Active Project / Action

Keyhole Wires: New public artwork for HS1 in the iconic St Pancras International, London

Client:  HS1, St Pancras International Station

Hybrid was commissioned to help HS1 realise a new public art project in St Pancras International Station.


The commission relocates the existing public art programme (featuring artists such as Tracy Emin and Conrad Shawcross) from the iconic train shed roof to the new extension called The Keyhole due to its design.

HS1 wanted to work with artists who were less well known to the wider public – providing an opportunity for artists under-represented in mainstream visual arts. Commissioning Hybrid, a consultancy with a history of working with under-represented artists was therefore appropriate.

Wendy Spinks, Commercial Director at HS1, said ‘We are excited to add the brand-new Keyhole Wires art installation to our host of arts and cultural experiences on offer at St Pancras International.

As we prepare to launch this new initiative, which follows iconic installations from some of the country’s most prestigious artists, we look forward to offering a new wave of talented artists the opportunity to showcase their work at a world-class destination, where many visitors will be able to enjoy it on a daily basis.”

The commission, called Keyhole Wires, was to offer a platform, a step up, or a sideways move, for the artists, in profile, scale and ambition.

The selected artist will be announced in January 2021, with the commission installed in Spring 2022.

Director of Hybrid, Samina Zahir, outlines “we use bespoke creative engagement to understand people’s needs, we believe that art can remove barriers and encourage people to talk, listen, share and learn.

In 2017, Charlie and Samina (Hybrid) worked together to develop Camden’s London Borough of Culture bid, achieving the largest Cultural Impact Award for the borough. Discovering a shared ethos it felt right to continue to work together to deliver the commission for HS1.

Charlie Levine is an independent curator working across the UK and internationally. She is interested in in/visible networks, working with feminist histories, creating and bringing together communities, and working site responsively.

Of the partnership, Zahir commented “We loved that Charlie proactively celebrates artists, she creates opportunities for those crucial tipping point moments that can shape careers, so she is the perfect fit for us working with HS1”.

Hybrid and Levine invited artists directly to submit proposals. They also partnered with arts organisations served by routes from St Pancras Station, namely QUAD in Derby and New Art Exchange (NAE) in Nottingham, to ensure that the artists being approached were representative, diverse and ready for a career step change.

From a long list, discussions between HS1, Hybrid and Levine, in February 2020, resulted in a unanimous short list.

We are thrilled to announce the six shortlisted artists for this new public art commission. They are Rachael Champion, Shezad Dawood, Yinka Ilori, Janetka Platun, Dan Rawlings, and Melanie Tomlinson. Each works completely differently and have approached the project in unique ways.” said Levine, Curator

The final decision was due to have been made in March 2020 but was impacted by Covid 19. “We can’t wait to bring these proposals to the decision panel next year and select the artwork for installation in 2022” said Levine

In January 2021, the six shortlisted artists will be going to a decision panel made up of HS1, Hybrid, Levine, Stephen Beddoe, Director of External Relations, Central St Martins, Louise Fedotov-Clements, Artistic Director – QUAD & Director – FORMAT International Photography Festival and Cliff Lawson, Senior Curator, Hayward Gallery.


Rachael Champion

Shezad Dawood

Yinka Ilori

Janetka Platun

Dan Rawlings

Melanie Tomlinson

From top left clockwise: Rachael Champion_Forced Landscape_Glass mosaic tiles over plywood and timber, concrete_National Stone Centre, Derbyshire, UK_2013 - Rachael Champion; 20.01.20 - Encroachments - Shezad Dawood. New Art Exchange, photography by Reece Straw; A Large Chair Does Not Make A king an installation for the Africa Centre shot by Andrew Meredith-0023263; Melanie Tomlinson_A Place with No Name_Hand printed, mixed media_Living Memory commission_2020 - Melanie Tomlinson; dan_rawlings-nature_delivers-scrapvehicle-Stroud-2018 - Dan Rawlings; Janetka Platun_Not Hat Is This_ Sculpture and film_Ynyslas Beach and Ceredigion Museum_2013 - janetka platun

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