Planning Your Public Art Event

The city is committed to supporting new kinds of cultural experiences in the public realm and across unconventional spaces.

Plymouth City Council land is available to be used by the public to organise events and a wide range of cultural activities including temporary public art projects.

The main areas available for bookings are:

  • The Hoe
  • City Centre
  • Central Park and other green spaces
  • Street events

In order to hold any public art event or creative project you must seek permission for use of the land by following the correct procedures below.

Events with expected audiences and participants up to 499 people require a minimum 6 weeks’ notice.

1. Expression of Interest

In the first instance please send an Expression of Interest to our Public Art Officer. Your expression of interest should include the following information:

  • Your name and contact details
  • A brief description of the event/activity you are planning
  • The dates and times
  • Your preferred site

This information will be used to assess the viability of your proposal and check availability.

2. Confirming Your Booking

The Public Art Officer will introduce you to the relevant department to complete your site booking. You will then be required to submit the following information:

    • Method Statement
    • Risk Assessment
    • Copy of public liability insurance certificate
    • Route Map – for any projects that involve moving performers, artworks or audiences around the city
    • Site Map – illustrating the set-up of any art work or technical equipment within a space

    Method Statement
    A method statement should outline the tasks and processes involved in carrying out your event/activity.

    Your method statement should provide a step by step guide outlining how you will set up, run and deinstall your public art event.

    You will need to include details about how you will use any equipment and ensure your site runs safely at all times. This may include outlining any procedures you may use to make sure your site is safe; for example, during installation of a large sculpture in the city centre you may use crowd barriers and stewards to protect the public from your working area.

    Download a template for a Method Statement here

    Risk Assessment
    An important part of managing any public art project is the control of any risks or hazards that may cause harm to those involved. This may include artists and performers, any staff or volunteers, audiences and the wider general public as well as the land or property on which the activity is being delivered.

    It is your responsibility to consider what might cause any potential harm and decide how to take steps to prevent this. A risk assessment will help you to consider all the possible risks with your project and the ways you can keep people and property safe from these risks.

    When completing your risk assessment it’s important to distinguish between a hazard and a risk. A hazard is anything that may cause harm, for example, use of electricity or working from heights. A risk is the chance that these hazards could cause harm to others, for example, an electric shock, or a fall from heights.

    You will also need to consider the potential severity of the risk and the likelihood of it happening. Finally, outline the steps you are taking to address this risk and any further actions required to reduce this further.

    Download a template for a Risk Assessment here

    In order to deliver any events or activity in the public realm you must have Public Liability Insurance covering you for a minimum of £5 million pounds.

    There are many places to buy this and Artists Newsletter or Axis provide good artist insurance policies as part of their membership schemes. It’s essential that you check this covers you for the type of activity you wish to carry out.

    When submitting your documents you will need to provide the certificate page that has your name printed on it. For more information about Artist Newsletter Public Liability Insurance click here.

    Photograph of the live performance for 'The Box' name launchMaps
    A site map is helpful to outline where any equipment will be set up such as staging or a sculpture. You can also use this to highlight the audience viewing area and the positioning of any stewards or volunteers. This doesn’t need to be complicated and can be created using a Google maps screenshot!

    If your project involves moving participants or audiences around the city it is essential that you include a route map clearly identifying any road crossing points. You should explain how this will be carried out safely in both your method statement and risk assessment. Your documents will also need to be sent to the Highways department for sign off so please allow extra time for this in your planning.

    3. Approval

    Once your submitted documents have been assessed by the relevant departments (this may be more than one if your activity is multi sited) and any further questions have been answered you will be granted permission in principle.

    You will be given final approval by email once all paperwork has been signed off and any required licenses have been sought.

    On the day of your event you will be responsible for running and managing your activity including the deinstallation and clean up. It’s essential that you provide contact details for the person who will be on site on the day in your Method Statement just in case there are any problems.

    4. Other things to consider

    Site Visit
    We would recommend visiting your proposed site before submitting an Expression of Interest. It is important to consider the requirements of your event; consider the site layout carefully as well as access to the site and facilities.

    Power Supply
    Many sites on the Hoe and in our green spaces do not have access to power. Some city centre sites do have power points and there is a fee to connect to them. Please highlight this requirement in your expression of interest and you will be advised further.

    Sites such as the city centre have strict vehicle movement policies within pedestrianised areas which specify when vehicles can be driven or moved. You will be advised of these rules when making your booking.

    If you need to drive a vehicle into the city centre to deliver your work or any equipment you must buy a vehicle permit in advance. Permits can be purchased online here. Please follow the link to ‘Apply for a Permit’ and select Pedestrian Zone (General). Vehicle permits cost £30 and last for 1 week.

    Photograph of Moshup the Giant from the 2016 Illuminate parade

    If your event includes licensable activity such as music or the sale of alcohol you may be required to apply for a Temporary Events Notice. Further information is available here.

    Private Land
    If your expression of interest request falls outside of Plymouth City Council land we will try our best to advise you of the private land owner contact details.

    Semi-Permanent Art Work
    These guidelines are primarily aimed at temporary public art events lasting from a few minutes to a few days. If your project is longer lasting, requires more structural elements or is taking place on a heritage site you may be required to obtain additional permissions such as Planning Permission or Listed Building Consent. Any projects in the public realm lasting over 28 days are subject to planning permission. Please contact the Public Art Officer for further details.

    Sending Documents
    It’s best practice to send all documents as Word or PDF files. Please do not send Google Docs files or links as unfortunately these cannot easily be opened or shared within Plymouth City Council.

    Plymouth Principles
    Please refer to the Plymouth Principles when planning your public art project. The principles aim to highlight and inspire the types of projects we are keen to see take place across the city’s public realm spaces. Find out more here.

    Further Information
    More details about holding events in the public realm are available here.