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An open call to the ‘woke minority’

Oliver Dowden (Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport) has invited 25 of the country’s leading heritage bodies and charities to a meeting on 23 February to tell them “to defend our culture and history from the noisy minority of activists constantly trying to do Britain down”.

We’re issuing an invitation to arts organisations and allies to meet on 23 February at 5pm to discuss the “heritage summit” called by Oliver Dowden, our potential collective response as arts organisations and to offer support if appropriate to the heritage sector.

Why are we worried?

This “heritage summit” is the latest in a series of similar actions from DCMS and the Charity Commission (see links below) and we are concerned that:

  1. This is censorship
  2. People’s stories and heritage will not be shared and by proxy will be silenced
  3. Heritage and the arts are intrinsically linked, they both tell stories and often support each other. We want all voices to be heard and all stories to be told
  4. This “silencing” will trickle down and DCMS may start to censor the arts and us as arts organisations

Join us for a quick (we promise) hour Zoom to find out:

  • What we all think about this?
  • What the response already is from our sector (if there is one)?
  • What can we do?
  • Will this affect us as arts organisations?

(There is quite a lot of stuff out in the world already about this but below are some links for more information.)

You can sign up to attend below – we look forward to seeing you on the 23rd February at 5pm.

If you can’t attend but would like to be involved in future conversations, please sign up to our artist mailing list below. We’ll share what comes out of the session on the 23rd and invite ideas for next steps.

Please share this with anyone who may be interested or affected

Strike A Light

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“The ‘heritage summit’ will be British culture’s last stand against woke zealotry. Among the 25 heritage bodies whose leaders will meet Oliver Dowden, too many are possessed by a Left-wing spirit that the public reviles… So it is a sign of grace that Oliver Dowden, the Culture Secretary, has invited the leaders of 25 of the country’s leading heritage bodies and charities to a meeting on February 23 to tell them “to defend our culture and history from the noisy minority of activists constantly trying to do Britain down”.

Simon Heffer
The Telegraph

Useful links/background reading

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Changing charity leadership #2: who can lead?

This is the second in a short series of rants and resolutions about why charity boards/governance structures are often a pale imitation of what they should be, and what we intend to do to change that.

‘Decisions are made by those who [are able to] show up’

This time, we’ll look at how the practicalities of board membership and logistics can stop them from functioning well.


Common problems of building a board

Collect the whole set

We’ve all seen it happen: what starts out as the crucial responsibility of assembling a diverse, relevant board ends up being reduced to a game of Pokemon (‘gotta catch em all!’)…

‘We need to get a finance person, a marketing person, an artist, a disabled person, a beneficiary, a person of colour, a young person – oh and better make sure there’s some women and someone with friends in high places in there, too…’

How, in a setup like that, are people supposed to feel any more than tokenistic?

Big responsibility, little support

Moreover, typical charity governance structures ask a huge amount from trustees, which impacts on who sits on boards and how they function.

Being a trustee generally requires you to:

  • have lots of free time
  • be able to take on unpaid work
  • be comfortable with legal responsibility, corporate and charity speak
  • provide specialist skills

You’re trying to find people willing to give up their time for free – people who are confident in a board room setting, reading and commenting on business plans and cash flows, and happy to take on ultimate financial and legal responsibility for a complex organisation.

Giving up time for free becomes particularly problematic if you’re asking freelance artists, or asking beneficiaries when you have a focus on people living in areas of socio-economic deprivation.

It’s also not OK asking people who have experienced racism to join your board just to help improve diversity in your organisation. Free labour to improve a systematically racist industry, sitting within a systematically racist governance structure? No thank you.

Local vs national

For Strike A Light, one other consideration is that we are very much a Gloucester-based organisation: we need to ensure we are listening to and answerable to local residents, beneficiaries, audiences and artists. 

At the same time, we have developed rapidly as an organisation and we need support from industry professionals in fundraising, finance and advocacy at a national level. 


