Through a sponsorship agreement which donated staff time and the supply of materials equivalent to more than £31,000.  The works were carried out through sub-contractor, Duco UK Ltd which included the installation of new partitions and pattressing to support exhibition artworks, as well as new flooring and decoration.

The five-week fast track project to reconfigure almost 11,000 sq ft of space on the 7th floor of the George Wallis building, created a variety of new installation spaces to exhibit the work of selected artists for the UK’s biggest touring exhibition of contemporary art, British Art Show 9 (BAS9) which is on until 10 April 2022.

The project was marked by challenges brought on by the Covid-19 variant, Omicron, and a short lead in time. Duco UK Ltd erected a kilometre of metal section, containing 20,000 screws and more than 17,000 sq ft of boarding, in just five days.  

Phil Crowther, Regional Director at Willmott Dixon Interiors, said:

“Hosting such a prestigious exhibition is a huge coup for the Wolverhampton School of Art and for the city as a whole. It’s also incredibly important that BAS9 will feature works on the British Black Arts movement by artists that have studied at the University.

“Duco UK Ltd has done such a fantastic job in preparing the space for the exhibition. The team has supported Willmott Dixon Interiors in delivering several high quality refurbishment and fit out projects and are a highly valued member of our supply chain."

BAS9 is recognised as the most important and ambitious recurrent exhibition of contemporary art produced in the UK. Taking place every five years it brings the work of artists defining new directions in contemporary art to four UK cities.  

The exhibition includes film, photography, painting, sculpture, and performance, as well as multimedia projects on topics as diverse as identity, memory and community art practice. This is the first time Wolverhampton has been chosen to host the show, and is currently being exhibited across two venues: Wolverhampton Art Gallery and the University of Wolverhampton School of Art.

Craig Desmond, Director at Duco UK Ltd, said:

“The success of this project was down to great project management. All stakeholders were willing to go the extra mile to ensure that the vision was realised, on time and to the agreed cost plan. 

“We were faced with just five weeks to get the build scope agreed and completed, but by engaging with the university’s Faculty and Estates Management team in an open and collaborative way, we were able to get started within a week. When the right people are brought together with the correct tools and techniques, any constraints can be managed.” 

Maggie Ayliffe, Head of the University’s School of Art, said:

“Because of the impact of Covid-19 and the uncertainty surrounding revised dates for BAS9, there were significant time constraints associated with revamping the School of Art studio space to create bespoke exhibition areas for selected artworks. 

“The team at Duco UK Ltd delivered a very professional job in record time, working with all of the partners at Southbank Centre and Hayward Gallery Touring alongside our Estates and Facilities team to ensure that the installation of the exhibition went smoothly. 

“It was an amazing team achievement and the newly created exhibition space will benefit new and existing students in the School of Art once BAS9 has finished, leaving a very important legacy in terms of supporting creative industries in the region.” 

Find out more about the British Art Show 9 here: https://britishartshow9.co.uk/ 

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