chris Samuels


Attenborough Arts Centre wants to work with artists and companies who actively engage audiences in ways that break down barriers to access through our Arts Council funding we are committed to offering a suite of commissioning opportunities  to support those artists selected to  take creative risks, allowing time in their creative process to research, develop and test out new ideas before creating work for presentation or touring.

Commissioning might include the subsidized use of our facilities to rehearse and develop ideas, seed funding or larger scale investment to support wider touring.

Not all commissions will necessarily be focused on achieving a completed art work. We recognise that artists sometimes need support to take risks in their practice and explore creative processes without the pressure of working towards a clearly defined outcome. We do not take a ‘one size fits all’ approach to commissioning, and will work with artists to identify the type of support that will best fit their individual development needs.

Whilst we welcome emails from artists wanting to share their work with us, please be aware that our programme team receive a high volume of emails regarding artist opportunities. We will read your submission at our earliest opportunity, but due to the sheer number of emails we receive it’s not always possible to respond individually to each enquiry. We will prioritize responding to proposals that closely match our artistic programming priorities. If we wish to consider your proposal further for our programmes then we will be in touch as soon as we can.

tetrahedrons in combed sand
the external of attenborough arts centre

How we commission work

Open commissions

  • Commissions advertised through a transparent and open application system with additional support available to meet specific access needs.  These will be advertised on our Webpage and in other on line networks such as ACE Job Opportunities, Disability Arts on Line, Artist Newsletter.
  • COVID-19 response commissions in both visual and performing arts in recognition of the financial challenges and lack of opportunities facing artists and performers
  • Visual arts commissions to support artists who have been disproportionately affected by lockdown and social isolation.

Targeted commissions

  • Artists or companies whose work is known to relate to specific themes, issues, techniques or topics that relate to our main exhibition programme or particular Festivals, Showcases, Celebrations or Events.
  • Artists or companies with whom we have established a long term relationship to support their professional development from emerging to established artists
  • Commissions linked to developing specific national and international links and partnerships through the exchange of work
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Our commissioning priorities

We only have a limited fund for commissions each year so have made the following artist groups our priorities.

  • Disabled and marginalized artists
  • Disability led or inclusive companies
  • Solo performers or companies wanting to actively engage disabled audiences
  • Locally based solo performers or companies creating devised work

  • Disabled and marginalised artists
  • New work for inclusion in our exhibition programmes
  • Artists and collectives seeking to develop work that actively tackles barriers to access
  • Local and regional artists looking to take risks and further develop their practice

  • Participatory artists with a commitment to co curation with young people
  • Specific work created to engage CYP and or people with PMLD

  • Commissions linked to enhancing the University Campus
  • As part of wider student engagement or research projects
  • To address historic under representation in the university collection

  • New digital commissions that can support small scale companies and solo artists to reach new audiences
  • Digital projects that can provide a high quality artistic legacy as part of a touring package to small scale companies
  • Work that appeals to students
  • Increasing access to disabled audiences

Our commissioning partners

We are pleased to work with a variety of partners either individually or through networks to realise commissions in line with our wider artistic programming policy.

We want to find opportunities for co-commissioning with new partners who are artist led and/or champion equality of opportunity and are respected as advocates and brokers for artists that traditionally may have been excluded from the mainstream.

These include Spark, IGC, China plate, East meets West, Future Arts Network, Unlimited,  Imaginate, Art Reach,  Dance 4, Word, UCAN UK, Dash and Shape.

We are also committed to working with artist led collectives to create showcase events- these have included HATCH, TETRAD and TIGHTROPE, 2 Queens, Primary and Backlit

a scattered pile of magazines
a woman on a chair playing an acoustic guitar

How we support artists

Attenborough Arts Centre is committed to supporting artists, especially those who live locally. We have dedicated programming team who work across our multi-disciplinary venue, creating a yearlong programme of performances and exhibitions.

Creative Engagement Fellowship

We are proud to be working with the Welcome Trust and the ISSF in collaboration with all colleges within the University of Leicester, embedding creative outputs into research projects.
The university of leicester
Disability Arts Online

Open commissions

See and apply to our open commissions

Our current commissions

You can check the progress and development of the works we have commissioned, with regular updates from the artists available through the buttons below.