Syllabus IV – Open Call

Mike Harvey and Nika Neelova performance, S1 Artspace, Park Hill, 2016
Katrina Palmer leading a session for Syllabus II group, S1 Artspace, 2016
Curator George Vasey and Syllabus II artists during 'obstructions' workshops, S1 Artspace, Park Hill, 2016
Syllabus II participants during a a session at S1 Artspace, Park Hill, 2016
26 Mar –
07 May

Press release

Wysing Arts Centre, Eastside Projects, Iniva, S1 Artspace, Spike Island and Studio Voltaire, invite applications from artists for Syllabus IV; a collaboratively produced alternative learning programme in its fourth year that will support ten artists across ten months.


Starting in September 2018, the curriculum for Syllabus IV will be built around a series of six intensive gatherings, which the ten selected artists will collaboratively develop with curators and artists who work with the partner organisations alongside two external Artistic Advisors. This year artist Sonya Dyer and curator Helen Nisbet will be the Artistic Advisors.  The participating artists will bring forward ideas to the programme and actively contribute to its design and delivery across the ten months.

Syllabus IV aims to reach artists with a range of practices and artistic approaches and bring together individuals from across the UK. We are particularly keen to support applicants who have not yet had access to similar programmes. These include artists with Black, Asian or minority ethnic heritage, those who are facing barriers due to difficult socio-economic situations, and artists who identify as LGBTQI+ or have disabilities. We ask applicants to make this clear when applying, if applicable.

If you would like to know more about the Syllabus, we will have drop-in sessions available on the following dates and locations:

Thursday 12 April, 6.30–8pm – Eastside Projects, 122 Fazeley St, Birmingham B5 5RS

Thursday 12 April, 6.30–8pm – Iniva, Stuart Hall Library, 1 Rivington Pl, London EC2A 3BA

Saturday 14 April, 2–4pm – Twenty One, Unit 21 Pier Approach, Southend-on-Sea SS1 2EH

Thursday 19 April, 6–8pm – Outpost, 10b Wensum Street, Norwich NR3 1HR

Monday 23 April, 2-4pm – S1 Artspace, 21-24 South St, Sheffield S2 5QX

Tuesday 24 April, 6.30–8pm – Spike Island, 133 Cumberland Road, Bristol BS1 6UX


The individuals and organisations who will collaborate with the Syllabus IV artists, and who will be involved across the ten months, are Ruth Claxton, Eastside Projects; Melanie Keen, Stephanie Moran and Simina Neagu, Iniva; Laura Clarke, S1 Artspace; Nicola Wright and Jenny Cooper, Studio Voltaire; Vanessa Boni, Spike Island; John Bloomfield and Chelsea Pettitt, Wysing Arts Centre.

Previous iterations of Syllabus have involved contributions from a wide range of artists, writers and curators and applicants to Syllabus IV will have the opportunity to access similar networks. Contributing practitioners have included Barby Asante, Ruth Beale, Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Celine Condorelli, Nav Haq, Nadia Hebson, Anthea Hamilton, Andy Holden, Shama Khanna, Pil and Galia Kollectiv, Mark Leckey, Richard Long, Sofia Niazi, Katrina Palmer, Holly Pester, Rory Pilgrim, Rosalie Schweiker, Cally Spooner, Richard Wentworth, Jonathan P. Watts, Keith Wilson, DM Withers and Rehana Zaman. We’ve received additional input and support from John Akomfrah, Benedict Drew, Kathy Noble, Eddie Peake, Marinella Senatore, Yinka Shonibare and Mike Sperlinger and have arranged visits to the Athens Biennial and Glasgow International. Artists Andy Holden, Milly Thompson, Jesse Darling, Harold Offeh and curator George Vasey have led the Syllabus as Artistic Advisors in previous years, engaging with and supporting participating artists over the course of the programme.


