Live Work Fund: Behind the Scenes

Rosie elnile, image credit: Manuel Harlan

Announcing the Awardees

Today we announce the 33 visionary artists, creatives and producers selected to receive a Live Work Fund award. You can find out about them and their work here.

We are excited for their energy and enthusiasm for the future. We are also proud of them as a group of individuals who embody a lifeline of creative optimism for the arts in the UK through and beyond the coming year.

In addition to the grant, the awardees will receive mentoring and introductions to experts, as well as the peer support from other recipients of the fund.

This is a slow programme, where the results may not be immediately obvious, and the ripples may last for a long time. We do not have fixed expectations of what the awardees might achieve with the funding. Instead, we want them to have a connective, restorative, surprising and creatively rewarding period, that will set them up to navigate our uncertain future with confidence.

Feedback to Applicants

In this moment, we also want to acknowledge the 1,250 applicants that we could not support, who poured their ideas for the future into their proposals.

We were humbled by this response and understand our responsibility to honour their effort.

Everyone who did not get an award had the chance to request written feedback. 636 asked us for this, and we are in the process of summarising the selection notes to give them an idea of how their application was read.

Feedback is something we have offered almost all applicants since the beginning of 2019, and we hope that it gives some transparency on how decisions have been made. It is also one way we show our respect to the artists who apply to us.

The Selection Process

Over the last two years we have worked with Artist Advisers, who have become embedded in our selection processes. Comprising of a pool of established artists from various backgrounds and creative disciplines, from across the UK, our Artists Advisers have changed the level of artistic insight and lived experiences that go into making decisions about the applications we receive.

For the Live Work Fund, we worked with 13 Artist Advisers and it is true to say, that we were led by their expertise throughout the process. Very practically, without them we simply could not have made decisions about so many applications in four weeks. Every application was read by two Artist Advisers with relevant artform knowledge to the bid. It was based on their recommendations that applications were longlisted, then shortlisted and then finally selected. This means that each of the final 33 awardees has received their enthusiastic support and our decisions were enriched by their rigour, intelligence and challenge.

As with previous funding rounds Artist Advisers have been part of, we have chosen not to name them so that they could work with us freely and alleviate some of the pressure they felt about making recommendations on fellow artists and creatives. In their anonymity we thank them enormously for their invaluable contribution.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

In setting out the guidance for the fund, we said that the sector was experiencing one of the highest levels of loss of work due to the pandemic, and this was disproportionately affecting the health and livelihoods of people who were already under-represented in the live music and performance sector. These individuals were also more likely to experience racism and marginalisation, including those from African, Caribbean, LatinX or South and East Asian heritage, those with disabilities or long-term health conditions, those from lower socio-economic backgrounds, and those facing intersecting barriers.

The actions we took to address this need were threefold: to make the guidance and application form more inclusive; to change the marketing approach for the opportunity, and to employ Artist Advisers from a range of backgrounds and identities in the assessment and selection process.

As a result, in the total intake of 1,283 applicants, 19% told us they had a disability and 30% were people who identified as being from African, Caribbean, LatinX, South and East Asian or mixed heritage. In the final selection, 64% of the awardees are from those heritages and 27% have a disability.

In the intake and selection, there was still a large proportion of applications from those based in London (46% and 48% respectively). The relatively small number of applications from Wales (3%) and Northern Ireland (2%) is notable. The final selection has two artists from Wales but sadly none from Northern Ireland. We strive to be a national funder and take our responsibility to increase the reach and relevance to those outside of London seriously. This is an area for improvement in future opportunities.

Livelihoods Survey

At the time of applying, we asked applicants to fill in a survey about how Covid-19 had affected their livelihoods. We asked about the impact on people’s creativity and what financial and non-financial support they had been able to access.

There were also questions about whether people were considering leaving the arts, and what they hoped would improve in the sector post-pandemic. We received 1,243 responses and we are taking the time to understand what they tell us. Some initial findings are summarised in the announcement press release. We will work with the Live Work Fund funders and academic partners to report further on what we were told.

Our Partners and Stay In Touch

We would also like to thank our colleagues at the Wolfson Foundation, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Linbury Trust. This fund would not have been possible without their trust in Jerwood Arts’ approach and their vision and sense of urgency to help us to create a meaningful, timely opportunity for independent artists, creatives and producers.

Much of our work with the Live Work Fund awardees will be behind the scenes. If there is any public news or work produced by them, we will share this on our social media @JerwoodArts. Please also follow us for news of future funding opportunities.

Jon Opie, Deputy Director