Observations: Only the lonely need apply

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It's hardly the kind of post you usually see advertised at the University of Manchester, but Manchester Museum, which has been at the heart of the campus for more than a century, is no ordinary museum. It has about 4.25 million specimens and objects in its collections – and a free identification service should you stumble upon a strange spider or a rusty doubloon – but its curators felt something was missing. The Museum needed to be drawing attention to environmental issues "in a quirky and inspirational" way. How better to focus the mind of a visual or performance artist on creating an inspired piece of work than to get him or her holed up in an eyrie?

Out of 300 enquiries from around the world, some 60 potential hermits applied. Some saw themselves as recluses in an ivory tower, others as reincarnations of the mad woman in the attic, but their credentials were apparently impeccable and the name of the lucky anchorite will be announced soon.

With the internet for company, the hermit will write a daily blog and be shown on screens in the museum below. If he or she feels lonely there are always the live specimens in the aquarium and vivarium. And, of course, there's Stan, the famous fossilised Tyrannosaurus rex, or Lindow Man, the 2,000-year-old human, on a visit to Manchester. The views will be spectacular – but not many supermarkets will rise to this particular home-delivery challenge.