Deckchairs for Weymouth Esplanade

Artists led workshops to design new deckchairs


Weymouth and Portland are hosting the sailing events for the 2012 Games and in preparation for 2012 several major projects are taking place in and around Weymouth and Portland to improve facilities for both residents and visitors alike.

The Esplanade itself will be enhanced with a major artist led festival lighting scheme, new street lighting and street furniture, new retail kiosks and the conservation of the Victorian shelters. Other improvements may include new drinking water fountains and a contemporary pavilion for the Sand sculpture exhibition.

As well as new permanent fixtures, temporary events and art projects are also planned for the Esplanade. A number of temporary public art proposals were put forward in the Weymouth & Portland Commissioning Plan 2012, such as artist designed deckchairs.

Weymouth College are partners in the project, providing a venue for many of the school and community group workshops and also involving their students in the workshops.

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council now wish to appoint a lead artist (or group of artists) to facilitate creative design workshops which will produce at least 500 new designs for deckchairs. (More deckchair designs may be possible with further funding). There are also two artists working at Weymouth College who will be available to support the lead artist in facilitating the workshops that take place there. We have allocated 6 days each to these artists which will ensure that at least 12 days of workshops take place at the College.

This project is being funded by Arts Council England and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council.


Weymouth began to develop and flourish as a seaside resort with the new fashion for seabathing in the mid 18th century. Most of the terraces which line the Esplanade are Georgian which gives it a distinctive and unified character. Some of the buildings are also from the Victorian era, and all date from between 1770 and 1855. The popularity and success of Weymouth as a resort was secured when it was patronised by King George III in 1789, a visit which was followed by many more and attracted other wealthy aristocrats to follow.

After 1857, with arrival of the railway, Weymouth became popular with a wider section of society – the middle and working classes – a trend which continued until the 1970’s when cheap package holidays abroad affected the economy of all British seaside resorts.

Looking out towards the sea one can appreciate the sweep of the bay and see views of the Jurassic Coast from Bowleaze Coveway towards Lulworth Cove and the Isle of Purbeck. The bay has been described as the English Bay of Naples and Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour are widely recognised as the finest sailing waters in the UK which resulted in the area being chosen to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games sailing events.

2012 is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Weymouth to rebrand itself and the new projects planned for the Esplanade are an opportunity to make the Esplanade a more attractive, lively and contemporary destination.

The Project

A lead artist is required to research, prepare and deliver a large number of workshops at Weymouth College and local schools. (The lead artist may wish to apply for this project with other artists as assistants, as well as the two artists based at Weymouth College.) The artworks created during the workshops will be turned into digital files by the artist and given to a deck chair manufacturer who will digitally print each artwork file onto a deck chair fabric. We envisage the addition of at least 500 bespoke and unique deckchairs for the Esplanade which will add a mass of vibrant colour and design to the beach scene. The new deckchairs will be replacing many of the traditional blue and white stripe deckchair covers.

The artist will be expected to bring strong ideas to the project regarding how they will organise the workshops, how they will research and resource themes and concepts to inspire the participants. If artists apply as a group they will need to demonstrate how they will work together to create a cohesive set of designs. Our aim will be for participants to learn about the design process, create a finished artwork which will be used whole or in part for a deckchair design. It will be important for participants to recognise their work in the final deckchairs. However, the artist’s role will be important in leading the design process, setting a structure to the workshops and guiding the design process so that all the deck chairs work together as a group.

This project will involve a large number of school pupils and students, as well as people of all ages from the community. Workshop sizes will be between 10 and 15 people. Some workshops may last the whole day and others may be arranged for a half day or during evenings. Therefore the workshop structure will need to be adaptable for either a half or full day. Within the given budget for the selected artist we estimate the equivalent of 28 days of workshops if one artist is working alone. Added to this there is also the equivalent of 12 days of workshop time allocated for the two artists at Weymouth College. These artists are Sandra Stalker and Kim Edwards. Sandra is an established printmaker, working in screen, litho, etching, and digital print. Kim is a textiles artist and tutor, who is experienced in printed, knitted and woven fabrics and who has already conducted some preliminary projects in deckchair design. Their knowledge will be a resource for the appointed artist.