Bringing it all together

Trying to include all of these people and then expect them to all be at the same meetings, covering an agenda that is required to be primarily about oversight and due diligence, does not make the most of people’s time and skills.

Recruiting new trustees is a challenge; bring together a diverse, representative group of people who can be/do all of these things, understand Strike A Light, have a commitment to the work we do, are interested in Gloucester… 

Cold calling and open calls haven’t worked for us – there needs to be a relationship and a way of making sure it’s the right fit on both sides.

All of which is why we’ve come up with a shiny new governance plan

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Changing charity leadership #1: activism, the arts and politics

This is the first of a short series of rants and resolutions about why charity boards/governance structures are often a pale imitation of what they should be, and what we intend to do to change that.


Why it matters

Boards should be a big deal. In theory, they’re about the leadership of an entire organisation:

  • they set the tone for a charity’s direction and running
  • they continually push the operation, challenging it to do everything it can to fulfil its stated purpose
  • they represent the communities the charity is working with, and make sure its work is actually serving the intended beneficiaries

In theory. But, too often, boards don’t live up to this billing – instead becoming just a managerial tickbox exercise, dragging endlessly along in the background to make sure the quota of meetings is met and the accounts get filed on time.

We want to do better.

We’re lucky to have an awesome board who are working with us to do this. They’re not the typical “male, pale and stale” board – but they want to do more, and so do we. Because it’s in everyone’s interest for charities to have kickass boards and governance.


‘We don’t do politics’

Let’s start by looking at the problem of quiet, passive, non-disruptive, don’t-rock-the-boat governance – and why that’s about to become an even bigger issue in the UK.

The Ministry of Silence

‘If you want to improve lives through charity, leave political fights out of it, writes Charity Commission chair BARONESS STOWELL’

The Daily Mail, 28 November 2020

There is currently a big push to ‘manage’ what charities say and/or emphasise in their work.

In the past couple of days, this agenda has been spelled out painfully, shamefully openly by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden:

Now, it’s true that charities have legal obligations about avoiding party politics – but this is something else. This is the word ‘politics’ being weaponised to attack charities that are engaging with the real world, accusing them of “starting culture wars about ‘wokedom’”.


Keep calm and stroke my ego

There’s a call for the bygone era of Victorian style charitable giving, where donating to the poor and needy gave a warm glow to those upper class philanthropists. Like Ebenezer Scrooge giving a turkey to the Cratchit family, immediately making up for all those years of forced evictions and extortionate rents for slums. 

The message is basically “don’t question anything the government does, don’t look at the root causes of why your charity has to exist, and whatever you do, don’t mention Britain’s colonial past”.

The fallacy of ‘neutrality’

But here’s the thing: not engaging with the challenges of today’s society isn’t apolitical. It’s not a ‘neutral’ position. It’s an active choice to maintain the status quo and the privileged which it serves.


Telling inconvenient truths

The arts are about telling stories, engaging with people, and exploring and reflecting the human experience. The stories which get heard, who tells them and what they say, will be political – not like ‘vote for Lord Buckethead!’ party political, but political because they will unavoidably touch on questions of how we live and act as a society.

Over the next year, Strike A Light will be supporting artists and communities making work about food banks, the climate emergency and Black history.

Is it possible to do this without being ‘political’? Or should we just stage plays about the upper middle classes, written by dead white men? Is that less ‘political’?

It doesn’t even matter how much substance you cut out from your content, how many ‘touchy issues’ you avoid or how vacuous you make your material: the very act of choosing which stories to tell is itself political. You will always be centring, normalising or privileging one experience over another.

Find me a story that isn’t political. I promise you, it doesn’t exist.


Contradictory demands

AND ANOTHER THING! As if this effort to favourably ‘control the narrative’ weren’t bad enough already, it’s also directly contradictory to other demands also being made of arts charities.

In the 2020 New Year’s Eve fireworks display, the UK watched a sea turtle made of drones swimming through the sky – even as we failed to meet any of our 2020 carbon emission targets.

