Let Artists Be Artists

For too long, there have been massive inequalities in terms of who benefits from ‘The Arts’ – both as audiences and professionals. Artists go underpaid, under-heard and under-supported. And it’s not truly open to everyone. We want to change that.

So in summer 2020, with the world and the arts industry thrown into disarray by the coronavirus pandemic, we launched an experiment to test out a different way of working:

We think this moment, where there is no business-as-usual, can be an opportunity to build a new normal for the arts industry. A new normal that gets us closer to the world we want to see – where everyone can access amazing cultural events. Where the systems are:

💥 fair
💥 adventurous and
💥 open to everyone.

What started out as an interesting idea is now becoming a definite reality. We have enough partners and enough funding to run this experiment for real. We ARE going to employ two artists for a year to test out this model. The application process is now underway – the deadline for Expressions of Interest has passed (24 Jan 2021).

Everyone involved in this project is convinced that it’s really important to be as transparent as possible, and to ‘show our working’ – because this change needs to be bigger than us. So we’ll be documenting every stage of the process as publicly as we can. To follow that progress, scroll through the timeline of the project’s stages/phases below. Most recent updates first!

You can also sign up to our Let Artists Be Artists mailing list to be notified of new developments and updates:

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And if you’re doing something similar in your organisation, we’d love to hear about it! Please do drop us a line 👍

Phase 3: artist callout

December 2020

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! Download a large print version of this page. Call […]

Let Artists Be Artists: Recruitment Process Overview

How do I apply? Stage 1: expression of interest/ hello Stage 1 is a quick expression of interest or hello. Please let us know Which of Strike A Light’s 7 principles do you particularly connect with and why? One link to your work – could be a website, gallery or video You can share this […]

Phase 2: planning the practicalities

November 2020


October 2020

An email goes out to partners and artists, inviting them to take part in a planning day

Thank you for agreeing to be part of the planning day for Let Artists Be Artists. This project is an experiment.  We are trying to work at speed to get something happening. We don't have any of the answers. We need to listen to you to make this work.  Please can you confirm by Friday 9th October if: you are attending in person or digitally you have any access requirements   Details for the day: Wednesday 14th October 11am - 4.45pm. Venue:  Fyfe Hall, Trinity Centre, Trinity Road, Bristol BS2 0NW

Phase 1: the initial idea, & finding partners

August 2020


We wrote up the principles/model that we believe in

An animated GIF. A group of people dance in a community centre while the lights fade through different colours.

The Strike A Light Recipe for Great Cultural Events

Since 2013, we’ve been working in Gloucester to create great cultural events and experiences that can bring communities together, make life vibrant and exciting – and change things for the better. In that time, we’ve learned loads about what works and what doesn’t.


June/July 2020

The original proposal

Let Artists Be Artists

A proposal for arts organisations to build a new normal, with artists and communities at its heart

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 Gloucestershire | GL4 | Gloucester Culture Trust | Jerwood Arts | MAYK | Pound Arts | Theatre Bristol | Theatre Orchard | Travelling Light Theatre Company | Trinity Bristol