DIY 15: 2018 - Call for Proposals

Professional development projects BY artists FOR artists.

Selected projects will take place between July and November 2018.
We plan to support 25 DIYs in 2018 with project awards of £1,500 each.

This year we are also launching a new ‘top-up fund’ to help lead artists cover participant expenses.

More information on this year's DIY programme.

Deadline for applications: 22 March 2018, 12noon.


Facilitating this retreat was an incredibly stimulating and enriching experience. I think it had some of the most profound learning of my journey as an artist so far. 
Peter McMaster, DIY lead artist, 2017

The workshop was incredibly valuable in bringing new voices to our discussions. It is always useful and energising to meet people working along similar lines and building new relationships from this position.
Appau Jnr Boakye-Yiadom of Network 11, DIY lead artists, 2017

Running the DIY has been a positive and affirming experience, it has reinforced and highlighted the fact that as ageing artists we deserve a voice and can look at and design our own working model for ageing on our terms.
Giovanna Maria Casetta, DIY lead artist, 2017

About DIY

DIY is an opportunity for artists working in Live Art to conceive and run unusual research, training and professional development projects for themselves and other artists.

DIY understands that the development of a Live Art practice is as much about the exploration of ideas and experiences as training in skills and techniques, and past DIY projects have proved to be invaluable experiences for project leaders, participants and organisers alike.

DIY is all about creating spaces to explore new ideas and test new methodologies. We want to hear from you if have an idea for an exciting, innovative and idiosyncratic Live Art professional development project that offers something different and is geared to the eclectic and often unusual needs of artists whose practices are grounded in challenging and unconventional approaches, forms and concepts.  

We particularly welcome proposals led by or addressing underrepresented artists and practices, and projects reflective of other politicised territories.

DIY projects may take any form and can be based anywhere in the UK. Each DIY project is placed with a partner organisation and this year’s partners are detailed below. If a partner organisation has a regional remit your DIY project will happen in that region, if it has a national remit it can happen anywhere. Please make clear in your application your preferred location(s), although we do encourage flexibility in this matter. (Once we have selected the final projects we may ask some proposals to be relocated to ensure a good spread of projects across the country.)

DIYs can be about anything you want, but some DIY partners have written specific briefs for artists to respond to, which cover an exciting and diverse range of themes – see below for full details.

DIY 15 will include four DIYs supported by Live Art UK’s Diverse Actions initiative, specifically supporting artists of colour. 

A new ‘top-up fund’ for participant expenses

Wherever possible, artists’ participation in DIY projects should be free. Lead artists are encouraged to think about the needs of their participants when drawing up a budget, and many lead artists allocate some of their £1,500 award budget to help with participant expenses. However, with projects taking place all over the country, and transport costs going up all the time, we are some way off being able to completely cover all the costs of taking part in a DIY. In recognition of this, and as a gesture of our commitment to making DIYs as accessible as possible, in 2018 we are trialling a new ‘top-up fund’ for participant expenses. Up to an additional £100 will be available to every project (on request, via the lead artist) in order to help participants cover travel, accommodation or other access costs. We realise that this is unlikely to cover every expense – some participants may still have to pay something, and lead artists are still encouraged to consider participant expenses within their main budget – but we hope this extra money will help open up the DIY programme to a greater number of artists.

Further information for applicants

LADA’s Frequently Asked DIY Questions have been updated for 2018. Please read these notes carefully before applying. 

If you have questions which are not answered by the FAQ, or if you would like to discuss an idea before applying, please contact Megan.

Partner organisations

National partners supporting DIYs this year: Artsadmin (London), Artshouse (Jersey), BUZZCUT (Glasgow), Chapter (Cardiff), Colchester Arts Centre (Colchester), Dance4 (Nottingham), KARST (Plymouth), LADA (London), Live Art Bistro (Leeds), Folkestone Fringe (Folkestone), Freud Museum (London), Lancaster Arts (Lancaster), Marlborough Pub & Theatre (Brighton), National Theatre (London), National Theatre of Scotland (Scotland), Norwich Arts Centre (Norwich), ]performance s p a c e[ (Folkestone), Rich Mix (London), Scottish Sculpture Workshop (Aberdeenshire), Snape Maltings (Suffolk), Southbank Centre (London), Tate Early Years and Families (London), Whitstable Biennale (in Ebbsfleet), and Yorkshire Sculpture Park (Yorkshire).

