Sunday 16th June 2019 (preceded by community engagement and parade workshops)

This is an exciting opportunity for an artist or arts organisation to work with Holmfirth Arts Festival and Holme Valley Communities, to make something truly special to add to this year’s Holmfirth Arts Festival.


Commission Details


Thanks to our partnership with Kirklees Council’s inaugural Textile Festival - Woven -   Holmfirth Arts Festival are looking to commission an artist or arts company to create a colourful, spectacular textile banner parade.  The parade will use textiles in all their forms to explore the theme of Generations of Innovation within Holmfirth Arts Festival’s wider outdoor arts programme theme of Diverse Landscapes with people of all ages, abilities and cultures in the Holme Valley. The parade will be co-created with the community and provide opportunities for people to come together with their neighbours, experience something jointly, make new friends and celebrate Kirklees heritage and innovation in textile production.  


We are interested in work that:

  • Uses the medium of textiles to interpret the stories, people and places of Holme Valley – past, present or future in imaginative, visual and immediately recognizable ways.

  • Uses textiles in all their forms – for example fabric, knitting, weaving and innovative textiles being produced by the University and/or in industry.

  • Engages with the textile industry in the Holme Valley and wider Kirklees area.  Bower Roebuck Manufacturers of fine woolens in New Mill are a Festival sponsor.

  • Is co-created with Holme Valley communities through a programme of engagement with a range of community groups, potentially including schools, youth and community groups, older people, people with disabilities and socially/rurally isolated people. We expect that the artist/company will assist in seeking out and contacting groups that the Festival have not previously worked with.

  • Engages around 200 people in the presentation of the Parade (Workshops could engage more people than this).

  • Enables interaction between Festival audiences and the parade, generating a feeling of joy from experiencing something together.

  • Is suitable for a diverse audience being sensitive to, and reflecting, the different cultures of our area.


Holmfirth Arts Festival would like to work with the successful artist or organisations collaboratively to:

  • Celebrate Kirklees’ textile heritage and innovation.

  • Motivate local people to be part of the parade in the run-up and on the day to improve local involvement in the event.

  • Provide incentives for local people to engage in other elements of the Holmfirth Arts Festival programme.

  • Bring a high level of skill and experience to the Festival, by producing high quality arts experiences for audiences and participants.

  • Provide a “wow factor” for the event, helping to provide lasting memories for people in the Holme Valley.

Background Information


This commission opportunity is a partnership between the Woven Textile Festival funded by Kirklees Council and Holmfirth Arts Festival.


Kirklees Textiles


Kirklees has the combination of location, skills and heritage which is still equated world-wide with the production of fine fabrics. Soft Yorkshire Pennine water has been one of the secret ingredients for the centuries old excellence in production of beautiful cloth. Expertise has been handed down through generations. The craft skills are still very much in demand in a specialist growing industry


In the early fourteenth century King Edward III encouraged the immigration of Flemish master weavers to encourage woolen cloth manufacture. The skills these economic migrants brought with them allowed a major export industry to be created by the end of the fifteenth century.


In the sixteenth century the skills pool was further enriched by Huguenot weavers, asylum seekers fleeing religious persecution in France, allowing the industry to expand ever more quickly.


During the Industrial Revolution of 1750 to 1850 a tidal wave of scientific and technological innovation combined with the high existing levels of materials knowledge. Driven by cheap, abundant energy, first from the rivers of the Pennines and later the Yorkshire coalfields, the industry exploded.


At its height Yorkshire was the world's leading manufacturer of woolen and worsted textiles. This was not only because of the sheer volume it produced, but also because of the rich diversity of its designs and cloths and their quality.


