Crowded Room Wisbech

Crowded Room Wisbech, Tim Mann,  2017, conté on wood, 2440mm x 6100mm

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

‘Crowded Room Wisbech’

Celebrating Our Community

The ‘Crowded Room’ project is a truly collaborative process which uses contemporary art practice to celebrate the importance of the individual and their place in the community. Tim Mann, the artist, uses different aspects of the human form to record an individual’s presence within a large-scale portrait. The resulting work of art demonstrates that whilst each participant is different, in terms of appearance and character, as humans we are all integral to the world and are fundamental all the same.

Tim also creates additional works of art during a ‘Crowded Room’, using participant’s hands, markers or counters to complement the main portrait.

Tim’s ambition was to take the ‘Crowded Room’ project into different areas of Wisbech to celebrate each individual and their place within a community. He recognised that, whilst everyone has somewhere that they call home, sometimes circumstances dictate that they have to move and become part of an alternative community, whether on a temporary or permanent basis.


The objective was to encourage and enable those who live, work or study in Wisbech, as well as visitors to the town, to participate in the project, celebrate their own importance and acknowledge their place within a community.

The secondary purpose was to encourage participants to develop an interest in contemporary art, either by engaging with the work, becoming part of the portrait or by assisting Tim in the creation of the main and complementary, works of art. Film and photography were also used to record the making of the portrait and local students were invited to join the team to help create all of the pieces, which were then exhibited.

Tim and Jenny Ward, his Project Manager, engaged with local councils, businesses, organisations, schools, community leaders and members of the public in Wisbech to determine the most appropriate way to deliver the project, taking the environment and any special circumstances into account. Representatives from these organisations then became Tim’s local champions and helped him in a variety of ways, to ensure its success. This group of Champions grew daily and included the teams from the Wisbech and Fenland Museum, the Rosmini Centre, Wisbech Town Council, Fenland District Council and the Wisbech Community Development Trust. 

Tim and his team conducted pre-visits to Wisbech prior to commencing the project and worked with the local champions to identify the most appropriate locations to create the artworks and engage with participants. The local primary schools, secondary schools and college committed to the project.

The team also delivered workshops as part of the project, to encourage those who attend to try different art practices, learn more about Tim and his work, and to develop a better understanding of their place within the community.

The ‘Crowded Room Wisbech’ project took approximately 6 weeks to complete, in the autumn of 2017. Using about thirty different venues to fully engage with his audience, he reached a staggering figure of 10,017 outlined participants.  There is also the potential for Tim to return to Wisbech and rework the portrait, adding new outlines to the existing image, as it is a living work of art which can evolve over time.

The exhibition of all the works was held in the Wisbech and Fenland Museum from 26th November 2017 until the 28th February 2018. Discussions are taking place to determine how, and where, the final portrait and accompanying artworks will be permanently displayed within Wisbech. Over the coming year, the completed portrait will go on tour around Wisbech.  

This was a fantastic opportunity to create, and be part of, a living work of art which highlights the importance of each participant as an individual within a specific environment. The final portrait is a unique picture, which tells a story about a moment in time within Wisbech.

The hope is that the process has encouraged participants to think about their own importance, and that of others, and how they fit in within the community, and in wider society. They could also consider how they might use this self-evaluation as part of their own personal development.

Tim would like to thank everyone for their support, especially the champions who took a leading role in the portrait’s success.

 ‘Crowded Room Wisbech’ Champions

 Humans of Wisbech


Links to External Articles

BBC Radio Cambridge Tim Mann interviewed about Crowded Room Wisbech

Friday Bridge Primary School News

Brewers Decorating Centre News

Students from the College of West Anglia in Wisbech become part of major Artwork for the town.

How many sitters are required to make a portrait? For ‘Crowded Room’ artist Tim Mann, the answer is as many as 10,000 by Aldo Ierubino, arts officer at Wisbech and Fenland Museum

TCA’s Contribution to Wisbech Contemporary Art Project

Discover Wisbech – Crowded Room Wisbech by Tim Mann, Written By Aldo Ierubino

‘Living Work of Art’ begins year-long tour