August 8, 2019

15 projects selected for inaugural Jerwood New Work Fund

The selected projects are led by the following artists:

Heather Agyepong; Kat Anderson; Rhiannon Armstrong; Lauren John Joseph; Phoebe Davies; Ian Giles; Gwen Hales; Mina Heydari-Waite; Idle Women (Rachel Anderson and Cis O’Boyle); Sabba Khan; Lanre Malaolu; Alice Malseed; Fernanda Muñoz-Newsome; Rebecca Solomon; and Laura Wilson.

Each of the projects support the artists to investigate their creative process and take risks that will lead to the development of unique new works destined to connect with a public audience.

The applications were assessed by Jerwood Arts’ staff and Artist Advisers, before decisions were made by a panel made up on Emma Bettridge (Artist Adviser); Harriet Cooper (Head of Visual Arts); Lilli Geissendorfer (Director); Jon Opie (Deputy Director); and Hetain Patel (Artist Adviser). The selection was signed off by Jerwood Arts Trustees.

The fund, open for applications from March to June, received 690 applications in total from across art forms and from all over the UK.

In the first round of Jerwood Bursaries earlier this year we found that many artists had not included a fee for themselves in their applications and published this finding. For the Jerwood New Work Fund we improved our guidance and were pleased to see that the majority of applicants included a fair fee for themselves and their collaborators. We now ensure in all our funded activities that artists are paid fairly.

For the Jerwood New Work Fund, we asked applicants to challenge and surprise us, and we were not disappointed. During the selection panel, two questions in particular helped us make the final decisions: ‘is this project a significant step-forward for those involved? and ‘who else would fund this?’. Whilst many proposals met this brief, the chosen projects have common threads: for example, individuals leading larger groups for the first time, authoring work for the first time, testing new methodologies, or working in or across disciplines that will substantially evolve their practice, and always in ways where they have calculated how they could make these leaps in a well-planned and supported way. All of them made powerful arguments for why they should develop their projects independently (although not always separately) from larger institutions, to give the project-leaders control over the development of the work and their practice. The total value of the 15 projects we are funding is £184,427; significant funding for those who were successful, but a drop in the ocean compared with the quality and demand.

The selected projects do not fall into neat art form categories and many exemplify cross, mixed and trans-disciplinary practice. There is wide diversity of disciplines including dance, circus, sound art, moving image, theatre making and socially-engaged practices. Four of the recipients have either received a Jerwood Bursary from us previously or participated in one of our other development programmes; the other 11 beneficiaries are completely new to our funding. We believe this is evidence that using Artist Advisers as part of our selection process is helping us to broaden our taste and stretch our funding to new artists and areas and take risks in new ways.

The selection for the Jerwood New Work Fund is another 2019 milestone for Jerwood Arts in a pilot year as we trial new, more transparent ways to offer our funding and make decisions. It sits alongside the Development Programme Fund, the results of which we will announce later in 2019, and two rounds of Jerwood Bursaries, the second of which is currently open for applications with a deadline of 9 September.

As part of our new approach, we are gathering more data and information about our applicants, which we will use to further understand artists’ needs, where demand for our funding is and is not coming from, and help to inform our funding activity in 2020 and beyond.

You can read more about Jerwood New Work Fund here. We will release further details about these projects through the autumn.

182cm Queenie (on set documentation), La John Joseph. Image: Elle Brotherhood