Specific briefs

DIYs can be about anything, but we also have a series of briefs to offer creative stimuli.

1. A New Career in a New Town (Whitstable Biennale in Ebbsfleet)

Whitstable Biennale invites DIY proposals for Ebbsfleet Garden City, a new town being constructed on the banks of the Thames between Dartford and Gravesend. Ebbsfleet is the first new ‘Garden City’ development in over 100 years. We are keen to work with Live Art practitioners interested in responding thoughtfully to some (but not necessarily all) of the following themes:

  • the historic site, current landscape and future development of 15,000 new homes in Ebbsfleet
  • existing and speculative communities in the area
  • commuting and migration
  • anything else which speaks directly to this location at this time

We will work with artists to find a suitable working base in the area based on their proposal. For more information about this brief, please contact Matthew de Pulford (putting DIY15 in the subject line).

2. Live Art and Bethnal Green (LADA and Rich Mix) – two DIY projects

In Bethnal Green, in the East End of London, enormous wealth co-exists with great poverty, traditional cultures and ideas sit shoulder-to-shoulder with tech start-ups, while hyper-diversity and waves of migration continue to bring new communities to the borough. Connecting The Garrett Centre, LADA’s new home in Bethnal Green, with Rich Mix’s Culture for a Changing City programme, we will support two DIYs that explore this vibrant and changing part of the city.

While we are open to DIY proposals which interpret Bethnal Green in multiple ways, we encourage proposals which focus on one or more elements of:

  • the history and community of The Garrett Centre, LADA’s home on Mansford Street, an ex-Unitarian church managed with a socially engaged mission and ethos.
  • the history and community of Rich Mix, a converted garment factory situated next to the world’s first social housing estate and a stone’s throw from the City of London.
  • the rapidly shifting social and economic dynamics of the area – subjects such as migration, gentrification, homelessness, commerce – and the people who live and work here.

For further information about this brief, please contact Megan

3. Live Art and Diverse Actions (Live Art UK) – four DIY projects

Diverse Actions is a Live Art UK initiative which champions culturally diverse ambition, excellence and talent in Live Art. Diverse Actions builds on Live Art’s vital role as a practice of artistic innovation and a space to express complex ideas of cultural identity. Running for three years, and supported by a grant from Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence programme, Diverse Actions will support 4 DIYs in 2018.

We invite proposals for projects led by artists of colour, with one of the Diverse Actions DIYs (with Marlborough Pub & Theatre) specifically for LGBTQIA+ artists of colour. While no limitations are placed on subject matter, activity, or approach, proposals which explore complex ideas of cultural identity, or which have been specifically designed for participants of colour, are encouraged.

Partner organisations for the Diverse Actions DIYs are:

  • BUZZCUT: a collective based in Glasgow, hosting events and festivals which encourage formal experimentation in an accessible, community-focused environment.
  • Colchester Arts Centre: a vibrant, multi-disciplinary arts venue in a converted church in Colchester, focused on new ideas, new forms and new ways of working.
  • ]performance s p a c e[: an artist-led organisation now based in Folkestone, cultivating performance work which pushes the boundaries of body, time and space.
  • Marlborough Pub & Theatre: a pub venue in Brighton, working year-round with LGBTQIA+ artists on a pioneering performance programme. The Marlborough’s Diverse Actions DIY is specifically for queer artists of colour, and will form part of their new project, Brownton Abbey.

For more information about these opportunities, please contact Megan. For more information about the Marlborough’s Brownton Abbey project, please contact Tarik Elmoutawakil.

4. Live Art with Freud, Dali, and Narcissus (Freud Museum London)

Between October 2018 and February 2019, Freud Museum London in Hampstead will present a temporary exhibition of works and ideas linking Sigmund Freud’s pioneering psychoanalysis with Salvador Dali’s surrealism and the mythological figure of Narcissus, known for his great beauty and vanity. They invite DIY proposals which respond to one or all of these three men. You may wish to consider ideas of sexuality, desire, self-love, subjectivity, dreamscapes, persona, reflection, the body, beauty… but you should not feel confined to these themes.