The programme will be structured around a series of gatherings at the partner venues which all participants will be required to attend. Some of these will last up to four days, whilst others may be shorter and they will be hosted in a variety of locations across the UK. During the first retreat, artists and individuals connected to the partner organisations and the Artistic Advisors will collaborate with participating artists to identify broad thematics. They will collaboratively devise and structure a curriculum that will support individual and collective artistic development and provide access to networks and knowledge.

During periods between the gatherings, materials will be made available through a shared online resource, and the Artistic Advisors will support and advise participating artists through a series of planning sessions and 1-2-1 conversations over the course of the programme.

Artists will benefit from:

  • The opportunity to collaboratively shape and develop a reflexive learning experience.
  • The opportunity to develop supportive networks of artists, curators and organisations.
  • An intensive programme of gatherings at partner venues that offer time to come together to discuss ideas, work and approaches to practice.
  • Introductions to, and connections with arts organisations, communities and networks in cities across the UK.
  • Opportunities for one to one support and critical conversation throughout the programme


*Note that these dates are currently provisional and are subject to change after further discussion with the participating artists

20-23 Sep 2018 – Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridgeshire
A four-day retreat, with onsite shared accommodation and food provided, that will introduce everyone who will be involved in Syllabus IV to one another. Led by the Syllabus Associate Artists this gathering will enable selected artists, curators and programmers from the partner organisations, to come together, share practice and begin collaboratively planning the curriculum for Syllabus IV.

 7-9 December 2018 – Spike Island, Bristol

1-3 February 2019 – Studio Voltaire, London

26-28 April 2019 – S1 Artspace, Sheffield

7-9 June 2019 – Iniva, London

1-4 August 2019 – Eastside Projects, Birmingham


The Syllabus represents an investment of around £5,000 in each artist from the partner organisations. We have secured Arts Council England funding to cover most of these costs in 2018/19. The cost to each participating artist is £500 which can be paid in monthly instalments. Additional costs to participants will include travel and some accommodation which is estimated at an additional £600 per person for the whole programme. Efforts will be made to ensure that low cost rail fares and accommodation can be booked well in advance. The partners are happy to write letters of support for participants who wish to make applications for professional development or travel grants. We also hope to be able to secure funding to offer one or two artists bursaries to cover costs, aimed at artists in difficult socio-economic circumstances. If you would like to be considered for this, please make this clear in your application and outline your specific situation.

Here are links to some funders who have supported previous participants:

–        A-n Artist Bursaries

–        Arts Council England Research and Development Grants

–        Creative Scotland Open Project Funding

–        Arts Council Wales

–        Oppenheim-John Downes Memorial Trust


  • Applicants should have been out of formal education for at least 4 years. We are also interested hearing from artists who have not progressed through formal art training routes.
  • We aim to establish a cohort that represents a diversity of cultural perspectives and artistic practices and welcome applications from a wide geographic spread across the UK.
  • We are looking for applicants who want to both develop their own work and actively contribute to the collaborative development of the curriculum for Syllabus IV
  • Syllabus IV is open to artists based in the UK
  • Applications may be made via video or audio, to support those with dyslexia, rather than written form.

To apply, please provide:

  • A statement describing why you would like to participate in Syllabus IV (max 500 words);
  • Initial ideas for contributors, thematics or content; what this could bring to Syllabus IV and why it is important to you and your work (max 500 words);
  • A general statement on your work (max 500 words);
  • A current CV;
  • Information relating to your personal circumstances, if applicable, for a support bursary.This might include information on your financial circumstances, your cultural background, your gender or sexuality, or details of any disabilities.
  • Please upload a selection of 10 images or a 5-minute showreel of relevant material. Please also provide links (vimeo/You Tube/soundcloud etc) to full length versions of AV work and/or websites where additional visual material can be found.
  • Applications must be made online at Submittable. Applications that are not made via this process will be ineligible.

The deadline for applications is 12 midnight Monday 7 May. Interviews for The Syllabus will take place the first week of June.