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Sadler's Wells Jerwood Studio, Le Patin Libre 's Vertical Influences. Pictured: Samory Ba. Image: Alicia Clarke

Our Approach

We choose to start with the needs of artists. We are committed to improving conditions for those from all backgrounds across the UK to develop and make new work with integrity. We support artistic freedom of expression and being as inclusive as possible across all our work.

Research shows that the challenges facing early-career artists, curators and producers are concentrated around barriers to accessing opportunities, including funding. This is compounded for those who have backgrounds and identities which have been historically underrepresented in the arts, and made more challenging by low pay, structural inequalities in funding and commissioning, and poor working conditions. These challenges have been exposed and deepened recently by the impact of Covid-19 and made more urgent by the exposure of poor practices by the Black Lives Matter movement.

As a funder with limited resources, we recognise that we have a specific sphere of influence within which we can try to address some of the needs and challenges facing early-career artists, and the wider sector. We want to reduce the barriers some individuals face in accessing our funding. We want to invest in their capacity, capability and confidence to apply not only to us, but to other sources of support too, thereby supporting their long-term success.

We are a member of the Open and Trusting campaign run by the Institute for Voluntary Action Research (IVAR) and London Funders, along with more than 50 other UK foundations and charities, we have signed up to the campaign’s eight commitments, which  align strongly with our core values and set out clear practical ways to be more open and accessible to potential applicants and grantees.

As an arts funder supporting both individuals and organisations, we have made changes in recent years to make our processes kinder to applicants which can be read about below under three key areas of activity: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Fair Pay and Environmental Sustainability.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

We are committed to improving access and inclusion across the arts through our funding. Research shows that diversity is vital to artistic vibrancy and vision, but change has been slow. Since 2010, we have been particularly focused on improving opportunities for individuals from low socio-economic backgrounds to get in to the arts through the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries programme.

Research shows that the arts does not provide adequate support or opportunities for the work, health and livelihoods of people from African, Caribbean, LatinX or South and East Asian heritage, those with disabilities or long-term health conditions, those from low socio-economic backgrounds, and those facing intersecting barriers. There has been historic underrepresentation of people who identify with these backgrounds, identities and communities, which has been compounded by the social and economic effects of the pandemic.

We are committed to promoting, commissioning and supporting those who have experienced racism, prejudice and marginalisation by making sure that our funding, exhibitions and awards are representative overall but that the most transformative opportunities we offer are accessed by artists facing discrimination and structural barriers. As part of this we have been working to be kinder with application processes, more generous and thoughtful with advice and feedback, and more welcoming to everyone who approaches us.

You can read more about our approach and actions to promote inclusion here.

Fair Pay

Jerwood Arts is a Living Wage Foundation Employer and Living Wage Funder. We are committed to ensuring that artists are appropriately paid for their time, contribution and expertise, whether directly by us or through our funded projects. Our minimum expectation for is that all artists benefiting from our funding will be paid the Living Wage Foundation prevailing UK rates. In many cases, we would aim to recompense artists at above this rate in recognition of their skill, expertise and training. Where we offer an opportunity, we will say how much time is required from the artists and how the pay will meet at least our minimum standards.

When making an application to us, we encourage applicants to research the industry standard day/week rates relevant to their discipline.

Some unions and support organisations, which offer guidance:

Environmental Sustainability

As a responsible funder we are committed to developing more sustainable and environmentally friendly practices across all our work. Our approach has been influenced by the Sustaining Great Art and Culture report published by Arts Council England and Julie’s Bicycle, and the Charities and Environmental Responsibility guidance issued by the Charity Commission. We are a founding member of Culture Declares and a signatory to the Funders Commitment on Climate Change. Our staff team is committed to the following:

  • using suppliers who hold and actively pursue their own environmental policies
  • working with local businesses and caterers to reduce travel costs and carbon emissions
  • walking, cycling and using public transport wherever possible whilst on Jerwood Arts business
  • using technology to reduce the need for travel, improve energy consumption and reduce waste
  • reducing consumables used in the office and recycling
  • using Fair Trade and more environmentally friendly products where possible
  • reducing, reusing and recycling materials used in our exhibition productions, and reducing energy consumption in our gallery and office

We pride ourselves on being a learning organisation and are committed to educating ourselves and keeping our minds open. If you have feedback for us, we’re listening at info@jerwoodarts.org