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‘They were now in the busy thoroughfares of a city [...] Here too it was Christmas time again; but it was evening, and the streets were lighted up.’ (Dickens, A Christmas Carol)

Festive Trail - apply: About


The Christmas Carol Experience Ltd are on the look-out for 8 Artists/Creatives based in Colchester and wider Essex to submit a proposal for a £1000 commission which will occupy one of twelve ‘A Christmas Carol’ themed shop windows in Colchester City Centre over the 2022 festive period. 

Applications are invited from artists based across Essex with selection ensuring a diversity of creatives, a range of disciplines, including those that can be created within the window space using conventional forms such as sculpture, fine art, pottery, craft and material-work, and those that need to be created elsewhere, such as recorded dance and movement, which might be filmed and presented on loop on screens in the spaces. Each artist will be asked to produce a single installation to occupy one of twelve windows.

The Christmas Carol Festive Trail will run from early November 2022 to early January 2023. 

The Christmas Carol Festive Trail is made possible with support from Essex County Council's Art and Culture Fund and Our Colchester's Create Fund.

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Successful applicants will be commissioned to create a piece of original artwork in response to one of twelve pre-recorded chapters of The Christmas Carol Experience's retelling of Charles Dickens’ classic tale ‘A Christmas Carol’. Successful applicants will be allocated a chapter narrative. (Please note, this chapter will not necessarily be one of the three outlined below.)

The artist's response to the text can be literal or abstract – responses do not have to portray the events of a scene, but can represent creatively setting/location, featured characters, themes, or other features they may wish to explore.

All work must be family friendly. However, we encourage work that is challenging and thought-provoking. 

Commissioned pieced will be displayed in the window of a disused retail unit across Colchester Town centre between November 2022 – January 2023 and will be available to view as part of an interactive Festive Trail. All artworks will be viewed externally from the street.

The Christmas Carol Experience Team will work with artists to prepare space for an installation.

All work created as part of this commission will be retained by The Christmas Carol Experience Ltd. Artists will be credited each time their work is displayed.

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Please ensure that proposals are received by midnight on Thursday, 30th June 2022. Deadline: please ensure that proposals are received by midnight on Thursday, 30th June 2022. Proposals received after this time will not be considered.

On receipt of a submitted application, you will be sent a confirmation email to confirm we have received your proposal. In this email you will be asked to complete an Equality and Diversity monitoring form.

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To apply for this commission please complete the form by clicking on the Apply Now button below, which will require the following information:

  • A biography and CV with examples of previous work (no more than 2 sides of A4). Please include links to relevant websites and social media/media. (if available)

  • An outline budget breakdown showing how you would utilise the £1,000 (it is expected that of this artist fee, £200-£300 will be allocated for materials/production, with the understanding that this will vary between artists/commissions). It is important that the funded work takes place before October 2022, so please be clear on availability and resources to complete the commission in time. 

  • An outline of the artistic concept for a commission (no more than 1 side of A4) in response to ONE of the below passages of text from Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’. 

Passage One:

Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail. 

Scrooge never painted out old Marley's name, however. There it yet stood, years afterwards, above the warehouse door, -- Scrooge and Marley. The firm was known as Scrooge and Marley. Sometimes people new to the business called Scrooge Scrooge, and sometimes Marley. He answered to both names. It was all the same to him.

Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, was Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! External heat and cold had little influence on him. No warmth could warm, no cold could chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty. Foul weather didn't know where to have him. The heaviest rain and snow and hail and sleet could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect, -- they often "came down" handsomely, and Scrooge never did.

Passage Two:

It was a great surprise to Scrooge, as this scene vanished, to hear a hearty laugh. It was a much greater surprise to Scrooge to recognize it as his own nephew's, and to find himself in a bright, dry, gleaming room, with the Spirit standing smiling by his side, and looking at that same nephew.

It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good-humour. When Scrooge's nephew laughed, Scrooge's niece by marriage laughed as heartily as he. And their assembled friends, being not a bit behindhand, laughed out lustily.

"He said that Christmas was a humbug, as I live!" cried Scrooge's nephew. "He believed it too!"

"More shame for him, Fred!" said Scrooge's niece, indignantly. 

"He's a comical old fellow," said Scrooge's nephew, "that's the truth; and not so pleasant as he might be. However, his offences carry their own punishment, and I have nothing to say against him. Who suffers by his ill whims? Himself, always. Here he takes it into his head to dislike us, and he won't come and dine with us. What's the consequence? He don't lose much of a dinner."

Passage Three:

The Phantom slowly, gravely, silently approached. When it came near him, Scrooge bent down upon his knee; for in the air through which this Spirit moved it seemed to scatter gloom and mystery.

