Open Call: Leeds Arts University 2022 Artists Commissions

13 December 2021

Leeds Arts University is pleased to invite applications from UK-based artists who identify as Black, Asian or from other ethnic minority groups for the 2022 Commissions Programme.

The aim is to increase the presence of practitioners of ethnic minorities interacting with the University and to challenge and develop pedagogy by generating inclusive debate. The opportunity is part of the University’s 2020-21 to 2024-25 Access and Participation Plan, an ambitious five-year plan to develop access to, success during, and progression following University for students from underrepresented groups, including students of Black, Asian, and other minority ethnicities.

For 2022 commissions, the selected projects should respond to one of four themes: 

  • transformation
  • community building
  • imagery of strength
  • cultural geographies (Leeds)

The two successful applicants will each receive: 

  • A £2,000 fee to conceive and develop a new commission and participate in a one-day public engagement event
  • A £2,500 production budget for the commission to include materials, travel and subsistence expenses and community engagement (if relevant)
  • Support and mentorship from LAU’s Curatorial team

Working within budget as set out in this brief, the artist will collaborate with the curatorial team to see through the timely completion of this work by 6 May 2022

The new commission will be launched in late Spring 2022 as part of LAU’s engagement programme either on campus or on our website and online channels (depending on the artistic format and the uncertainties brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic). The University will lead on publicity and opportunities for engagement. 


The opportunity is for UK-based artists of all ages who identify as Black, Asian or from other ethnic minority groups. 

Please note that one of the two commissions will be reserved for a 2020 or 2021 graduate of Leeds Arts University Further Education and Higher Education programmes. We are not able to accept applications from artists currently undertaking an undergraduate or postgraduate course. 

Leeds Arts University is committed to pursuing equality of opportunity and is committed to safeguarding and promoting the wellbeing of all learners; we expect our staff and collaborators to share this commitment. 

How to apply 

Stage 1 

In order to avoid considerable unpaid time spent in developing proposals that may advantage some applicants over others, the process will involve two stages. Applicants are initially invited to submit a one-page application form including contact details, up to 300 words project proposal and basic budget breakdown and email this to by Monday 31 January 2022. 

Please submit your application via the application form or email a maximum 3-minute video or audio file describing your project proposal and basic budget breakdown. 

Download the application form here. 

All applicants will receive an automated email to confirm that their application has been received successfully. 

Stage 2 

By 15 February, a shortlist of up to eight artists will then be invited to develop the proposals further by Tuesday 1 March, receiving a fee of £300 each. Two artists will be selected by 11 March 2021. 

Invited full applications should include: 

  • A proposal for the new commission which clearly outlines your intentions and explains why you think this would be relevant for LAU’s Commissions Programme (up to 750 words)
  • A budget, outlining how the £2,500 will be spent, including material cost, travel expenses and community engagement (if relevant)
  • A Curriculum Vitae detailing experience to date (maximum two pages)
  • Up to ten images and/or up to three video files of recent work, with accompanying captions. You are welcome to include a download link for a file sharing online platform (i.e. Google Drive, Dropbox) in your application. 

Image: Taken at Leeds Arts Union and the Afro Caribbean Society’s 2020 exhibition at the Corn Exchange, Leeds.

About Leeds Arts University 

Leeds Arts University is a specialist arts university in the North of England, with roots dating back to 1846, transforming over time from the original Leeds School of Art to Jacob Kramer College and the Leeds College of Art. Students have included Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Damien Hirst, Danny Sangra, and Omar Kashoura. 

In 2020, the University committed to an ambitious five-year plan to develop access and participation to the University from underrepresented groups, including students from Black, Asian, and minority ethnicities. The 2020-21 to 2024-25 Access and Participation Plan launched this programme of commissions as one of a number of strategic measures including targeted outreach provision for pre-university students from primary to adult learners, contextualised admissions, financial support, research to further develop understanding of the student experience, and support with careers, employability and entrepreneurship.