The Artnership: Our approach to S106 Public Arts Obligations

How two artists came together to help housing development companies deliver on their S106 Public Art Obligations. 

How The Artnership help housing developers deliver on their S106 Public Arts obligations.

Historical context and community engagement form the basis of arts projects delivered for housing developers.

The Artnership was formed in 2014 between Photographer and Artist Tracy Vine and Graphic Designer Ben Stanbury, merging their creative, research and design skills with their ability to project manage.  Having noticed a gap in the market for a company that could provide a fully managed solution for housing developers looking to fulfil their S106 Public Arts obligations, The Artnership soon found themselves working with some of the UK largest housing development companies. 

"We understand that creative flair is just part of the requirement... developers want to hand over their artwork obligations to a team that can not only engage the community but also fully manage the project from ideation to installation... whilst remaining on budget and on schedule..."

Historical context and community engagement

The core approach of any artwork that The Artnership produce is based on two things: Historical context of the area in which the artwork will be installed, and engagement of the local community. 

These two drivers ensure that the artwork helps reinforce a 'sense of place' in the community which it is situated. 

Previously the pair have worked with local historians, schools, councils and have accessed historical records and documents as part of the research process when creating artwork that has historical relevance and a 'sense of place'. 

As an example, the work completed for Patching Hall Lanes' Saxon Gate Development in Essex focused on the ancient Saxon Burial ground that was discovered in Broomfield in the late 19th century. The site was uncovered by workers digging in the area in 1888, and artefacts including a sword were found on the site and are now preserved in Chelmsford Museum, on loan from the British Museum. 

The Artnership worked with local school children to write 'The Poem of Mr Patch' and they also drew pictures of what 'Mr Patch' (the 'Saxon Prince' discovered in the burial ground) may have looked like. 

This poem and the artwork eventually informed two of the artworks found on-site; the poem can be read on the engraved plaque and the 10ft wooden sculpture of Mr Patch takes centre stage providing a story and narrative around the history of the site. 

"Thanks to the creative input of the children living in the area, the statue and the poem have allowed for the development of a character and a story to form around the artwork". 

Using photography and digital image-making to create unique street furniture and interactive installations at 'the Canary Wharf of West London'

The Artnership recently worked with UK house builder Vistry Partnerships to produce a range of street furniture and interactive 'prayer wheel' installations for their Oaklands Rise development in Acton. 

As part of the Old Oak Common regeneration project in West London, Oaklands Rise will boast over 600 new properties available to rent or buy through Notting Hill Genesis and Folio London. 

The Artnership attended the site for a day to take photography to capture 'the drama of the build', the surrounding scenery, and to gain an insider perspective on the build progress. 

After gathering some 300 photographs, and making use of digital image-making apps on their mobile devices, the pair then crated the colour schemes, designs and patterns to adorn the seating and installations. 

Art Seats are unique and sustainable seating solution that can be customised with any graphic you choose. Art Seats are suitable for outside installation, and their customisation allows them to be integrated into their environs in such a way that is pleasing to the eye.

Tracy and Ben extracted colour schemes and pattern from the building site and used them to create the artwork for the Art Seats. 

This same approach was also used to develop the artworks for the Prayer Wheels installation. Comprising of 31 cylindrical rotating 'wheels' on racks of 15 and 16 respectively, the Prayer Wheels installations provide a colourful and interactive artwork installation that can also serve as a windbreak. 

The Prayer Wheels at Oaklands Rise feature colour-bars, gradients, photography and historical facts. There are six installations around the site which can be integrated with by children and adults. When some of the wheels are spun quickly they produce interesting patterns and optical effects (with all colours being 'extracted' from the on-site photography). Other wheels feature photos and historical factoids about the building site, the area of Old Oak Common and the history of the Grand Union Canal. 

"All the colours, photography and patterns that adorn the Prayer Wheels were extracted from the site by the artists, using photography and digital image-making apps"

Full arts budget and project management

As a specialist arts management company who work with house builders, The Artnership recognise how busy and complex a site-building schedule can be. For this reason, they feel it is important to offer the management of the whole public art requirement process. 

"We understand the role of artwork delivery obligations in the grand scheme of a site build. It's a complex, ever-changing machine of many parts... we're here to take that aspect off the building companies 'to-do' list and manage the whole process, from research, to design to installation"

The Artnership say their process covers four key areas, and they are keen to stress that they manage the process to give developers 'one less thing to do'.

Fully managed arts delivery

  • Full project management of your art requirements
  • Artwork that is sustainable, engaging and has longevity
  • Artwork with historical context

Working within your public art budget

  • Your budget is allocated to cover the entire process
  • Project management and local authority engagement
  • Concept ideation development and art installation
  • No further costs incurred beyond the arts fund

Community Engagement

  • Presentations
  • Interviews
  • Online surveys
  • Social media outreach 

Historical Context

  • Qualified Arts History Researchers
  • Working with local historians and record offices 
  • Art with context and ‘a sense of place’ 

If you're a housing developer looking to fulfil your S106 Public Arts obligation and you'd like to discuss your requirements please get in touch with the Artnership via their website at