We paid lip service to Black Lives Matter in the same year that DCMS told cultural organisations that if they want to be funded they should steer clear of talking about “contested heritage”

The Charity Commission can’t say to charities in their annual public meeting that they want to involve people from more diverse backgrounds and then a month later publish an article where they ask charities to pretend racism doesn’t exist.

Except that’s exactly what the Commission did.

This means there’s a fundamental disconnect between public messaging and the structures and funding that accompany them. How can you as an organisation genuinely commit to addressing climate change or lack of diversity – things we are repeatedly asked to do by government funders – without addressing the structures which create those problems and which perpetuate them? Complicit silence is not apolitical.

These are the most significant, pressing issues of our time. Life is political and if charities are to exist in and be relevant to society and fulfil their charitable aims for the public benefit then they must engage with the public and with society and therefore with politics. 

A plan to change the system of industry leadership

If there’s one thing we’ve concluded at Strike A Light, it’s that if you want things to change, the system has to change – and the leadership in the industry has to change. 

So we’re going to try something different with our governance.

We’re cooking up a new plan. One where you can get involved with Strike A Light governance without a long term commitment, share your skills and ideas, find out more about how the board works and get paid for your time in a workshop format.

We’re focusing on different topics each time and the first we want to tackle is arts charities and politics. 

How do we support artists and communities to make work which is about the world around us, which isn’t afraid to question and challenge, whilst working within the legal requirements of the charity structure regarding politics? 

Over the year we’ll also be looking at finance and fundraising, and what a cultural programme driven by artists and communities could and should look like. 

Get involved

We’ve drafted and shared a plan for how we’re going to change our governance structures.

If you’re interested in being part of this exploration and sharing your ideas and experience to support Strike A Light to achieve its charitable aims, we’d love to hear from you.

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Striking Spaces

Take our ‘Striking Spaces’ dance challenge and get moving in lockdown!

🌈 Find a cool backdrop outdoors
📱 Record your moves
📧 Send us the clip by 22 Feb

And we’ll create a short video featuring you and other incredible dancers from around our City!

No age restrictions, no experience restrictions (just Covid ones so make sure you follow those).

Striking Spaces Instructions

  1. To get involved in the Striking Spaces Dance Challenge, first have a look at the dance tutorial videos below.
  2. Use the videos to learn the routines in your own time. Don’t worry if you struggle with any of the movement, you can adapt it and make it your own!
  3. Film yourself (or ask someone to film you) performing the routines, or part of them, in outside spaces. A mixture of spaces would be great (urban/industrial, green/garden). Your videos need to be no longer than one minute.
  4. Once you’re happy with your videos, email them to charlene@strikealightfestival.org.uk. Deadline Monday 22 February.
  5. The videos we receive will all be combined to create a dance film to share publicly.
  6. Join us online on Friday 5 March on Zoom for a Q&A session with professional and young dancers and to watch the finished film of all the dances.
The Warm Up!
The Routines!

Covid Safety Guidelines

  1. If someone is helping you with filming, it must be someone from your household or bubble 
  2. If you’re filming in public spaces, maintain social distancing
  3. Avoid sitting on or using surfaces e.g park benches, steps
  4. If you are feeling ill or showing any symptoms of Covid 19 (high temperature, new continuous cough, loss or change of sense of smell/taste) stay at home, do not go to public spaces to film videos
  5. Always wash your hands thoroughly when you get home

Awesome people who are making this happen! 💛

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The End of the Pier Show

💻 Available online (via youtube)
🗓 Monday 15 February (10am) – Friday 19 February (10pm)
🎟 FREE (no ticket required)

💥Written and performed by Jonny Fluffy Punk 💥
Co-presented by Strike A Light, Gloucestershire Libraries and Pound Arts.

At the end of a soon-to-be-closed-down pier in a forgotten seaside town, Pierre the pier handyman spends the last weeks as he always does: catching fish for his old bedridden mother and making strange and wonderful things from the rubbish he finds on the beach.

