chris Samuels

How we support artists

**Still under development**

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

Our funding from Arts Council England enables us to give particular support to disabled artists or those with neuro diversity as well as those who have traditionally faced barriers to access through class, gender, sexuality, race or poverty.  As a venue based in such a diverse city as Leicester we are keen to build links so that our programme and workforce can better reflect our local communities and their cultural interests.

We focus on newly created work by artists who share our ethos and commitment to championing attitudinal change in equality and diversity, and which align with our commitment to risk taking, inclusion and access.

We also offer creative learning activities tailored to different levels of skills, experience and knowledge.

Our facilities

Our performance spaces include

  • Princess of Wales Hall – a flexible performance space with sprung floor seating up to 70 people (currently 40 with Covid) for small scale theatre, dance, music,  and spoken word
  • Studio One – for informal performances up to 30 people (pre-Covid)
  • Studio Three and Four – dirty spaces suitable for rehearsal and creation of work
  • Outdoor Arena – a raked space for 40 people with power.
  • Gallery 3 – an exhibition area with sprung floor suitable for spoken word/dance.

For Visual Arts we have three flexible spaces – Gallery 1 is our largest gallery space and is used primarily for thematic exhibitions, major solo presentations by mid-career artists or national touring programmes. This space is usually programmed 12-18 months ahead. Gallery 2 is a mid-sized space adjoining Gallery 1 which presents solo exhibitions and newly commissioned work by early career artists, often in dialogue with the programme in Gallery 1. The Balcony Gallery is a busy space on the first floor of the building which is focused on showing work by local and early career artists as well as community-based projects.

a large table in a creative workshop
A golden clad dummy wearing a golden sun mask

How we select work

Most of our programming is selected through a careful planning process linked to our own research online or through go and see visits, via recommendations from our partners and networks or through attending showcase events such as Unlimited, Edinburgh Fringe or Dada Fest. It is very rare that we would select work purely from “cold calling” although we are always happy to hear about proposed tours or artist/performers who have newly established themselves in Leicester or who self-identify as disabled or from marginalised communities. Attenborough Arts Centre is committed to paying artists for exhibitions. Our exhibition fees are set in line with the a-n/AIR Paying Artists Guide. If work is for sale we charge a commission of 30% + VAT.  Artist Fees apply to solo shows only

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 prioritise responding to proposals that closely match our artistic programming priorities [link to policy]. If we wish to consider your proposal further for our programmes then we will be in touch as soon as we can.

What else can we offer you?

Whilst we can only offer very few opportunities to exhibit or perform work due to the size of our centre, we do have a range of other ways in which we can support you.

  • Commissioning schemes (see commissions page)
  • To participate in showcase or Scratch events
  • Become an artist tutor on our creative learning programme (call out twice a year)
  • Join our freelance pool for paid part time work – creative facilitator for our family events, Duty Management or Box office duties
  • Space and Time – A set number of hours available each year for free rehearsal space with a priority for disabled artists, those from marginalized groups, recent graduates or those who want to develop more inclusive practice

  • Advice on funding options
  • Support in writing funding bids for projects directly relating to the Centre
  • Promotional support from our marketing team
  • Access to technical expertise
  • Advice on outreach and audience development
  • Use of our facilities to rehearse, pilot or present work
  • Opportunities to try out new ideas in front of audiences as part of the creative process
  • Access to specialist advice on access tools

  • Advice
  • Signposting and brokering introductions to other organisations where appropriate
  • Informal chat over ideas and options with our programmer (by appointment)
  • Studio visits and portfolio reviews with our Visual Arts Officer ( by appointment)
  • Access to masterclasses and Q & A events linked to our touring programme
  • Brokering or signposting to relevant partners
  • Hiring our performance space to stage your own events – straight hire or box office split
  • Access to advice and support on creating more inclusive work to reach disabled audiences
  • Invites to Exhibition Private Views (once on our mailing list)
  • Opportunities to participate in wide range of Creative Learning courses with discounts available (see eligibility)
  • For crafts/design based artists there is an option of selling work on commission in our shop- Contact for more information

a woman bends over pointing at a painting