Freud Museum London was the home of Sigmund Freud and his family when they escaped Austria following the Nazi annexation in 1938. It remained the family home until Anna Freud, the youngest daughter, died in 1982. The centrepiece of the museum is Freud's study, preserved just as it was during his lifetime, which houses Freud’s remarkable collection of antiquities.

For further information about this brief, please contact Lili Spain.

5. Live Art and the Library of Performing Rights (LADA)

The Library of Performing Rights (LPR) was originally created in 2006 (by Lois Weaver of Queen Mary University London in collaboration with LADA) as a unique resource containing publications, videos, DVDs, CD-ROMs, brochures, digital and web-based initiatives that examined the intersection between performance and human rights. Materials were submitted by artists, activists and academics from around the world.

Having travelled the world for over a decade, in August 2017, the LPR was reimagined and reactivated by LADA, Lois Weaver, Elena Marchevska and the Study Room In Exile, as a concept or approach to research and practice, rather than a distinct collection. It is available as a place of action, a place of knowledge exchange, and a repository of experience, and with that in mind, we now invite proposals for the first in an annual series of LPR DIYs. These might respond to or utilise the LPR collection in multiple ways, but we are equally interested in projects which advance approaches to, understandings of, and practices related to issues of human rights, social and environmental justice.

For further information about this brief, please contact Megan.

6. Live Art and the National Theatre New Work Department

At the National we make world class theatre that is entertaining, challenging and inspiring, and we make it for everyone. We invite DIY proposals which take advantage of our resources in order to reimagine histories and design new futures. Based at the National Theatre Studio in Waterloo, London, the New Work Department has access to a range of costumes, props and period furniture from past NT productions, as well as 3 workshop spaces equipped with lighting rigs, sound equipment, video projectors and other technical resources.

For more information about this brief, including resources/spaces available, please contact Katy DeMain.  

7. Live Art and Scottish Sculpture Workshop

SSW is a 'thinking and making' facility based within the rural village of Lumsden, North East Scotland. Through artistic experimentation, collaboration and the sharing of ideas, tools and skills SSW empowers artists to make. Our remote site encompasses a foundry, wood, metal, ceramic workshops, and a sauna as well as a large open plan studio space, library and self-catering accommodation with a large communal kitchen. Our 2018 programme explores notions of how we live together and we encourage DIY applications that also respond to this. We hope this provides a framework for: listening and paying attention, collectivity that addresses difference and solidarity, exploring entangled relationships and critiquing who the 'we' are. 

Due to our summer residency programmes we can only offer space and accommodation on site from 16th - 22nd July but we are also happy for applications that explore these themes either remotely or digitally. 

For more information or if you have access or childcare needs, please contact Yvonne Billimore.

8. Live Art and Virtual Reality (Live Art Bistro)

Live Art Bistro (LAB) is an engine room for Live Art practices in Leeds, Yorkshire. As part of a new project focused on Live Art and virtual reality, and in anticipation of developing a new Live Art VR Archive, LAB invite proposals from artists who wish to experiment with performance for 360 degree camera and other VR experiences. DIYs in this area might focus new approaches to documentation, subjectivity, the digital realm, the archive, or the gaze of the lens, or they might involve the application of these technologies to existing Live Art practices. Workshop space and appropriate camera equipment is available from LAB.

For further information about this brief, or for technical specifications, please contact the LAB team.

9. Live Art and Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Set in 500 acres of historically designed landscape, Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) is an international centre for the creation, display and appreciation of modern and contemporary sculpture, balancing established and young artists; object and experience, gallery and open air. One of YSP’s founding principles is to enable access to work by international artists and the landscape that had been in private ownership for centuries. YSP is keen to enable a DIY project that responds in some way to the park, whether that is its art, history, heritage, landscape, nature or people, and welcomes the possibility of public engagement as part of the project.

For further information about YSP please contact Damon Waldock. Please note that YSP in unable to offer camping within the grounds.