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DIY: 2020 – Call for Proposals

DIY 2020 – Professional development projects BY artists FOR artists.

LADA invites artist proposals for DIY workshops as part of DIY 2020, with selected projects due to take place between June and November 2020 (these dates may shift depending on the developing and ongoing pandemic).

Applications to lead workshop as part of DIY 2020 are now closed

DIYs can be about anything, however, in these incredibly challenging times, we welcome applications from artists who wish to think boldly and creatively about what a professional development workshop might look like in the context of social isolation/distancing. How might we support each other and continue to nurture artistic and professional development in these difficult times? What technology, techniques or approaches might facilitate dialogue and development in lieu of the freedom to travel, socialise and assemble outdoors?

Although we have closed our space and postponed all events we believe it is important to keep as many opportunities for artists open right now in the hope that they offer a small glimmer of light, and that the process of imagining and proposing programmes will be possible during these times of self-isolation. We will, of course, monitor the situation with these opportunities over the weeks and months to come.

For DIY 2020 we plan to support 24 DIYs in 2020 with project awards of £1,600 each.

Alongside the 13 partner briefs which are listed below we also have 11 open opportunities with partners from across the UK – so whatever your proposal’s focus we would love to hear from you – there really is no idea too weird or wild to be considered.

We’ve tried to make the application form as simple and brief as possible, however, if you’ve got any questions, have any access requirements, or would simply like to chat about an idea you have please email Finn or give us a call.


What is DIY?

DIY is an opportunity for artists working in Live Art to conceive and run unusual research, training and professional development projects for themselves and other artists.

We understand that the development of a Live Art practice is as much about the exploration of ideas, methodologies and experiences as training in skills and techniques.

DIY is all about creating spaces to explore new ideas and test new methodologies.

We want to hear from you if have an idea for an exciting, innovative and idiosyncratic Live Art professional development project that offers something different and is geared to the eclectic and often unusual needs of artists whose practices are grounded in challenging and unconventional approaches, forms and concepts.

Over the past 17 years, DIY projects have proved to be invaluable experiences for project leaders, participants and partner organisers alike.

We particularly welcome proposals led by or addressing underrepresented artists, practices, identities and/or territories.

DIY projects may take any form and can be based anywhere in the UK. Each DIY project is placed with a partner organisation (this year’s partners are detailed below. If a partner organisation has a regional remit your DIY project will happen in that region, if it has a national remit it can happen anywhere. Please make clear in your application your preferred location(s), although we do encourage you to be flexible (once we have selected the final projects we may ask some proposals to be relocated to ensure a good spread of projects across the country.)

DIYs can be about anything you want, but some DIY partners have written specific briefs for artists to respond to, which cover an exciting and diverse range of themes/issues, see below for more details). Your proposal does not have t0 relate to any of these briefs however and we welcome proposals of all kinds – provided they meet the assessment criteria (which can be found here).

From DIY11: 2014 - Dickie Beau's House of Strange Loops (image courtesy of the artist)
8 people sit around a table smiling at each other, the photo is taken from above From DIY 2019: Afrofuturism and Chill, led by Rebekah Ubuntu (image by artist)

DIY fee and more information

Every selected proposal will receive a budget of £1,600.

We welcome proposals from artists based in the UK and elsewhere however international applicants should note that there is no additional money beyond the £1,600 fee for travel to or accommodation in the UK and that LADA is not able to apply for Visas for DIY projects

Wherever possible, participant artists’ involvement in DIY projects should be free. Lead artists are encouraged to think about the needs of their participants when drawing up a budget, and many lead artists allocate some of their award budget to help with participant expenses. However, with projects taking place all over the country, and transport costs going up all the time, we are some way off being able to completely cover all the costs of taking part in a DIY.

In recognition of this, we expect that £100 of the £1,600 award will go directly towards helping participants cover travel, accommodation or other access costs where possible and appropriate.

We realise that this allocation is unlikely to cover every expense – some participants may still have to pay something, and lead artists are still encouraged to further consider participant expenses within their main budget where appropriate – but we hope this extra money will help open up the DIY programme to a greater number of artists.

Before submitting your proposal be sure to read our DIY FAQs thoroughly. If you have any questions that are not answered by this page, if you would like to discuss an idea before applying, or if you have any specific access requirements please email Finn.

