Artists Taking the Lead was one of the major projects of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad and was developed by Arts Council England in partnership with London 2012 and the arts councils of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Twelve commissions of up to £500,000 will be awarded to create 12 new works of art across the country; one in each of the nine English regions, and in the nations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
My proposal was shortlisted for the West Midlands region and proposed the building of a large grass-covered hill in the centre of Birmingham and programme it with an eclectic set of artist-led events/happenings/artworks/mini festivals/ educational projects running to the end of the Olympics in June 2012.
The hill is a new landmark for the region, dramatically changing the topography of the city terrain. Being on it gives a sense of ascent above your normal daily life and an experience of the city from a different perspective. The hill is a direct response to the growing need to bring green spaces into our cities, and prioritize ‘people spaces’ over ‘commercial spaces’.