Then who should wash into his life but a homeless mermaid with a spiky attitude and a story to tell! And things aren’t going to be the same again… Can kindness lead to great things? Can a bit less litter make a difference? Can the world’s first human/mermaid rock ‘n’ roll band make big waves?

Renowned stand-up poet and lo-fi theatre maker Jonny Fluffypunk presents a brand spanking new little show for families, with poetry, puppetry, story, song and a healthy dose of ramshackle anarchy.

‘Acute social observation, intricate humour, surreal fantasy, sharp irony and wit… and England’s most pretentious moustache.’ – The Independent

Perfect for kids and adults alike! (Age guidance 7+)


Awesome people who have made this happen! 🙌

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Let Artists Be Artists: Stage 2 Application

Stage 2 is now closed! Thanks so much for all your interest and applications. You can still read over this page for reference but applications are now closed.

Congratulations on your successful Stage 1 Expression of Interest! Welcome to Stage 2 (the whole process has three Stages).

Stage 2 involves group online discussion workshops, followed by a written, video or audio application.

Everything you need to know about these is on this page.


Online group workshops

We’ll open up online group workshops to provide an opportunity for conversation and to support people to develop their Stage 2 application. You don’t have to join one of these sessions but we hope that doing so will help you make the strongest application you can.

The sessions will give space for discussion and questions. This is not a ‘pitch’ workshop or a presentation and will be informal in style. No preparation is required.

These group workshops will take place online (via Zoom). You only need to attend one – so just book yourself on to whichever of the 4 sessions is most convenient for you.

Don’t worry if you’re not able to make any of these times: we’ll record at least one of the sessions and share it with you to watch in your own time as well.

  • Wednesday 3 February: 1:30pm & 6:30pm
  • Thursday 4 February: 1:30pm (this session will be captioned) & 8pm

Book a slot

A recording of the Let Artists Be Artists Stage 2 workshop.

Full application process

We’ve got 5 questions we’d like to know your answers to, and we would like to see up to 3 examples of your work.

Your complete application (including answers to all 5 questions) should be no more than 7,000 characters (around 2 sides of A4, or 1,000 words), or under 5 minutes of video or audio.

You can divide up that 1,000 words/5 minutes however you like – so, for example, if you want to spend a lot of time on Question 3 but hardly any on Question 1, that’s entirely up to you.

The questions are written out below so it’s easy to see them all in one place, and then the form to submit your response is at the bottom of this page.

If this doesn’t work for you please contact us to negotiate a different way of applying.

The 5 questions

  1. What is important to your practice as an artist?
    What are your values and how do you like to work? You can use examples to illustrate this.
  2. How would you describe the work you create?
    This can be about your process, as well as telling us more about shows, exhibitions, events or projects.
  3. How would you approach this role?
    You can include any ideas for what you would want to do and how would you want to work during the year. Please include information on how you want to base your work in Gloucester and/or Bristol. You don’t have to have a full plan for the year. This is about ideas and possibilities.
  4. Please tell us about your current work or plans for the next 12 months.
    If you have projects or funding confirmed please tell us a bit about this and how you see it fitting in with the role.
  5. Full time or part time?
    Please let us know whether you’re interested in the full time or part time role, or either – with a bit of explanation as to why.
    Your preference for full-time or part-time won’t be part of the shortlisting criteria – there’s not a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer! It’s just so that we know which role you’re most interested in.

Up to 3 examples of your work

Please provide up to 3 links to your work
These could be links to a website, gallery, document, video or anything else you’d like to show us.

Please remember to include any information we might need to access the link (for example, the password if it’s a private video)! And it’s really appreciated if you can be specific about what you want us to see – for example, we won’t realistically be able to watch 2-hour-long shows in full so please mention any key passages or sections you want to highlight 🙏

If you want to include work that doesn’t currently exist online anywhere, please upload it to a service like Dropbox, Vimeo, Google Drive or similar and then paste in the link. If you’re unsure how to do this, let us know and we’ll help you with the process.

