Hand in Hand: a 5K research and development opportunity for an artist or artists with Lancaster Arts (in Lancaster) and Z-arts (in Manchester)

Are you an artist interested in testing and exploring what a creative experience for all generations could look like?

Would you like to work in new ways, take risks, and make new creative discoveries along the way, without the pressure to create a finished artwork at the end?

Z-arts and Lancaster Arts are collaborating to offer a research and development opportunity in 2022. We are looking for an artist or artists who are making contemporary work in any art form who are keen to 1) test how an artwork or arts practice might engage all generations*, and 2) explore the theme of PLACE**. Further detail on what we mean by place and intergenerational working is below.

We are excited to receive proposals from artists based in the North West of England who wish to work with different communities in Manchester and Lancaster. We are keen for the communities you are working with to shape and influence your work and we as organisations, are interested in learning from this project as well.

There is no expectation to create a finished work, although we will want you to document your process throughout and at the end of the process, you’ll be invited to share your findings in the most fitting way for your material.  The research and development will take place in two phases and in two places.  There is some flexibility with timings:

Phase 1 (March to April 2022, exact dates TBC) in Lancaster: INCUBATION. R&D to explore the initial ideas and develop a plan at Lancaster Arts in late March; early April. This phase can involve conversations with academics at Lancaster University and potentially, community members in Lancaster as well as other artists we are working with. This will take place in the Nuffield theatre (studio space) or the Peter Scott Gallery or at a site-specific location if preferred. This phase will involve meetings plus a residency of up to 1 week.

Phase 2 (May to June 2022, exact dates TBC) in Manchester: TESTING. Continued R&D in Hulme, Manchester, working with community members in Hulme and including a final sharing of work. This will take place in a creative space with the Z-arts building or at a site-specific location if preferred.  This phase will involve a residency of up to 3-weeks.


Who do we want to hear from?

  • Artists based in the North West of England (Manchester, Lancashire, Cumbria) and West Yorkshire.
  • Artists making contemporary/innovative practice in theatre, dance, visual mediums, music, live art, circus, interactive or participatory practice (also artists making cross-artform practice or working with new collaborators who work in a different artform).
  • Artists who are curious to develop an arts practice for people of all ages (no previous experience of this is necessary).
  • Artists keen to explore the theme of PLACE.
  • Artists interested in working with communities (of your definition) both in Lancaster and Manchester.
  • Artists who want to develop their practice in new ways and take risks.
  • Artists who are willing to find creative ways to document or open a window into their process so it can be shared with our audiences, participants and funders.

What are we offering?

  • £5000 for the co-commission. This should include fees, materials, accommodation and transport needs.
  • An additional negotiated sum to cover access costs, if required.
  • 1 week residency at Lancaster Arts, together with technical support, if needed as well as support to build relationships at the university and in the surrounding communities.
  • Up to 3 weeks residency in a creative space within the Z-arts building.
  • Support from the Lancaster Arts and Z-arts teams and specifically with our Creative Producers.
  • The opportunity to engage with academics at Lancaster University, if useful.
  • Informal sharing in front of an invited audience from Lancaster Arts and Z-arts and the communities you have been working with, if relevant.
  • The opportunity to engage with the current programmes at both Z-arts and Lancaster Arts.
  • Lancaster Arts and Z-arts will commission a case study to accompany this commission, and this will offer the opportunity for regular reflection.


**intergenerational working

Pre-pandemic, Lancaster Arts undertook a research project called All Together to test some ideas around what an intergenerational or cross-generational arts practice might look like.  Find more info about this in this blog by producer, Alice Booth.  In this project, the key ingredients for working across and with all generations were:

  • An equal invitation and experience for all taking part (i.e. the adults were not just there to service the experience of their children)
  • Encouraging play and wonder for all ages
  • Togetherness (connections and shared experience between generations)

For this new commission, Lancaster Arts and Z-arts would like to work with an artist or company to further explore how artworks can truly appeal to, engage and embrace, people of all ages.  The discoveries we made in our All Together project are just a starting point, and it may be that your explorations lead you along new pathways and to new findings.


Lancaster Arts and Z-arts have an ongoing interest in Place and what this means to people in 2022.  How can your work engage with what it means to live in Lancaster or Hulme now, and how might you engage with the communities of each place?  What does it mean to live and work in the North of England?  What are the ambitions, challenges or important conversations we need to be having about the places we live in?  What does place mean to you, right now?  How might you explore it or engage with it?


Application Process

If you would prefer, you can record your answers in video or audio format.

Please send us:

  • Name of R&D project
  • Company name, if relevant
  • Names of all artists involved
  • Email address and phone number of single point of contact

Please tell us (in no more than 2 pages)

  • What ideas would you like to explore and test during this R&D opportunity?
  • How does this commission develop or extend your practice?
  • What does ‘place’ mean to you in this project?
  • Why are you interested in exploring intergenerational practice?
  • How would you like to work with the community/participants? Do you have a specific community in mind?  If so which ones and why?
  • How would you like to document/ open a window into your process so it can be shared with our audiences, evaluator and funders?
  • An indicative budget. How will you spend the 5K investment?


Please provide up to 3 links to further information/clips supporting your application, and/or up to 3 images of your work


Application deadline: Wednesday 12 January 2022 at midnight

Shortlisting: 13 – 18 January 2022

Interview offers made to shortlisted applicants by: Weds 19 January 2022

Interviews on: Thurs 27 January 2022 (taking place at Lancaster Arts, in Lancaster)

Offer made to successful artist/s by Tues 1 February 2022

Lancaster Residency (at Lancaster Arts): March to April 2022 up to one week, precise dates to be agreed

Manchester Residency (at Z-arts): May to June 2022 (up to three weeks, do not need to be consecutive, precise dates to be agreed

Evaluation and submission of documentation: July and August 2022

Please send your application and Equal Opportunities Form to tabitha@z-arts.org


If you have further questions, please contact tabitha@z-arts.org or phone 0161 697 5916


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