Spike Island and Creative Youth Network are pleased to invite applications from UK-based artists for a new Engagement Fellowship for Artists.

This opportunity is part of the West of England Visual Arts Alliance, supported by Arts Council England.

The successful applicant will receive:

  • A £5,000 fee to mentor and develop a new Engagement commission with alumni from Creative Youth Network’s Creative Futures programme
  • A £10,000 production budget for the Engagement commission, including travel to and accommodation in Bristol
  • A studio space at Spike Island for 12-months, from 10 January to 14 December 2022
  • Support and mentorship from Spike Island’s Programme team
  • Annual membership to our Spike Island Associates programme which offers free access to regular talks, one-to-ones with artists, critics and curators, and other opportunities for peer-to-peer learning and support

The new commission will be presented to the public in autumn 2022, either in Spike Island’s Project Space, or on our website and online channels (depending on the format).


The Fellowship is for UK-based artists of all ages and backgrounds with experience in developing Engagement projects with young people. Please note that we are not able to accept applications from artists currently undertaking an undergraduate course.

The selected candidate will be able to make use of a studio at Spike Island for 12 months. Though artists need not be based in Bristol throughout the duration of the Fellowship, they will be expected to come to Bristol at least once a month during the year. 

Spike Island is committed to anti-racism and to addressing inequality in the arts sector. We strongly encourage applications from people who identify as D/deaf, disabled or neurodivergent, come from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds and/or who experience racism. Spike Island will work with applicants to ensure their access needs are met during the interview process, while also ensuring that these needs will not influence our decision-making.

How to apply

Applications should be submitted as a single PDF document (under 10MB) via the form on the Spike Island website. This PDF should include:

  • A proposal for the new commission which clearly outlines your intentions and explains why you think this would be relevant for Spike Island and Creative Youth Network (up to 750 words)
  • A production budget, outlining how the £10,000 will be spent, including travel to and accommodation in Bristol.
  • 10–15 images and/or up to 3 video files of recent work, with relevant captions. You may like to include a download link for a file sharing platform such as Dropbox or Google Drive in your application.
  • A current CV (maximum two pages)
  • Your access document (if applicable)
  • Your contact details

Following the submission of your application you will be prompted to complete an equal opportunities form which will be separated from your application form and used for monitoring purposes only.

Deadline to apply: Sunday 31 October 2021

Download a Word version of this open call brief or listen to an audio version.

We realise that text-based applications do not suit everyone, so if you would like to apply in a different way, or if you require this application form in a different format, please get in touch with us by email: [email protected]

All applicants will receive an automated email to confirm that their application has been received successfully. Please note that due to limited capacity, we are only able to respond directly to candidates who are invited to interview. If you have not heard from us by Monday 8th November, then you should assume that you have not been successful on this occasion.

Please submit your application via the form at the bottom of this page on the Spike Island website.

Selection process

Shortlisted artists will be invited to attend an online interview with members of Spike Island Programme team on the week commencing Monday 8 November.

This opportunity is one of three Engagement Fellowships for Artists taking place between 2021 and 2024, as part of the West of England Visual Arts Alliance Programme.

FAQs for applicants

Is there any support available to help with submitting an application?

We are happy to receive applications in alternative formats (video, audio file). We may also be able to find other ways to make the application process more accessible to you.

If you require access support with your application please contact [email protected].

Will my access costs be covered?

Any access costs you incur as an artist or practitioner should be covered by Access to Work* if you have self-employed artist status or work as part of an organisation or company. If you do not draw an income from your work, we will work with you to meet your access costs if you are selected – please include these figures in addition to your production budget.

*Access to Work is a government scheme that is designed to meet the additional costs of employing a disabled person where they are directly a result of that person’s impairments. For more information go to: www.gov.uk/access-to-work/overview

How do I let you know what my access needs are?
We welcome all artists and practitioners we work with to share their access documents with us. This can assist us with accurately forecasting timescales for the production and delivery of projects, as well as budgeting accurately. We recommend using a template from https://www.accessdocsforartists.com/ if you would like to prepare and submit your own access document along with your application.

About Spike Island

Spike Island supports, produces and presents contemporary art across an 80,000 square foot former industrial building near Bristol harbourside. Our diverse artistic programme includes free major exhibitions, events and engagement activities taking place on-site and online. The programme champions outstanding work by emerging and underrepresented local, national and international artists, and enhances access to contemporary art and culture for audiences from all backgrounds.

Spike Island directly supports artists through ambitious new commissions, subsidised studios and critically-engaged artist development opportunities that widen access to our programme and facilities. Our Exhibition Services business supports the bespoke production and installation of artists’ film and video throughout the UK and internationally. Spike Island is home to a dynamic community of hundreds of artists and creative businesses, working in flexible, affordable workspaces, alongside UWE Bristol’s Fine Art programmes and café bar Emmeline. 


About Creative Youth Network

Creative Youth Network enables young people to reach their own potential whatever their background or experience. All of the young people they work with are experiencing barriers that are preventing them from flourishing. They support them in removing or overcoming these barriers by: building trusting relationships, enabling them to address young people’s individual needs; providing a wide range of programmes and activities to help young people reach their potential; amplifying young voices and advocating with young people to influence policy and practice.



*Header image credit: 

Under My Skin (2019) Film still. Contributing artists: Amaal Ali, Abbi Bayliss, Kiara Corales, Alba Diaz Gracie, Sakiya Ghalib, Ifrah Hassan, Maya Ilogu, Asmaa Jama, Angela Jones, Saili Katebe, Courtenay Welcome. A collaboration between Spike Island, Rising Arts Agency and Integrate UK

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