The commissioner-artist relationship is fundamental to a good process.  Understanding of the other's different perspective in a supportive environment makes for a good process. Getting a sense of the commissioner, the culture of the organisation and the context out of which the commission arises is useful. The flexibility that is possible on both sides can be generally quickly assessed. If and when problems or obstacles crop up it's best to deal with them immediately and not to let them fester. 

Good management actually supports fluidity and has clarity rather than unspoken expectations, so issues or concerns can be teased out as they arise. The commissioner may be extremely helpful and supportive and find other solutions. They may also have access to all sorts of resources or people that can help. As an artist it is useful to be self-sufficient for as much as possible and within expectation - but know when and how to ask for support so you have time to focus on research, making and production. 

Keep a check on budgets and time frames throughout. Set out a work plan and in more formal situations agree a schedule of meetings. The commissioner/ organisation need to consider how best to give the commissioned artists the freedom to best achieve the project. So that all are working towards a mutually agreed outcome, over a period of time.

Liam O'Callaghan advice


When artists work with non-arts based organisations and systems, daily procedures are often different to their working routines and these need to be understood from both sides. When artists work within the public art context it generally involves them in communications of all kinds. They are meeting and working with groups and individuals with varied skill sets and experiencing different levels of care.  Support of the artistic process and management of expectations along the way needs requires awareness and openness to dealing with things as they will arise along the way.


Documentation is extremely valuable to an artist and is the currency with which you will be able to promote your practice further. It is an important record of the work and process, and it is often required by the commissioner. Documentation can include photographs, analysis and evaluation text of the process and finished work.  It might be published in a catalogue with critical or reflective essays or commentary. It might also work well as a video work available to be downloaded from a website.



Commission Call Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown

16 August 2017

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and dlr Mill Theatre, Dundrum, invite proposals for a commission focusing on the creation of new work through...More..

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Greystones Educate Together National School appointed a voluntary committee with relevant expertise to oversee the per cent for art commissioning process. An external curator, Máire Davey, was appointed specifically for her expertise in working in a highly collaborative way as meaningful involvement from the students and school was viewed as central to the process. The procurement route chosen was limited invited competition.

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