26 August 2022

Brief for the Artist in Residence (Community Portrait Project) at The Earls Court Development Company (ECDC)

As part of ECDC’s community engagement we are creating an artist in-residence programme from Autumn 2022 to enable a rolling programme of artists, to create portraits of or with members of the community at the Earls Court site and run art classes for the local community. Each paid residency will last three months and will be based in a studio at the recently opened ECDC Community Hub on Aisgill Avenue, West Kensington.

We are issuing an open call to artists who will receive a short-term residency of three months, with renumeration of £3,000 per month. Whilst in residence the artists will be required to create portraits of members of the community. ECDC would also like the artist to commit to hosting art classes for the community and contributing to talks. Art classes and workshops will be supported by the ECDC community team. Artists should enjoy engaging and supporting community projects and be prepared to host art classes for local people.

To explore the gamut of approaches to portraiture, ECDC will commission artists working in a range of mediums/styles and from a breadth of ethnicities and backgrounds. The emphasis will be on quality of work, the commitment to the project (bringing new ideas re engagement and approaches to working with the community) and ability to work with and communicate well with the public. Each artist would need to produce at least one outcome based on the community brief. Once finished the ambition is for the artists’ work to be installed around the Earls Court site. Providing an artistic record of community members who contribute to this remarkable district.


This opportunity is open to any artist that has UK residency. Applicants should be practising within the visual arts and have an interest in portraiture and community engagement and should demonstrate this in their application. Having an active social media presence would be beneficial.

Bursary and terms

There is one place available on a three month residency programme offered with a bursary of £3,000 a month, (therefore four residencies a year). There will be a production budget for studio and materials of up to £1000 per month (at the agreement of ECDC in advance). Artists must commit to being based at least three days a week in the Community Hub (subject to negotiation) and to host at least one (and max two) art classes per week within the residency days.


The studio is based in a recently refurbished community centre on Aisgill Avenue, West Kensington (owned by ECDC), which does not offer overnight accommodation. The centre is managed by a Community Centre Manager Gigi Yacoub. The lockable studio has use of a kitchen and toilet plus potential exhibition and art workshop space in the main hall. Outside there is a lovely community garden that would work well for art classes - weather permitting. The Community Centre is open seven days a week from 10am – 8pm.

Organisation and support

The programme is devised by Sarah Gaventa, Creative Director of The Earls Court Development Company. ECDC will provide events, workshops, and community engagement support. To support the residency ECDC will aim to offer talks by leading artists for  the local community as well as art history talks that looks at key artists and portraits through history. We also hope to offer workshops exploring portraiture. The focus on portraiture gives us the opportunity to discuss this genre of art and associated mediums, looking at forgotten techniques via a community events programme.

Expression of interest / Application

This application is the first part of a two-stage process. Please send us your full CV, plus website link and/or social media links and six images or PDFs relating to your practice plus a covering letter telling us about your artistic practice and why you are keen to take part in this residency, what you may be able to contribute and why it may be beneficial to you (up to 500 words). Please also include a brief overview of what portrait project you might do with the community. Please include any access/ mobility or other requirements that we should be aware of plus your preferred dates of residency.

A short list of candidates will be selected and invited for an interview to discuss their proposal. An independent panel will be assessing applications, a member of the learning team at the National Portrait Gallery will be on the panel, details to be confirmed.

Timeline of applications and residencies

Applications have now closed.

Programme will run from Autumn 2022 onwards – move into studio date tbc

If you have any questions, please email jade.barltrop@earlscourtdevco.com