Jerwood in Practice: 1:1FUND Evaluation

Grants of £2,000 were awarded to pairs of artists, curators and/or producers, all within the first 10 years of their practice, for experimentation, research and development of new ideas without a predetermined outcome.

The fund was offered as a call for entries and received 856 applications (1712 individuals). Based on our interest in random selection as an alternative tool for decision making, the 1:1FUND trialed this approach, selecting 42 applications (84 individuals) using a random number generator. You can read more about our research and why we decided to trial this approach in our connected Reflections and Resources below.

We have since supported the 42 pairs to work together and undertake their proposed activities. At the time of writing, 26 pairs had completed an evaluation questionnaire asking them to reflect on their work and collaboration. The remaining projects are ongoing or delayed due to Covid.

You can also read the evaluation of the 1:1FUND to date including appendices with all the blogs, commissioned text and analysis so far.

Kickstarting new ideas across artforms

  • 1:1FUND supported a range of collaborative activity. Curators, producers and artists across visual arts, live art, performance, theatre, music and poetry engaged in research, ideas generation, workshopping or skills development.
  • 81% of individuals applying were first time applicants to Jerwood Arts, increasing our reach
  • 54% of individuals applying said that the random number generator had made them ‘more’, or ‘a lot more’ interested in applying
  • Applying with a collaborator made 65% of respondents more confident to apply
  • Most 1:1FUND supported artists felt that they achieved their overarching goals. They highly valued the time and space together, with 25% collaborations commenting that they accomplished more than they anticipated.
  • 94% of artists intend to continue with the work started during the 1:1FUND, demonstrating that strong, viable ideas were generated from relatively small-scale investment.
  • 100% of collaborating pairs found that there had been positive unpredictable outcomes, most frequently in the form of new or stronger relationships with partner venues, or having inspiring conversations with community members.

The power of collaboration

To understand how attractive and/or useful applying as a pair was for applicants, we surveyed all applicants of which 178 individuals (10% of the total) shared their thoughts. We discovered that:

  • Applying with a collaborator made 65% of respondents more confident to apply and only 3% less so
  • 52% of respondents were collaborating for the first time, having not made professional work together before
  • 87% said that they were likely or very likely to work together in the future regardless of the outcome of their 1:1FUND application.

Reflections on random selection

Introducing random selection to the decision-making process generated different responses from the start.

All 1:1FUND applicants were asked about it at the end of 2021 in our post-application questionnaire. More than half of respondents (54%) said that the random number generator had made them ‘more’, or ‘a lot more’ interested in applying. However, almost a quarter (24%) said it made no difference at all and 20% said it made them ‘less’ or ‘a lot less’ interested in applying. You can download the full summary of this survey.

In December 2021, we also commissioned four artists to produce texts capturing their perspectives on the fund and its experimentation with random tools.

To these reflections we have now added the findings from the final 1:1FUND evaluation survey. The selected 42 pairs told us that their view of random selection remained overwhelmingly positive, with some awareness that this might be affected by their luck in being selected. Some of the benefits of random selection that artists referenced were:

  • fewer barriers for applicants
  • less time spent on application
  • more risk-taking proposals
  • more inclusive application process
  • removal of usual decision-making biases
  • potentially feeling better if rejected

Random tools in selection have for us, as a funder, expanded horizons in another way – almost all artists chosen for the 1:1FUND were entirely new to us and there is a good chance that we were new to them: 81% of respondents said that they were applying to Jerwood Arts for the first time.

We continue to be interested in the benefits and pitfalls surrounding random selection.

Using our recent evaluation, ongoing learning and experiences of our peers, we held 1:1FUND: In Conversation on Random Selection on Wed 20 July at 9.30am.

Lilli Geissendorfer, Jon Opie and Mirka Kotulicova