Deadline: Monday 15 February 2021, 11.59pm

We will let you know by Tuesday 23 February if you have been shortlisted for the final stage of the application process. The shortlisting panel will be made up of a diverse group of artistsStrike A Light staff, representatives from partner organisations and community members. 


For reference: who is this opportunity for?

  • Artists who are excited about the possibility of developing their work in this brave new world, embrace change and would relish the chance to have a year to explore what works and what doesn’t
  • Artists who work in artforms that lend themselves well to a collaborative process, both in the creation and sharing
  • Artists who have an idea of who their work speaks to, is for or is created with. Artists who are interested in working with communities as part of their work. This can be communities of geography, interest or other common factors and how, when and why this engagement happens is decided by the artist.
  • Artists who want to base their work in Gloucester and/or Bristol. This does not mean that the artists cannot work elsewhere or work nationally over the year, but this opportunity is for artists who are excited about working in these places and want to focus their work there
  • Artists who work in a self-directed way, create their own projects and have a clear creative vision and practice. This vision and practice can still be developing but the artistic work of the year will be driven by the artist
  • Artists who have something to say, and particularly those who are under-heard and under-represented in the industry
  • Artists who are happy to share and articulate their experiences to support the research/ documentation aspect of the process. (We are sharing this idea as it develops with the wider industry)
  • Artists who want to use this year to build things which can support the sustainability of their career in future
  • Artists who feel that Strike A Light’s 7 principles are a good fit with their own ethos, values and way of working

For reference: the partners


For reference: the Stage 2 shortlisting criteria

The shortlisting for Stage 2 uses the same overall ideas as Stage 1 and the whole project:

  • Does this feel like a good fit for the artist and their work?
  • Would this artist and their work be a good fit for the purpose of the year e.g. are they in the right place to explore what happens if an artist has a year of paid time to lead their own creative work? To explore how that affects the work they make and the relationships they can build?
  • Does this artist’s work and values connect with the 7 principles such as ‘work with, not to’ https://strikealight.org.uk/2020/08/03/the-strike-a-light-recipe/
  • Does this artist’s work, process and plans align with the ‘Who is it for?’ information e.g. artists who want to base their work in Bristol and/or Gloucester etc. https://strikealight.org.uk/2021/01/26/let-artists-be-artists-stage-2-application/ 

The purpose of the shortlisting is to understand each artist better, what they create, how they work and what they want to do and then find the best fit with this particular project. It’s not about changing your work or plans to fit the process- it’s about finding the artists where this is the right thing for them, at the right time for them. 

For each question, the artists and partners reading your responses will be asked to consider particular things. We’ve put these below so you can see what they will be looking for when they read or watch your responses.

1. What is important to your practice as an artist?
What are your values and how do you like to work? You can use examples to illustrate this.

Shortlisting criteria will be:

  • Are there clear links between this artist’s practice and the 7 principles?
  • Does this artist’s practice demonstrate collaboration and/or community engagement?
  • Does this artist demonstrate that they have something to say and/or are underheard and under-represented in the industry?

2. How would you describe the work you create?
This can be about your process, as well as telling us more about shows, exhibitions, events or projects.

Shortlisting criteria will be:

  • Does this work excite you?
  • Are there clear links between this artist’s work and the 7 principles?
  • Does this artist’s work demonstrate potential for collaboration and/or community engagement?
  • Does this artist demonstrate that they have something to say and/or are underheard and under-represented in the industry?

3.     How would you approach this role?
You can include any ideas for what you would want to do and how you would want to work during the year. Please include information on how you want to base your work in Gloucester and/or Bristol. You don’t have to have a full plan for the year. This is about ideas and possibilities. 

Shortlisting criteria will be:

  • Can we/ the partnership support this effectively?
  • Are you excited by these possibilities?
  • Do these plans present potential for collaboration or community engagement in Bristol and/or Gloucester?
  • Do you feel the artist could confidently self direct this work?

