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Awards and prizes are being launched to help UK artists during the Covid-19 pandemic—here's how you can apply

Several UK organisations have created new grants or tweaked existing ones because of the coronavirus crisis

Interventions / Interruptions, Slide series (2009-ongoing) by Daniella Valz Gen, winner of the first Artquest WFH Residency award © courtesy of the artist

As exhibitions and commissions are put on hold or postponed, organisations around the UK have begun offering commissions, prizes and awards to help artists during the coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown.

Further artists opportunities in the UK can be found on websites such as Artquest, ArtsHub and Art Rabbit, while the London-based organisation Art Licks has temporarily given over its weekly listings newsletter to artists opportunities. The Art Newspaper has also compiled a list of UK and international financial aid for the self-employed and small business in the arts. If you are struggling with writing applications for grants, the UK Artist Grant Writing Support network will be offering help until 31 May. The support is being provided by directors and curators from Auto Italia, Chisenhale Gallery, Gasworks and Grand Union. For more information, click here.

Below is a list of awards, grants and bursaries to help artists in the UK (please note, some are only open to specific regions or demographics).

Prizes, awards and bursaries

Artquest’s WFH Residency is a £1,000 prize aimed at London-based visual artists who have had work or projects cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Artquest, which is part of University of the Arts London, is specifically encouraging “projects that take a co-operative or communal approach and connect people while social distancing”. But while asking for works that address the current situation—proposals that are safely accessible and that do not encourage physical contact—the organisation says that projects “unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic are particularly welcome”. The first residency was awarded this month to Daniella Valz Gen, for a series of weekly online gatherings. A £1,000 prize will be awarded each month until July 2020; the next ©lines for entries are 6 May, 3 June and 1 July. For more information and instructions on how to apply, click here.

The King Lear Prizes have been created especially for non-professional artists who are over 70, with the idea being to encourage creative work from “ordinary people who are stuck at home because of coronavirus”, according the organisation’s website. There are five creative arts categories, including art. The prize is named after the Shakespeare play, which may have been written during a quarantine period because of the bubonic plague. If you are a professional artist, so eligible for the art category, now might be the time to write that short story you have always wanted to, or dust off your flute and compose a tune. One prize of £1,000 will be awarded in each category. The deadline is 29 May. For more information and instructions on how to apply, click here.

The art and technology organisation Fact, based in Liverpool, is offering grants and support to “early-career” artists living or working in the North of England to develop work during the lockdown that will be presented online. Application for the Fact Together grant should respond to the theme of the “natural world, exploring ways in which wildlife, plant life and ecological systems have responded to the impact of human actions”, according to Fact’s website. Ten grants of £1,500 plus three months of professional support are on offer. The organisation is “particularly keen to receive proposals from artists who are looking to develop their practice, so you do not need to have previously created digital or online work”. The deadline is 26 April. For more information and instructions on how to apply, click here.

The artist-led project space ArcadeCampfa in Cardiff is offering two commissions of £300 to make work for its website during the lockdown period. While anyone can apply, “preference will be given to Wales-based practitioners”. The deadline is 4 May. For more information and instructions on how to apply, click here.

The Time Space Money is not a prize but a bursary to help artists “whose livelihoods have been impacted by coronavirus”, organised by a-n (The Artists Information Company), the UK’s largest artist membership organisation. The bursaries range between £500 and £1,500 and can be applied for by artists who are not members, as long as they are based in England. The deadline for applications: 12pm (BST) 7 May. For more information and instructions on how to apply, click here.

Creative Scotland is offering a Bridging Bursary of £500-£2,500 for artists and creatives in Scotland “who are experiencing immediate financial difficulty due to the loss of income as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic”. There is no deadline. For more information and instructions on how to apply, click here.

The Coventry City of Culture Trust is offering grants of £500 for artists and £1,000 for arts organisations in Coventry and Warwickshire that have had work or events cancelled because of the coronavirus lockdown. For more information on how to apply to the Coventry 2021 Coronavirus Resilience Fund, click here.

The Manchester International Festival (MIF) is “repurposing” some of its artist development funds to offer three different types of opportunity to artists based in the Greater Manchester area during the lockdown. For its Festival in My House programme, MIF is offering a budget of up to £1,000 to artists hosting a micro-international festival at home. There is a budget of up to £350 for online workshops, talks and performances; and up to £1,000 for research and development under its Remote Residency programme. The organisation is accepting proposals until 30 April. For more information and instructions on how to apply, click here.