Beakerhead Big Bang:
Public Art Proposal and Residency


BASS Ship by Beama, 2016 Big Bang Residency winning team. Photo Steve Seeley

The 2017 Big Bang Application process is now closed. Watch for the winner’s concept come to life at Beakerhead in Calgary, September 19 to 23, 2018.


Artists, designers, architects, scientists, engineers, and other creative professionals are invited to submit proposals to create an interactive public art work that references science, technology and collective experience. The successful project will be built over the course of a year in Calgary, beginning with a planning and incubation residency hosted at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. The work will premiere in September 2018 at Beakerhead in Calgary, Canada.


The winning team will spend one week in residence at Banff Centre, for an incubation residency in the exclusive Leighton Artists’s Colony. A production budget for fabrication and building of the project is provided by Beakerhead. The project will be built in Calgary by the successful team. The artwork will be open to the public for the duration of the Beakerhead 2018 event only, and should be considered for its touring potential.


This is an open call to artists, engineers, architects, designers, scientists and other public art professionals. Successful teams must have a connection to Calgary where the building of the work will take place and premiere, and plan to be based in the city during key production and launch periods (accommodation in Calgary and travel is not provided). Individuals may apply, and teams need not be complete at the time of application. The team can be assembled with assistance from Banff Centre and Beakerhead to ensure that the collaboration of artists and engineers will result in a project that is achievable.

Suggested team composition:

  • One individual who has received specialized art training from a recognizing art institution, and has developed and exhibited a body of work;
  • One individual who has received specialized engineering training from an accredited engineering institution;
  • One individual with specialized training in architecture, landscape architecture, public art, or urban design;
  • Other members of the team should bring additional art and design skills, technical skills and project management skills. They may include emerging and professional roles.

This program is funded by the Remarkable Experience Accelerator, a joint initiative of Calgary Arts Development and the Calgary Hotel Association, and delivered in partnership with Banff Centre.



October 4, 2017: deadline for submissions

November 1, 2017: announcement of successful proposal

December 6, 2017*: presentation of team to Beakerhead partners meeting

December 11-15, 2017*: residency at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

January 18, 2018: concept unveiled to public and build volunteers engaged

February – August 2018: build period in Calgary

September 19-23, 2018: international premiere at Beakerhead in Calgary

*dates negotiable/subject to change



*Stipend awarded to each team member

Application fee: $60

The winning team will be provided with a one week (5 days, 5 nights) incubation and planning residency at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity for up to 5 individuals. The residency includes tuition, accommodation and meal plan, and shared meeting space. Travel to and from the residency will not be provided and is the responsibility of the participants.

*Stipend provided by Beakerhead is $5,000 per team member for up to five members, to a total of $25,000.


A group leader must complete a single application and upload supporting materials on behalf of the whole group. Visual support materials should be provided for the collective, individual resumes and bios should be provided for each member.


Name of project and team members: Name of project lead and contact information of all confirmed team members. Ideally teams are as fully formed as possible, however if a team member is yet to be identified please specify the role that needs to be filled. If applying as an individual, please specify the additional roles and skills required to complete this project.

Team Biographies: Provide a 100-word biography of all confirmed team members. These may be used as narrative for administrative and public use.

Resume: A one-page resume or C.V. describing academic, professional, and other relevant experience for each confirmed team member

Detailed project proposal, timeline and budget:

In one PDF document please include:

  • a 250 word brief description of the project including creative rationale;
  • a detailed preliminary project plan including; project dimensions, materials used, site studies, sketches, and renderings of the installation in daytime and nighttime (no more than 6 pages, maximum page size 11×17);
  • a brief description of the building and technical processes required;
  • an estimated timeline for project completion; and
  • a projected budget (maximum project allocation is $24,000 provided by Beakerhead)

For more information about application and eligibility requirements, please visit the FAQ page.


Participants are selected by impartial adjudicators on the basis of their submitted material. Preference will be given to projects that consider:

  • delightful and thought-provoking experiences at the crossroads of art and engineering
  • use of public space
  • assembly, strike and touring ability
  • engagement of a large volume of viewers
  • durability for multiple days of high volume public interaction

All proposals that meet the program criteria will be adjudicated by a jury of up to eight people for review. Each jury member will rank proposal based on artistic merit and the ability of the artwork to engage the public.

Note: All programs, faculty, dates, fees, and offers of financial assistance are subject to change. Program fee is subject to applicable taxes. Non-refundable fees and deposits will be retained upon cancellation. Any other fees are refunded at the discretion of the Banff Centre. The application deadline is 11:59 p.m. Mountain Standard Time.

Calgary Municipal Space Station by Humble Wonder, 2017 Big Bang Residency winning team. Photo by Trevor Lalonde.