:

  • Be accessible for all ages
  • Have a strong digital presence (being able to be presented online)
  • Be possible to install within the stipulated budget (below)
  • Enliven the stories of Bow Church’s history (see post-script and scanned PDF leaflets produced by the church)

As part of their participation, artists will have access to:

  • Guidance and support from the Nunnery Gallery Co-Director
  • Facilitated research in Bow Church with the chief architect and support from the Bow Church congregation
  • The construction site for research purposes and formation of the work, if required

As the timeframe is relatively short (work will need to be delivered satisfactorily and installed by March / April 2018) this commission will appeal to individuals with a relevance in their practice and an interest in research and integrating historical narratives within their practice.

We welcome all media, including video / sound.

Applications should include an artist CV and a short statement, including:

  • Why you are applying
  • How your practice has equipped you for the commission / any relevant projects and links to images
  • Any ideas you might have / suggestions for installation including how the public might interact in person and online (via social media channels)
  • An indication of how the fee will cover materials and installation

Please send applications via email to with the subject line “Bow Church Restoration Commission: FIRST NAME LAST NAME” by Sunday 14th January 2018.


Additional information

Bow Church have produced two useful leaflets that we have reproduced scanned PDF leaflets

Please feel free to visit the church which is open on Monday mornings during the Foodbank, most Wednesday mornings and the first Saturday of the month (11am-1pm).



“The Story of the Stones”: bringing alive the life and heritage of the tower of Bow Church

Bow Church is one of the oldest buildings in the East End of London with a heritage which goes back more than 20 generations.  The tower, which was originally erected in the 15th Century, bears scars from historical events including musket ball damage from the English Civil war, storm damage in the 19th century, and part demolition by a bomb on the last night of the WWII blitz; in short  the development of the area from a medieval society to the digital age.  But the tower has remained steadfast throughout, an icon for the hamlet of Bow and for all those passing to or from the east into London. Thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the tower is now undergoing its first repair and renovation for nearly a century.  From the clock tower at the top where the gilding has peeled away, to the degraded ragstone of the original lower level, the centuries of greasy dirt and pollution are being gently removed to reveal the stones, bricks, and mortar, which in return reveal their own story of the heritage of this area.

This is a unique opportunity for a creative artist to create an artwork that will enable the whole community, present and future, to appreciate this iconic tower which sits at the heart of Bow and belongs to us all.

By Elizabeth Marshall (congregation member) & John Bailey (chief architect)

Contact Email:
Contact Name: 
Sophie Hill
Contact Number: 
Sunday, January 14, 2018