WORK – Call for artists

Further to our Art Work Placement project, we are exploring ideas and realities of what ‘work’ means for the way we live today, engaging directly with the experiences of contemporary working lives.

Led by Animate Projects, alongside partners Fermynwoods Contemporary Art; Junction Arts, Chesterfield; Vivid Projects, Birmingham; and QUAD, Derby; WORK is an ambitious and innovative two-year practice development programme that will support animation and moving image artists to develop, produce and exhibit films in collaborative contexts.

WORK sets out to:

  • Challenge and support artists working in moving image to develop, produce and exhibit new work in response to particular contexts and situations, in a project that addresses contemporary working lives
  • Enable artists to apply their skills and experience and to extend their practice
  • Engage new and different audiences with exciting, provocative and relatable art
  • Articulate under-represented voices, enabling members of the public to engage with contemporary practice and to contribute creatively and critically in the process of the development, production and exhibition of new work
  • Provoke a wider, cross-disciplinary debate through writing and events, and facilitating critical debate and explore good practice around situated/collaborative approaches and moving image practice
  • Generate meaningful conversations that would not otherwise happen

We will work with four artists, each responding to a specific theme/context, working with Animate and the respective partner.

WORK will result in a touring exhibition of single screen artists’ animations and films. All four works will be exhibited by each partner; a national touring programme will launch at FACT Liverpool.

WORK Programme

We are inviting artists to apply to participate in the WORK programme. The programme is in two phases: a research and development phase, and a second phase of production and exhibition.

In the first phase, with our partners, we will support, guide and facilitate artists to develop ideas and a proposal for the main WORK programme, and to identify and engage the participants. We will also seek the additional funds we need to deliver the full WORK programme.

We are looking for four artists to join the WORK programme, one for each of four contexts:

  • With Fermynwoods Contemporary Art: rural e-commerce distribution centres, the impact of these workplaces on rural landscapes and lives
  • With Junction Arts: the post-mining legacy of deindustrialisation, the different experiences of work/lack of work/unemployment across generations
  • With Vivid Projects: contemporary workplace activism, workers’ rights, legislation and campaigning
  • With QUAD: workers in healthcare or wellbeing contexts

These are starting points for discussion and exploration.

We hope the programme will represent a range of approach to the different contexts and subjects. For example: artistic strategies might favour documentary, essay, poetic or analytical approaches. Artists might be interested in exploring structures, systems, the political, the anecdotal, political economies, personal histories, or social mythology. This isn’t prescriptive or exhaustive.

See the Partners, contexts, locations section below for more detail about the proposed locations, partners and areas of focus.

The artist’s commitment in the first phase is to:

  • make at least two visits to the project location
  • document their research online
  • identify and engage with participants
  • develop a proposal for a film project
  • contribute to the project community
  • participate in a public workshop day with all artists and partners, addressing moving image and situated practice more broadly

Each artist will receive a fee of £1,000 and expenses to cover travel costs.

We expect artists to commit in principle to the full WORK programme – development, production, exhibition over two years, subject to us raising additional funding.

Please see the outline schedule in the WORK Routine section below.


WORK is a development programme for UK based independent artists working in animation or moving image who are interested in developing their practice through a collaborative process.

Participants will be expected to fully commit to the programme, process and to actively engage as part of the project community, and this will include attending the group meet ups, engaging in constructive dialogue with other participants, and documenting the development of their own project and practice.

Previous experience of participatory practice is not necessary. We will also consider proposals from artists who may have limited experience in moving image, but who wish to develop their practice in filmmaking. Students are not eligible. You need to be resident and able to work in the UK.

Applicants will need to:

  • Demonstrate a track record of making strong artistic animation/moving image work
  • Provide a statement of intent, and demonstrate a committed approach to what the programme offers, and a willingness to learn, engage and collaborate
  • Outline their approach to developing an animation/moving image project relevant to the particular context

How to apply

Please read the information about our partners and the respective themes/contexts we hope to explore through WORK. If you have any questions, please contact Please note that it may take a couple of days to get back to you.

To apply, please complete the online application form, which asks you to provide links to examples of your work and to upload a CV.

You may apply for more than one context but please use a separate application form for each. Please also complete the equal opportunities monitoring form, accessible through the link below.

Artists will be selected by a panel consisting of representatives from Animate and partners.