DIY 2020 partner organisations

Artsadmin (London), Artshouse Jersey (Jersey), Cambridge Junction (Cambridge), Chapter (Cardiff), Colchester Arts Centre (Colchester), Compass Live Art (Leeds), hÅb (Manchester), Fermynwoods Contemporary Art (Kettering), Folkestone Fringe (Folkestone), Heart of Glass (St Helens), HOME Manchester (Manchester), ICA (London), Ideas Test (Kent), Lancaster Arts (Lancaster), Metal Peterborough (Peterborough), Museum of London (London), National Theatre (London), Norwich Arts Centre (Norwich), Sick of the Fringe (London), Something To Aim For (London), Scottish Sculpture Workshop (Aberdeenshire), Tate Early Years and Families (London), The Place (Bedford), Wellcome Collection (London), LADA (London)

From DIY 2016: Playing The Victim led by Katherine Araniello and Laura Dee Milnes (image courtesy of the artists)
The DIY model is an extraordinary model of art focused collective creativity
Claire MacDonald, DIY 2019 lead artist

DIY 2020 partner briefs

For DIY 2020 we have 24 opportunities for artists to run a DIY, and although DIYs can be about anything you want, some DIY partners have written specific briefs for artists to respond to, which cover an exciting and diverse range of themes.

ArtHouse Jersey

ArtHouse Jersey is based in a former military barracks site owned by the National Trust on the North coast of Jersey. The space has recently been renovated and comprises of two fully-equipped two-bedroom apartments and two flexible studio spaces. The Barracks are nestled just above a sandy beach and between two cliffs. Within walking distance are two pubs, two cafes and a shop. If people share twin rooms we can accommodate up to 8 people.

We particularly welcome applications from artists who are wanting to explore the effects of their physical environment on their work; and also artists who focus on the environment more widely. We can offer a space to retreat and play.

Because of the availability of our spaces this DIY must take place between the 13 and 18 September.

For more information contact Tom.

Compass Live Art and hÅb – Live Art in the public realm

Compass Live Art and hÅb would like to support a DIY concerned with artists working in the public realm and socially engaged practice. Compass has been commissioning artists to make live interactive projects with communities and groups since 2011 and hosting them in public spaces around Leeds. Among the many initiatives created by hÅb is Hazard which has been intervening in Manchester City Centre since 2007. While this DIY would not have to take place in the public realm, we’d like to see proposals that are issue-led, socially engaged and exploring a response to their environment. We expect it will be hosted in Leeds.

For more information contact Annie.

Fermynwoods Contemporary Art – Live Art, nature and technology

Fermynwoods Contemporary Art supports life through art. Our education and artist residency site at Sudborough Green Lodge is a remote building set in the Northamptonshire countryside. Located in the middle of Fermyn Woods and the largest and richest biodiversity grassland in Northamptonshire, Sudborough Green Lodge is only accessible by car via a three-mile track off a main road.

We welcome DIY proposals for explorations of humanity at the intersections of nature, technology, and artistic practice.

Sudborough Green Lodge has self-catering accommodation with 3 bedrooms (one double bed and four single beds). In addition to the budget, we can also offer transportation to and from nearby Corby or Kettering rail station.

For more information contact Jessica.

Ideas Test

Ideas Test is the Creative People and Places initiative for Swale and Medway. We have just moved our office to Gillingham, one of the Medway towns, which is home to Gillingham FC, the Royal Engineers museum, an ice rink, a mosque, parks, libraries and the Sunlight Healthy Living Centre, which acts as a community hub for many groups including Medway Afro Caribbean Association and Men in Sheds. Its twin towns are Ito and Yokosuka in Japan.

We are inviting artists interested to explore:

  • The stories and lives of Gillingham’s diverse communities and how these might be made visible in the town and in its spaces
  • The rapidly shifting impact of the social and economic dynamics of the area on issues such as migration, homelessness, low incomes, identity, place, commerce  and on the people who live and work here

For more information please contact Lucy.

Lancaster Arts – Age and Ageing

In alignment with the theme of our Autumn season, Lancaster Arts is interested in supporting a DIY that responds to the theme of “Age and Ageing”, and encourage artists to be bold and creative in their interpretation of this.

For more information please contact Jocelyn.

Metal Peterborough – Live Art and disability

Metal in Peterborough (Cambridgeshire) has a long history of running interdisciplinary artist LABs and residencies, and has built a strong track record of supporting disabled and LGBTQIA artists.  We are keen to receive DIY proposals from disabled artists with surprising and radical ideas for artistic enquiry.

The sharing of food is an important part of our practice, and shared lunch/dinner for all will be provided. The selected artist will be supported by Metal Associate Producer Kate Marsh, disabled artist-academic.

