Call for Proposals: The Arthole Artist’s Award

The Live Art Development Agency’s new Arthole Artist’s Award will support a groundbreaking and inspirational UK-based artist working in Live Art to undertake a self determined year-long research and artistic development programme that will have a significant and lasting impact on their practice, and on wider contemporary culture in the UK.

This Award is intended to plug a hole in art funding for open-ended research and professional development.

The Arthole Artist’s Award recipient will receive £10,000.

Application deadline Noon, Thursday October 15, 2015, for a programme of activity to take place from April 2016 to March 2017.

The Arthole Artist’s Award will afford the recipient the space, time and resources to research a range of critical, cultural, and practical concepts and ideas in relation to their practice; to engage in dialogues with leading thinkers, researchers and artists; to explore new approaches to knowledge sharing and intergenerational collaborations; and to consider the possibilities of both their legacy and their future potential.


To be eligible for the Arthole Artist’s Award artists must identify as working with/within Live Art.

Applicants must have been based in the UK for a minimum of 10 years, and been practicing for a minimum of 10 years.

Applicants should have developed a substantial body of work that has tested the nature and possibilities of ‘live’ practices, be open to intergenerational dialogues and exploring new approaches and ways of working, and interested in questions of archives and legacies. 

Applicants’ capacity to undertake self-determined research, and the timeliness and appropriateness of this Award to their practice will be critical.

Full time students are not eligible for this Award. Anyone studying part time at MA or PhD level may apply, but must clearly demonstrate that they are able to undertake their study at the same time as completing their proposed Arthole programme and that there is no duplication between the two proposed programmes.


Proposal guidelines

We encourage applicants to think in creative, provocative and timely ways that are appropriate to them when developing their proposals.

The Award should allow the recipient to:

  • Have the space, time and resources to research a range of critical, cultural, and practical concepts and ideas in relation to their practice;
  • Engage in dialogues with leading thinkers, researchers and artists;
  • Explore new approaches to knowledge sharing and collaborations with artists across generations, from the emergent to those who have been working for decades; and
  • Consider the possibilities of both their legacy and their future potential.

The Background and context notes, below, might suggest ideas and activities, which could be relevant to your proposal.

It is anticipated that the Award will substantially be allocated towards supporting the professional development of the recipient, alongside some direct engagement and/or collaboration with other artists. The Award is not a project commission or production support.

We particularly welcome proposals from artists from culturally diverse backgrounds and artists working in/with ‘underrepresented’ territories.


Application Process 

The Arthole Artist’s Award will be selected through a two-stage open application process. 

Stage 1:

Artists who meet the eligibility criteria should submit a simple application by Noon, Thursday October 15, 2015 

– Full name, contact details and URL (where applicable)

– 250 words on the nature of their practice, recent and current projects and activities.

– 250 words on their proposed Arthole programme of artistic and professional development strategies and their anticipated impact.

Applicants must complete a monitoring questionnaire and applications will not be eligible without it.

Stage 2:

LADA will shortlist up to 25 applicants to be taken forward to Stage 2 of the application process and invited to submit a more detailed application, including:

– A fuller description of the programme of artistic and professional development strategies they plan to undertake (maximum 1,000 word count).

– A summary of the practical and conceptual needs of the proposed programme, and a statement regarding the artistic impetus, aspirations and desired outcomes of their proposal. Artists should specify how the proposed work relates to their recent practice and ongoing professional development, and the ways in which the Award will contribute to these, and to the wider Live Art sector (maximum 500 word count).

– A proposed allocation of the £10,000 Award, across fees and expenses.

The Arthole Artist’s Award recipient will be selected by LADA staff and a small panel of invited experts in the field.

Decisions will be made in relation to:

  • The relevance of the proposal to the overall aims of the scheme.
  • The significance and timeliness of the proposal to the artistic development of the applicant.
  • The uniqueness of the proposal and imaginative approaches to the proposed programme.
  • The viability of the proposal and the ability of the applicant to realise their aspirations within the time and resources available.
  • A demonstrable need for financial assistance for the programme of work and/or the programme of work being such that it would be unlikely to be funded through other sources.



Stage 1 application deadline Noon, Thursday October 15, 2015

Stage 2 application deadline Noon, Tuesday December 15, 2015

Announcement Friday January 29, 2016

Award to run April 2016 to March 2017


Background and context to the Award

The Arthole Artist’s Award builds on the strengths and successes of a number of highly influential artists’ professional development initiatives that LADA has pioneered over the last 15 years, including the self determined approaches of the One to One Bursary Scheme, the participatory and intergenerational methodologies of the annual DIY professional development scheme, and the space that Legacy: Thinker in Residence Awards allowed for artists to consider the impact and potential of their practices:

* One to One: Running from 1999 to 2006, LADA’s One to One Bursary Scheme supported over 50 mature artists in undertaking self-determined artistic and professional development programmes that explored and tested new ways of working and had a demonstrable and lasting influence on their practices.

* DIY: Running annually since 2002, DIY is LADA’s flagship training programme. Each year, DIY supports at least 20 artists from across the UK, and at all stages of their practice, to conceive and run free, collaborative workshops for other artists based on unusual, challenging, and outlandish ideas and methodologies.

* Legacy: The Legacy: Thinker In Residence Awards (2008-13) was a landmark collaboration between LADA and Tate Research, celebrating influential artists whose work has tested the possibilities of live practices and its legacies. Legacy recipients Anne Bean and Tim Etchells both viewed archiving as a creative process, a re-imagining of documents and words, with Anne creating the collaborative film project TAPS: Improvisations with Paul Burwell, and Tim producing the artist book While You Are With Us Here Tonight.

The Arthole Artist’s Award was conceived by the artist Joshua Sofaer, and developed by LADA in collaboration with Gary Carter.

The Arthole Artist’s Award 2016/17 Patron is Lucio A C Shala.

Background information on Joshua Sofaer’s development of the Arthole project, including the Arthole Cockle Medal for Live Art Philanthropy.

Banner image credit:

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

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