When the Centre reopen after refurbishment in 1999, it was felt that the new gallery space would not be used to its best advantage if the Centre continued to show touring exhibitions or existing works. Therefore, the Centre began a project to commission site-specific works which would use the Centre’s space to the full whilst developing the careers and artistic inspection of the artists involved. An area of the gallery was designated a ‘project space’ and a competitive process was initiated with adverts in national press, art schools, the Chinese community and the Centre's existing contacts.
Commissions were sought from artists of South East and East Asian heritage who were based in the UK. Proposals were expected from emerging artists, without solo show experience, with a view of encouraging their skills to manage their work. The scheme also aimed to develop the expertise of the staff at the Centre. A selection panel was set up featuring established arts managers and practitioners, including Emma Anderson (Curator at the Lowry); Byran Biggs (Director of the Bluecoat Arts Centre); Kwong Lee (administrator of the Castlefield Gallery), susan pui san lok (artist), and Jeremy Theophilus (Senior Visual Arts Office, Arts Council of England).
The Centre received 25 proposals and the committee selected four applicants to be shown in 2000: Suki Chan, Pamela So, Ahn Sung-Hee, and Lisa Cheung working with Emil Goh. The scheme continued for a further two years: 2001 featured Anna Lee, Chun-Chao Chiu, Gayle Chong Kwan and Tsai-Wei Chen; and 2002, Joshua Jiang Jeihong, Yu-Chng Chuang and Jenny Chong.
The scheme ended in early 2003 when the Centre was originally due to move to its new premises on Thomas Street. As the building was not ready on schedule, the Centre held a retrospective exhibition at Edge Street Gathering Momentum which featured the ‘New Commission’ scheme artists, which was accompanied by a publication on the scheme. Although the scheme did not continue after the move to Thomas Street, many of its aspects were incorporated into the role of the project co-ordinator who was responsible for the Centre’s residency programme.