Fermoy Per Cent for Art Opportunity

first deadline 9 April
Fermoy Per Cent for Art Opportunity | first deadline 9 April | National Sculpture Factory

The OPW and Cork County Council under the State’s Per Cent for Arts Scheme are commissioning an art work / project attendant to flood defence work carried out in Fermoy, Co Cork as part of a major Flood protection and early warning system. The National Sculpture Factory has been commissioned to manage the project.

This is a two stage open commission:

Commission budget is €58,000 in total

To register your interest in the commission and your intention to attend the site briefing on TUESDAY 14 APRIL at 11am in Fermoy Area Office, Fermoy please email elma@nationalsculpturefactory.com mark your email FERMOY Commission by 9 April. Details of briefing will be sent to all registered.


The brief invites proposals from artists working in any medium that respond to the works carried out, to the concept of water control, floods and flood defences and the context of Fermoy on the banks of the Blackwater.

The demand for this flood defence scheme arose from repeated flooding incidences in the town of Fermoy over the years which resulted in considerable loss and damage to those affected by floodwater inundating their properties as well as disruption to the services in the town.

The Office of Public Works in conjunction with Cork County Council and Fermoy Town Council investigated the flooding problems in Fermoy and appointed T.J. O’Connor & Associates and DHV Water BV, Joint Venture, to devise a Flood Relief Scheme for the town. The overall objective of the project was the development of a flood alleviation scheme for the protection of the town of Fermoy for a theoretical 1/100-year storm return period event.

This brief invites artists of all disciplines to consider making an artwork to respond to the flood defence efforts and the context of Fermoy on the banks of the Blackwater.

Artists may also wish to propose collaborative works that may work in collaboration with various communities of interest.

In stage one, artists do NOT need to identify specific communities or groups of interest but can indicate suggested types of desired collaborators, as successful short-listed artists will have the support of Cork County council and the NSF to identify various possible communities to support the development of their proposals.


The river Blackwater  (an Abha Mor, the big River) flows, through Counties Kerry, Cork and Waterford. It rises in the Mullaghareirk Mountains in Co Kerry and flows eastwards through Mallow and Fermoy. It then progresses through Lismore, Co Waterford turning south at Cappoquin and entering the sea at Youghal harbour.

The river is 169 km in length and it is notable as being one of the best Salmon fishing and angling rivers in the country.

Fermoy straddles the River Blackwater and is a busy market town in the scenic Blackwater valley. It is a garrison town and leading up to the Napoleonic wars it accommodated the largest military establishment on the island of Ireland.

The town of Fermoy has a long history of flooding from the river Blackwater that flows through the town.  The effects of floods have been experienced in Fermoy over the centuries.

There have been many significant floods dating back to 1853.

Further major floods were recorded 1916, 1946, and 1980. In 1988, there were four significant floods where water levels rose in excess of 1.5 meters.

Over a recent period of 30 years the town flooded fifteen times. This has had a devastating effect on various communities with homes and business being regularly flooded and severe destruction to domestic and professional activity.

In 2002 the OPW commissioned a consortium to assess flood risks in the town of Fermoy and to develop a flood alleviation scheme.

A further engineering report commissioned in 2003 outlined a preferred solution to the flooding problems, which involved the construction of embankments, millrace gates and extensive use of demountable flood barriers all along both banks of the river Blackwater.

The proposed scheme was placed on public exhibition on 2005 and was subsequently brought through two detailed design phases. The first phase Fermoy North allowed construction work to commence in 2009 and was completed in 2011.

In total there are now 1050 meters of 3-4 m high walls protecting the perimeter of the town centre and a further 400 meters of lower walls at key points within its core.

In total 7,000 cubic meters of concrete, 1,200 tonnes of reinforced steel and 1,400 meters of steeling piping and 5km of pipelines used.

As part of the project several improvements were made to amenity areas and streetscapes including paving street furniture, benches and tree planting

The second phase’s involved works carried out on the south side of the river and work commenced in April 2012 and was completed in 2014.

