Jerwood Curatorial Accelerator Guidance

Applications for Jerwood Curatorial Accelerator are now closed. The deadline for applications was 5pm, Tuesday 3 May 2022.

We will be in touch with all applicants about the status of their application by 5pm, Friday 27 May 2022.


Application Guidance contents:

  • What is the Jerwood Curatorial Accelerator programme?
  • Key dates
  • What does the programme offer?
  • Who is this programme for?
  • Am I eligible?
  • Application making advice and support
  • Meeting your access requirements
  • The selection process


Watch the recording of an online event from Tuesday 12 April at 12pm, discussing curatorial careers and frequently asked questions about Jerwood Curatorial Accelerator.

Application guidance and application form documents

You can access this application guidance and the application form in the following formats:


Application Guidance English Language Welsh Language
Audio Recording Application Guidance Application Guidance
Easy Read Application Guidance N/A
Large Print Application Guidance Application Form Application Guidance
Plain Text Application Guidance Application Form Application Guidance
Word Document Application Guidance Application Form Application Guidance
PDF that can be run through text recognition software Application Guidance Application Form Application Guidance
BSL Video Application Guidance


We are committed to working with the selected JCA Fellows to understand their individual circumstances and support them to fully participate in the programme.

If you are currently contractually employed and would require permission from your employer to take part in JCA, please seek this before applying to avoid disappointment further down the line. To support you in these conversations you can download an example email and a pdf containing information for employers.

What is the Jerwood Curatorial Accelerator Programme?

Jerwood Curatorial Accelerator (JCA) is a new 12-month programme to support ten early-career curators from working class/low socio-economic backgrounds to develop their networks, skills and leadership ambitions.

From July 2022 to July 2023, ten selected JCA Fellows will travel to eight leading visual arts galleries and organisations across the UK for behind-the-scenes insights into their curatorial approach, artist communities and civic role; take part in a co-created online curatorial and leadership development programme; and benefit from individual mentoring. The programme aims to equip them with the networks, skills and knowledge to enable them to fulfil their ambitions and play a part in the future of the visual arts sector.

Seven Host organisations are confirmed and the eighth will be chosen by the selected JCA Fellows. The Hosts are:

  • Centre for Contemporary Art, Derry ̴Londonderry (CCA)
  • Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA)
  • Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MiMA)
  • Peak Cymru
  • Somerset House
  • Turner Contemporary
  • Yorkshire Sculpture International (YSI)

The Hosts offer access to a wide breath of approaches to curatorial practice and place, as well as being organisations of different scales and types based in locations across the UK. Each Host organisation will create a two-day programme with the JCA Fellows to introduce them to their work, networks and communities; creating a space for exchange and shared learning around different aspects of curating today. Visits may develop conversations about opening up collections, working in post-conflict contexts, curating with community groups, working with rural infrastructure, the role of writing, and opportunities around civic placemaking; as well as including artist studio visits and networking. You can read more about the Host organisations here.

JCA aims to broaden the diversity of lived experience in curatorial and visual arts leadership. Curators are recognised as having a lot of influence and playing a critical role in improving the diversity and breadth of art that is programmed and shared with the public. However, research suggests there is a significant lack of diverse backgrounds in the visual arts: only 21% of museums and gallery staff are from working class/low socio-economic origins. Data also suggests there is a lack of ethnic diversity, disabled and women in senior leadership roles across the visual arts sector*.

JCA therefore takes an intersectional approach, focusing on identifying and nurturing early-career curators who have faced barriers because of their socio-economic background and identity, and providing a fully funded, inclusive and accessible development programme to enable their careers to thrive.

Jerwood Curatorial Accelerator (JCA) is designed and delivered by Jerwood Arts, with funding from Arts Council England’s Transforming Leadership Fund and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, and Art Fund support. Host partners include Centre for Contemporary Art, Derry ̴Londonderry, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, Peak Cymru, Somerset House, Turner Contemporary and Yorkshire Sculpture International. The programme has specialist support from people make it work, Dr Dave O’Brien and Annabel Jackson Associates Ltd.