The deadline is noon, Wednesday 28 February 2018
Please note that we will not consider late submissions.

We may want to discuss some proposals with applicants, and if so, expect to do this by Skype during the week of 12 March 2018.

You can find the application form here.

The equal opportunities form is here.

WORK Routine

WORK is in two phases:

A research and development period, in which we are establishing our partnerships, refining the parameters of the programme, selecting artists, and embarking on the WORK programme

Production and exhibition
In phase two, we will continue to support the artists to develop their practice, as they continue to engage workers in their project, and also in the production and exhibition of the work they’ll be making. We anticipate allocating individual production budgets of around £10,000.

Phase one
December 2017 – May 2018
Selection of four artists by Animate and partners
Artists supported by Animate/partners/associate curator to explore a theme/context, and develop a proposal for a film
Engaging workers and other participants
Discussion through closed workshops
Public sharing event
Artists develop proposals
Fundraising for production and exhibition
Review and evaluation

Phase two
Summer 2018 – Autumn 2019 (exhibitions may extend beyond this date)
‘Residency’ on site
Development of an online resource
Artists and Animate blog progress
Development programme with project community continues, widening to include participants
Exhibitions and related events and workshops
Review and evaluation

Partners, contexts, locations

Working with other Midlands arts organisations provides a geographic cohesion, although as much as 100 miles separates us. Whilst each has experience of projects that engage the public in their creation, they have distinct and different histories, approaches, and expertise. An objective of WORK is that our co-producers will contribute to and also benefit from, their participation. They are:

Fermynwoods Contemporary Art, based in Thrapston, a small market town in rural Northamptonshire. Its two rail stations closed in the 1960s. An approach by car belies its seeming isolation – half a mile to the west there is a vast Primark warehouse, and to the east, another for Paperchase, just two of many that dominate the landscape.

For WORK, we are exploring: the wider impact of these workplaces and employment on rural landscapes and lives. This is an issue that concerns East Northamptonshire District Council, and the artist will be consulting with them. WORK addresses broader concerns that complement Fermynwoods’ own Art Work Placement for Business initiative, exploring how integrating art into working life can effect change within it.

Junction Arts, based in Chesterfield, has worked with communities in North East Derbyshire and Bolsover District to deliver art projects for over 40 years.

Bolsover’s history is one of industrial boom and bust: agriculture, textiles and mining. It is ranked the most deprived district in the county of Derbyshire (data taken from the 2015 area summary profile, Derbyshire Observatory) and fewer than one in 20 young people in Bolsover District go on to higher education. We are interested in exploring the region’s post-industrial context: how the landscape has been exploited for ‘work’, and the impact of different experiences of work and unemployment impact families across generations.

Vivid Projects, in Birmingham, has a growing reputation for connecting contemporary digital cultural practices in the arts with post ’68 media histories and conservation. Their antecedent organisation, Birmingham centre for media arts, grew out of the independent film workshop movement of the 1980s. We are taking their archive of the Birmingham Trade Union Resource Centre as impetus for our WORK commission, with a focus on contemporary workplace activism, workers’ rights, legislation and campaigning.

QUAD, in Derby, has a strong history of community based projects, including the participatory filmmaking project, Shine a Light. QUAD’s artistic programme has a digital focus. For WORK we’re interested in workers in healthcare or wellbeing contexts.

Animate Projects is an arts agency working at the intersection of film, animation and art. Established in 2007, it has maintained an international reputation for high quality, innovative, experimental and engaging films, and for producing films and projects for exhibition across broadcast, cinema, festival, gallery, public, online and digital platforms. Animate has partnered with cultural organisations to produce extraordinary projects for diverse audiences, including Channel 4, QUD Derby, Art on the Underground, Vivid Projects in Birmingham, National Trust’s Ham House and Gardens, FACT Liverpool, and The Photographers’ Gallery in London. It has supported talent to make ambitious moving image projects, and since 2007 has worked with more than 100 artists, filmmakers, and animators.

Animate continues to build on its success in developing and producing projects with the best UK talent, drawing on its experience and expertise to focus on the development and production of larger scale, experimental animation and hybrid live action/animation projects.

WORK follows on from DRIVE, a 10 month peer and mentor support programme for five artists and filmmakers that Animate ran in 2015 – 2016, supported by Jerwood Charitable Foundation and Arts Council England’s Grants for the arts.