Full rebuild of the portfolio website for Artangel, producers of art in unusual locations for over 25 years.


Producer, client side

Rachel Whiteread, House (1993). Produced by Artangel. Photograph: John Davies

Rachel Whiteread, House (1993). Produced by Artangel. Photograph: John Davies

In 2016, Artangel launched a brand new website profiling over 25 years of public art projects in unusual places.

Working for Artangel directly as a producer, I managed the process of replacing their portfolio website which had served them since 2010 and was no longer fit for purpose. After writing a justification of replacing the existing site, identifying issues such as lack of mobile compatibility, a proprietary CMS, and a framework designed around self-hosted media, I commissioned Doug McFarlane as an external consultant to produce a full audit of the site, including stakeholder interviews, analytics reporting, and an analysis of comparative sites in the industry.

I wrote and published a highly specified brief using Doug's evidence, and ran a selection process which resulted in the recruitment of Fabrique, an agency based in The Netherlands. Using an agile methodology, Fabrique built, tested, and published a mobile-first website. The design places projects central to the site, with Artangel as an organisation, and literally (in logo form) behind the scenes. The modular system enables a flexible framework around complex projects that have materialised in the strangest places and in countless forms of media.

Artangel pioneered the use of unconventional venues and refined the notion of spectacular one-off art events
John O'Mahony, the Guardian
[PJ] Harvey stood up to sing. Just a verse and a chorus, a few lines, but it caught me and held me fast
Nancy Durrant, The Times
spectra will become possibly the single most-viewed work of conceptual art ever
Sean O'Hagan, the Guardian

We published the new site in early January 2016. Website sessions increased by 30% from 2015 to 2016, there was a 38% increase specific to new visitors, average session duration increased by nearly 60%, and mobile sessions rose from 26% to 38%. The portrayal of Artangel and their projects is clearer and bolder and has initiated the exploitation of visual and audio material not previously profiled, or not well profiled, including recordings of a song played the same day by over one hundred buskers in London, images of an entire house being cast in concrete, and an audio walk through a forgotten Whitechapel.

PJ Harvey recorded her Mercury-award-winning album The Hope Six Demolition Project album entirely in public as 2015 Artangel project Recording in Process at Somerset House. 

Unannounced, Ryoji Ikeda's spectra appeared in the sky over London at dusk Monday 4 August 2014. For seven nights it was visible across the city between sunset and sunrise. This video by Sam Blair is made of crowdsourced footage of the work from all over London.

The content migration was a substantial task completed with assistance from staff — Nick Chapman, Margarita Louca, Leah Swain, and Phoebe James — plus a crack team of temporary editors: Bryony Quinn, Beth Bramich, Molly Richards, and Jessie Bond. I managed the migration via a Trello board, a thousand Post-it notes, daily stand-up meetings, and fortnightly review sessions with Artangel co-directors Michael Morris and James Lingwood. Fabrique's Martijn Gorree was scrum master on the project and he was rad.

Following the launch of the new site, this more open and collaborative methodology was rolled out to the organisation more widely. We migrated to cloud-based email and calendar apps, we implemented management tools we'd used for the build — like Trello and Slack — for more general use, and produced a visualiser tool that publishes Artangel's online data to a selection of graphs and maps helping keep everyone in the organisation up to date with shifts in online audience activity.

Images (This and Previous page): Rachel Whiteread, House (1993). Photograph: John Davies; PJ Harvey at Somerset House, 2015. Photograph: Seamus Murphy; Ryoji Ikeda, spectra. Photograph: William Eckersley from Primrose Hill 4 August 2014. All projects PRODUCED BY ARTANGEL.