Metal is sited in a domestic setting in the city centre, with flexible rehearsal/making space and access to an outdoor garden. It is 45 minutes from Kings Cross by train.

For more information contact Kate.

Museum of London

Museum of London is currently engaged in the Smithfield Programmes – a three-year action research project that supports the transformation of historic Smithfield into an extraordinary creative and cultural place for London and Londoners, and informs the development of future programming for the new Museum of London at Smithfield.

As part of this research Museum of London is particularly interested in proposals that respond to any/all of the following questions;

  • What does it mean to be a ‘shared place’? And for whom, and built with whom? What does it mean to be a shared place in the city? And in response to the COVID-19 crisis, what might a “shared place” be while socially distancing?
  • What does it mean to be a ‘force for good’ in London today?
  • What might attitudes of ‘hospitality’, ‘conviviality’ and ‘kindness’ mean in this context for commissioning and collaborating with creative practitioners and participants?
  • How might you create public spaces and programmes that are child-led and young people-led?
  • How might you create/nurture transgenerational conversations?

For more information contact Lauren.

National Theatre New Work Department

At the National Theatre we make world-class theatre that is entertaining, challenging and inspiring, and we make it for everyone. We invite DIY proposals which take advantage of our resources in order to reimagine histories and design new futures. Based at the National Theatre Studio in Waterloo, London, the New Work Department has access to a range of costumes, props and period furniture from past NT productions, as well as three workshop spaces equipped with lighting rigs, sound equipment, video projectors and other technical resources.

For more information about this brief, including resources/spaces available, please contact Stewart.

The Sick of the Fringe – Live Art and the Body

The Sick of the Fringe is interested in supporting a DIY that reflects on the body, its problems and potentials.

For more information contact Brian.

The Sick of the Fringe  – vulnerability and its opposite

The Sick of the Fringe is also looking to support DIYs which, in some way, address questions of vulnerability and its opposite (which may be resilience, or toughness, or indestructibility or or or or or). We are interested in how language about self-care, self-recovery and radical softness has been co-opted by the mainstream, and in DIYs which present new possibilities for both action and reflection.

For more information contact Brian.

The Place Bedford – Live Art and young people

The Place Bedford are looking to explore opportunities for young people aged 12-16 that explore themes of play, playfulness and gamification.

We’re looking for artists who are excited about making Live Art that engages this age group, empowers young people (exploring issues faced by people of this age, or made for people of this age), and/or exploring playfulness for family and young adults.

As part of The Place Bedford’s ongoing GAME PLAY festivals (which run each January) we are inviting proposals for a DIY project by artists (and if/where possible artists working with game designers, urban developers and/or researchers) that explore ideas of playfulness, gaming, social and family interactions, and competition vs collaborative exploration.

Is Play the future of work? Are Games the perfect medium for translation between popular culture and Live Art? What can playing with Live Art open up for young creatives?

We welcome critical, imaginative and irreverent interrogations of these themes. We particularly encourage applications that aim to centre underrepresented perspectives, positions or groups, or that seek to engage directly with local themes around social inclusion, youth deprivation or young people’s mental health.

For more information contact Alex.

“To archives and beyond” – responding to Katharine Araniello’s legacy (supported by the Wellcome Collection)

 The late artist Katherine Araniello made essential and challenging work engaging with agency, disability and the aesthetics of the body. Her work was politically fearless and infused with subversive humour.

Wellcome Collection, working in partnership with LADA and the Katherine Araniello Advisory Group, invites proposals for a DIY that responds to or engages with the archive of Katherine Araniello’s film, performance and digital art.

We welcome proposals that will engage rigorously, playfully and thoughtfully with this archive and legacy.

The Katherine Araniello Archive includes video art that is available online, in addition to materials and objects that are in London.

For more information contact Brian.

LADA – Managing the Radical 2020

LADA is based in Bethnal Green, in the East End of London, where enormous wealth co-exists with great poverty, traditional cultures and ideas sit shoulder-to-shoulder with tech start-ups, while hyper-diversity and waves of migration continue to bring new communities to the borough.

We invite proposals from artists who want to explore the socio-geographic location of LADA, particularly in relation to power and money and how these impact on artistic practices, on ways of working, and on the communities artists are working with and within.

This could involve drawing on ‘different’ ways of doing things developed by artists, cultural activists and organisations past and present or simply by experimenting with different models of production in as yet unimagined ways.

