These are the eligibility criteria and frequently asked questions relating to the Adaptations award, which has now closed. Applications are no longer being accepted.


This award is only open to:

  • Individual or regularly collaborating visual artists in England (with one award reserved for a London-based artist) working in any medium who are looking to adapt the way that they are working specifically in response to recent COVID-19 / coronavirus restrictions
  • Have been practicing professionally, outside of formal education if they attended art school, for a minimum of 5 years. Artists who did not attend art school are welcome to apply if they have been practicing professionally for a minimum of five years
  • Not be enrolled on a full or part-time course of study at any level (Foundation, BA, MA or PhD) at the time of application, or at any point during the project period (1 March to 4 June 2021)

Applications from artists with experience of structural inequalities and those underrepresented in the sector are particularly welcome.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do we mean by ‘visual artist working in any medium’?

Artists working in painting, drawing, sculpture, performance art, photography, video / film / moving image, installation, text, craft / makers, sound art, book art, new media / online / digital, socially engaged practice / social art, printmaking, interdisciplinary or any combination of the above. Our definitions, set by our funders, are only for visual / fine artists and do not include other art forms such as dance, theatre, design, fashion, or architecture.

What do we mean ‘Have been practicing as an artist outside of university study for at least 5 years’?

You must have spent 5 years working professionally as an artist. Your career might have started after, or been interrupted by, a period of formal education, including studying at BA, MA and/or PhD level. Artists who did not undertake any formal or further / higher education in art are also welcome to apply, as long as they have been working professionally as an artist for at least 5 years. Around 15% of the artists who apply for our programmes did not undertake formal arts education.

What do we mean by ‘Not be currently studying on a BA, MA, PhD course or similar’?

You are not eligible for this opportunity if you are on a full-time or part-time course of study at the time of application, or are to be enrolled on any such course during the project period.

What kind of proposals are you looking for?

We are looking to support proposals that

  • Explore working in a new medium, or work with a new methodology that can be more effectively disseminated in this public health emergency, while continuing to authentically reflect their interests and themes
  • Trial new physical or digital platforms to exhibit work that reach audiences safely and only minimally compromises their experience of an artist’s practice
  • Are adaptable to changes in public access regulations and that consider contingencies
  • Have potential to lead to new and sustainable ways of working in the current climate (rather than one-off projects)
  • Will produce resources and help us develop insights that will be useful to other artists navigating the current climate

Applications from artists with experience of structural inequalities and those underrepresented in the sector are particularly welcome.

We are also interested in projects that have potential to connect artists to new audiences and help to maintain existing ones. As we anticipate that this is a complex and difficult area for most artists to consider at present, this criterion is optional.

What can I spend the money on?

The award can be spent on any of the following:

  • Fees for yourself and any specialists, freelancers, mentors or other individuals you will work with (Please note, it is fully expected that applicants pay themselves a fee for their time)
  • Materials, including digital tools and/or software subscriptions
  • Promotion, including finding new ways to promote your work
  • Short courses and other forms of learning and professional development directly relevant to proposed project
  • Any other reasonable additional expense that furthers your development and your agreed aims

The award cannot cover:

  • Overheads, such as studio or accommodation rents
  • Equipment (unless it’s specialist and vital to your project)
  • Expenditure incurred before the project starts
  • Organisational or curatorial programming from venues, galleries or project spaces

For guidance on rates visit the Artists Union England website or read our resources on artists rates of pay.

How much detail of expenditure do you need in the application?

It is not necessary to provide a full budget with evidence of quotes, but please provide approximate costs of materials and services and estimated breakdown of your own and others time (for example: X days research @ £XXX per day = £XXXX / material expenditure = £XXXX etc.)

When will decisions be made?

  • 18 January 2021, 10am: Deadline and announcement of selection panel
  • Week beginning 1 February 2021: shortlisted applicants contacted for interview
  • Week beginning 8 February 2021: interviews (via video call)
  • By 26 February 2021: all applicants informed of results
  • 1 March to 4 June: project period of award evaluation and web content with awardees

We will respond to all applicants to let them know if they have been successful or not.

Will you give feedback on applications?

We recognise that feedback on applications is an important professional development process for artists. While we aim to provide feedback to all applicants who request this, previous open submissions have attracted several hundred applications, making detailed feedback from our small part-time team too onerous. We expect a very high demand for this award. If you are unsuccessful and request feedback on your application, please be patient while we process these requests.

Who will see my application?

Applications are selected by Artquest and 2 external panelists made up of curators and other art world professionals. Panelists will be announced at the deadline date.

How do you make selection equitable?

We have made changes to our application processes that recognise and try to address structural inequalities in the arts. We acknowledge that these are not perfect, and we continually review our processes and accept feedback from artists and others to help improve these in line with our statement and action on equity, focussing on Black Lives Matter.

  • Applications are processed anonymously. As far as possible names and other personal identifiers are removed from the application materials before they go to panel. If applicants write their names or identifying information in other sections of the application, we cannot guarantee, however, that these will be removed.
  • Selection is undertaken by a member of Artquest staff and 2 external selectors with expertise relevant to the opportunity.
  • We recruit culturally diverse selection panels.
  • We work with diverse publicity partners to ensure as wide a reach of opportunity as possible.
  • The selection panel is not announced until the application deadline to reduce the chance of submission being encouraged from panelists’ networks and existing relationships. Panelists are also asked to keep their involvement in selection confidential to further reduce the chance of any conflict of interest.

If I get the award how soon will I get the money?

We will make payment of the award in two parts – £2,400 (80%) immediately, with the remaining £600 payable at the end of the award period (4 June 2021).

The first payment should reach awardees 30 days after all necessary information and an invoice has been received. You can download our invoice guide for more information. Artquest is a programme of UAL and follow their financial procedures. If you have previously been paid as a freelance artist by UAL your payment might be quicker.

Can I apply as a group or pair of artists who regularly collaborate?

The award is intended to directly support individual artists, or regular/ongoing collaborators, in developing their practices. We are unable to increase the amount of the award for collaborating artists but they are welcome to apply.

Can I apply as an artist-led organisation (venue, gallery, project space, studios, workshop etc)?

No. As an award for individual artists, it is not open to artist-led organisations.

Could a collective of artists apply to put on a group show or similar activity?


Can I use the funding for a project that has already started?


Can we use this award to part-fund activity while we seek funding from elsewhere?


Will I be expected to propose and realise a completed piece of work as a result of this award?

No. This award is about trialing new media and/or ways of working and approaches to exhibiting. Your application might propose a work in a new medium, or time researching different approaches without a final outcome in mind. Any approach is fine, as long as you articulate how it will benefit you, your practice, and, ideally but optionally, how your proposal will help audiences experience your work in safe and authentic way in current circumstances.

I can’t complete online applications because of a disability or digital access requirements. Is there another way to apply?

Yes. Please email Nick Kaplony to arrange an alternative way of making the application: via phone, email or video call, In exceptional circumstances a meeting may be arranged where physical distancing and public health can be guaranteed, but we consider this extremely unlikely.