4. Please tell us about your current work or plans for the next 12 months.
If you have projects or funding confirmed please tell us a bit about this and how you see it fitting in with the role.

Shortlisting criteria will be:

  • Do their current plans support the aim of a year of self directed creative work for an artist, to explore collaboration and working with communities in Bristol and/or Gloucester?

5. Full time or part time?
Please let us know whether you’re interested in the full time or part time role, or either – with a bit of explanation as to why.
Your preference for full-time or part-time won’t be part of the shortlisting criteria – there’s not a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer! It’s just so that we know which role you’re most interested in.

There isn’t a criteria for this, it’s for information.

Up to 3 examples of your work

Shortlisting criteria will be

  • Does this work excite you?
  • Are there clear links between this artist’s practice and the 7 principles?
  • Does this artist’s work demonstrate potential for collaboration and/or community engagement?
  • Do these examples back up the artist’s responses to question 2?

Full application form

Applications for Stage 2 are now closed!

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The World Awakens

The Multi Story Orchestra teamed up with pupils from schools in Gloucester to create this brand new piece of music during lockdown.

It’s a digital orchestra – with each instrument and voice recorded separately, in people’s homes and schools, during isolation – and now all the parts have been combined together to share with the world.

The creation of The World Awakens involved The Multi-Story Orchestra, three opera soloists and a virtual choir formed of hundreds of young people and community groups from Gloucester and Southwark.

This digital recording and animation was premiered at Gloucester Cathedral in October, underneath Gaia by artist Luke Jerram.

📸 David Grange

Awesome people who made this happen 🙏💥

Composer – Kate Whitley
Text – Laura Attridge 
Animation – Mary Martins
Sound Engineer – Steve Pycroft 

Soloists

Kate Royal – Soprano
Sarah-Jane Lewis – Soprano
Matthew Rose – Bass 

With huge thanks to the schools that made up the virtual choir:

Highnam C of E Primary Academy, Gloucester
Newent Community School, Gloucester
St Peter’s High School, Gloucester
Harris Primary Academy Peckham Park
John Donne Primary School, Peckham
Kender Primary School Lewisham
Peckham Academy of Music
Peckham Free School
St Thomas’ the Apostle School, Peckham

Generously Supported by Arts Council England, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, The Hilden Charitable Fund and the John and Susan Bowers Fund.


 

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Gloucester Gets Creative

Experiences you can enjoy right now
– made in Gloucester

Gloucester Presents… SheSpoke

A small group of women took part in writing workshops to express themselves in poetry – which was then turned into a hand-sewn textile banner 🔥

A young person playing violin in an orchestra with their sheet music in front of them.

The World Awakens

Pupils from schools in Gloucester have created a brand new piece of music alongside The Multi Story Orchestra.


Fresh new projects currently in the works


Dates for your diary

The Robert Wedderburn Project

🗓 Fri 5 Feb, stream online for free
A dance theatre piece inspired by the story of anti-slavery activist Robert Wedderburn

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Gloucestershire Arts Award Discover at Home

Check out our second digital arts award challenge from Strike A Light dance facilitator Ellie who will lead you in a Christmas dance challenge to the brilliant ‘Sparkle and Shine’ from the film Nativity.

Discover at Home is a special on-line version of Arts Award Discover, the first level of Arts Award and is aimed at children aged 11 and under. Arts Award is a set of awards for children and young people that gets them involved in and excited about arts and culture and celebrates their creative achievements.

Usually children are supported to achieve Arts Award by a trained Arts Award adviser. However, during the coronavirus pandemic, Arts Award Discover at Home has been designed to keep children engaged in the arts and creative while they are at home.

This resource is open to parents and carers, as well as schools and groups and can be delivered as part of a home-school partnership.

