Jerwood Arts has announced details of the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries 2020-2022, including a call out to host organisations.

The UK-wide programme supports and develops talent from socio-economic backgrounds which are currently under-represented across the arts. The programme is open for application for the first time in its ten-year history and is looking for 50 leading arts or cultural host organisations to ‘take action’ through the creation of 50 paid, year-long creative fellowships.

Also new to the programme is a focus on organisational change with host organisations taking part in an 18-month programme led by people make it work and designed to help realise their ambitions.

Application is open to any arts or cultural organisation that is ready to expand its approach to diverse recruitment and talent development, and build its capacity for outstanding artistic and cultural production. Organisations need to make a commitment at governance, artistic and executive levels to engage with the programme and their fellow.

Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries are informed by Jerwood Arts’ research and experience in supporting cultural and artistic careers. Initially responding to issues including pervasive use of unpaid internships and poor recruitment practices, the programme has, since 2010, championed new voices and promoted the potential for positive change through sharing evidence of best practice in recruitment and talent development. To date the programme has worked with 110 host organisations to support 125 fellows.

This fourth edition of the programme will be the largest yet, having secured over £1.5m in support from Arts Council England’s Transforming Leadership Programme, Garfield Weston Foundation, Art Fund, Arts Council of Wales, Creative Scotland, and PRS Foundation to scale up to 50 places, offering 10 additional hosts and fellows, and expanding into the museums sector for the first time.

In July 2019, Jerwood Arts and the Bridge Group published Socio-Economic Diversity and Inclusion in the Arts: A Toolkit for Employers, a practical guide which supports long-term change across the arts and cultural sector by sharing knowledge, providing top tips, and encouraging take-up of an intersectional approach to equality, diversity and inclusion. The guide combines practical ideas from the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries programme, alongside case studies from past host organisations.

Speaking about the programme, Jerwood Arts director Lilli Geissendorfer said:

“The Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries programme has always been about levelling the playing field across the highly competitive early-career entry points for outstanding artists, curators, producers and creatives, and ensuring those with talent, but without financial backing, are given the opportunity to succeed.

“For this edition, we are delighted to have secured additional funding to offer more Fellowships in more places across the UK and expand into the museum sector. We will focus as much on working in partnership with host organisations to create long-term change as we are on the individual fellows.

“We are excited to get started on this next edition to support organisations to discover a new generation of potential arts and cultural leaders and become powerful advocates and role models for the cultural change needed to achieve the diversity, inclusion and representation the arts and cultural sectors need.”

Information on how to apply to become a host organisation is available via the Jerwood Arts site. Host applications need to be submitted by 30 January 2020 and fellow recruitment, which is undertaken by each of the host organisations, takes place from May 2020. All 50 fellowships will start in September 2020 and run for 12 months, followed by a supported ‘progression period’ for fellows.

Tim Dickeson, 2019. Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff

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