unLab

up to £5,000

(a maximum of 2 awards in Round 1)

For many years, a major part of our process in making new work was to ‘retreat’ – to find somewhere remote where we could escape from the daily pressures of our lives and other projects and just be together. Mostly this would be a week together where we would cook for each other, eat together, walk and talk, share films and books and articles and essays. It was time for us as artists to dream, to share and interrogate ideas at the earliest stage of their infancy, to begin the process of imagining what we might make next. We actively refused to set any outcomes in advance. Which annoys funders. Because they want to know “WTAF are you ‘artists’ actually going to do with this money?”. But a lot of the time we couldn’t answer that question. Because we didn’t know yet. Because we hadn’t had any time together to imagine that. So we earned cash from other projects to create this time to spend together. We came away from that time refreshed, excited and closer to each other as friends and artists and with exciting plans for what we would do next. This was our ‘laboratory’. We called it unLab.

This award is for artists at any stage of their career working within an arts producing organisation to retreat and begin to imagine their next project.

In 2024, we awarded Mad Friday Productions and Polite Rebellion unLab funding.

Mad Friday Productions is a vibrant arts collective born in the heart of Doncaster.Founded in 2021 by coartistic directors Danielle Phillips & Lauren Townsend,childhood friends united by a passion for championing Yorkshirebased artistsand narratives.

Polite Rebellion (formally The Grief Series) is a disabledled company based inLeeds, led by Artistic Director Ellie Harrison, Matt Rogers, Bethany Wells and JenWatts along with a wider team of regular collaborators.
Polite Rebellion is radically gentle. Playfully subversive. In an age of relentlessnoise it dares to be boldly quiet. It needs to be both beautiful and useful.
They create spaces to listen to untold stories and amplify peoplesvoices. They see creating beautiful spaces as being an emotional accessibilityramp into difficult conversations that bear witness to peoples livedexperiences. They push back against the hurry sickness of contemporary cultureto go slow, notice the detail and recognise that rest can be an act of protest.

Please do not apply for support for projects that are already in progress or have been through any development process.

The deadline to submit an application is midnight 31 January 2024. Successful awards must be spent and accounted for by 31 October 2024.

Please read our Applicant Guidance (audio version coming soon) before submitting your application. This includes our eligibility criteria and a copy of the application questions.

Applicant Guidance

Recording of the Guidance for unAwards:

Frequently Asked Questions – updated 19 Jan 2024

unLab Application Form