Applicant Guidance Notes

Wirksworth Festival Art & Architecture Trail Application Process

Dates for Applications

  • The application process for all artists opens on the date as advertised on the website and closes at 10pm on the advertised closing date.
  • All applications to exhibit in the Festival must be made and received within the publicised timescale each year. Applications received outside of these dates will not be considered for inclusion in the selection process and for the Trail.
  • An application will only be deemed completed when the application fee is paid and cleared, and all required information has been received and checked as being in accordance with requirements.

Applying for the Trail

All applications should be submitted online through the Festival website and there are three categories for which an artist may apply which are:

  • Visiting artists – this group will also be able to request a place in one of the designer- makers halls (see designer-makers below)
  • Wirksworth artists exhibiting in their own home
  • Groups of artists

Visiting Artists

  • This category is open to any artist who is not resident in Wirksworth. If accepted onto the Trail these artists will be allocated a venue by the Festival in which they may exhibit their work.

Wirksworth Artists Exhibiting in their Own Home

  • This category is only open to Wirksworth artists who are exhibiting in their own home i.e. artists who permanently live all year round in the house in which they will be exhibiting their own work.
  • Those artists meeting this criterion will be automatically accepted onto the Trail but they must complete the application process and pay any monies due by the relevant deadlines.
  • If an artist does not meet this criterion then they will be deemed to be a visiting artist and must complete the application and pay the relevant fee for visiting artists.
  • The Festival, at its sole discretion, may make an exception to this rule and accept an application from an artist who lives in Wirksworth and exhibit in their own studio which is based in Wirksworth.


  • If there is group of artists who all contribute to producing a single body of work, then they can complete the registration for a single artist in one of the categories above.
  • If there are a group of artists who each produce their own work but normally exhibit together then each artist MUST complete their own registration and pay the appropriate fees.

Application Process

The application process is split into the following elements:

  1. An artist must complete the online application process through the Festival website and pay the relevant registration fee. On completion of this process, the applicant will receive an email to confirm their application has been received and will be entered into the selection process (see below). This email does not constitute acceptance into the Trail but confirms the applicants’ entry will be submitted to the selection panel for consideration.
    Please note: Payment of the registration fee is used solely to enable the Festival to manage and operate the website and selection process.  In the event that an artist is unsuccessful with their application this registration fee is NON-REFUNDABLE.
  2. Once the registration fee has been paid and cleared, an artist application will be presented to the Selection Panel (see below) for consideration for the Trail.
  3. The Selection Panel will sit to consider applications once the closing date for application has ended and select artists for the Trail based on the criteria set out below and the number and type of spaces available for visiting artists. They will also select a small reserve group in the event an artist does not take up their place.
  4. Once this process has been completed, all successful artists will be notified via email that they have been selected for the Trail. On receipt of this email, the artist will be given 10 days to accept their place on the Trail. This acceptance is completed by making payment of the acceptance fee and notifying the Festival they will be taking up their place. Acceptance will only be deemed completed when the acceptance fee has been paid and the funds cleared, and a confirmation email received from the artist.
  5. In the event an artist does not take up their place within the deadline, the Festival will allocate their space to one of the reserve artists.


  • Should an applicant subsequently decide to withdraw their application after selection onto the Trail or decide not to exhibit for whatever reason, a refund will only be given if the request for a refund is received prior to the end of June in any year. No refunds will be payable outside that deadline. A 20% administrative charge will be levied on ALL refunds.
  • In the event of a withdrawal, the Festival may, at its own discretion, defer the artists place until the following year. In this instance, no refund will be made and in the event of a change in the fees for the following year, the artist will be asked to pay any balance at that time.

Applications and Image Submissions

  • All applications must be made online through the Festival website.
  • The work to be considered must:
    • be less than 3 years old
    • not have been presented to the panel before
    • be the sole work of the artist making the application


  • Artists are required to submit FOUR good quality images which represent their work. These are the images the Selection Panel use in the selection process so applying artists should ensure their submitted images:
    • show clearly the work to be exhibited
    • are in focus and exposed in such a way that the Selection Panel can clearly see the work
    • the images should be named using the following convention: artistname_nameofwork
  • If the artist is selected, these images will form part of the artist page on the Festival website and will be used in marketing materials. If the Festival requires additional images or higher resolution formats, they will contact the artist directly.
  • The Festival reserves the right to crop submitted images to suit their publicity needs.
  • As part of the image submission, the artist will be required to provide a caption for each work / photo, dimensions of the work, the media used to create the work and the approximate date it was created.

*The artist gives the Festival licence to use the works for the relevant purposes and acknowledging that the Festival is not responsible for any copyright infringement as a result of this permitted use.

Click here for our top tips on getting the right image when photographing work for submission

Artists Statement / CV

As part of the application process the artist will be required to provide TWO artist’s statements describing the work they will be exhibiting at the Festival, including inspirations and working methods. If the artist’s application is successful, this text will be published on the Wirksworth Festival website and in printed material, so please write in the first person, in plain and correct English and make sure the text is suitable for the public. And please make sure there are no typos.

