1:1FUND: In Conversation on Random Selection

To launch the publication of our 1:1 FUND evaluation we brought together four arts organisations who have all explored using random selection in their work.

1:1 Fund Logo 2021
1:1 Fund Logo, 2021.

In a first for Jerwood Arts, the 1:1 FUND trialed using a random number generator to select awardees. A novel approach to funding in the arts, we commissioned four original texts to respond to the idea and invited the 1712 applicants (856 pairs) to share their thoughts with us on this approach. Since then, the 42 pairs who received the funding have been busy putting their £2000 awards into action and sharing what they got up with us, including their reflections on being selected at random.  

In very different contexts, The Uncultured, Horizon Showcase and New Diorama Theatre have also been experimenting with random selection in different parts of their work, and we’ve invited them to reflect on their experiences with us. Using random selection raises questions about equity and equality, unpaid labour, time and capacity, the role of knowledge and expertise and a wide range of other issues around how the arts sector offers and distributes opportunities for artists. We want to offer our learning so far and share thoughts on questions, benefits and pitfalls we have encountered in the belief that while far from perfect, random selection has the potential to be a useful tool when used appropriately.  

Chaired by Lilli Geissendorfer (Director, Jerwood Arts), the conversation brought together Ash Bowmott and Laura Sweeney (Creative Producers, The Uncultured), Jodie Noble (Horizon Showcase/Battersea Arts Centre), David Byrne (Artistic Director and CEO, New Diorama Theatre) and Jon Opie (Deputy Director, Jerwood Arts).