Discover at Home encourages children to:

  • develop a basic understanding of the arts
  • take part in arts activities
  • develop a basic understanding of communication

The structure of Arts Award Discover at Home

Children do this by completing all three parts:

  • Part A: take part in creative or arts activities and discover different types of ‘art’
  • Part B: find out about at least one artist and their work
  • Part C: share with others what they enjoyed and learned through doing the award

Thank you so much for taking part! If you’ve enjoyed this why not join our Youth Theatre or Youth Dance Company?

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Let Artists Be Artists: Recruitment Call Out

Applications for Stage 1 have now closed. You can still read over the information on this page for reference but the deadline for expressions of interest has now passed. You can follow the rest of the process as it unfolds on our Updates page. Thanks for your interest!

Listen to an audio version of this page.

Download a large print version of this page.

Call Out for Artists

Earlier this year we put a proposal out there– what happens if you employ an artist for a year, to just be an artist?

The pandemic has highlighted the inequalities and challenges that artists face. We don’t want to go ‘back to normal’ and so we’re proposing a different way of working.

What would happen or change if you were employed for a year? If you were trusted to lead your own creative work, and have paid time to think, have conversations and create if you want? If you could get off the project treadmill for a bit and explore what being an artist means in this COVID/ post-COVID world?

What is the offer?

One full time and one part time role, on a year long contract at £27,000 salary (pro rata for the part time role). The roles would be PAYE so would include paid holiday, sick pay, pension, Christmas party- all the benefits that someone normally employed through an organisation would have.

We would provide support as you shape your year of work but what you do in that year is up to you. It’s about your creative practice, what you want to explore and develop. There is no pressure to create specific projects or shows. It is not an artist in residence role – you don’t have to deliver on Strike A Light programmes or work to particular themes.

Start date in March/ April 2021 to be agreed with the artist.

Who is it for?

  • Artists who are excited about the possibility of developing their work in this brave new world, embrace change and would relish the chance to have a year to explore what works and what doesn’t
  • Artists who work in artforms that lend themselves well to a collaborative process, both in the creation and sharing
  • Artists who have an idea of who their work speaks to, is for or is created with. Artists who are interested in working with communities as part of their work. This can be communities of geography, interest or other common factors and how, when and why this engagement happens is decided by the artist.
  • Artists who want to base their work in Gloucester and/or Bristol. This does not mean that the artists cannot work elsewhere or work nationally over the year, but this opportunity is for artists who are excited about working in these places and want to focus their work there
  • Artists who work in a self-directed way, create their own projects and have a clear creative vision and practice. This vision and practice can still be developing but the artistic work of the year will be driven by the artist
  • Artists who have something to say, and particularly those who are under-heard and under-represented in the industry
  • Artists who are happy to share and articulate their experiences to support the research/ documentation aspect of the process. (We are sharing this idea as it develops with the wider industry)
  • Artists who want to use this year to build things which can support the sustainability of their career in future
  • Artists who feel that Strike A Light’s 7 principles are a good fit with their own ethos, values and way of working
What if you had time for meaningful conversations instead of having to sell sell sell?!
GIF by Tolmeia Gregory

How do I find out more?

You can read more about how this idea has developed and more detail about what the offer is and how it could work.

You can read the FAQs at the bottom of this page.


We are holding informal information sessions on

  • Thursday 7 January 2021 – 1pm* & 6:30pm*
  • Tuesday 12 January 2021 – 11am & 6:30pm

You will be able to find out more about the opportunity and ask any questions you might have.

*Both sessions on Thursday 7 January will be live captioned.

How do I apply?

Please read the FAQs at the bottom of this page before applying.

Stage 1 is a quick expression of interest or hello. Please let us know:

  1. Which of Strike A Light’s 7 principles do you particularly connect with and why?
  2. One link to your work – could be a website, gallery or video

You can share this with us in

  • No more than half a page of writing
  • Maximum 90 second video or audio file

If this doesn’t work for you please contact us to negotiate a different way.

Deadline: Sunday 24 January 2021 (midnight)

We will let you know by 28th January if you have been invited on to stage 2 of the application process. 

