Site-Specific Commission: Grytviken Whaling Station, South Georgia

Under the umbrella of the GSGSSI heritage strategy and Conservation Management Plan for Grytviken, SGHT and FOSGI are hosting an international competition that will engage creative practitioners from varying artistic disciplines to develop a site-specific commission to celebrate the whale through a reinterpretation of the former Flensing Plan. This is an inspirational project (with thanks to Thies Matzen for the original idea), an opportunity to create a legacy for the future, a message of hope for the natural world and a reinterpretation that will challenge visitors to consider man’s changing relationship with nature and in particular with the whale.

The winning commission will be selected by a diverse panel representing GSGSSI, South Georgia stakeholders and the creative community; the chosen applicant(s) will create a creative intervention that will set the scene for visitors to Grytviken. Its purpose is to help visitors interpret Grytviken’s past and present and to celebrate the recolonization of whales, seals, seabirds and plant life, thanks to excellent British stewardship and environmental management of South Georgia’s terrestrial and marine environments.

This commission is part of a cultural heritage programme to communicate a poignant message about our changing attitudes to nature and the need for resolute stewardship of our oceans and the natural world.


Grytviken Whaling Station, showing the old landing point (the “Flensing Plan”) for Whale Catcher ships. Credit: Image from Geometria working for the Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI)


Application Process

The competition has now entered the second phase. We had a tremendous response to the call for proposals, with 150 applications received from around the world. The judging panel has now selected its shortlist of three and the artists in question are developing their concepts ready for the final judging and selection of the winner, due to take place in June.

  • 4 November 2019 – application process opened 
  • 12 January 2020 (17.00hrs GMT) – application deadline (now past)
  • February – all applications considered by the pre-selection panel
  • February / March – selected applications were considered by the judging panel 
  • March – 3 shortlisted applicants were notified 
  • June – 3 shortlisted applicants present further developed proposals to the judging panel at interview 
  • June/July – the final selected commission will be announced


The creative brief which artists responded to can be found at the link below.

  1. Creative Brief

    Please click on the link to watch

  2.  Drone Footage of Grytviken Whaling Station, South Georgia (Footage from Geometria working for the Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI))

    Further supporting documents about South Georgia can be found on the Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands website:

  3. Heritage Framework 
  4. Conservation Management Plan 

If you have any questions about the commission please email

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Humpback Whales off the coast of South Georgia Island, photo by Phil Tempest, 2015