Illuminate at Northern Roots: Artist Commission

Northern Roots is creating the UK’s largest urban farm and eco-park on 160 acres of stunning green space, ten minutes on foot from Oldham town centre. A unique new community asset and visitor destination.

Northern Roots aspires to create a bold, inspiring and surprising arts and culture offer, that helps to animate the site and bring communities together. This year we’ve commissioned artists and creatives working across different fields, delivered four events on the Northern Roots site and developed an initial arts and culture strategy.

We are delighted to be partnering with Illuminate and Oldham Council on Oldham’s Illuminate 2023 celebrations and we’re inviting proposals for an Illuminate at Northern Roots commission.

Creative Brief

Opportunity: Create a magical, light-night, site-specific experience for children and adults.

Location: Northern Roots site, Oldham, OL8 2BJ.

Site: Woodland glade

Pre application site visit: Thursday 15th December 2022, 10-11am at Northern Roots.

Event date: Sunday 19th February 2023

Budget: £10,000 (VAT inclusive)

Application Deadline: 5pm, Wednesday 21st December 2022

Could you create something magical for audiences in a woodland glade enveloped by darkness? We’re inviting proposals from artists, creatives and makers working in any artform. Your response could involve or combine music, film, sculpture, performance, installation, projection, lighting or fire – whatever inspires you. Your response could be a completely new piece of work or involve repurposing existing pieces within a new setting.

Your proposal needs to respond to and be inspired by the setting at Northern Roots. The site-specific setting includes a path way into a woodland that leads into a large, secluded woodland glade surrounded by tall trees. You could use the setting in any way, suspending or attaching elements to trees, creating standalone structures, using it as a performative space, as a natural amphitheatre or outdoor cinema. How would you ‘illuminate’ this space?

Illuminate is a rich theme with many possible departure points: stars, constellations, the nocturnal world, darkness, light, hope, peace. You could create something fun and high energy or something more introspective and contemplative. Above all, we are looking for proposals that will light up the space in a way that delights and surprises visitors of all ages.

Need to know

  • Your proposal needs to be family-friendly and suitable for audiences of all ages.
  • There is currently no power source on site, so your proposal needs to include and account for necessary power supply i.e. batteries, generator.
  • We would encourage artists to think about using sustainable materials where possible. Proposals will be selected in part on how little impact they make on the environment.
  • The successful commission will be selected by a panel of producers from Northern Roots and Gallery Oldham.
  • The artist/company submitting the successful commission will have access to a minimum of two site visits with producers at Northern Roots prior to the event on the 19th February 2023.
  • Northern Roots will lead on communications and marketing of the event, as part of Illuminate 2023 marketing.
  • The successful commission will receive £10,000 (VAT inclusive) to develop, make, deliver and install/perform work for the Illuminate at Northern Roots event on 19th February 2023 on the Northern Roots site in Oldham.

Application timeline

  • Applications Open: Monday 5th December 2022
  • Pre-application Site Visit: Thursday 15th December 10-11am, Northern Roots, OL8 2BJ. Any artist/organisation wishing to meet the Northern Roots team and visit the site before submitting an application, is welcome to join us for a short site tour at 10am on the 15th. Please email to book your place.
  • Applications Close: Please complete and return the Application Form and return to by 5pm on Wednesday 21st December 2022.
  • Successful submission announced: Friday 6th January 2023



Please contact Kimo Morrison, Comms, Arts & Engagement Lead, Northern Roots, at  if you have any questions about the commission or your application or if you have any access requirements.


The Northern Roots site is located ten minutes on foot from Oldham town centre, in Greater Manchester. The 160-acre site stretches from Alexandra Park in the north, past Park Bridge Heritage Centre, to Bankfield Clough in the south. It is bordered by Glodwick, Fitton Hill, Hathershaw and Alt.

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Louise the Poet, 10,000 Steps Around the World at Northern Roots, May 2022.
Walk the Plank, Harvest Fest at Northern Roots, September 2022.
Playing Out at Northern Roots, July 2022
May Wild Studio, Manchester Histories Festival at Northern Roots, June 2022.
El Condor, 10,000 Steps Around the World at Northern Roots, May 2022.