Stage 2 will consist of online discussion workshops through which applicants can ask questions and get to know us better, followed by a written, video or audio application.

Those who are shortlisted from this will move on to Stage 3. They will be paid for their time to plan and attend a final workshop/ interview, which they can design to suit them, in order to share their work comfortably.


FAQs about the role

Where did this idea come from and who is involved?

You can read more about how this idea has developed and see a list of the partner organisations.

Why is there not a specific project brief? 

This is a conversation, and something we want to develop with you. For the artists we appoint we will work together to create a job description so you are clear about how everything will work but ultimately it’s about your creative practice, what you want to explore and develop.

What do you want me to make? 

There are no specific outcomes that have been decided. It’s a question- what happens if you employ an artist for a year? You don’t have to do a specific number of projects or shows and can choose when and how you create. 

Who’s the artist working for? What is the role of the partner organisations? 

Strike A Light will be employing the artist on a year long contract and we will be the main point of contact and support. You will not be delivering for us or for the partner organisations though. Your job is to be an artist – to think, plan, have conversations, and explore how to develop your work and create in the world in which we find ourselves. 

The partner organisations have come together to make this happen because they want to try a different way of working. They want to understand what experiences the artist has over the year, what works for them and what doesn’t, how they make work (or don’t) in a COVID/ post-COVID world. This can then support organisations to think about how they work with artists, employ, commission, programme etc in future. This is NOT about the artist providing a solution for the organisations but IS about their experiences and ideas being listened to. If you want to meet with some or all of the partners during the year then that would be great because they can provide a network of support, contacts, opportunities etc but you are not reporting to them. 

What does full time and part time mean?

Strike A Light have standard full time contracts of 37.5 hours and so would expect a full time contract to equate to 5 days per week of work and the part time contract to equate to 2.5 days per week of work. Like all Strike A Light staff you would not be expected to do timesheets. Our working relationships are based on trust, commitment and mutual respect. We don’t check up on staff or scrutinise their hours- we work to the best of our abilities and work flexibly to suit our needs (childcare, mental health, working styles etc). For these roles, as with the rest of the SAL team, your time is paid for whether that’s planning, thinking, meetings, creating or delivering. If you’ve had a busy week you take time back the next week. This is not about forcing creativity into a 9-5. If you’re in the zone at midnight on a Sunday no one is going to demand you’re sitting at a desk at 9am Monday. We will create the contract with the artists and it is not set in stone- we can definitely have conversations about how the contract works, amount of time, working patterns, structure etc. 

FAQs about the application process

What is the full application process? We worked with some brilliant artists who created a process they felt would be open and where you wouldn’t have to spend loads of time on a first stage application. You can see the full application timeline and process

In my stage 1 expression of interest, what are you looking for? We’ve asked about which of the Strike A Light principles you particularly connect to. You can choose one or more to write or talk about. This isn’t a test, there’s not a right answer. We want to see what interests or excites you about working in this way. The whole application process is designed to help us get to know you, your work and your values, and vice versa, to make sure we’re a good fit.

Who will be reading the applications? 

Applications will be shortlisted by staff from Strike A Light, representatives from the partner organisations and artists who are supporting us with the recruitment process. 

Can I chat to you about my application? 

We are holding informal information sessions on Thursday 7 and Tuesday 12 Jan 2021. You’ll be able to ask questions and hear more about the opportunity.

You can also read more about how this idea has developed and more detail about what the offer is and how it could work.

If you need to talk about a different way of applying please contact us.

Do you give feedback? For the first stage expressions of interest we will provide general feedback about the applications which we’ll share on email. For stages 2 and 3 we will give individual feedback wherever requested. 


Funders and partners

We’re so grateful to all of the organisations who are joining us to make this a reality:

Action Hero | The Arts Development Company | Bristol Ferment | Create GloucestershireGL4 | Gloucester Culture Trust | Jerwood Arts | MAYK | Pound Arts | Theatre Bristol | Theatre Orchard | Travelling Light Theatre Company | Trinity Bristol