Artist-led Projects Awards

We’re seeking applications for artist-led projects from artists and companies in the district to create new work that will excite, inspire and entertain people from Bradford during our year as UK City of Culture 2025.

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What are we looking for?

This call out is for artists and artist-led projects to make exciting creative events happen as part of Bradford’s year as UK City of Culture.  We want to see new, ambitious, innovative projects that wouldn’t happen otherwise taking place in every part of the district.

All of the projects should offer meaningful opportunities for people from the district to get involved – this could be as audiences, co-creators, participants, watchers, listeners or other ways that put them and their experience at the heart.  We want to see projects that have thought properly about how they will reach people, understand the communities they want to work with and are committed to access and addressing the barriers that might usually prevent people getting involved.

Collectively, the ideas and projects we support will celebrate, and be representative of, the diversity of Bradford and the people who live and work here – this includes the team making the project, the stories/ themes/ ideas being explored and the people it is being made for.

We are interested in all artforms including (but not limited to) music, dance, visual art, live art, theatre, sculpture, craft, textile art, poetry literature and spoken word – or something that combines artforms or blurs definitions in the way that we know Bradford’s brilliant creative sector does so well.

If you are a voluntary or community organisation looking to do something creative as part of the UK City of Culture 2025, you should apply through our partners GiveBradford.  They have a grant programme specifically for this kind of activity, which will open in March 2024. 


How much can I apply for?

You can apply for up to £15,000

We expect to fund 10 to 15 projects in this round – primarily for projects where the final output, exhibition, performance, audience experience will happen in the first half of 2025 (January to July).  There will be a second round of applications that will open later this year for projects for the second half of 2025.


When is the deadline for applications?

We need to receive your application by 5pm on Monday 11 March


Find out more

On Tuesday 27 February at 2pm we will be hosting an online question and answer session (Q&A) through Zoom – where you can find out a bit more, and ask any questions you might have.

Sign up for the Q&A session here, via Eventbrite


Access support to make an application

If you need this information in another format or if you have access needs related to making an application, please get it touch with us straight away to discuss how we can support you.  Please email


Who can apply?

This call out is not open to ACE National Portfolio Organisations.

We want to hear from individuals, companies, collectives, groups of artists and organisations living or working in the district.

We will accept applications from companies and organisations outside Bradford as long as the lead artist is based in Bradford and it is clear that they have a central artistic and decision-making role in your creative team.

Artists at any point in their career can apply.  However, we need to feel confident that your project can be delivered successfully and on time, so please make sure you tell us why you know you can manage the project effectively.   If you are just starting out or earlier in your career you might want to think about finding someone more experienced to work alongside you (such as a producer or project manager) – make sure you tell us about who will be working with you and their experience too.

Artists who have already received support/ commission from Bradford 2025:

  • This call out is not open to companies or artists who already have a live project in development with Bradford 2025
  • Artists who have received an Unlimited Micro Commission are eligible to apply to this with the same idea or a different one
  • Previous Seed Commissions – if you applied for a seed commission in 2023 you can apply to this call out with the same idea or a new project. If you are thinking of applying with the same idea we would encourage you to make sure you have properly considered the ‘Eligibilty Criteria’ and ‘Things we will consider when making a decision’ below

If you are not sure if you are eligible, please email to check with us before you make an application – please note, we will not be able to advise you on the suitability of your project or idea.


Audiences and marketing

It’s essential that people from Bradford District can experience your project in 2025.  If you are given an award then it will be included in planned marketing and PR activities from 2025.  But you should not rely on this alone; in your proposal we want to see that you have your own marketing or engagement plans in place and the costs for this are included in your budget.


Support in addition to the award

In addition to the award, there will be some additional support available from the Bradford 2025 team – but please note this will largely be in the form of advice, guidance and signposting; this will not be a producing, co-producing or project management relationship.

