In 2022, Islington Heritage Service partnered with the London Irish Centre to create the first Islington Irish Month. This month-long programme of heritage activities included schools workshops, trad music sessions, heritage walks, a charity céilí and open air concert in Navigator Square, Archway. The month celebrated the impact the Irish community has had on the London Borough of Islington and beyond. The month coincided with the appointment of the first Irish-born Mayor of Islington, Cllr Troy Gallagher.
Navigator Square in Archway (located on the border of Junction and Hillrise wards) is an area of significant Irish heritage. Navigator Square (known as Archway Close until 2018) is named after the predominantly Irish builders, known as ‘navvies.’ St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, the Whittington Hospital and several contemporary and historical pubs also have connections to the Irish community. In 2022, this area of Islington was marked with a free Family Day with music and performers, part of the first Islington Irish Month.
According to most recent census data, Islington has one of the highest levels of people who identify as Irish, along with Camden and Brent. In the years following the Brexit Referendum, applications for Irish passports have surged. From 2016-2018, the Irish Embassy in London issued 176,000 passports, and the 2018 record was broken once again in 2019. Many people in Islington now identify as second or third generation Irish, and the surge in passport applications reflects an acknowledgement of this generational trend.
The Archway Mosaic is a legacy project of Islington Irish Month, to be completed and installed at Navigator Square in March 2023.
Islington Heritage Service undertakes community development projects to support the lives of residents, creating opportunities for inclusion and development, while improving wellbeing and reducing social isolation. We work with demographics such as families and under-5s, young people, over-55s as well as the general community in Islington.
The Heritage Team are working with colleagues in Local Economy to produce this mosaic. The artwork is part of the wider community development plan of Archway’s local economy. The aims include promoting Archway as a desirable place to visit; to support the local economy and increase footfall; to provide a sense of placemaking, and for residents to feel that their heritage is recognised and celebrated.
Community Engagement – Mosaic Artist
We wish to engage a local mosaic artist to work with the 4 schools in the area to create a work of public art, a mural depicting the legacy of the Irish community in Islington.
The completed artwork will be installed on a wall at Navigator Square, which has been earmarked for the mosaic. The wall has 14m of space available, but the mosaic does not need to be this size. The mosaic could consist of 4 boards, representing the work or influence of each school, as well as work from the artist. For example, these could be 1.5m x 1m and spread out. The colourful mosaic will serve as a tribute to the Irish community in Islington. The mosaic will also include aspect of wayfinding for residents and those visiting Archway, to direct them to key locations such as Archway Station, Whittington Hospital and Archway Library.
Prior to the creation of the artwork, the artist will undertake art workshops at 4 local schools in the area and the outcomes of those workshops will help inspire the creation of a work of public art. The art will draw on the Irish heritage of Archway and Islington, exploring both traditional and contemporary depictions of Irish culture and the legacy of that community in Islington.
The artist will be paid a set fee of £5,000 for the creation of the mosaic and £200 per session in each school (12 sessions, 3 at each school, a combined total of £2,400).
As part of the agreement, the artist will:
- Receive the costs of materials used to create the main artwork
- Receive appropriate guidance to effectively lead activities with school groups
- Lead approximately 12 workshops at 4 schools
- Explore the history of the Irish community in Islington and undertake appropriate research for inspiration
The artist will work closely with Islington Heritage Service, with support from the Heritage Learning Manager as needed.
- We seek an artist with experience in creating mosaics who is experienced in leading workshops and educational activities. The successful candidate will gain support and guidance in the methodologies, but it is essential that candidates have some experience in leading workshops/classes
- It is desirable that candidates with a connection to Archway and/or Islington apply
We look forward to receiving applications from candidates who feel they fit the requirements, and encourage candidates from diverse backgrounds (race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality, class background) to apply.
Applicants should send the following:
(a) An up-to-date CV (b) a project proposal and (c) select examples of previous work to email@example.com
In your proposal, please include the following:
- Details of your previous experience with mosaics and examples
- Demonstrate your understanding of Irish heritage in Islington and/or London
- An outline of a proposed workshop suitable for primary school aged children
Applications close at midnight on Sunday 31 July. Interviews will take place during the week commencing Monday 15 August. The duration of the appointment will run from September 2023 to March 2023.
For more information on the project, please contact:
Seán McGovern, Heritage Project Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org