The Arts Institute Art Commissions - Covid-19

Chris Bailey - Winner of 2018 Film Commission Prize 

Everything has changed. Nothing has changed. Change is coming. 

No-one expected 2020 to look like this. Covid-19 has affected all our lives in countless ways. Many artists have been adversely affected by the current situation with the loss of employment and commissioning opportunities. Yet, perhaps more than ever, we look to art and culture to provide comfort and respite and to inspire and restore, whether through music, film, theatre, dance, visual arts, reading or storytelling.

The Arts Institute supports the development of new ideas and thinking across art and culture, providing a platform for emerging, mid-career and established artists to test out new positions. As part of this The Arts Institute is launching four art commissions inviting artists working within film, visual arts, performance and spoken word to give voice to the current situation.


To develop new work that responds to the theme ‘Everything has changed. Nothing has changed. Change is coming'.

Each commission invites reflections from artists on the current situation with an emphasis on considering the impact of change, whether at a domestic level or at a global level. Big or small, incremental or fast-paced, we welcome new imaginings and new perspectives that will prompt conversation and discourse, as well as provide a legacy for the future. The outcome from each commission will be presented in a digital format as part of The Art Institute's Legacies & Futures digital programme in Autumn 2020.

There are four commissions, one for each art form:  

  • Visual Arts
  • Film/Moving Image
  • Performance/Dance
  • Spoken Word

Each commission will be £800, with the Spoken Word divided into two commissions at £400 each. The award includes artist fee, materials, production and all associated expenses. A panel of academics and art professionals will help select artists from each category.

Submissions are now closed.

Terms and conditions

  • Online submissions only, we do not accept postal entries.
  • Only one submission per applicant per category. Applicants can submit proposals for more than one category, but each must be on a separate form, and only one per category.
  • No late submissions will be accepted after midnight, Wednesday 24 June.
  • All entrants must be over 18 years of age at the time of the application.
  • University of Plymouth employees with permanent employment contracts, including fractional posts, and their partners and relatives are not eligible to apply.
  • All entrants must be based in the South West, as defined by Arts Council England - Find out more.
  • Copyright remains with the artist, but by submitting works, artists agree that images of their works may be used for promotional purposes, across a broad range of media including web, social media, and exhibition publicity.

Jennet Thomas - 'Animal Condensed>Animal Expanded', commissioned for the Contemporary Artist Showcase exhibition, 2018

Submissions are now closed

Notification of outcome: Friday 3 July
University of Plymouth agreement signed: Friday 17 July
Final work in presentation form: Tuesday 1 September


Can I submit by email or post?

We are sorry we can only accept submissions digitally via our online form.

Can I apply for more than one commission?

You can only submit one entry for each art form: Visual Arts; Film/Moving Image; Performance/Dance; Spoken Word. If you wish to submit proposals for more than one art form, each one must be submitted separately.

I wish to submit as an artist collective/company, is that permitted?

Yes. The proposal must be submitted by a nominated lead person. If selected, the commission fee and agreement will be issued to the lead, for them to distribute to their collaborators.

I’ve missed the deadline, will you consider a late entry?

In the interest of fairness, and due to the tight timescale for the selection process, we cannot consider any entries received after the deadline.

Will I hear from you if I am unsuccessful?

Yes, all those who submit proposals will be emailed after the selection deadline. We are sorry we are unable to provide feedback on individual submissions.

I am in full-time study can I apply?

Yes, however you will need to supply evidence that your income from your art practice/regular employment (associated with the arts or an arts organisation) has been adversely affected.

If selected, when will I receive the commission fee?

Payment of the commission fee will be initiated on signing of an agreement issued by The University of Plymouth, which will be sent to you on selection. Please note this process can take up to 28 days.

I have a question not answered here.

Please email with the subject line 'Covid-19 commission question'.

The Arts Institute

The Arts Institute is the wide-ranging public arts programme of the University of Plymouth which plays a pivotal role in building culture and art in the city and South West region, supporting established, new and emerging artists from around the world.

It hosts the largest contemporary art gallery in Plymouth, The Levinsky Gallery; a diverse range of classic films and contemporary cinematic masterpieces screened in the Jill Craigie Cinema; a cutting-edge theatre and dance programme in The House; musical performances and concerts, and a year-long series of fascinating talks that open up the world of history.

Open to all University of Plymouth students and the public – find out more