Support includes:

  • Production advice from BD25 Production/ technical team
  • Access to BD25 producing team for guidance and support in delivering project
  • We really encourage you to seek match funding and make the most of this award – and our Development Team can read and provide feedback for other funding bids e.g. Arts Council England Project Grants, National Lottery Awards for All
  • Advice on access and sustainability from specialists in the team
  • Advice on evaluation from the BD25 Evaluation Team
  • Inclusion in BD25 social media and programme
  • ‘Supported by’ logo for your event


Eligibility Criteria

  • Aged 18+
  • Lead artist or company based in Bradford District (ACE National Portfolio Organisations are NOT eligible)
  • Work to be realised January to December 2025 (in this round we are particularly interested in work where the final public output, performance, exhibition, experience etc is set to happen in January to July 2025)
  • Meaningful opportunities for members of the public to get involved/ experience the work in the district
  • The work will premiere in Bradford District; this means the first exhibition, unveiling, performance etc will happen in Bradford


What we can’t support

  • The costs of your regular Festival programme; though we can support a one-off commission or special event that wouldn’t happen otherwise
  • Applications from companies outside the district unless the Lead Artist is based here
  • Community-led projects – you should seek support for these through GiveBradford 2025 activity fund
  • Projects where the primary artform is traditional narrative-led or documentary-style film


Things we will consider when making our decisions

There are a number of factors we will think about when assessing applications and when looking overall at the range of applications we will support. This includes:

Does the application give confidence that the project will be high quality and ambitious

Inclusivity, access and representation
That the work actively considers and celebrates the rich diversity of our district and the communities, backgrounds and lived experiences here.  And that you have thought about accessibility for yourself, your team, participants and audiences with a range of needs as central to the work and not an ‘add on’

Environmental sustainability
That you’re thinking about environmental and sustainability standards and are making decisions accordingly. (We understand that this will be realistic and relative to the scale of the project, and that environmentally conscious decisions can be more expensive and therefore this will be reflected in your budget)

Audience focused
That there is clear thought and understanding around who the work is for, how these people will experience the project and where there may be opportunities to deepen or extend this engagement

An understanding of communities (of place and/or shared experience) in the district, and an ambition to create work that reflects their interests and what matters to them


Selection process

Your application will be considered by a panel of both independent artists and members of Bradford 2025 team.


Match funding

Whilst it is not essential, we strongly urge you to consider where you can generate match funding for your project to enable you to realise the full potential of your idea in this landmark year. We will look positively on applications that have clear and achievable plans to draw income from other sources as well.   And we can release 10% of the award to go towards fundraising activity.

Match funding does not have to be confirmed at this point, but please make sure you tell us about your other fundraising plans in your application and why this is realistic/achievable.

The award can be used as ‘match funding’ for funders like Arts Council England and National Lottery Heritage Fund and Awards for All.



We want to see that you have thought carefully and with real care about how you will make your project accessible and welcoming to people with a range of needs and from various backgrounds.  If your project is selected we can support you with advice and guidance from an access specialist to think about what is relevant and proportionate to your project and where Bradford 2025 might be able to help – but we need to know that you are thinking about this too and appropriate costs are included in your budget.



We want to see amazing creative things happening across the district and we will consider the spread of activity when deciding which projects to support.

Activity could happen in parks, on the street, in shops, social clubs, community centres, schools, people’s houses, places of worship, online or wherever will make it easiest for the people they are designed for to get involved.

Bradford 2025 will have a number of dedicated performance spaces where we will be sharing work and events across the year of culture.  We expect some (but definitely not all!) of the projects we support through this round of grants will be realised in one of these spaces – so if you think your project should/could happen here, make sure you tell us about this in your application.

We understand that you might not know yet where the project will happen, or might know where you want it to happen but haven’t yet had conversations, finalised this, sought permission etc.  This is fine – but please make sure you set out in your application how you will secure the location (including relevant experience of you/your team) and alternatives/contingency you’ve thought about in case you can’t make this happen.


Bradford 2025 performance spaces:

A touring performance space, Beacon will be located in a number of different communities across the district in 2025.  It will be a flexible performance space (end-on, thrust, traverse) with capacities between 70 and 300 depending on the layout, or 500 for standing events

Meanwhile performance space
We are still in the process of exploring this, but are confident that we will also have a meanwhile performance space in Bradford city centre with a capacity of 200, end-on.



Online info session: Tuesday 27 February at 2pm

Application deadline: Monday 11 March at 5pm

Date we’ll let you know if you’ve been successful by: Wednesday 10 April

Project start date: Anytime after Monday 29 April


How to apply

Please download the How to apply document here which has all the information about how to tell us about your project.

Please make sure you also download and complete our About You form and send it to us with your application. This is to help us understand the range of people our programmes are reaching and will not affect the selection process.

Your completed application should be emailed to by 5pm on Monday 11 March.

How to apply document

About you form

Image: Matt Smith

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