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Creative Learning: Open Labs 2020/21

A projection of words in blue writing has been projected onto a persons face

Our Open Lab programme supports early to mid-career artists to develop their socially engaged practice, without the expectation of producing a final outcome.

Disabled people, those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds and people under 30 are under-represented in the arts sector, so we are particularly encouraging applications to Open Lab from people in these groups. From January to August 2021, we will support the work of eight artists in total.

Applications are now open for four artists to take part in an Open Lab between January–April 2021. We will open the second round of applications in spring 2021 for another four artists to take part in Open Labs between May–August 2021.

Applications are now closed. 

We're looking for submissions

We’re looking to support early to mid-career artists who work in a socially engaged way. By socially engaged practice, we mean work that explores how people’s mental, physical and social wellbeing is improved by participation in and enjoyment of the arts. Your work should be inclusive, rooted in community and should respond to the uniquely challenging times we find ourselves in today.

We particularly encourage applications from disabled people, those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds and people under 30.

We want to support you to develop new methodologies and approaches to your socially engaged practice. As part of the Open Lab, we would like you to document your learning and process, and we will provide you with a platform on the Barbican’s website to showcase this process. There is no pressure to produce an artistic outcome – we are interested in supporting you to develop your practice.

We welcome projects that you can work on within your own space, as due to the restrictions around Covid-19, we cannot guarantee that we can provide space for your project at the Barbican.

Applications from artists working in all artforms are welcomed: curation/programming, digital art, film, music, poetry, theatre, visual art, combined or interdisciplinary arts, and any artforms that resist categorisation. If you like challenging yourself as an artist and experimenting with new methods, we’d love to hear from you.

 

We're offering:

  • An all-inclusive fee of £2,000. The fee will cover the Lab, the documentation for showcasing your project online and submission of answers to questions for the Barbican website.
  • You will be allocated a specific month, between January and April 2021, to develop and platform your work.
  • Up to three in-house training sessions with Barbican staff members from departments beyond Creative Learning of your choice such as marketing, fundraising, digital content, and more.
  • Up to three sessions with a mentor or coach selected with you to give bespoke guidance and advice on your project.
  • A Creative Learning member of staff for advice and support throughout the programme, with whom you’ll have regular updates to discuss the progress of your project.
  • We welcome remote projects that can take place in your own space. If you need physical space as part of the research and development you wish to undertake, we can explore this with you on an individual basis if your proposal is successful. It may be possible to use some spaces within the Barbican depending on regulations in place at the time.
  • Additional funding for access requirements is available for successful applicants upon request.

This opportunity is aimed at:

  • Artists who have a socially engaged practice. By socially engaged practice, we mean work that explores how people’s mental, physical and social wellbeing is improved by participation in and enjoyment of the arts.
  • Emerging to mid-career artists.
  • We particularly encourage applications from disabled people, those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds and people under 30.
  • The application is open to artists based in the UK.

How to apply:

Please send us a proposal that includes: 

  • A description of your socially engaged practice (Max 300 words)
  • An answer to the following questions (Max 300 words total):
    • What idea do you want to develop?
    • What impact on your practice do you hope to achieve?
    • What will you gain from this opportunity?
  • Please explain how you identify personally, as we particularly encourage applications from disabled people, those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds and people under 30.

Your proposal does not need to be submitted in written form or follow a particular format. Video or audio recordings of up to five minutes are welcome. We have set wording and time limits as we are aware that applications take time, for which you are not remunerated. We will talk to you in more depth about your proposal at an interview if you are shortlisted.

Submissions and enquiries can be sent to [email protected] with the subject line: Open Lab Submission. If you’d like to talk about your application over the phone, or if you have any access requirements, please email us to set up a time for a call.

Interviews for shortlisted artists will be held late January 2021. We will not be able to interview all applicants but will provide feedback upon request for every application that we receive. If you are not selected for this round of Open Labs, we may encourage you to apply for the second round as part of the feedback process.

We will make our decisions based on:

  • The strength of your application and our views on the impact of your socially engaged practice on the sector, alongside the other applications we receive.
  • The range and balance of the different proposals. The projects we select must cover a range of activity types and art forms.
  • The way in which you personally identify, as we particularly encourage applications from disabled people, those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds and people under 30.

Applications close Monday 10 January of 2021 at midnight.

The second round of applications for Open Lab will open in spring 2021.

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