As part of the process the OPW developed an Early Flood Warning system, which is used for both Fermoy and Mallow. Upon receipt of flood warnings the Cork County Council staff erect substantial demountable defences on the completed scheme on the north side of the river.

Project Funding

Total value of the commission(s) is   €58,000

The budget is fully inclusive of all costs.

Up to three proposals will be shortlisted and will receive an honorarium of €500 to develop stage 2 proposals


A briefing meeting will be organized for those interested in the commission.

Date TUESDAY 14 APRIL, 11am Cork County Council FERMOY LOCAL AREA OFFICE, Fermoy

This will provide an opportunity to meet some of the technical and design team who devised the flood defence scheme and other local specialists as well as provide an opportunity to see various sites.


Stage 1 Submission by email or Post Clearly Marked FERMOY


To Elma O’Donovan

National Sculpture Factory

Albert Road


021 4314353

E: elma@nationalsculpturefactory.com

Artists are invited to make a written proposal to include:

-Artist biography highlighting relevant experiences

– Summary concept maximum 2 A4 pages

– Submit a maximum of 20 images that are relevant – Identify possible location for the project (not essential)

– Identify any communities you may wish to collaborate with and an indication of how you propose to engage with them. Note this is not a condition of the commission.

– Indicate any areas/contexts that your proposal may locate itself.

Stage two will involve up to three proposals being selected for further development. This will include opportunities for more detailed briefings and engagement.


The selection panel will use the following criteria to assess proposals:

  • Concept and relevance to the commissioning context
  • Quality and originality of artistic ideas
  • Process and feasibility of the proposal
  • Engagement with the specific context of Fermoy and the issue of water flood management
  • Capacity and experience of the artist, curator or creative producer, and team to develop, manage and deliver the project on time and within budget

Time Scale

REGISTRATION OF INTEREST  9 APRIL to elma@nationalsculpturefactory.com




General Conditions Submissions:

  • Submissions for Stage 1 will not be returned unless you pick up or provide return postage
  • There will be not necessarily be feedback for individuals or teams after Stage 1
  • Applicants are responsible for the cost of delivering applications on time.
  • Late submissions will not be accepted
  • All materials submitted should be clearly labeled with the applicant’s name and contact details and Marked FERMOY COMMISSION
  • The Selection Panel’s decision is final; it has the right to clarify any issue which may arise in the course of selection
  • Artists/teams may be asked to supply the names and contact details of referees as part of the selection process
  • The commissioners reserve the right to not award the commission(s); in this instance, they reserve the right to pursue other selection processes

Terms and Conditions:

  • The successful artist / team will be issued with a contract
  • The appointed artist/team will be required to have the following insurances: Public Liability Insurance cover of €6.5 million with an indemnity to principal extension AND Employers Liability Cover of €13 million with an indemnity to principal extension, where employees are engaged by the Artist
  • The commissioners will not insure equipment belonging to the artist or her/his associates
  • Artworks must comply with Health and Safety standards; successful submissions will be subject to Health and Safety checks
  • Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection: Selected artists/team will be required to follow national policy with regard to commissions involving interaction with children, and vulnerable adults and, where applicable, undergo appropriate training
  • The appointed artist/team will have to supply an up to date tax clearance certificate prior to signing of contract and for the duration of the commission
  • Applicants should note that all commissions awarded are VAT inclusive, (whether VAT liability lies with the artist or the Commissioner). Non EU- resident artists, and artists from non-EU countries, must be aware of any tax or VAT implications arising from the commission(s) and ensure any costs arising from this are included in their budget
  • The OPW is subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information law. If you consider that any of the information supplied by you is either commercially sensitive, or confidential in nature, this should be highlighted and the reasons for the sensitivity specified. In such cases the relevant material will, in response to the FOI request, be examined in the light of the exemptions provided for in the 1997 and 2003 Acts.
first deadline 9 April
National Sculpture Factory
Albert Road, Cork City
Telephone: +353 21 4314353

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