Press Release: AK Dolven appointed as artist for North West Cambridge local centre commission

4 October 2013 By
Photo: studioakdolven

For immediate release, 4.10.13

The University of Cambridge has commissioned the Norwegian artist, AK Dolven, to create a permanent public artwork for the new local centre at North West Cambridge. The local centre commission is part of the University’s Public Art Strategy for North West Cambridge which has been developed by the Contemporary Art Society and InSite Arts.

Situated in the heart of the 150-hectare development, AK’s commission provides the opportunity for a focal artwork or series of artworks that will contribute to creating an identity for the University’s urban extension to Cambridge. The mixed-use development will combine residential housing, academic and research facilities, the local centre and public amenities as well as site infrastructure and open green space for all to enjoy.

Working in conjunction with the North West Cambridge public realm architects, engineers and masterplan designers, AK will research and respond to the site’s past and future plans to develop a holistic and organic artwork that is fully grounded in the sense of place. The local centre will be delivered as part of Phase One of the development and it will include a range of social facilities and public amenities to ensure the needs of the community will be met from the outset. The community centre, nursery, primary school, supermarket and shops will all contribute to the creation of a natural hub for activity and community cohesion, enhanced by the artwork.

Fabienne Nicholas, Head of Consultancy at the Contemporary Art Society, said: “AK’s previous and celebrated works in public spaces consistently demonstrate an essential humanity that is underpinned by a deeply considered response to the social and physical context. Sited at the heart of this new community for North West Cambridge, her commission will undoubtably become a focal point for people. Contemporary Art Society Consultancy is delighted to be working with AK on this ambitious project.”

AK Dolven said: “I visited a huge empty site. There was an archaeological dig taking place and I found myself with my feet on stones from Roman times. Looking up into the sky I was amazed by what would be here in the future, between my feet and the sky. A town full of life: people, research and ideas for the future.This project seemed such an exciting challenge for me as an artist and immediately triggered ideas. I’m honoured to be appointed.”

For all press enquiries contact:
Jenny Prytherch, Communications Manager
T. +44 (0)20 7017 8412



1. About Contemporary Art Society

The Contemporary Art Society is a national charity that encourages an appreciation and understanding of contemporary art in the UK. With the help of our members and supporters we raise funds to purchase works by new artists which we give to museums and public galleries where they are enjoyed by a national audience; we broker significant and rare works of art by important artists of the twentieth century for public collections through our networks of patrons and private collectors; we establish relationships to commission artworks and promote contemporary art in public spaces; and we devise programmes of displays, artist talks and educational events. Since 1910 we have donated over 8,000 works to museums and public galleries – from Bacon, Freud, Hepworth and Moore in their day through to the influential artists of our own times – championing new talent, supporting curators, and encouraging philanthropy and collecting in the UK.

Forthcoming displays at Contemporary Art Society:

*Tip of the Iceberg: Art From Up North (4 Oct – 3 Jan)

*The Eric & Jean Cass Gift (16 Oct – 22 Nov)

*Laure Prouvost (4 Dec – 17 Jan), Artist Talk 12 Dec

*Simon Fujiwara (29 Jan – 28 Feb)

*PRESS BRIEFING (29 Jan, 9am – 10am)
An exclusive press preview of our Simon Fujiwara display and an opportunity to find out about our displays and initiatives from February 2014. We will be joined by Simon Fujiwara as well as new Contemporary Art Society Director Caroline Douglas.

2. About Contemporary Art Society Consultancy

The Contemporary Art Society’s Consultancy team offers independent and expert advice on public art commissioning and cultural strategy and develop outstanding contemporary art collections for companies and private individuals.

With over 30 years of experience in commissioning, curating and project management, our skill is in understanding each client’s needs and creating visionary linkages to the best in contemporary art.  We advise on corporate and private collections internationally and our recent public art projects include major commissions for the Olympic Park, public art strategies for Camden Town, the University of Cambridge and the Waterways Trust.

3. About InSite Arts

InSite Arts is an independent art consultancy commissioning unique site specific and site responsive art works. Our work has been founded on our constant desire and commitment to understanding the impact that the arts can have on people’s everyday lives. InSite Arts work in partnership with our clients, design and delivery teams and key stakeholders to generate and deliver innovative and relevant public art and arts initiatives in diversity of scales and in a wide variety of media.

Artworks we have commissioned range from temporary events, to permanent installations, from the more intimately scaled art projects through to major landmark installations integrated into the public realm and architecture projects.

At the heart of our work is our endless commitment to commissioning artwork which will inspire and become a fundamental part of a successful building, scheme or development; which has drawn inspiration from a thorough understanding location, the potential ‘audience’, history and aspirations.

2. About North West Cambridge

The North West Cambridge development is the most significant capital project that the University of Cambridge has undertaken in its 800-year history. Outline planning permission was granted in February 2013 for the scheme, subject to approval of site-wide legal conditions and Reserved Matters Applications, on the 150-hectare site of University farmland situated in between Huntingdon Road, Madingley Road and the M11.

The masterplan includes 3,000 homes (50% ‘key-worker’ housing, available for qualifying University and Colleges employees), 2,000 student spaces, 100,000 sqm of research space, a local centre and community facilities including a primary school, nursery, doctors’ surgery, supermarket and retail units, as well as all of the site-infrastructure and landscaping for the scheme. The development has been designed as an extension to the city, with an urban rather than suburban grain and will be of the highest design quality as well as being an exemplar of sustainable living.

3. About AK Dolven

AK is one of Norway’s best-known artists. She has lived all over Europe and now divides her time between London and the Lofoten islands in the north of Norway. Her practice explores communities and their landscapes, often highlighting the relationship between individuals, society and the natural world. Using a diverse range of media, her work is always sensitive to its environment and is often unexpectedly moving; it combines deceptively simple elements to create a response with specific local meaning, whilst maintaining a strikingly universal resonance.  Her site-specific and publicly engaging artwork is present at Folkestone Seafront where a 16th century tenor bell is suspended at height from a steel cable which visitors may ring using a traditional rope bell-pull.