This DIY forms part of LADA’s Restock, Reflect, Rethink Five: Managing the Radical (2019-2021), a research project which aims to rethink, reposition and reimagine how art that operates and thinks ‘differently’ is created, produced, peopled, funded, represented and contextualised.

Scottish Sculpture Workshop – What can governance learn from Live Art?

“We’re more than politics, more than settled, more than democratic. We surround democracy’s false image in order to unsettle it. Every time it tries to enclose us in a decision, we’re undecided. Every time it tries to represent our will, we’re unwilling. Every time it tries to take root, we’re gone (because we’re already here, moving).” – Stefano Harney and Fred Moten, The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study

‘A truly queer, feminist, anti-racist, posthuman Board would dance a tango with Governance – resisting, releasing, evading, acquiescing, rejecting’ – Jack Tan, artist and SSW Board member

Throughout 2019 SSW was working on and through governance in many ways – participating in RESHAPE, collectively planning our BE-PART programme and navigating how we remake our own institutions’ governance models whilst existing within the old ones. We now invite proposals for DIYs that explore democracy and governance in the arts and ask What can governance learn from Live Art?

To support the proposal we can offer in-kind accommodation, studio space and access to facilities at SSW from 10 – 13th October.

Funding information
This DIY forms part of BE PART,  a large EU collaboration project which critically explores collaborative art-making and sharing through decentralised governance models involving local citizens, artists, partners and policymakers. We hope that the learning from this DIY will support the development of this programme.

About SSW
Scottish Sculpture Workshop empowers artists and communities through collective learning and skills development. Our programme and rural workshops support experimentation, alternate knowledge production, togetherness and artistic desire. We question the narratives of our location and critically engage with the urgent issues of our time through artist-led projects, residency, open access and international collaboration. We build meaningful connections with the material world and each other.

For more information contact Jenny.

From DIY 2019: The Making of Pinocchio, led by Ivor MacGaskill and Rosana Cade (image by artists)
distorted figure stands in front of a green screen From DIY 2019: Green Screen Charivari, led by Adam Patterson (image by artist)
Zierle and Carter, part of DIY9, image courtesy of the artist
5 people sit apart from each on a coastal rock formation each with a notepad in their laps From DIY 2019: The confusing space between, led by Adriana Disman (image by artist)
a black and white image of 11 people stood together smiling for the camera From DIY 2019: Shiduchs, Shabbes and Shmucks, led by Alex Eisenbery and Liat Rosenthal (image by artist)
a close up image of a person in a large orange wig abd green glittery make up, with their arm around someone who is wearing a green t-shirt From DIY 2019: Unsightly Drag, led by Quiplash (image by artist)
13 people stand on the steps in from of LADA's building smiling for the camera From DIY 2019: Curse Bless me Now, led by Claire MacDonald (image by artist)
From DIY 2016: Be Your Dog, led by Angela Bartram (credit Dom Moore)
A group of artists raise their skirts to expose their vaginas on top of a hill. From DIY 2014: Raising the Skirt led by Nicola Canavan (image credit Dawn Felicia Knox)
two women in lingerie recline leisurely in a blow up pini flamingo on a pavement From DIY 2019: GILD Island, led by Vortessa (image by artists)
8 trans-masc artist pose in a clay/pottery studio in overalls, one person is wearing a red and white fluffy cowboy hat From DIY 2019: SWEAT: the sky leaks, I leak (image by artist)
From DIY 2014: Call and Response, led by Harold Offeh (image by artist)
From DIY 2016: Probing Elvis led by Nigel Barrett and Louise Mari's "", part of DIY 2013 (image courtesy of the artist)
From DIY 2015: Spaces of Radical Agency, led by Ria Hartley and Selina Thompson (image by artist)
From DIY 2014: The House of Strange Loops, led by Dickie Beau
It is essential that we as creatives, as people of color, as people with important, rare and specific narratives have space and time to come into existence. To become and keep becoming.
Participant from Beverly Thomas' DIY 2019 "The Silence"

Further information for applicants

LADA’s Frequently Asked DIY Questions page has been updated for 2020. Please read these notes carefully before applying.

If you have questions which are not answered by the FAQ, if you have any access requirements or if you would like to discuss an idea before applying, please contact Finn.

From DIY 2019: The Making of Pinocchio, led by Ivor MacGaskill and Rosana Cade (image by artists)

Banner image credit:

From DIY 2019: To The Ritual Knowledge Of Remembering // HIT THE GROUND led by Lateisha Davine Lovelace-Hanson (image by Sara Lima)


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