Commissioning Work – An Interview with Liz Moran

Liz Moran, director of Gulbenkian explains how commissioning works.

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You’ve seen it written at the bottom of flyers, posters, programmes and the like – ‘This piece has been commissioned by….’ Ever wondered what exactly that means? We have, so we spoke to Liz Moran, director of Gulbenkian, about pieces she has commissioned and how the process works.

We asked Liz a few questions, and you can check out her answers below.


  1. What exactly does it mean when you commission work?
    For me it means working with an artist or company to create something that we are passionate about and might not be created otherwise.


  1. Do you approach the companies, or do they approach you with ideas?
    Both really, we are fortunate in that we have relationships with some incredible artists and most often we start to have a conversation and it all starts from there.  One example is our recent commission of Pinocchio by Jasmin Vardimon Company. Jasmin had not created work for families before, her work is so imaginative and innovative we knew that she would create something very special for our bOing! Festival which she did.


  1. How involved do you get with the development process after a piece has been commissioned?
    We like to be involved in the creative process attending rehearsals and previews.


  1. How are co-commissions different?
    Co-commissions are usually shared with another or several commissioners. An example was when we co-commissioned Fragile, with Motionhouse – a major outdoor dance piece involving 3 JCB’s and 20 dancers. This was in  partnership with Conflux in Glasgow. More than one partners helps to share costs and builds creative relationships.


  1. What is your favourite piece that you’ve ever commissioned?
    I honestly don’t have one as each one is different and each company or artist we choose to commission is incredible in their own unique way!