The production value of UK fashion and textiles manufacturing in 2016 was £9.1 billion with the industry directly employing 90,000 people including 8,100 in West Yorkshire, home to the largest spinning and weaving sectors, with a production value of £728m. Economic modelling suggests the industry will add a further 10,000 new jobs, and contribute £500m more to the UK’s economy each year by 2020. High value textiles and nonwovens production contributes to the value chains of several other industries including aerospace, automotive, life-sciences, digital and creative industries. Design and innovation are central to the success of the sector.  Textile innovation in the UK was ranked at No. 3 in the world and No. 1 in Europe in terms of patents between 2000 and 2015.


In Kirklees, 2,900 people are employed in spinning and weaving, 1,500 in home furnishings, 800 in dyeing and finishing, 900 in carpets, rugs, cords and ropes and 400 in technical and industrial industries.


Holmfirth & the Holme Valley


The Holme Valley is a rural area named from the River Holme that runs through the parish. It borders Huddersfield, Wakefield, Barnsley and Glossop. Its administrative centre is the town of Holmfirth with other sizeable settlements including Meltham, Brockholes, Honley and New Mill.


The town originally grew up around a corn mill and bridge in the 13th century. Three hundred years later Holmfirth expanded rapidly as the growing cloth trade grew and the production of stone and slates from the surrounding quarries increased.


Holmfirth has a rich cultural heritage:

- It was the setting for the BBC's long-running comedy Last of the Summer Wine with thousands of tourists flocking to the area each year to enjoy scenery and locations familiar from the series.

- Filming of the TV Slaithwaite-based drama, Where the Heart Is, has also taken place in and around the area.

-  It was the home of Bamforth & Co Ltd, who were early pioneers of film-making (described by the British Film Institute as 'a modest but historically significant collection of film), before they abandoned the business in favour of making their famous cheeky seaside postcards.  Around the time of the First World War, they produced postcards for families and soldiers.

-  The Overend family from Holmfirth were circus entertainers and toured South Africa in 1939. During their tour they were offered two newly born tiger cubs to rear and although one of them soon died, they successfully reared the remaining one, Fenella. At the outbreak of World War II, they brought her back with them to live in Holmfirth. After a spell in quarantine, Fenella lived with the family who took her on long walks around Holmfirth.


Notable people:

-  Harold Beaumont (14 October 1916 – 15 November 2003) was an English first-class cricketer, born in Thongsbridge

-  Squadron Leader John Stanley Booth DFC* (9 December 1919 – 5 June 1958) was an English aviator, a pilot in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War

- Roy Castle OBE (31 August 1932– 2 September 1994 was an English dancer, singer, comedian, actor, television presenter and musician, born in Scholes

- Joe Irving (born 8 June 1998 in Holmfirth is a British motorcycle racer.

- Wilfred Lanceley Heywood (11 September 1900 – 8 October 1977) was a British trade unionist.

Born in Wooldale, near Holmfirth in Yorkshire, Heywood become active in the National Union of Textile Workers; he was elected to its executive in 1930.

- Cricketers Frederick "Freddie" Jakeman (10 January 1920 – 17 May 1986); Jesse Littlewood (8 April 1878 — 27 October 1942), Nick Taylor, Bob Platt, Dennis Schofield, and Andrew Fox (born 7 November 1962)

- Peter Jason Maguire (born 11 September 1969) is a former professional footballer

- Frances Newstead (born 7 May 1973) is an English road and track cyclist from Holmfirth

- Trevor Stubley RP RBA RSW RWS (27 March 1932 – 8 January 2010) was a Yorkshire portrait and landscape painter, and illustrator. From 1994 to 1999, Stubley served as Vice President of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters,[3] and was made an honorary member of the society in 2003.[1] He died in Holmfirth, aged 77.

- Harold Wagstaff (9 May 1891 – 19 July 1939) was an English rugby league footballer 

- Joseph Woodhead (1824 - 21 May 1913) was an English newspaper proprietor and editor and a Liberal Party politician. Woodhead was the youngest son of Godfrey Woodhead, a currier and leather merchant of Holmfirth.


Holmfirth Arts Festival


Holmfirth Arts & Music Ltd formed in 2007 with the aim of supporting and encouraging the development of art and music in Holmfirth and the Holme Valley. It is a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity.