*Source: Brook, O., O’Brien, D. and Taylor, M. (2018) Panic: Social class, taste and inequality in the creative industries.

Key Dates


Open for applications Thursday 31 March 2022
Application deadline 5pm, Tuesday 3 May 2022
Shortlisting decisions communicated to all applicants Friday, 27 May 2022
Online interviews with shortlisted applicants Wednesday 8, Thursday 9 and Friday 10 June 2022
JCA Fellows 2022 announced July 2022
Visit 1: Yorkshire Sculpture International July 2022
Visit 2: Dundee Contemporary Arts September 2022
Visit 3: Turner Contemporary November 2022
Visit 4: Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art December 2022
Visit 5: Centre for Contemporary Art, Derry ̴Londonderry February 2023
Visit 6: Somerset House March 2023
Visit 7: Peak Cymru May 2023
Visit 8: JCA Fellow’s Choice June 2023


What does the programme offer?

JCA is a 12-month programme which offers ten early-career curators support to develop their curatorial and leadership skills. It includes:

  • Eight in-person residential two-day visits to Host organisations across the UK, with the eighth Host chosen by the JCA Fellows
  • An online programme of approximately 12 workshops and talks which you will have the opportunity to shape to help you develop your curatorial and leadership skills
  • A dedicated individual mentor or mentors who will support your career development during the 12-month programme
  • Support from the Jerwood Arts team to develop your profile and networks

The programme is fully funded. It includes:

  • A bursary of £4,000 to support your time spent on the programme which can be either paid directly to you, paid to your employer in order to backfill your role, or split flexibly to enable you to participate
  • All costs for travel to and from, accommodation, local travel, meals and refreshments for visits to Host organisations including any individual access requirements
  • All costs associated with the online programme of workshops and talks
  • An individual budget of £750 for mentoring
  • An access budget supporting the needs of D/deaf, disabled or neurodivergent Fellows and/or those with caring responsibilities

We are committed to working with the selected JCA Fellows to understand their individual circumstances and support them to fully participate in the programme.


Who is this programme for?

JCA is designed to support individuals in the early stages of their career who have curating at the heart of their practice. It is specifically for applicants who identify as being from working class/low socio-economic backgrounds, which are underrepresented in curatorial practice and the visual arts in the UK.

You may already call yourself a curator, or you may not yet, but have ambitions to do so. We recognise that it is a loaded term and that in the contemporary visual arts sector, there are many roles which include curating practices without using that job title. Examples of roles you may do or may have done might be: programmer, organiser, producer, engagement co-ordinator or in an assistant role to any of these. You may also have your own artistic practice, alongside curatorial activities. The definition of ‘a curator’ in visual arts and what ‘curatorial practice’ includes is ever evolving.

For this programme, we have developed the following list of activities with the Host organisations which characterise the breadth of curatorial practices the programme aims to support and the type of work we expect applicants will currently be engaged with:

  • Organising, facilitating or producing exhibitions/events
  • Connecting audiences with art and artists
  • Researching, archiving and sharing knowledge
  • Caring for, nurturing and enabling opportunities for artistic practices
  • Acting as a catalyst, a connector and a collaborator
  • Working with organisations, communities, educationally or independently
  • Questioning and imagining what is possible through art

JCA is targeted at those who have reached a stage where they are looking towards their next challenge and asking questions about their long-term ambitions. We are excited to support curators within this programme who:

  • Want to significantly grow and explore their practice and have a critical understanding of how to develop it
  • Have the motivation to curate, programme and support the development of significant work in the future
  • Show leadership potential
  • Might not normally consider applying for grants or development opportunities
  • Would benefit from a year of supported development at this point in their career
  • Are from a working class/low socio-economic background
  • Have faced barriers to developing their curatorial career because of their identity or background or are from a background or identity that is currently underrepresented in the visual arts

In addition:

