DIY 5: 2008

DIY 5 was an opportunity for artists working in Live Art to conceive and run professional development projects for other artists. The eleven DIY 5 projects took place during August and September 2008 with the support of national partners.


Our Call for Participants is now closed.

Our Call for Proposals to lead a project has now closed.

Documentation from DIY 5: 2008.

More info about DIY


For me it was very fulfilling and challenging. This is some of my favourite work: developing a rapport with other artists and supporting them in their practice. DIY is special in this respect: the lead artist is encouraged to be innovative and is not bound by rules. We can be more than we know.
Richard Layzell leader of Archive Y’self to Pieces

We were invigorated, perplexed, well fed, exhausted, annoyed, talkative, fit and sporty. We made some new friends and strengthened our relationships with the others we knew from before. We worked hard and had some fun. We wondered and wandered together. We considered resistance and hope and are left with more than enough food for thought.
DIY 5 participants on First Retreat then Advance!!

My most memorable moments were taking heroin and performing a gymnastics display. Both of these things would not have happened to me in real life, as I don't do heroin and I can't do the splits. 
Holly Bodmer participant on Avatartist 2.0 workshop in Second Life®


Summary Report

The DIY 5 projects took many forms from treasure hunts and train journeys, through workshops and group meetings, to football matches and exploration of online worlds. Between them they covered diverse subjects of investigation including personal archiving, merchandising, and political intervention.


Details of the projects are included in the pdf version of the full DIY 5 report.

For the second time DIY 5 took place across England with the support of a range of national partners. Eleven projects were held during August and September 2008. DIY 5 benefited the artistic and professional development of the participating artists and contributed to the skills and experiences of the artists who lead the projects.

One hundred and twenty five artists took part in the 11 unique projects. The responses from the project leaders and the participants was that DIY 5's emphasis on peer training:

  • empowered artists by allowing them to manage their own professional development.
  • enabled artists to develop creative approaches directly relevant to the needs of their practice.
  • encouraged artists to perceive their artistic output and professional development as inter-related and mutually beneficial components of a 'complete' practice.
  • facilitated networking between like minded artists.
  • inspired artists to take risks and think differently.

DIY 5 again demonstrated that artists are extremely well equipped to conceive and manage complex and often demanding professional development initiatives. The role of the host organisations in DIY 5 was therefore to facilitate and advise rather than to control.

Each DIY 5 lead artist conceived their project, submitted an application detailing their idea, prepared publicity copy, managed recruitment of participants, handled all relevant participation fees, booked all necessary venues, facilitated their training day(s), and wrote an appraisal report. Each lead artist received £1,000, which covered their fee and all direct project costs including venue hire, travel, materials and hospitality. Some artists chose to seek a small fee from participants which further contributed to their project costs.

The Live Art Development Agency and its partners financed and secured additional funding for the initiative, distributed a Call for Proposals via email, selected the lead artists through an open submission process, advised lead artists about the logistical and conceptual focus of their project, publicised the eleven projects under the DIY 5 umbrella through a Call for Participants, organised a final networking event — the ‘DIY indoor picnic’ — for all participants, and collated this summary report.

Like previous DIY programmes, DIY 5 proved to be a very successful and cost effective initiative that almost demands to be continued. DIY 5 was the second time that projects had been offered nationally. Future development and refinement could include:

  • Access to more tailored advice and guidance for the lead artists (if and when assistance is required).
  • The inclusion of travel budgets to enable greater networking between project leaders and participating artists.
  • A higher-profile evaluation of the projects, possibly through an event and/or publication that facilitates the sharing of outcomes and discussion of best practice.
  • A more generous financial base that provides artists' fees commensurate with the amount of time required to initiate, manage and evaluate a project, and remuneration for the host organisations.

DIY 5 focused on the professional development within the Live Art sector. It is clear that the principles and form would successfully translate to other artform practices.

DIY 5 was a Live Art Development Agency initiative developed in collaboration with Arnolfini and Theatre Bristol; Artsadmin; Colchester Arts Centre; Fierce Earth, North East; New Work Network and China Plate; and Nuffield Theatre and LANWest.

For more information about each organisation visit the websites:

Part of DIY 5: 2008