alt.barbican - a major new artist accelerator programme

The Barbican and The Trampery launch alt.barbican, a major new accelerator programme for innovative artists working at the intersection of arts, technology, and entrepreneurship. The programme was announced at The Trampery Republic in the presence of Prince Andrew, Duke of York.

Delivered in partnership with MUTEK, the British Council, and the National Theatre, this six-month programme provides opportunities and support for up to five artists whose practice falls outside traditional art form areas. alt.barbican will provide a range of showcase, mentoring and training opportunities within an environment in which research and discussion about this emergent field can take place and be shared.

Sidd Khajuria, Senior Producer at the Barbican said:
“alt.barbican is our response to an increasingly fluid creative landscape - one in which the boundaries between individual art forms are becoming less distinct. A generation of emergent artists are drawing upon multiple disciplines to create projects that are not served by traditional exhibition and performance spaces. Being a cross arts organisation, it’s vital the Barbican continues to support this emerging practice, and the hybrid nature of so much of this work is why we’re working in partnership with the National Theatre, MUTEK, and the British Council - all of whom are exploring similar terrain. It is, of course, wonderful to be collaborating with The Trampery once again to deliver a programme of work in this area.”

Charles Armstrong, Founder of The Trampery said:
“This is a moment of incredible change in the arts. New technologies are opening up previously unimagined expressive possibilities. At the same time models of artistic production and support are being turned upside down. The Trampery seeks to be at the forefront of this change. Since 2013 our collaboration with the Barbican has pioneered new approaches, bringing ideas and techniques from the startup world to help emerging artists develop their careers. alt.barbican represents a new and exciting step on this journey. The Trampery Republic provides a perfect home for the programme.”

The Duke of York said:
'"The Trampery is all about broadening opportunities and I am really proud to have been Patron since 2013 and I am so impressed by the role it plays in the ecosystem supporting entrepreneurs in London.”

Applications for the inaugural cohort of five artists opens on 13 February and invites submissions from practitioners around the theme of ‘the subversion of reality’. This can include current or future work. Enquiries might include, but are not limited, to the following:

  • Digital mimicry - exploring representations of human form and experience, the natural environment, and the uncanny
  • Social interaction, creativity and enterprise – new ways of communicating, making and business in the age of virtual reality
  • Heightening or repressing human senses with technology - innovative techniques for viewer engagement and opportunities for emotional experiences

Practitioners might be employing or interested in working with the following technologies:

  • Virtual or augmented reality
  • Projection mapping
  • Ambisonic, binaural or other immersive sound formats

This first cohort of alt.barbican artists will receive:

  • A bespoke programme of seminars, workshops and meetings supported by leading academics, practitioners and experts. From leadership and pitch-training, to advice on funding and partnerships, the programme is designed to embed an entrepreneurial way of thinking and operating into the artistic approach, encouraging divergent and hybrid forms of practice to emerge.
  • Business tools and training to enable their practice to scale and become self-sustaining.
  • A fully-funded trip to share work at MUTEK, the Montreal-based festival of electronic music and digital creativity.
  • Mentorship provided by a wide range of established professionals, including from the National Theatre and their Immersive Storytelling Studio team. These mentors will be appointed in response to the specific needs and practice areas of individual artists.
  • The opportunity to apply to an alt.barbican commissioning fund of £7,500 to realise a major piece or body of work in the Barbican’s public spaces.
  • The opportunity to forge international connections through our partnership with the British Council’s Creative Economy Team.
  • Events to showcase research and works-in-progress as part of Interfaces Monthly – a programme of talks and events, delivered across the Barbican and The Trampery’s venues. These events allow audiences to experience inspirational work which pushes the boundaries of fine art and technology, and hear from the artists who create them.

Additional support includes:

  • A £1,500 honorarium for participating in the programme
  • Unlimited drop-in access at The Trampery Republic, a new space for creative innovation at East India Dock, where the selected artists will form part of a growing network of creative businesses and start-ups.

alt.barbican is delivered by the Barbican and The Trampery; in partnership with the British Council, MUTEK and National Theatre; and supported by Arts Council England.