  • There is no educational eligibility requirement
  • Self-taught curators are welcome to apply
  • There is no upper age limit, however curators must be over 18
  • Curators must be based in the UK but do not need to be a UK national; migrant curators are welcome to apply
  • The programme is delivered in English language only
  • There is no financial means testing, curators currently on benefits or requiring support with Access To Work are welcome to apply
  • Curators must not be in full or part-time formal education
  • Curators may have either an independent or institutional employed curatorial practice
  • Curating may be a main role/job, second or freelance role, or voluntary role so long as there is an emerging track record of professional curatorial practice
  • Companies, organisations and collectives are not eligible to apply

Am I eligible?

JCA is specifically for individuals who identify as being in the early stages of their career and come from a working class/low socio-economic background.

We understand that our backgrounds and identities are complex: applicants will not be required to ‘prove’ their eligibility through this application process. Instead we aim to provide enough information for you to self-define your suitability for JCA, and will only ask you questions that will help us understand how JCA can make a difference to your career ambitions.


The term ‘early-career’ is difficult to define and may look different depending on a range of factors including art form/s, career pathways, location and personal circumstances. Across all Jerwood Arts funding, we are looking to support practitioners who have some existing professional experience and momentum for their practice but are still in the early stages.

This is the definition of ‘early-career’ that we are using for JCA, and which we require you to meet. We anticipate that many will have struggled to find paid work during the Covid-19 pandemic and may have fewer examples of their practice in the last 24 months. This will be taken into account during the assessment process:

  • You have a track record of curatorial work in the visual arts and have been developing your practice for between 3-7 years outside of any educational training (if relevant). This does not need to have been within an employed curatorial role in an arts institution or have been your main source of income during this time.
  • You have worked on at least 3 projects where you have demonstrated your own curatorial voice and vision. This might include different types of activity, for example developing an event, working with an artist on a commission, contributing curatorial ideas to a large-scale project, curating an exhibition, delivering a socially engaged project or editing a publication.
  • You have begun to build networks within the visual arts but are looking to expand these across the UK.

Identifying the moment of transition from ‘early-career’ to ‘mid-career’ is also complex. These are some markers which would suggest you are beyond the career stage which JCA is best suited to support. If you meet two or more of the following criteria, you are likely to be ineligible:

  • You have been lead curator on national and/or international exhibitions which have received significant press coverage and profile.
  • You already have established peer and artist networks in the UK and/or internationally.
  • You have undertaken some focused development of your curatorial practice during your career so far. This might include supported time on research, on residencies, on development programmes or with funding support.
  • You have significantly more than seven years’ experience working as a curator in the visual arts.
  • You are regularly invited to contribute to events, publications and exhibitions.

Working Class/Low Socio-Economic Background

Class can be a loaded term. We often talk about ‘socio-economic background’ instead of class because it helps us to be more specific and join up our work more easily with other social justice organisations outside of the arts. For example, in academic research about social mobility, socio-economic background or socio-economic origins is often the preferred term. However, most people self-define using class terms e.g. ‘I’m working class’.

Both terms refer to the particular set of social and economic circumstances that an individual has grown up in. Individuals from a low socio-economic background will most likely have been to state school, might have received free school meals as a child, and had a low household income when they were growing up. They might have grown up in the care system or been the first in their family to go to university. Other terms people from a low socio-economic background might identify themselves with are working-class or benefits-class. Individuals from a low socio-economic background are more likely to face intersecting barriers in society, experiencing racism, ableism and other forms of discrimination.

We have been thinking carefully about language through our Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries programme and our understanding of this continues to evolve. For JCA we have decided to use both working class and low socio-economic background as terms to help applicants define their own experience in relation to this opportunity.

To identify as having faced economic and social barriers to working in the arts you will typically self-identify as being from a working class background, and meet at least two of the following criteria:

  • You attended only state-funded school or college
  • You were eligible for free school meals at secondary school (if studying in the UK)
  • You were the first generation to attend higher education in your family
  • You grew up in a household where at age 14, the primary carer held an occupation that can be described loosely as
    • Unemployed;
    • Routine manual and service occupations e.g. van driver, cleaner, porter, waiter/waitress, bar staff;
    • Semi-routine manual and service occupations e.g. postal worker, security guard, machine worker, receptionist, sales assistant.


