Apply for BBC Culture in Quarantine opportunity for disabled, D/deaf and neurodiverse artists

BBC Arts has announced a new commissioning strand of Culture in Quarantine as part of the BBC's season celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act.

D/deaf, neurodivergent and disabled professional artists are being invited to apply to produce new video or audio works. The fund aims to commission ten new works, with support from digital production specialists.

The new Culture in Quarantine programme is being managed by The Space in partnership with Unlimited. They want to hear from the full diversity of exceptional and established disabled artists, working in any discipline across the four UK nations. Proposals should be for video or audio content. There is no specific editorial brief: projects can – but do not have to – creatively respond to the disabled experience of living through the pandemic.

The commissions will be published in 2021 on BBC platforms, with the aim of reaching audiences across the UK and worldwide.

You can apply via the online system. Access support is available for applications including alternative formats and funding for access support, within the limits of our overall programme budget. Read more and apply here

The  deadline for applications is noon, Tuesday 12 January 2021.

Applicants must be either:

  • An established professional artist ("someone who has been funded to produce artistic work in the last three years, whether through public funding or private sales or commissions") in the UK who identifies as disabled, D/deaf or neurodiverse; or 
  • A cultural organisation with a registered office in the UK that is applying on behalf of such artist(s)

Funding will be for artistic works that can be initially experienced by audiences on the BBC’s online and social platforms, TV channels or radio stations before potentially being published elsewhere. Therefore, proposals must be for video or audio projects.

  • The maximum duration for your work (or an episode of it) is 15 minutes for video and 30 minutes for audio
  • Commissions must comply with the COVID-19 restrictions in the artist’s area throughout production.
  • The amount requested from the fund can be from £3,000 to £8,000 (excluding VAT). We can 100% fund projects or part-fund them.
  • Projects must be delivered ready for publication or broadcast before the end of June 2021.
  • The  deadline for applications is noon, Tuesday 12 January 2021.

Commissions will be selected by a panel including representatives from BBC Arts, Arts Council England, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Arts Council of Wales, Creative Scotland and the UK Disability Arts Alliance.

This new commissioning round follows the success of the 25 Culture in Quarantine commissions selected in April 2020. To date, those projects have achieved over 8 million views across BBC and social platforms.

Jonty Claypole, Director BBC Arts, says: “The Disability Discrimination Act of 1995 is one of the most important civil rights landmarks in British history. To mark this important anniversary, the BBC’s Culture in Quarantine initiative is joining with Arts Council England, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Arts Council of Wales and Creative Scotland to commission a range of film and audio projects that celebrate the talent of D/deaf, neurodivergent and disabled professional artists today. This is more important than ever in the age of Covid-19 when the need for extreme shielding threatens to silence many disabled artists who would otherwise be producing work for galleries, stages and other platforms around the UK.”

Dr Darren Henley OBE, Arts Council England, says: "Culture in Quarantine has supported a diverse range of artists across the United Kingdom to create new work, which we’ve all been able to enjoy from the comfort of our homes. I’m proud that we are continuing our partnership with BBC Arts, Arts Council Wales, Creative Scotland and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland to invest in ten commissions from D/deaf, disabled and neurodivergent practitioners - who have been disproportionately affected by the current pandemic - showcasing and celebrating their unique perspectives."

Noirín McKinney, Director, Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, says: "We are delighted to be part of the BBC Arts Culture in Quarantine initiative on this important anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act. It is a timely partnership managed by the expertise of the digital support agency The Space, and provides valuable commissioning and production support for the artists involved. They will have the chance to increase their digital knowledge and skills, essential to creating and distributing new arts content in these times. The Arts Council is looking forward to seeing two significant and digitally accessible works from disabled artists in NI emerge from this commission next year, we are delighted to have received funding from the Department for Communities to enable this partnership and provide opportunities to this vital sector."

Diane Hebb, Director of Arts Engagement, Arts Council of Wales says: "These commissions are the kind of positive actions we need to take to address the inequality of opportunity disabled people face when engaging with the arts as artists or members of the audience. Our support, alongside that of partners, will enable artists in Wales create work that reflects and celebrates their lived experience and reaches and inspires audiences far and wide."

Iain Munro, Chief Executive, Creative Scotland, says: "Diversity of thought feeds innovation and creativity, and audiences are engaged by a wide range of stories, perspectives and experiences and this is one of the many reasons why the creation of tangible commissioning and programming opportunities such as this is so crucial."

'Sign Night' by Cathy Mager, one of the 25 commissions from BBC Culture in Quarantine.

Back to stories

About the Author