Creative commission for Irish led work

This comission is now closed and an artist selection has been made. More will follow as we get closer to #LIF2021.

Gael Linn and An tUltach and have partnered with the Liverpool Irish Festival to create a one-off, £1,000 creative commission that celebrates Irish language and folklore. The resulting work will form part of Liverpool Irish Festival 2021 (21-31 Oct 2021). Our initial deadline for proposals is 31 Jan 2021.

What we want

Our focus will be the Festival theme, combined with Gael Linn’s specific interest in the promotion of the Irish language and the arts. We want to hear about what you want to produce with a commission of this size. We are interested in proposals from artists from all backgrounds, ethnicities and nationalities, though the content must relate to Ireland, Irish language or Irish creativity in some way. Connections made with Liverpool are also good, but not essential. Ideas we are open to include, but are not limited to:

  • illustrated children’s stories involving Irish folklore tales, Gaelic and English
  • a piece of visual art that represents a famous Irish story or Gaelic/English speaker
  • photo stories that represent Gaelic/English life, stories and/or characters (fictional or real)
  • a piece of sculpture/installation that references Ireland or Gaelic phrases/references
  • short films or animations that celebrate Irish life or Gaelic (with English translation; or vice versa)
  • graphic artwork that could be used in conjunction with prose, online and in print. It must reference something that would be of interest to Gael Linn and Liverpool Irish Festival
  • a visual art original that you can serialise and sell, which sits within the artistic interest of the two funding partners
  • live event within the Festival or online creative tutorials/events based on connected themes
  • a blog/vlog involving visuals and prose, which gives insight in to the life (fictional or real) of an Irish artist/their muse.


Any physical artifact must be available to be on loan to us for one year, but will remain the property of the creator at all times. A condition of the fund, is that -if selected (and not before)- you will provide an 800-1,000 word article (or equivalent as agreed by the selection process) about the work.

We do not want to be prescriptive. These are indications of what we think *might* be achievable. If you think you can use this to leverage funds using this as a match, and hope to extend the project, please tell us so. If you want to create a smaller commission with a portion of the fund, this will be considered.

We seek creative ideas in line with the fund size. Your proposal must indicate the end output and what else is needed to support it.

Resources you can rely on

  • both funder websites and social media channels
  • the Festival’s newspaper and other print offerings
  • depending on the nature of the commission, our networks to help show/screen/exhibit your work as part of the Festival and via Gael Linn
  • a live programme you can be involved in, if the commission funds allow
  • some digital platforms we can access and share with you.

What do you need to do?

Please present a

  • clear and concise outline of your creative idea
  • statement on how it relates to our brief
  • short budget (no more than 3% contingency, if using)
  • list or statement on needs you have from us
  • examples of your work (this can include a CV and/or photos, but must indicate the quality of your suggested work rather than be an extensive back catalogue of previous exhibits/projects).


I will:

  • run three 5pm/afterschool, online Gaelic classes for children aged (ideally) 8-10. I want to run these on the three Wednesdays leading to the Festival, performing a final live version at the Festival (time, date and venue to be agreed with you). I have run sessions like this for 2.5 years. Link here to see an example session.
  • use purpose-made puppets to illustrate the story of Cú Chulainn, which we will tell across the four sessions. Please see attached photographs of other items I have made as a reference for my work
  • need support with the promotion of these events and a venue to perform the live version in.

This idea straddles Gael Linn’s and LIF’s interests in arts and culture, and particularly the Irish language, shining a light on all three areas. My high-quality handmade puppets will engage the young children in learning Gaelic phrases and tell an important Irish story. I will document the sessions as a legacy.


£750 Total
£50×1= £50 Puppet materials
£30×3= £90 Session fees for 3 x 45 min (free to access) online lessons
£50×1= £50 1 x live session fee
£50×1= £50 Flight/train fare
£125×1= £125 Accommodation for 1 night
£35×2= £70 per diems/subsistence for round trip
£150×2= £300 puppet making days
£15×1= £15 small contingency for the above.

Your proposal

We will contact you if we need additional testimonials, documentation (e.g., DBS) or information. Please keep your proposal simple and idea led, not previous experience heavy. We’d prefer no more than one page (c.500 words) -including your idea and background- at this stage.

Please submit your proposal(s) to Emma Smith, Director of Liverpool Irish Festival, via [email protected] no later than Sun 31 January 2021. Our plan is to shortlist these the following week and raise any questions we have to assist with selection. We will announce our selection(s) no later than w/c 15 Feb 2021, having confirmed with the artist first and considered the commission’s terms. We reserve the right to entend the proposal and announcement deadline, according to the range and quality of submissions received.

About Gael Linn

Gael Linn is a non-profit and non-governmental organisation focused on the promotion of the Irish language and the arts. Founded in 1953, Gael Linn is a national organisation whose principal aim is to foster and promote the Irish language and its heritage as a living language and as an expression of identity at policy and at community level. Gael Linn operates on an all-island basis, with offices in Dublin and Armagh. The organisation’s funding includes government and lottery sources.

More here:

An tUltach (more here) has come along side Gael Linn in support of the project. An tUltach is Ireland’s Oldest Irish language literary magazine, established in 1924. An tUltach is an Irish language magazine produced by a voluntary committee sustaining a readership and nurturing emerging writers in Irish. An tUltach continues to provide a platform for Ulster writers. The Pulitzer Prize winning poet Paul Muldoon published his first poems in An tUltach in 1968.

About Liverpool Irish Festival

Liverpool Irish Festival brings Liverpool and Ireland closer together using arts and culture. We celebrate heritage and creative future by sharing Irish culture. We offer a warm Liverpool invitation to participate in high quality, unique expressions of our Liverpool Irish identity. Our work provides a positive contribution to the arts, the cultural fabric of our city and shares stories worldwide. The Festival runs an annual theme, which can be found here.