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Job: Artist's Commission - Trailblazer: Delia Derbyshire

Amanda Drago

12 Jul 2023

We are offering a £3,000 commission for a mid career female artist.

Artist's Commission Brief

We are looking to commission one artist/artists whose practice is in either or a combination of the following art forms: electronic sound, electronic music, moving image, kinetic sculpture, visual art, digital visual art, creative technology, web-based art, multimedia, interactive media. 

We are looking for artists who are interested in making work that is created with and for people and communities and ideas that place interaction and participation at its heart. We are able to support you with reaching local communities.

Who was Delia Derbyshire? 

Delia Derbyshire was a trailblazer as a female figure in the development of electronic music in the twentieth century. Her best-known single work was her arrangements of the Doctor Who theme by Ron Grainer. While Grainer composed the basic melody, it is Derbyshire who provided the iconic sounds and form of the theme. Over the next ten years, Derbyshire’s creative activity as both a BBC employee and a freelance artist would see her providing music and ‘special sound’ for television, radio, film, theatre, and live events. 

By 1973, Derbyshire, disillusioned with the BBC left London and moved to Gilsland, Northumberland to work as a radio operator for Laing's Engineering in Hallbankgate, during the laying of a gas pipeline which runs through RSPB Geltsdale. She then worked and lived with Li Yuan-chia at his home and art gallery at Banks, on the line of Hadrian’s Wall, 2 miles away from our base at Green Croft.

What is the project?

On the 23rd November 2023 it will be the 60th anniversary of the first episode of Dr Who broadcast on TV. To celebrate we are creating new work and commissioning new work inspired by 

  • The Hidden Years - Delia’s connection with Gilsland

  • Dark Sounds/Dark Skies 

  • Dr Who 

The works will be presented at a live event on DD Day, over a weekend festival at The Sill Landscape Discovery Centre and within the Gallery at RSPB Geltsdale, Cumbria.

How do you apply?

Download and read through the job brief.

DD_Artist's Brief £3,000
Download PDF • 194KB

Who is it for? 

Mid career female artists living in Cumbria or Northumberland. We use female inclusively welcoming applications from artists who identify as non-binary, trans and gender non-conforming.

What’s the fee? 

  • We are looking to commission 1 x £3,000 commission for a mid-career artist. This is based on 12 days work at £250.00 per day. The fee is to include creation and production of the final artistic commission, materials, participatory / community sessions, one day research at John Rylands Institute, and be available for the Launch live event and Trailblazer weekender at The Sill. 

  • We have an additional budget for community venue hall hire, travel and subsistence. 

  • We are also offering additional technical support to help with the presentation and installation of the work.

Proposal For the £3,000 commission 

You can submit a written or video proposal. The deadline for all proposals is Friday 28th July 2023. Within your proposal you should provide 

  • Outline of your idea and how your proposal will engage with communities. 

  • Biography/ies of artist/s

  • Links or examples of your artistic work

  • A separate budget to include breakdown of fees and materials. 

  • To help with our reporting please complete the Equality & Diversity Monitoring Form. Click HERE to be taken to a Google Form. 

Written Proposal 

Your 2 page written proposal and separate budget should be in pdf or word format and no bigger than 10mb in size. Pleases email the documents to and title the subject heading: Delia Derbyshire - Trailblazer 

Video Proposal 

Your video proposal should be no longer than 5 minutes. Please upload your video to a video sharing site and send the URL link and separate budget in an email to and title the subject heading: Delia Derbyshire - Trailblazer 

 The deadline for all proposals is Friday 28th July 2023.

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