Current project Featured 2020

Following on from our successful WFH Residency, Adaptations is an award for the next step. It will support visual artists seeking innovative authentic ways to adapt their practice for an age of physical distancing, travel restrictions, impact on studio working, and new opportunities. Please note the deadline for this opportunity was 10am January 18 and applications are now closed.

Key Dates

  • Deadline for Applications: APPLICATIONS CLOSED (Please note the deadline for this opportunity was 10am January 18 and applications are now closed.)
  • Shortlisted applicants contacted for interview: Week Commencing 1 February
  • Online interviews: Week commencing 8 February
  • All applicants informed of results: By 26 February
  • Project period: 1 March – 4 June 2021


The COVID-19 / coronavirus global pandemic has affected all forms of artistic practice, from live art and socially engaged approaches to object making and display. It has challenged both the practicalities of producing work, with many studios, workshops and materials suppliers closed, and how audiences encounter art, with physical distancing measures making accessing exhibitions and public events difficult, expensive, or impossible.

Artquest’s New Lockdown research in July 2020 on reopening behaviour in the arts showed that 19.4% of spaces surveyed felt it was unsafe to reopen and further 14.6% felt that audiences would not return.

Even with the promise of multiple vaccines now taking shape, questions persist. In the short term it is becoming clearer that cycles of regional opening and closing will last. A vaccine still has to be delivered and rolled out by the NHS, with estimates ranging from Easter to summer 2021. Many freelancers in the visual arts – including most artists, technicians, fabricators and many tutors and administrators – face a return to unsatisfactory pre-pandemic work and pay conditions after a period of decimated income, with some anecdotally leaving London. We must urgently find new approaches in the arts to continue to make work, show work, find work and network for our barely imaginable futures.

These solutions cannot all be digital. Internet access and device ownership tends to favour audiences and artists from higher socio-economic backgrounds, extending and entrenching inequality into the arts. Artworks will always need to be physically present with an audience in some form or another, even as growing numbers can be presented online too. The art world is also social, with many artists asking Artquest about opportunities for networking throughout the first lockdown. How can people come together when they have to stay apart?

While this challenges artists to find new ongoing ways of working and showcasing work that are resilient and responsive to changing public health regulations, it’s important that any adaptations to these circumstances do not compromise their practice or audiences’ experience of it.

In this context, Adaptations will support experimental solutions-in-development and publish learning about artists experience via Artquest. As all bets are off, we welcome applications that may have a kernel of an idea that needs some testing, as well as artists from under-represented groups in the arts, including on the basis of gender, sexuality, disability, ethnic origin, experience of migration, socio-economic background, and maternity / paternity.

About the Award

Adaptations is a development award to support moving existing professional art practices into new ways of working. Through this award, we want to help artists create sustainable practices that are adaptable to the shifting physical possibilities around public access and opportunities presented as a result. We are interested in the systematic changes possible in an artists’ practice.

Three Adaptations development awards of £3,000 each will support artists to research and experiment with new ways to make their work in light of ongoing legal and health restrictions. It will support new ways of working that continue to authentically reflect artists’ interests and themes across any media. It can also be used to explore new forms of public exhibition – both digital and, when safe, live – to ensure audiences can experience it meaningfully.

We encourage applications from artists who are from under-represented groups in the arts on the basis of gender, sexuality, disability, ethnic origin, socio-economic background, and maternity / paternity.

One award will be reserved for an artist based in London, with one awarded to an artist based elsewhere in England. The third award will be given to an artist based anywhere in England, either inside or outside of London. This is to recognise not only the difficult circumstances of artists outside of the capital, but also in light of anecdotal evidence of increased artist migration from London since March 2020, and we welcome applications from artists who have migrated to or from London since that time.

It will not support applications that:

  • Propose online exhibitions of existing work
  • Propose one-off projects
  • Are for organisational or curatorial programming

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.

Selected artists will, with Artquest, generate resources for our website for artists to learn from their experiences during the award period.


Selection Panel

The Adaptations award is being guest selected by Dennis Dizon and Amanprit Sandhu.

Dennis Dizon (b. 1985, Manila, Philippines) is an independent researcher, artist and digital curator. He created MATTERS OF—a virtual platform and experimental inquiry into a queer techno-ecological. Recent and upcoming grants + residencies include Robert Rauschenberg Foundation (New York, 2019), Furtherfield (London, 2020), Beyond Matter at Tallinna Kunstihoone (Tallinn, 2020) and Everything Equally Evolved with Onassis Foundation (Athens, 2021). He holds a Master of Research degree in Advanced Practices (Curatorial / Knowledge) and a postgraduate diploma in Contemporary Art History from Goldsmiths, University of London. Dennis was previously with Google Arts & Culture, leading the digitisation operations programme.

Amanprit Sandhu is a London based curator and writer with a focus on commissioning, performance-based practices and collaborative approaches to working. Her current work includes organising the inaugural biennial programme for Brent in London, and co-curator of the 2021 Boras Art Biennial in Sweden. She was the co-founder of the curatorial collective DAM Projects (2014-20), whose work supported underexposed artists, art scenes, discourses, and socio-political debates in the UK and internationally. Other previous roles include: Interim Curator at Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridgeshire, Public Programme and Residencies Curator at Camden Art Centre, Project Manager for the 2014 Folkestone Triennial and 2012 Frieze Foundation projects, and Assistant Curator at the Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art.

Awardee Responsibilities

Three selected artists will receive an award of £3,000 each. Given the experimental and development nature of the proposals we seek to fund, there is no requirement to spend all of the money in any particular period of time. Artquest will be extensively evaluating this project and producing resources for our website over a period of 12 weeks / three months, and awardees are expected to co-operate in this process as a condition of the award.

Working with Artquest, and while working on their proposed work, selected participants will:

  • Produce online content that records and shares their experiences
  • Participate in an interview about their experiences
  • Participate in project evaluation