The Arthole Cockle Medal for Live Art Philanthropy, by Joshua Sofaer

As LADA approached the end of its two-year Catalyst fundraising programme, we invited the artist Joshua Sofaer to reflect on and respond to the work which we had carried out through the programme. Sensing that LADA, and our Catalyst consortium partners Artsadmin and Home Live Art, were already sufficiently engaged with reflection and evaluation on Catalyst, Joshua instead proposed to find a method to raise money for LADA for a project that would be difficult to fund in the current economic climate: a one-off award of £10,000 to an individual artist, with no pressure on outcomes, which would be supported by private giving: The Arthole Artist’s Award.

Joshua’s project involved the creation of The Arthole Cockle Medal for Live Art Philanthropy (an edition of three, in gold, silver and bronze), and a related series of invited, intimate fundraising dinners in Joshua’s home.

The Arthole Cockle Medal was developed as a one-off project, but on experiencing the ‘elegant joy’ of the work Joshua created – a work that in its conception and realization both made the case and was the case for the challenges Live Art poses to conventional fundraising – television executive Gary Carter not only agreed to make a gift to LADA, he offered the entire £10,000, and reimagined the The Arthole Artist’s Award as an annual endeavour, with one (gold) medal and with artist, patron and chef each nominating new candidates for the following year. Gary, the inaugural recipient of the Arthole Cockle Medal for Live Art Philanthropy was awarded the 2015/16 medal, which he accepted in the name of his son, Lucio A C Shala.

The bronze and silver medals were taken to the harbour at Margate, where they were cast into the sea at the Thames Estuary; a propitiatory act to appease the Arthole spirits, and leave Gary as the sole beneficiary of a unique artwork.

A full description of the project, with documentation, can be found on Joshua Sofaer’s website

Gary Carter was invited to respond to the themes of this project, and his text can be read here

The first Call for Proposals for The Arthole Artist’s Award 

The Arthole Cockle Medal for Live Art Philanthropy was supported by Arts Council England's Catalyst programme.

Banner image credit:

Photo: Joshua Sofaer, The Arthole Cockle Medal for Live Art Philanthropy

Latest news


31 August 2021

PLAYING UP Gender edition launches in 2021. PLAYING UP GENDER is a production of FUNDUS THEATER I Theatre of Research, in cooperation with the Live Art Development Agency.

Read more

Raimund Hoghe (1949 – 2021)

19 May 2021

Raimund Hoghe has died. Mary Kate Connolly has written these words in memory, and in tribute.

Read more

Responses to ‘Politics of Intimacy in Practice’

17 February 2021

A series of reflections and artistic responses by to the Politics of Intimacy in Practice DIY, by Raju Rage, Kyla Harris and Andre Medina, Rabindranath A Bhose, and Vanessa Young.

Read more

Twelve Days of Unbound

4 December 2020

2020’s Unbound seasonal sale is Twelve Days of Unbound – 12 days of 12 guest editors with each recommending books or films or editions that they would like to give or receive as festive gifts, and all offered at 12% discount.

Read more

Annual Review 2019/20

26 June 2020

Highlighting a selection of LADA’s projects and initiatives we have produced between April 2019 – March 2020

Read more