Intersectionality refers to the interconnected nature of characteristics such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group. These are regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage. The programme actively recognises the intersections of socio-economic background with protected characteristics, such as gender, disability and race.

We realise that this eligibility can be complex, and if you are unsure and would like to discuss your suitability, please contact us to book an advice session.


Application making advice and support

We are committed to making our opportunities accessible and the application experience as user-friendly as we can. This is part of our ongoing work to welcome and encourage applicants facing barriers to apply.

  • Emails: We are happy to receive emails with questions to Mirka Kotulicova at We will aim to respond to your email within three working days.
  • Advice Sessions: We also offer the opportunity to speak with a member of the Jerwood Arts team for a ten-minute advice session in advance of applying. In these sessions, we are unable to read draft applications or texts, but we can discuss your specific questions or ideas and guide you as to how you might strengthen these in the application. Please email Mirka Kotulicova at with the questions you would like to discuss and your phone number to book an advice session.
  • Social Media: For a more informal opportunity to ask questions we will run several ‘Ask Us Anything’ sessions on @jerwoodarts Instagram or Twitter throughout the callout period. Follow @jerwoodarts to ask us questions via this format.
  • Event: We hosted an online event on Tuesday 12 April at 12pm, discussing frequently asked questions about JCA. Watch the recording here.

Please note that the advice we give will be on the eligibility and suitability of you making an application and will have no bearing on its assessment. You do not need to have spoken to a Jerwood Arts member of staff before applying.

Meeting your access requirements

You can access this application guidance and the application form in a number of accessible formats at the top of this page. Please note, the application form is provided to help you draft your answers offline before submitting via the online application portal.

Video/Audio Application

Our online application form gives you the opportunity to make either a written, audio or video application. Whichever format you choose, we will ask you to answer the same questions. We will ask you to complete contact details and an equal opportunities monitoring form in written form to assist the processing of your application. No assessment will be made of the writing style or the production quality of audio or video recordings.

Access Support Worker

We can contribute up to £200 towards a fee for an Access Support Worker for applicants who need one. Please email Mirka Kotulicova or call us on 07947 906 467 at least one working week before the deadline to discuss how we can help.

Access Rider

We are committed to ensuring that the programme is accessible for the selected curators. JCA Fellows will be provided with an access document at the start of their supported year to let us know what they need to fully participate in the programme, including communication methods and engagement in both digital and real-life elements.

Access Budget

There is an access budget to support the needs of D/deaf, disabled or neurodivergent JCA Fellows or those with caring responsibilities. We will work with individuals to understand their specific needs including how this relates to Access to Work or current benefit payments.


The Selection Process

The deadline for applications is 5pm, Tuesday 3 May 2022.

All applications will be read by at least two members of Jerwood Arts staff, Host organisations and paid independent assessors. The readers will meet to shortlist around 20 applicants for interview. Interviews will take place online on 8, 9 and 10 June. Shortlisted applicants will receive the interview questions in advance and be supported throughout the process. The final decision will be based on the interviews with shortlisted applicants. All applicants will be offered feedback on their applications on request within one month.

Jerwood Arts is committed to addressing equality, diversity and inclusion across all our work, and you can find details of our latest actions here. As set out above, this programme is specially targeted at those who have faced barriers to a career as a curator due to their working class/low socio-economic background. We recognise that class/socio-economic background is currently not a protected characteristic under the 2010 Equalities Act, but that it intersects with other, protected identity characteristics to create a ‘double disadvantage’. We will therefore be taking a positive action approach throughout the selection process to ensure an equitable decision-making process.

The programme is supported by funders committed to working UK-wide. We therefore have Host organisations in all four nations and our ambition is to select early-career curators from each nation.