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A new commissioning round focuses on access and diversity in a bid to address issues raised in the White Paper and Warwick Commission report.

Photo of man filming
Complicite’s ‘The Encounter’ was live streamed on YouTube and The Guardian website

Robbie Jack

The Space – the Arts Council England and BBC joint digital art venture – is reverting to its original brief by widening its focus to include projects that capture and distribute live art events and those using technology to enhance artworks.

Looking to address issues raised in the Government’s recent Culture White Paper and the Warwick Commission’s Cultural Value report, The Space’s latest commissioning round is focused on access and diversity.

The Space will support projects that use digital technology to open up the arts to wider audiences, which offer new perspectives and have diverse artistic and creative teams.

It is encouraging bids for projects focused on the visual arts and dance, and from organisations based outside of London.

Chief Executive and Creative Director of The Space Fiona Morris said: “New technologies have the power to enable us to deliver new and existing work to larger, more diverse audiences, overcoming barriers to participation and encouraging audiences to try new experiences.”

The Space was launched two years ago with a remit to commission work and unearth new artistic talent. Following a review last summer is has now widened its focus to commission work across three ‘strands’:

  • Capture: digitally capturing and distributing live arts performances, events and exhibitions.
  • Extend: creating digital content that deepens the experience of existing artworks, events, exhibitions and activities.
  • Create Digital: creating new works that have digital at the heart of the creative process.

The expanded focus marks a return to the model used in The Space’s original pilot, which saw the majority of funds spent on capture projects and projects providing additional content around an artistic work.

The Space is also putting less emphasis on its own website as a destination for the public to engage with art. Instead it will look to existing platforms to host content, such as BBC services and YouTube, where existing audiences can be tapped in to.

This commissioning round builds on recent work commissioned by The Space, including Ai Weiwei 360, an online interactive experience building on the Royal Academy exhibition, and a project to capture Complicite’s production of ‘The Encounter’, which was live streamed on YouTube and The Guardian website.

The Space expects to finance around 10 to 12 projects in this round, applications for which close on 25 July. It will typically provide up to £70,000 but may agree finance over £100,000 in exceptional circumstances.

The Space plans to commission around 30 projects a year, with commissioning rounds opening every six months. 

A photo of Frances Richens