It was shrouded in a deep black garment, which concealed its head, its face, its form, and left nothing of it visible save one outstretched hand. He knew no more, for the Spirit neither spoke nor moved.

"I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come? Ghost of the Future! I fear you more than any spectre I have seen. But as I know your purpose is to do me good, and as I hope to live to be another man from what I was, I am prepared to bear you company, and do it with a thankful heart. Will you not speak to me?"

It gave him no reply. The hand was pointed straight before them.

"Lead on! Lead on! The night is waning fast, and it is precious time to me, I know. Lead on, Spirit!"

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Shortlisted applicants will be required to interview in Colchester or by online video conference call week beginning 11 July. 

Interviews will include an opportunity to talk in more detail about your suggested proposal. If you are shortlisted for an interview, we will let you know by Wednesday 6 July 2022.

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As an organisation committed to equality and diversity, we aim to make our application process as accessible as possible, and will happily discuss adaptations if the above procedures don’t quite work for you. We therefore welcome proposals in other formats, such as a video or audio version of your proposal, following the format above, or a 1-2-1 video or telephone call to talk through your proposal (we will use the prompts as listed above).

All Applicants will be asked to complete an equality and diversity monitoring form. Details shared on this form will not affect the selection process.

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Our original adaptation and narration of The Christmas Carol will be professionally recorded at an Essex-based recording studio in 12 chapters. Each chapter will then be allocated to one of the 12 shopfronts, and it is these chapters that artists/communities should use as inspiration for their commission.  Artists are encouraged to explore the themes of their chapter and represent it however they choose, be it a literal portrayal of characters within a scene, such as Scrooge meeting his ghostly hosts, or more conceptual representation of the themes that occur within it.

Applications are invited from artists based across Essex with selection ensuring a diversity of creatives, a range of disciplines, including those that can be created within the window space using conventional forms such as sculpture, fine art, pottery, craft and material-work, and those that need to be created elsewhere, such as recorded dance and movement, which might be filmed and presented on loop on screens in the spaces. Each artist will be asked to produce a single installation to occupy one of eight windows.

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The successful proposals will be selected by a panel made up of The Christmas Carol Experience Team.

A shortlist will be made from the received applications based on how well they meet the commission criteria and respond to this brief, and these will be invited to interview to talk further about their proposal before a final decision is made.

The commission will be managed by The Christmas Carol Experience Ltd. 

The appointed creative practitioners will be expected to meet commissioners every 2-4 weeks during the project, by Zoom or in person, to discuss any issues arising and generally keep them in the loop with progress made.

The Christmas Carol Experience selection panel will happily provide feedback, if requested to all unsuccessful applicants. Please note, this may not be disseminated until after the project has come to an end due to time pressures.

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The commission budget is £1,000 (to include VAT) and will be treated as a grant. This is inclusive of all expenses and must therefore cover fees, travel and materials. and marketing. All promotion and advertising of The Christmas Carol Experience Festive Trail will be Some promotion and advertising will be undertaken by The Christmas Carol Experience Ltd and partners, at their cost.

Payments will be made in instalments: £500 on confirmation of successful commission (on receipt of invoice), and £500 upon delivery of completed commission piece. Subject to contract.

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Contracts with terms of engagement will be sent to successful applications after end of submissions deadline.

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All artists will be expected to work to the following schedule of dates.

By 30 July: Artist's presentation of proposed ideas for chapter display

By 30 August: Project check-in with CCE team

By 1 October: Final progress check-in

Within week of 3-10 November: Completion and installation of window

18 November (TBC): Artist's invitation to Festive Trail VIP launch event

16 November 2022 – 8th January 2023: Run of the Christmas Carol Festive Trail 

Installation date to be agreed in discussion with The Christmas Carol Experience team at a later date. The artist's engagement period ends on 16 November.

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Promotion for the commission can be undertaken in partnership with The Christmas Carol Experience Ltd and other partners as appropriate. The Christmas Carol Experience Ltd will promote the commission and related activity on The Christmas Carol Experience website ( and support the process throughout on social media (including Twitter and Instagram). The Christmas Carol Experience Ltd hopes that the commissions will attract significant numbers from the local community both in terms of active engagement and audience, as well as attracting audiences from further afield (where possible/appropriate). The Christmas Carol Experience Ltd and its partners would expect to see good levels of audiences online (not necessarily exclusively during the actual commission).

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All successful artists will be requested to keep a photographic diary of their creation process which may be displayed as part of their Festive Trail installation.

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If you require any additional information about the project, application process or have any questions please email us at:

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