The Garrett Centre Commission, Call for Proposals

Submission deadline 20 November 2017

The Live Art Development Agency (LADA) is inviting proposals from artists for a new project that will respond to the physical, cultural and social context of LADA’s new base in The Garrett Centre, Mansford Street, East London.

The commission should be realised between January and July 2018.

The commission award is £2,500 (inclusive of fees, taxes, travel/accommodation, and production expenses).

Background and context

LADA has been based in the East End since it was established in 1999. After five years in The White Building in Hackney Wick, we moved into a former Unitarian mission The Garrett Centre, Mansford Street, Bethnal Green in September 2017 to begin a new chapter in our history. The Mansford Street mission began as a centre for social action in the late 19th century. Founded by Unitarians — a bit like Quakers and also committed to working for liberal causes — the building has been a hub for working with local communities and has recently relaunched as The Garrett Centre, intending to host arts, ethical and community focused groups and social action projects. It has housed Simple Gifts, a community project working collaboratively with local people, for the past five years and is now welcoming LADA as part of a new outreach phase of the building’s life. The Garrett Centre shares many of LADA’s values and concerns around issues of equality, feminism, displacement, study and research. LADA and The Garrett Centre look forward to a positive future working together.

Our new space will strengthen LADA’s position as a Centre for Live Art — a knowledge and research centre, a production centre for programmes and publications, and an online centre for digital experimentation, representation and dissemination.

We will continue to host individual and groups in our Study Room, but with increased space, we will also host expanded public programmes, regular LADA Screens events, Thinkers in Residence schemes, our first physical Unbound shop, and a new ‘desk space’ scheme for Live Art Producers, curators, researchers and artists. Our new location also offers opportunities for more local engagement with individuals, communities and neighbourhood organisations.

The Commission

To support our relocation to a new neighbourhood and this new phase for our work, we are inviting proposals from artists for a project that will explore and test ideas for new ways of working within/around our new premises, and new ways of engaging with local publics and partners.

The commissioned project can take any form. It might be a series of site specific performances/actions/interventions in, or within the vicinity of, our new space; it might be a street fair; it might be a participatory project with local individuals or groups; it might be a collaboration with a neighbourhood organisation; it might be a series of guest lectures or screenings; it might be a new, shareable resource or publication; it might be a lunch or supper or book club.

While we are interested in publications, we do encourage ideas that will contribute to the programme’s engagement objectives and not creating something that will simply sit on a shelf!

Likewise, while we welcome new iterations of existing projects, we strongly encourage applicants to demonstrate a clear link to our new space, its local area, and/or local organisations and residents.

All aspects of the creation, production and presentation of the project, including collaborators’ fees and all taxes/expenses, must be included within the commission award of £2,500.

The commissioned work should be realised by July 2018 at the latest.


To be eligible for the commission, applicants should identify as working with/within Live Art – more information here.

Applicants can be resident anywhere in the UK, but must have been based in the UK for a minimum of five years, and have been practicing within the arts for a minimum of five years.

If you are unsure about your eligibility please call LADA to discuss it with us in advance.


We encourage, and will prioritise, proposals which are bold and creative, and that seek to engage with our new location and/or new neighbours in innovative, accessible and instrumental ways.

Deadline for applications: 20 November 2017.

Proposals should include the following information:

  • Name and contact details.
  • Brief background information, including recent/current artistic work and relationship to Live Art.
  • Details of proposed project including content, form, and, if appropriate, collaborators and/or partners.
  • How the proposed project will engage with the physical, cultural and social context of LADA’s new facility and contribute to the development of our local relationships.
  • Timescale for the proposed project (which much be completed by July 2018).
  • An indication of how you will allocate the £2,500 budget.


The commissioned artist will be selected by the LADA team with the input of our current Thinkers in Residence, Hester Chillingworth and Claire MacDonald.


Live Art Development Agency (LADA) is the world’s leading organisation for Live Art, producing projects, opportunities, resources and publications. LADA works to create the conditions in which diversity, innovation and risk in contemporary culture can thrive, develop new artistic frameworks, legitimise unclassifiable artforms, and give agency to underrepresented artists, practices and histories.

Hester Chillingworth is a solo artist, director of the performance company GETINTHEBACKOFTHEVAN, and Creative Producer (Participation & Engagement) at Forced Entertainment. As Thinker in Residence at LADA, Hester is exploring issues around Young People, Gender and Live Art.

Claire Macdonald is a writer and performer who has recently also trained as a Unitarian minister. Her long-term artistic, activist, writing, research and Unitarian experience provides a strong foundation for her residency at LADA, which will research and test ideas for the development of our programmes and partnerships with the aim of bolstering our connections with the Unitarian community, as well as with other tenants in the building and in the neighbourhood.


The Mansford Street Commission is supported through LADA’s contribution to the Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme (CAPP), an EU-funded research project looking at collaborative practices within socially engaged contexts.

Banner image credit:

The Garrett Centre, source Adrian Dutton


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