The Museums Partnership Reading plans to mark the 50th anniversary of the first Reading Festival with  a retrospective exhibition looking at the social and historical context of Reading’s first festival in 1971. The new exhibition will be curated in partnership with Jill Furmanovsky Rock Archive, Ian Shirley from Record Collector Magazine along with Damian Jones from Pop Classics memorabilia and Chris Forsey at the Reading Chronicle archive.

A space within the exhibition will be set aside to include material collected from this year’s Festival to contrast the 1971 festival. This will be co-curated by young people and will make an interesting juxtaposition for an inter-generational audience.

This project will explore young people’s relationship with the history of music within Reading. Young people will develop skills in music, media, networking and platform building through creating content to form part of the Festival 50 exhibition opening in August 2021 in Reading Exhibition.

The Proposal

To work with young people to create content for a portion of the Festival 50 exhibition, set to take place in August 2021:

  • Workshops should reflect youth interests in local history, music and culture.
  • Each of the workshops should be focused on developing skills in 1. Music (linked to Reading Festival and 1971), 2. Media, 3. Networking and 4. Platform building.
  • Outcomes should fit with the theme of Reading Festival, local history, culture and music.
  • Workshops should give the opportunity to develop skills/ confidence in young people.
  • Workshops could be online or in person.


Reading Museum/The MERL/Online. Locations will be based on ongoing restrictions. We will be working in line with current government Covid guidance and restrictions.


The submissions will close on Friday 9th April, the successful applicant(s) will be informed by the Friday 16th of April.

  • Workshops 1 - 3 June 2021
  • Workshop 4 - early July 2021
  • Work prepared for exhibition deadline end of July 2021
  • Festival 50 exhibition August 2021
  • Evaluation with the community August 2021 – December 2021

The Contract

The total budget for the series of 4, 2 hour, workshop is no more than £2500.

Each workshop should focus on one of the following skill areas:




4.Platform building


We welcome applications from individuals, groups, or collectives making combined applications for no more than £2,500 to work the workshops as a single commission.

The amount applied for must cover the artist(s) fee, planning, production and all materials, installation, insurance and ongoing maintenance.

The Artist/Workshop Leader

Essential criteria:

  • Experience of delivering workshops with and for young people
  • Experience of responding to a site-specific brief
  • Experience of working with a diverse range of people and communities
  • Knowledge of Reading’s history and diverse communities
  • Flexibility, enthusiasm and friendliness to engage the local communities
  • Ability to work to short timescales and within agreed budget


The proposal should respect the Council’s regulation and policies and all materials, paints etc used should satisfy the climate emergency declaration and the Council’s pledge to achieve a carbon neutral Reading by 2030.

Artists working with children, young people or vulnerable adults must hold a current DBS certificate.

Application Process

There are two ways to apply: Send us a written application or you can send us a short video or audio recording (no longer than 4 mins) to the Learning Team.

Please tell us in no more than two sides of A4 (or in your 4 minute recording):

  • Your name, contact details and proposed name of your idea
  • Clear outline of your idea
  • Provide details on your previous related experiences
  • Outline who you are and how you are connected to Reading’s history of Music and Culture
  • The budget you are applying for with a breakdown of all your intended costs

+ please provide supporting images/recording and examples of/links to your work.

If you would like help or if you have questions about any of the above, please email the Learning Team


Applications will be marked against the following criteria:

  • Quality: The proposal is clear and fits in with the above brief
  • Experience: How much experience the artist has had in previous projects
  • Audience Reach and Engagement: a clear understanding of who it is you are reaching

Deadline for submission: Midnight Friday 9th April 2021

Selected artists/workshop leaders

Please note that selected artists/workshop leaders will work with a group of young people to respond to objects in Reading Museum’s collection and exhibition relating to the theme of Reading Festival.

We aim to confirm content of the series of workshops with young people in Reading by Monday 3rd May 2021.