It should be noted that while we expect the selected artist to lead on the creative vision for the project and manage the workshop programme, we also would like the selected artist to work collaboratively with Sandra Stalker and Kim Edwards and to take advantage of the skills they have to offer.  

Deck chair fabric is a 2D medium and this project may particularly appeal to artists working in 2D media such as painting, drawing, printmaking, textile, photography, graphic design etc. However, the workshops could involve 3D media such as installation, sculpture, performance and we are keen to receive applications from a wide range of artists.

Once the workshops are completed the artists will need to create digital files (jpeg) for each of the 500 designs to be made into deckchair fabrics. The deck chair manufacturer will need Pantone colour codes for all colours included in the designs and the artist will be expected to liaise with the manufacturer to ensure that the true colours are printed. 

Every deck chair will have a unique design and will hopefully last for many years on Weymouth beach.

The Arts Development Officer and Project manager will set up links with schools and community groups and the Project manager will liaise with the relevant groups regarding the number of participants, workshop times, venues and dates.

It should be noted that there will be advertisement restrictions along Weymouth seafront in 2012 to protect the official sponsors. The Artists and workshop participants will therefore need to be aware of this in developing any designs and ensure that no conflict occurs with the restrictions. The Borough Council will be able to advise further on this issue if necessary.


Interviews will take place on October 22nd.

The workshops will be staggered over two periods. This will ensure that a wide range of people will be able to take part and that any issues that arise in the first phase can be ironed out or alternative ways of working developed for the second phase.

Phase 1: School and community workshops in November/early December 2010.

Phase 2: School and community workshops in January/February 2011.

March 2011: Artist to create digital files of all artworks ready for printing by the deck chair manufacturer.


We will appoint one or more artists for this project and this brief will be publicised on a number of websites advertising public art opportunities and widely circulated through visual art networks in the South West. A short-list of up to 6 artists will be interviewed and reasonable travel expenses paid.

At interview we will expect artists to bring ideas regarding how they would approach the workshops in terms of the activities they would ask participants to do. But we will not expect artists to have researched themes or subject ideas.

The criteria for selection will be based on:

  • Quality of own work
  • Experience of running creative workshops with all age groups.
  • The ideas for workshops as presented at interview
  • Compatibility with the project team.


The appointment will be for a fixed fee as described below and will cover all of the appointed artist’s time and travel expenses for researching, planning and delivering the workshops, as well as preparing the digital files for print and liaising with the deck chair manufacturer over colour accuracy.

Budget: £15,840 + VAT for the selected artist, £2160 for Weymouth College workshop facilitators

Southsea Deckchairs are the manufacturers who provide deck chairs for Weymouth seafront and their quote for supplying 250 frames and 500 deck chair fabrics (250 frames to be re-used from existing deckchairs) is £22,500 +vat. This budget will also be managed by the appointed artist who will need to place the order with the deck chair manufacturer.

To Apply:

Please include in your expression of interest: images of your previous work on CD as a powerpoint or pdf with an image list, a brief CV, and a letter outlining your interest in this project.

Send to: Celfwaith, 7 Pontfaen, Cardiff, CF23 7DU

Applications may also be accepted by email, however files larger than 10MB will need to be sent via a service such as If you have any queries about how to apply please contact for further information.

Deadline for applications: Friday 29th October 2010

Project Management and Contact:

If you have any queries regarding this brief please contact:

Mererid Velios,

02920750992 / 07814580853

The client, Weymouth & Portland Borough Council’s main point of contact for this project will be:

Matt Ryan,

This project is funded and supported by Arts Council England