Its major project is the annual Holmfirth Arts Festival - one of Yorkshire's best small Festivals.


Holmfirth Arts Festival celebrates creativity in the landscape by:


- Commissioning new work and supporting artists

- Inspiring diverse communities to engage with the arts and their heritage

- Caring for the environment

- Connecting locally, regionally and internationally


Holmfirth Arts Festival is preceded by an extensive community engagement programme and a series of bi-monthly events in venues across the Holme Valley throughout the year.

More information can be found here


Woven Textile Festival


By focusing on textiles with our local, national and international partners, Kirklees Council with partners, are building on our strengths as innovators in the textile industry and creativity to deliver a pilot festival that celebrates who we are as a rich and diverse textile district.  Kirklees textiles is leading the way in innovation, sustainability and creativity and we need to tell this story.


The first year pilot will take place from 8th – 16th June 2019, and will kick start our ambitions, through trailing a new way of working in festival delivery. The activity will also develop a new model that is able to successfully deliver the biennial festival in years to come, embedding the activity across cultural, education and industry sectors alike. It will become a key time of the year to showcase everything Kirklees has to offer. This commission will bring in much needed capacity to develop new skills and forge foundations for future sustainability



£10,000 inclusive of VAT


This must include all artistic, community engagement, research and development, project management and production costs.  Road closures, traffic management and event planning will be arranged by the Festival.


Some things to consider:

  • We would expect that artists conduct their own community engagement to attract participants to the parade workshops and that this is factored into the budget, however Holmfirth Arts Festival will support the artists to find venues, groups and participants.

  • Holmfirth Arts is a managed by a small team of freelance staff – Bev Adams, Festival Director; Alison Povey, Festival Manager and Alison Bellamy, PR & Marketing Manager who report to volunteer-run Board of Trustees and manage an enthusiastic and skilled team of Festival Supporters.

  • The parade will also include HD9 Youth Brass Band and other musicians, with the possibility of walkabout (outdoor arts) performers arranged by the Festival at our expense.

  • The parade route, yet to be confirmed, is likely to take around half an hour from start to finish with a gathering ‘finale’ to round off the event.

  • There is a small budget for venue hire, should the artists wish to run drop in workshops in a town centre space in addition to outreach workshops in the community.

  • Storage and rigging space is limited in Holmfirth and needs to be factored in to the proposal. If time is needed to rig equipment etc, or storage needed for parade items, this needs to be factored into your plan, including any storage/room/vehicle hire costs, permissions or licences needed.  Holmfirth Arts Festival will be available to provide contacts and advice.


Skills and Experience

We are looking to work with artists or arts organisations with a strong track record of working with textiles and delivering community co-created parades that draw on local stories and themes for inspiration.  The team that we commission will evidence skills and experience in:

  • Working with diverse communities, including leading creative engagement workshops.

  • Managing medium-scale projects within timescales and within budget.

  • Working in the community, outdoors and in public spaces.

  • The ability to understand, appreciate and interpret the theme and the characteristics of the local area.

  • Work collaboratively with a variety of stakeholders including businesses, volunteers and local people to create great art.



Deadline for expression of interest: Monday 8th April, 9am

Interviews: Monday 15th April (Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, venue TBA)

Contracting, Community Engagement, Research & Development: April-May 2019

Parade Workshops: May – June 2019

Event Date: Sunday 16th June 2019


How to Apply:

To express an interest, please complete the following:

  • An Outline Approach- (no more than 2 sides of A4) detailing: core team members, draft budget and indicative project plan.

  • Examples of your previous relevant experience and any accompanying images or videos (no more than 1 side of A4).

  • Details of two previous clients we could contract for reference.


The deadline for expressions of interest is Monday 8th April at 9am.


Please label your applications with your name/organisation name and Textile Festival Parade to Bev Adams, Festival Director, Holmfirth Arts Festival,

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