Greater Manchester Independent Artist Initiative Announcement

Over the past few months, a range of Greater Manchester’s Arts & Cultural organisations have been exploring ways that they can support independent artists and companies in our city region to develop and share their work in 2021 as the sector, hopefully, starts to emerge from the current levels of COVID-19 restrictions.

After consultation with a wide range of independent artists and companies we are now planning the following:

The cultural organisations are creating a ‘pot of resources’, including money, producer/curator support, gallery/rehearsal/performance space, and more. Independent artists and companies from all disciplines and at any level of experience can apply for these resources to support the development or showing of new work, made in Greater Manchester. Decisions will be made by a panel of independent artists and representatives of cultural organisations, with independent artists in the majority. There will be an emphasis on supporting diversity, artists not currently known to the organisations, and reach across the city region.

There is also the possibility of supporting the sharing of work by independent artists and companies in Greater Manchester this Summer. A region-wide marketing campaign will highlight the work developed through the ‘pot of resources’ alongside other new independent work from GM artists. This marketing (and hopefully other) support will be available to anyone presenting new work in Summer 21, in any discipline, developed in GM.

This initiative is, it is hoped, a step towards a new and better relationship between independent artists and cultural institutions in Greater Manchester. As such, the call-out also welcomes proposals from independent artists who would like to use the resources available to focus not on outputs, but on initiatives creating change and challenge within the sector — this could include forums, new forms of residency, or other processes.

IAI21 will support a 5-month-long programme that showcases the city region’s creativity, supported financially and with other resources including a joined-up marketing initiative. The programme will feature two categories of work — projects that need resources; and work happening independently that wants to join the overarching programme — our first call-out is for projects requesting resources…

Applying for Resources

A pot of resources is being collected including space, advice, equipment, and cash (£100k).
IAI21 seeks proposals for new work made since March 2020 in any artform.
Proposals can be for work that is publicly presented OR work that focuses more on process and ideas.
We also welcome proposals from independent artists who would like to use the resources available to focus on post-pandemic change and challenge within the arts sector.

Proposed work:

· can be in any artform or combination of artforms
· involving GM communities is welcomed, but should be led by artists/creatives
· can have other support already in place or yet to be applied for
· must be new — yet to be created or can have been in development since March 2020 but not yet shown publicly
· may have a public outcome — e.g. public sharing, in person, online or in print/digital form — or if more process-based should have a clear start and end date
· must take place in Greater Manchester or be created in GM and take place online/print/digital format
· should be shared publicly between 1 June and 31 October 2021 (COVID-19 restrictions permitting) or if more process-based have another outcome during this period
· must follow best practice around COVID-19 safety.

Lead applicants must:

· be over 18
· live in, or their main practice be based in, Greater Manchester (see postcode spreadsheet).


As guidance, projects will be considered to be:
· Large (up to approx. £10k value in cash plus other resources)
· Medium (up to approx. £5k value in cash plus other resources)
· Small (up to £2.5k value in cash plus other resources)

It is expected that the professional experience level of the lead artists/creatives should be appropriate to the scale of the project (e.g. Large 5-years, Medium 3-years, Small 1-year).

Published on:
22 Mar 2021


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