Take Over Opportunity

The majority of exhibitions at Shieldfield Art Works are initiated by SAW’s team and our partners, however, we have a commitment to support and encourage both students and emerging artists. To complement SAW’s own programme, we have two months of Take Over where we work with exhibition proposals which we feel reflect SAW’s ethos.  

Take Over is an opportunity to take charge of the gallery and stage a short exhibition or series of events in order to try new ways of curating and exhibiting outside of the studio context. Your exhibition will be open to the public, and you will be able to gain valuable feedback from a wide range of visitors. 

The SAW team will offer support throughout the process, but this must be coupled with an enthusiastic level of commitment from the successful artist/s. It is expected that applicants will have a pre-existing body of work, but more work can be developed in the run up to the show or event.

There are usually four Take Over slots per year:

2021 dates:

Slot 1: 2 – 12 February 2021

Slot 2: 16 – 26 February 2021

Slot 3: 2 – 12 March 2021

Slot 4: 16 – 26 March 2021


This opportunity is free for students and has a highly discounted cost of £200 per slot (11 days) for emerging artists*. We accept both group and solo proposals.

Shieldfield Art Works is a charity, and although we aim to support projects by giving staff time, it is necessary that individuals and groups submitting proposals will have their own funding in place to cover the costs of their project or exhibition.


Successful applicants must commit to:

  • Preparatory meetings with the SAW team and contact throughout the exhibition
  • Management of installation (usually a Tuesday) and deinstall (usually a Friday), within SAWs guidelines (this will be discussed at the preparatory meeting, and is mainly an agreement to treat SAW’s building with care and respect). Provision of invigilation when the gallery is open.
  • Presence at the Take Over launch and discussion evenings (dates tbc)
  • Supplying images and text for promotional purposes. Although the four exhibitions will be individual, promotion and events will be jointly headed under the ‘Take Over’ strand of SAW’s work.
  • A photograph (or quote or different visual iteration of the work) of their work being featured in SAW’s Process outdoor gallery space alongside other Take Over exhibitors. The creative development of this can be discussed after the application stage.

*Emerging artists within 10 years of graduating/beginning practice: At SAW, we have a very broad definition of an ‘emerging artist’, which we class as anyone within the first ten years of their artistic practice regardless of education, age or artistic exposure (whether you have had an exhibition before or not). Whilst we do work with universities and art schools to provide opportunities for their students, we acknowledge there are barriers to accessing formal arts education. We encourage all artists to participate in our programme and opportunities, regardless of arts education experience.

Any Questions?

If you are thinking about applying, but have questions or queries you can:

  • Come along to our Take Over proposal event on 19 November 2020, when we’ll have 15-minute slots available for artists to discuss their ideas informally over a cup of tea with a member of the SAW team. Please email gemma@saw-newcastle.org to book your 15-minute slot.

How to Apply

If you would like to apply for a Take Over 2020 slot you can send a proposal between 1 November – 1 December 2020 that will be reviewed by our programme team. No proposals will be accepted after 10am 1 December 2020.

Interviews will provisionally take place on 4 December 2020

We will let you know the status of your application by Friday 11 December. 


Proposals should be sent to: gemma@saw-newcastle.org 

Submitting a proposal

Before submitting a proposal, we would suggest artists familiarise themselves with SAW’s ethos, programme and gallery space.

What is a proposal?

A proposal is a document of no more than 500 words which includes:

  • A clear, concise explanation of what your project/exhibition is about and what you want to do
  • Who you are and why you want to exhibit at SAW
  • Your preferred Take Over slot dates
  • No more than 15 photographs of your artwork or project, or a link to your website. Please include dimensions of work.
  • Students: Please also send proof of your eligibility as a student – for example, a scan of your Student ID.
  • Format: A Proposal document in PDF form is preferred, as this will retain your formatting. Please do not send overly large file sizes (i.e a  long video piece) which email systems may find hard to cope with.

Gallery space sizes & limitations

  • Our gallery space is a square room with walls 8.5m metres in length. The wall height is 3.5m, with the ceiling rising to a triangular peak of 4.6m.
  • There is a raised (a height of two steps) stage area 5.9m long and 1.5m wide on the south wall
  • There are two windows with blackout blinds
  • Wooden flooring throughout
  • Due to the height and accessibility issues associated with the triangular ceiling, no artwork can be suspended or hung from the ceiling, unless you can fund scaffolding and a full health and safety assessment.
  • All installations and artwork must meet health and safety requirements which will be set by SAW (i.e. installations must not block fire exits and electrical devices must be PAT tested).

Last updated: 21 January 2020