Deadline: Monday 4 October, 12pm 

This week we launched a new fund offering awards of £2,000 to support 35 pairings of independent early-career artists, curators and producers from across disciplines to connect, develop their practice and generate new ideas together.

The 1:1 FUND offers awards for two early-career practitioners working in literature, music, performing, visual and contemporary arts to strengthen existing or start new collaborations after the isolating impact of Covid-19.
It will benefit 70-80 individuals in total working together collaboratively

Application is free. Deadline is 12pm, Monday 4 October. Full guidance and the application form are available here.

The 1:1 FUND has been developed in response to feedback from applicants and artists, curators and producers we have supported over the past 18 months. This suggested the pandemic has made collaborating harder than ever, especially in real life, whilst highlighting the energy and inspiration created by strong creative networks and peer support. We also heard that chances for individuals to work together in a supported way, without the pressure to produce new works or find match funding, are increasingly rare.

As a funder that creates imaginative opportunities that provide transformative support for early-career artists, we hope the 1:1 FUND will build the confidence of early-career practitioners and open the door for future projects by supporting new and existing collaborations to exchange ideas, skills-share, research together and generate new ideas.

Piloting a new approach to selection

Jerwood Arts has been part of wider discussions across the arts sector about the need for more sustainable funding processes. We are conscious of the unpaid labour of application making, the pressure to provide feedback to unsuccessful applicants, and the growing determination across the sector to improve the diversity of who applies and who gets funding.

We have also experienced growing demand for our funding opportunities for individuals , receiving over 1,200 applications this time last year for the Live Work Fund. The vast majority of applications we receive are of a very high standard, which has made it increasingly challenging for our team, Artist Advisers and expert panelists, especially for smaller-scale awards looking to support experimentation with new ideas or self-directed R&D. We have therefore been investigating alternative approaches to identifying the talented early-career artists, curators and producers we can support through our funding.

The 1:1 FUND is the outcome of that investigation, and we are excited to pilot some new elements to explore more sustainable and inclusive approaches for both applicants and funders. On the one hand, we are targeting the fund more explicitly at a specific creative need: in this case, two artists working together collaboratively. On the other, we are introducing a random number generator as part of the selection process to help reduce bias and improve the time and capacity required. The application form focuses on eligibility criteria and requires fewer text-based answers than our previous funds. The timeline for decision making is also shortened, with applications reviewed by Jerwood Arts staff only if they are chosen by the random number generator. This approach flips our usual model, to give us more time to engage with a much smaller number of selected applications in greater depth. The use of a random number generator also shifts our approach to access, diversity and inclusion in the decision-making process. Instead of a positive action approach, it will give every application the same chance of success, providing a selection that is grounded in equality.

Across all Jerwood Arts funding, we seek to support talented artists, curators and producers who have some existing professional experience and momentum for their practice but are still in the early stages. We know terms like ‘early-career’ are difficult to define and may look different depending on a range of factors including art form/s, career pathways and personal circumstances. Previously we have defined ‘early-career’ in line with our mission as having a professional artistic practice of between 1 and 10 years. For the 1:1 Fund, we are piloting removing the 10-year length of practice limit from our eligibility criteria to be more inclusive of those whose careers are still in the early stages but may have taken different paths.

To find out more about the research we have been doing to inform this new fund, please see our long read “Jerwood in Practice” blog here.

We will continue to document the 1:1 FUND pilot as part of our commitment to being an open, trusting and learning funder. We want to share what we discover with the applicants at the sharp end of the current funding challenges, and other organisations facing similar challenges. In particular, we hope that trialing the use of a random number generator may help open up the toolbox of alternative options for funders and arts organisations offering opportunities for individual practitioners.

We are keen to hear from other funders and organisations awarding opportunities to discuss the ideas behind this pilot further, get feedback and share our learning. Please email our Team Assistant Clíona Malin to start a conversation:

Full guidance and the application form are available here.

Lilli Geissendorfer, Jon Opie and Sarah Gibbon

Jerwood Arts is the leading independent funder dedicated to supporting UK artists, curators and producers to develop and thrive. We enable transformative opportunities for individuals across art forms, supporting imaginative awards, fellowships, programmes, commissions and collaborations. We present new work and bring people from across the arts together in the galleries at Jerwood Space, London, across the UK and online.