Attenborough Arts Centre and Disability Arts Online’s Visual Artist Support Commissions

Closing Date: 6 December 2020

Attenborough Arts Centre and Disability Arts Onlone

Location: National

Remuneration: £1500


A group of people of various ethnicities in a gallery space looking up at a hanging sculpture

Attenborough Arts Centre and Disability Arts Online are working together to support five visual artists to access the support, materials or resources they need to sustain their practice during the continuing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

At a time when disabled artists are facing additional and ongoing barriers to work, we want to support those who are at risk of being unable to access vital resources and networks.

The five commissioned artists may use their award as they see fit to best support their artistic development during this time. This might include time to make new work, materials, support staff, research, or anything else that they need to sustain their practice.

In addition to the financial support on offer, all five selected artists will be invited to participate in regular conversations with each other and staff from AAC and DAO. We will work with the artists and support them to achieve their aims by helping them make connections and broaden their networks, understand and define their access needs, and through offering advice and guidance. We hope to facilitate dialogue, social exchange and mentoring support as well as supporting the five artists individually. There will also be opportunities for the artists to share their work via our websites and/or social media channels if this fits with the aims of their project.

The programme will begin in early 2021 and will end with an online event and discussion hosted by Disability Arts Online in late Spring.


Each artist will be paid a commission of £1500.

There are five commissions on offer.

The award is inclusive of artist fee, materials, production and any other expenses associated with the project. Access costs to support artists in participating in the programme will be covered separately.


The deadline for submissions is 11:59pm on Sunday 6 December.

Selection will take place the week commencing Monday 7 December.

All artists will be notified of the selection panel’s decision by Tuesday 15 December 2020.

The five commissioned artists will be announced to the public in January 2021.

The five commissioned artists will work on their projects and participate in the programme from February – May 2021.

An online event and conversation will take place in late Spring 2021 to mark the end of the programme.

Eligibility Criteria

We will only accept submissions from visual artists who identify as disabled. AAC and DAO follow the social model of disability, therefore ‘disabled people’ includes D/deaf people, people with long term mental or physical health conditions and people who consider themselves neurodivergent.

We particularly welcome applications from artists who have experienced racism who meet the eligibility criteria.

How to submit

We welcome submissions in any format – that might be text, audio, video or any combination of media. We would prefer to receive submissions by email, so please make sure that the total file size of all your email attachments is no more than 20MB (therefore, larger media files should be sent via WeTransfer, Dropbox or a similar service).

Please email your submission to:

The deadline for submissions is 11:59pm on Sunday 6 December. We will not consider any submissions received after this time.

What to include in your submission

We want to know how you would use the funding and what it would help you to achieve. Whatever format you make your submission in, please include the following information:

  • Your name and contact details
  • What you plan to do as part of the programme, if we select you.
  • A simple outline of your budget to show us how you would use the funding (you can include things like your fee, training and mentoring, materials, subscriptions, software etc.)
  • A short summary of your artistic practice – what do you make, what materials do you use, what ideas or themes does your work explore?
  • Up to five images or short video clips of your work, or a link to where we can view your work online.
  • Details of any other funding, commissions or awards you have received during 2020.

In addition, feel free to tell us about any access-related barriers you have faced that have prevented you from fully exploring your artistic practice. This could include new barriers specific to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic or barriers that you face more broadly in the art world and wider society.

You can include other information in your submission if you think there is something else we need to know about you or your work that will help us make our decision.

The text information you submit should be no more than two sides of A4 (at 12-point size) in total. An equivalent length if you are submitting an audio or video application is about 5 minutes.

Selection Criteria

We can only select five artists for this programme. This is due to the limits of the programme budget and the capacity of our teams to work with the cohort of selected artists. We expect to receive many more strong applications than we will be able to select. The following information explains how we will make our decisions in the fairest way possible. You should consider these criteria when putting your submission together.

We will assess each submission against the following criteria:

  • Is your project achievable and realistic with the budget and timeframe of the programme?
  • Will the project be of clear benefit to you and your artistic practice?
  • Will the project help you to remove some of the barriers you currently face?
  • What will the programme allow you to achieve that you wouldn’t have been able to otherwise?
  • Does your submission demonstrate that you are committed to your artistic practice and further developing your career as an artist? There are many ways that this could be evidenced, for example: a track record of exhibiting or publishing your work, your participation in artist development programmes or residencies, other commissions you have received, work that you have done with established creative organisations or individuals, belonging to professional networks or sector bodies such as a-n or Artists’ Union England (or an equivalent organisation where you live).

We won’t be able to consider your submission as eligible if it does not contain the information we need to answer these questions.

In addition to the strength of each individual application, we also want to represent a range of different projects, individuals and geographical areas within the group.

Selection panel

The selection panel will include members of staff from Attenborough Arts Centre and Disability Arts Online, as well as an independent artist with experience of the disability arts community and mainstream arts networks.

Selection process

From the submissions received, we will select five artists who will each be awarded £1500. The selection process will take place in two stages.

Stage 1: all submissions will be checked to make sure they meet the eligibility criteria for this award. Any submissions that don’t meet these criteria will not progress to the next stage.

Stage 2: All applications that make it through the first stage of selection will be assessed by the full selection panel.


We will endeavour to provide constructive feedback to artists who are not selected for the programme. Please be aware that due to the volume of submissions we expect to receive we are unlikely to be able to offer in depth conversations with each artist, but will seek to make sure that the feedback we provide will be aimed at helping artists understand where their application might be made stronger for next time.