New entrance doors for Cecil Sharp House in London


The English Folk Dance and Song Society, working with the Richard Seager Annual Arts Award, wish to commission replacement doors for their Head Office – Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent’s Park Road, London, NW1 7AY. This will celebrate the EFDSS’s 90th anniversary in 2020.

The EFDSS is the national organisation representing the United Kingdom’s traditional folk arts of music, song, dance, storytelling and local customs. It supports their development so that it remains a living tradition, relevant to the modern age.

The purpose-built Grade 2 listed Head Office and Arts Centre has been at the heart of British folk since it was opened in 1930, and the building is named in honour of the English folk dance and song collector, Cecil Sharp.

Photograph of Cecil Sharp

The building includes the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, which contains the national printed and sound archives of the folk movement in the United Kingdom.

The EFDSS has close links with heritage organisations worldwide, and its archive is used extensively by researchers and the wider Arts community.

This brief should be read in conjunction with the accompanying document.

The commission

The current entrance doors

Applications are sought from emerging artists/craftspeople/collectives to design new entrance doors to Cecil Sharp House which enhance the visitors’ experience of the building and make them aware that they are entering the spiritual home of the EFDSS. The winner will work closely with Dorma UK Ltd (who will be fabricating and installing the replacement doors), the EFDSS and the Award, to embed their design in to the new doors.

Drawings and specification of new entrance doors prepared by Dorma UK Ltd

The doors give access to a reception/entrance foyer which has limited natural light. The design should be informed by the Arts and Craft movement and make a positive impression on all visitors entering this Grade 2 listed building.

Cecil Sharp House is used by the EFDSS as a venue for its clog, Morris, Playford, Irish and international dance groups, as well as by folk singers and its folk choir. It includes a research archive and the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, offices for staff and its active and expanding Education Department, a bar and café.

The building is available for hire by opera, theatre, orchestra and dance organisations for rehearsals and performances, and is used by the local community and schools as a venue for training lectures.

The design and medium(s) used must be in keeping with the character of the building and the aims of the EFDSS. It should be physically and conceptually robust, with an expected lifespan of 25 years.

Information about Cecil Sharp House

Who can apply

Applications are sought from emerging artists, whether individuals or groups, who have the skills to design, make and incorporate their work into the doors being fabricated by Dorma UK Ltd.

Applicants may be:

– students/apprentices/undergraduates from any background living in the United Kingdom
– students of a specialist school, further education college or university
– individuals who have graduated/completed their vocational education within the last 7 years
– self-taught and have set up their business within the last 7 years.


Role of the artist/designer

The winner will collaborate with staff of the EFDSS, Dorma UK Ltd and the Award to ensure the successful installation of the new entrance doors.

Scope of the artist/designer’s work

This includes all labour, supplies, materials and equipment necessary to incorporate their design into the new doors, including making/fabricating, transportation and installation.

Medium, lifespan, durability and maintenance

The design may be made from any medium and should have a projected lifespan of 25 years. The entrance doors are in a space which is open to the public, and the artwork should be robust, durable and resistant to both weather and general wear and tear. Maintenance requirements should be minimal.

The materials may be:

– fixed to the inside of the double- glazed door units, or incorporated within them
– attached to the inside of the fixed double-glazed side panels and/or glass panels above the door opening facing towards the entrance steps.

The materials should not place undue stress on to the moving parts of the door mechanism. However, heavier or bulkier materials can be incorporated into the design for non-moving parts of the door openings, e.g. the fixed side panels and fixed panel above the door opening, and these should be located inside the entrance/foyer.

Possible mediums could include glass, metal, timber, paper, fabric, synthetics, paint, ceramic and leather. This list is not exclusive, and other appropriate materials will be considered.

Construction and installation

The winner should make/fabricate their design in their own workspace to minimise disruption to staff and visitors to Cecil Sharp House. They should liaise with Dorma UK Ltd where necessary to ensure that their work is successfully incorporated within the new doors, especially during the installation phase.

Award package and Budget

This is a joint project between the EFDSS and the Award. The EFDSS will fund the costs relating to the manufacture and installation of the new doors.

– the Award will provide the winner with £3000 towards the costs which they incur in the designing, making, transportation and installation of their work and participating in any marketing activity surrounding it
– bespoke business mentoring /portfolio review by Dan Goode of Making Goode, value £300. Dan is a selector for the Crafts Council’s Hothouse programme, and one of their regular speakers
– the EFDSS will organise an event to celebrate the completion of the commission and its installation at Cecil Sharp House in London, in which the winner is expected to take part
– the EFDSS and the Award will use information about the commission and the winner in their promotional activities
– the winner of the commission will be offered the opportunity of writing about how their career has progressed one year, which will be published on the Award website.

Selection process

There is a 2-stage selection process, which will be managed jointly by the EFDSS and the Award.

Submission requirements for Stage 1:

– your name and contact details
– your CV
– photographic (JPEG), video links to examples of your work
– a written statement (maximum 400 words) or a short video (Vimeo/YouTube) or a Mp3 sound recording explaining how you have interpreted the commission
– a concept drawing or sketch of your design. NB finalists may be asked to provide more detailed information prior to interview with the Judges
– an example of a technical drawing and budget breakdown from a previous project.

Criteria for selection:

– strong concept
– artistic quality of previous work
– experience of working with partner organisations
– meets the brief
– encapsulates the vision of the EFDSS
– realistic budget
– technical feasibility and robustness
– future maintenance requirements
– deliverable before the end of 2020.

The Judges, in consultation with a representative from Dorma UK Ltd, will shortlist the finalists. The finalists will be provided with feedback regarding their applications, and they may be asked to provide further information for consideration before interview.

Requirements for Stage 2:

Finalists will be invited to meet the Judges to make a face to face presentation of their proposal and to discuss issues arising from it. They may bring additional visual aids to explain the design/fabrication, a maquette, a materials sample showing the proposed finish, and a detailed budget breakdown.


Open call for applications: 2 January 2020
Application closing: date 28 February 2020
Shortlisting meeting: 12 March 2020
Finalists contacted: 16 March 2020
Interview with Judges at Kingston School of Art: 4 May 2020
Winner announced: 11 May 2020
Commission completed and installed: before end of 2020 (date to be agreed)
Official opening event: before end of 2020 (date to be agreed).

How to apply

Applications should be uploaded directly on to Zealous’ platform using the link below:


If you have any questions about the commission, please contact Valerie Seager by email at

If you would like help in uploading your application, please email