  • One statement is for the artist page on the website, which needs to be approximately 100 words long
  • The other is for the brochure accompanying the Trail, which needs to be approximately 20-30 words long.
  • In addition to the above, the artist may provide a CV which details their work and can include a more detailed statement and information about their work, which may be used as part of the selection process.

Selection Process and Criteria

The Selection Panel usually consists of five members, one of which is rotated each year and will include some or all of the following:

  • Practising artists and makers, curators
  • Academics connected with universities and arts organisations in the region
  • Members of the Festival trustees
  • The panel will meet during May to scrutinise, discuss and vote on each application. At the conclusion of the application process all artists will be notified of their inclusion / non-selection once a final decision has been made, and at the beginning of June at the latest.

Selection Criteria

Selection will be based solely on the submitted application (see above) and must meet at least two of the following criteria:

  • High quality of concept, realisation and making
  • Challenging and contemporary ideas
  • Work of interest and relevance to our audiences
  • Exceptional level of engagement with chosen medium
  • Innovative ideas for design
  • A rotation of artists and genres each year

The Selection Panel’s decision is final and due to the high number of applications considered each year, the panel are unable to give feedback to individual artists.

Venue Allocation

  • Once the selection process is completed and an artist has accepted their place on the Trail, the Festival will then complete the process of allocating artists to venues.
  • Unless you are an artist exhibiting in your own home, artists cannot always be guaranteed a specific venue, size of space or a joint exhibitor. We will, however, respond to preferences where possible and seek to allocate artists to appropriate venues.
  • In order to keep the Festival fresh and interesting to visitors, the Festival cannot guarantee to match venues with an artist for more than two consecutive years.
  • Once the allocation process has been completed, which will be within 2 weeks of the closing date for artists confirming their place, the artists will receive their allocation along with contact details of their venue host.
  • As soon as an artist has received their venue allocation, they should contact their venue host to discuss visiting the venue and discussing with the venue host the requirements for the trail.
  • In the event an artist feels a venue is not suitable they should contact the Festival as soon as possible and no later than the end of July. Any requests for venue changes will not be accepted after this date.
  • In notifying the Festival of the potential unsuitability of a venue, the artist should provide details of why they feel the venue is not suitable.
  • On receipt of a notification the Festival will consider the request and may at their sole discretion reallocate the artist to another venue if one is available. The Festival will not in any circumstance reallocate an artist on the basis that the venue is unsuitable because of its location.

Designer-Makers Showcase

  • The Designer-Makers Showcase will consist of approximately 30-40 indoor spaces at the Town Hall and Memorial Hall. These are suitable for smaller works.
  • These spaces are only available to artists who both design and make their own work. If applying for one of these spaces please ensure your work meets both criteria. (Fine artists, photographers printmakers, etc would not usually be considered designer-makers).
  • As part of the application process the artists can choose the option to be considered for inclusion in the designer-maker halls. Only artists who have selected this option will be considered.
  • For each of the halls, 1 x table, 2 x chairs and where possible, access to electricity will be provided as part of the fee.
  • The final decision for inclusion in these halls will be made by the Selection Panel.

Other information

Access Requirements

  • With the exception of the Town Hall and the Memorial Hall, most other venues are individual’s homes and therefore may not be completely accessible for individuals with mobility requirements. If you have access requirements you will need to indicate this on your application so we can ensure an appropriate venue is allocated.

Venue Hosts

  • All the venue hosts very generously agree to let the Festival and exhibiting artists use their home / space during the Trail weekend free of charge. Every artist is expected to respect this, taking steps to ensure there is no damage or disturbance to the venue during the weekend and ensure the space is restored to its original condition at the end of the weekend, and to thank the hosts for their support.


  • The Festival accepts no liability for damage to or loss of work or other equipment either on display or in transit.
  • Therefore, it is essential that artists take out their own insurance to cover all risks associated with their participation in the Trail.
  • All artists are required to have a minimum of £5 million public liability insurance and the Festival may ask for evidence of cover as part of the application / selection process.

Equipment and Electrical Items

  • Artists must ensure all equipment they bring is safe and fit for purpose. Any electrical equipment must be safe and with an up-to-date PAT certificate.

Marketing and Promotion

  • Each year the Festival works with artists to build upon the marketing and promotion of their work and of the Festival as a whole.
  • All selected artists will be required to help promote the Festival through their wider networks.
  • All selected artists will be sent a Promotion Pack, which will include the Festival logo, marketing advice, and tips to link in with the Festival social media activity (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).
  • All artists will be sent a link to their artist profile page on the Festival website. It is the artist’s responsibility to ensure that all the information is correct.
  • The production of the Festival marketing material, including Trail Guide, depends on the provision of information by the artist in the application form. The Festival accepts no liability for any errors or omissions in its advertising and promotional material.
  • The Festival reserves the right to crop submitted images to suit our publicity needs.