Temporary projects can take a wide variety of forms, media and approaches. Because they are more transitory, there is the opportunity for them to be more challenging in terms of content and appearance than permanent commissions, giving artists more creative space. They can be one-off, part of a larger programme for a place, or part of a programme including permanent commissions for regeneration or building works. In these contexts, the motivations behind commissioning can include showing change, reflecting on past and future identity, and engaging with local communities.

In approaching temporary projects, it can be useful to consider the following areas:

Temporary projects can take much longer than expected to develop and realise. Be realistic about time-scales and the time of year that an external project should be installed to give maximum impact.

Unless a similar project has been done in the past, it is very important to fully develop a proposal to show its feasibility. The health and safety requirements of public spaces mean that any structures must be durable – this may even mean that materials could work over a much longer time period than the commission is to be installed for. Testing and checking materials, equipment and mock-ups on site can also be immensely helpful to gather information, for instance, by trying out a video projector on location.

Planning permissions:
It is always worth checking with the local authority if a commission needs planning permission and/or a license if an event, whatever the time period they’re to be installed for. This is the case even if the local authority is involved in the project and may change from one authority to another.

Community engagement and participation:
Some projects involve communities/individuals in the process of creating the artwork. Such participatory projects that engage with the public need time to build these relationships and it can be detrimental to rush these conversations. If other forms of engagement are to happen as part of education or interpretation around a commission, then existing networks and groups can provide useful support.