Image: Melissa Purnell

Image: Melissa Purnell

Are you an artist passionate about your work making a change in our environment?

Dunedin City Council with Letting Space are pleased to announce a new commission for artists resident in New Zealand. The commission is part of Te Ao Tūroa - Dunedin’s Environment Strategy, and delivered through Dunedin's Urban Dream Brokerage service.  Applications close midnight Sunday 27 August.

We are looking to support projects that will encourage Dunedin’s community to see the local environment and natural world in new ways through the innovative and participatory use of vacant retail space. They may also extend beyond these vacant spaces into public space and the environment.  Two commissions are available of $6,500 each to support projects costs. Projects may be of any duration but must be active for at least three weekends and have strong public impact.

Project submissions should be made using this online submission form here – but please read the following and prepare your application first.  For more information please contact Katrina Thomson

Ideally, Environment Envoy projects will:

  • encourage the community to think about the environment and productive landscapes in different ways.
  • strengthen collaboration between artists and the public, iwi, scientists, councils, business and community groups
  • engage the community to contribute to creative projects that provide educational opportunities for communities and support enhancing our environment.

Environment Envoy projects will need to respond to one of the following ambitions within Te Ao Tūroa – The Natural World - Dunedin's Environment Strategy

  • working with landowners to integrate biodiversity into productive environments (farming and agricultural lands)
  • boosting backyard biodiversity and urban biodiversity
  • increasing food resilience
  • enhancing urban ecosystem functions (e.g. storm water runoff regulation, providing food for pollinators)
  • ensuring Dunedinites are able to enjoy, connect to and celebrate the natural world

We are hoping to place projects before December 2017.  They will utilise vacant retail space in urban Dunedin city boundaries (including South Dunedin) but may also extend beyond these vacant spaces into public space and the environment.

Artists may be resident anywhere in New Zealand but must be able to demonstrate that they will be able to resource working on the ground in Dunedin to ensure dynamic public partnerships and local engagement. 

Urban Dream Brokerage welcome diverse and fresh approaches to transforming empty property.  Environment Envoy provides the link to engage with the natural environment, to focus on issues and solutions. We are not interested in providing exhibition space or replicating other existing uses of space, but rather exciting new concepts and installations from any discipline that actively involve the public in innovative new ways in relationship with the natural environment.  

For more information please contact Katrina Thomson

We will be hosting two drop in session with the team from Te Ao Tūroa at the Fringe Festival Hub (dates TBC).

Previous UDB projects including UDB GigCity Commissions may be viewed at


We are also looking for projects that:

  • Engage people in Dunedin City: Projects should be dynamic and open to the public, accessible and visible. They should increase a sense of community in the city and interact with the public in new ways. Think about how you can involve people.
  • Provide the unique and innovative: We are not interested in turning the city into another copy of itself, or one type of space or gallery. Think about how your project might operate differently to what is already in existence. Cross disciplinary projects and practice modes are welcome.
  • Being professional and having a clear idea: Demonstrate you are ready to look after a space responsibly. Looking after a space open to the public develops professional skills and business practice, but we need to have confidence you are ready. 
  • Pay attention to context: Projects should demonstrate an awareness of Dunedin’s natural environment, issues and history. Think about where it might best be located and interaction with its topic or theme. We are particularly interested in projects that create engagement with vacant space within Dunedin’s central city areas and South Dunedin. We are also interested in collaboration between artists and the public, iwi, scientists, councils, business and community groups.
  • Mana Whenua: UDB is committed to ensuring more recognition of and stronger community partnerships with Mana Whenua [local hapū and iwi]. Consider what consultation or elements might meet this aim, and where appropriate describe ways your project connects with this endeavour. If none, please explain why.
  • Representation: UDB is also committed to ensuring the city better reflects the diversity of its people. Consider how your project represents Dunedin's cultural diversity.
  • Existing Relocating Projects: Projects that involve relocating from an existing rented space in Dunedin city are not eligible. We do not want to undermine existing businesses and tenancies. We prioritise new projects and initiatives. 
  • Student work that is under assessment is not eligible for the UDB unless previously arranged with the academic institution.


Urban Dream Brokerage helps find a space for approved projects and negotiates their use, we organise a license (see below) and cover public liability insurance. We can also help co-ordinate a tailored media campaign. We do not produce your project for you.

The Application Process

  1. Criteria: Individuals or organisations must be satisfied they meet the criteria for application.  Any questions please do check in with Environment Envoy Broker Katrina Thomson or
  2. Submission: Applicants fill out a submission form available online here. Applicants can contact Katrina Thomson or with queries.
  3. Assessment: The applications are assessed by the UBD Dunedin advisory panel with the addition of two representatives from Te Ao Tūroa Partnership. The proposal must meet with majority approval responding to the UDB criteria and also responding to one or more of the Te Ao Tūroa ambitions.  The panel may ask for further information for clarity.  A decision is made and the applicants are informed in writing.
  4. Decision making: UBD then meet with applicants to vet their application and discuss potential spaces.
  5. Location: If UDB think a project is suitable for a space that is available we meet with the applicant to discuss the project in more detail. Applicants are encouraged to identify spaces they think are suitable, and UDB will proceed to locate property options and commence negotiations.
  6. Licensing: Once a site for a project is located UDB issues the licenses and arranges for public liability insurance cover (a key part of the brokerage's services to applicants). UDB assists applicants to obtain power and other utilities (we can help with set-up but the cost of power and utilities is at the licensee's cost).
  7. Funding: Successful projects are granted $6500 (GST not payable) provided on confirmation of the award.
  8. Monitoring: UDB monitors the progress, and reports back to both property owners and the funding partner Te Ao Tūroa. UDB will feature applicants' projects on our website, through our newsletter to our database and through social media. DCC will feature applicants' projects on our website, through Ara Toi and Te Ao Tūroa communications and through DCC social media.  Projects that aren't temporary should plan on operating on a rolling 30 day period of use.