Further details and how to apply here

For all the latest alt.barbican news follow: #altbarbican

The programme marks the next stage in the ongoing partnership between the Barbican and workspace innovators The Trampery. The first collaboration, Hack the Barbican in August 2013, saw the Barbican’s public spaces taken over by a community of 300 people including artists, scientists, hackers and teachers. The experiment resulted in 100 inter-disciplinary installations, workshops, events and performances.

The Barbican and The Trampery collaborated again in 2014 and 2015 to create Fish Island Labs, a unique centre to kick start the careers of emerging talent using technology to define new fields of creativity. Established as a key arts space in Hackney Wick, it was home to a diverse community of emerging practitioners, and led to Interfaces in August 2015, a vibrant showcase across the Barbican’s public spaces of experimental work created by resident artists.

Interfaces Monthly is the Barbican and The Trampery’s monthly event where artists and designers present cutting edge work, offer insight into production strategies and digital techniques, and foster dialogue with the audience. The aim of these talks is to explore new ways of working and to bring those embracing multi-disciplinary and digital creativity across the fine art, commercial and design worlds together. Interfaces Monthly is hosted in rotation at Barbican, The Trampery Old Street and The Trampery Republic.


About The Trampery
The Trampery is a specialist in strategy, design and management for innovation facilities; founded by sociologist and entrepreneur Charles Armstrong. Since opening Tech City's first startup workspace in 2009 The Trampery has developed eight acclaimed buildings in London and launched a string of sector-focused incubators spanning software, fashion, digital arts and travel.

In 2015 The Trampery was appointed by the Norwegian government to undertake its first urban planning project, master-planning a new innovation district for the city of Oslo. In 2018 The Trampery will open Fish Island Village, a new kind of all-in-one residential development designed to support London’s creative and technology entrepreneurs, delivered in partnership with housing provider Peabody. HRH the Duke of York is patron of The Trampery

The Trampery is a social enterprise.

Twitter: @ TheTrampery / @TheTramperyRepublic
Instagram: @TheTrampery
Facebook: The Trampery

About the British Council
The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. Using the UK’s cultural resources we make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.

We work with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Each year we reach over 20 million people face-to-face and more than 500 million people online, via broadcasts and publications.

Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. The majority of our income is raised delivering a range of projects and contracts in English teaching and examinations, education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. Eighteen per cent of our funding is received from the UK government.

About Mutek
MUTEK is a Montréal-based organization dedicated to the dissemination and promotion of digital creativity and electronic music. Launched in 2000, its central platform is its annual festival in Montréal, whose 18th edition will take place from August 23 to 27, 2017. MUTEK also maintains activities around the world, including annual events in Mexico City (14th edition in 2017), Barcelona (8th edition in 2017) and recently in Tokyo.

Conceived as a complementary event to its festival in the spring, MUTEK_IMG was introduced in autumn 2013 to highlight moving image cultures, the digital creative economy, and technological creativity in general.

About the National Theatre
The National Theatre is dedicated to making the very best theatre and sharing it with as many people as possible. We produce productions on the South Bank in London each year, ranging from reimagined classics to modern masterpieces and new work by contemporary writers and theatre-makers. The National’s work is seen on tour throughout the UK, in London’s West End, internationally (including on Broadway) and in collaborations and co-productions with regional theatres.

National Theatre Live, which broadcasts live performances to cinema screens internationally, is now celebrating its 7th year and has been experienced by over 6 million people worldwide in 200 countries. For more information, visit

The Clore Learning Centre at the NT is committed to providing programmes for schools, young people, families, community groups and adult learners. The nationwide youth theatre festival Connections and playwriting competition New Views engage thousands of young people around the country. Further, over 2,600 secondary schools have signed up to the free streaming service, On Demand. In Schools since its launch in September 2015.

In 2015-2016 the NT:

  • Staged 34 productions and gave 3,057 performances in the UK and internationally.
  • Reached audiences of over 787,000 on the South Bank, and over 3.7 million worldwide (South Bank, West End, touring and NT Live).
  • Broadcast, via the NT Live programme, to nearly 6 million people around the world.
  • Engaged with over 189,000 participants through the NT Learning events programme.