What are Arts Awards?
Arts Awards support imaginative and experimental arts projects that explore biomedical science.
The scheme aims to:
- stimulate interest, excitement and debate about biomedical science through high-quality, original artistic practice
- examine the social, cultural and ethical contexts of biomedical science through the arts
- encourage new ways of thinking
- promote high-quality interdisciplinary practice and collaborations between arts, science and education practice
- support formal and informal learning.
The scheme is open to a wide range of people, including artists, scientists, curators, film makers, writers, producers, directors, academics, science communicators, teachers, arts workers and education officers.
Your project must involve the creation of new artistic work and have biomedical scientific input into the process, either through a scientist taking on an advisory role or through direct collaboration. This expert may be from an ethics, science or history background, but must be an expert in the area of biomedical science you are investigating.
If your proposed project has an artistic dimension but does not involve the creation of new work, then it may be more appropriate to apply for a People/Society Award.
You can apply for funding at two levels:
Small Arts Awards (small- to medium-sized projects - up to and including £30 000)
Funding can support the development of new project ideas, deliver small productions or workshops, investigate and experiment with new methods of engagement through the arts, or develop new collaborative relationships between artists and scientists.
Large Arts Awards (larger projects - above £30 000)
This funding can support full or part production costs for high-quality large arts projects that aim to have significant impact on audiences. These awards are primarily for applicants with a track record with the Wellcome Trust or Wellcome Collection; however, special cases can be made for teams that can provide evidence of an excellent track record and a particularly strong project idea where the initial research and development of the project has already taken place.
Projects that are not eligible for Arts Award support include health promotion, education or campaign projects, arts projects for therapeutic purposes, factual documentaries, work that is purely illustrative, and projects dealing with non-biomedical sciences.
How do I apply?
To be eligible, you must be based in the UK or the Republic of Ireland and the primary audience engagement must take place in the UK or the Republic of Ireland. Applicants are usually affiliated to organisations, but you can apply as an individual for a Small Arts Award.
Complete a full application form, via the Trust's eGrants online application system (select the 'Small Arts Awards' form in the 'Full application' drop-down menu), and submit it at any time before the published deadline.
Please note that organisations need to be registered on eGrants before an affiliated application can be submitted. This is done by contacting the Trust; for full details, see the About page on eGrants.
All eligible projects will be peer-reviewed and assessed individually on merit and need by a funding committee.
Large Arts Awards (over £30 000)
We are now accepting project ideas for 2013. The Large Arts Awards are now primarily for applicants with a track record with the Wellcome Trust or Wellcome Collection; however, special cases can be made for teams that can provide evidence of an excellent track record and a particularly strong project idea where the initial research and development of the project has already taken place.
In the first instance, you must submit an Expression of Interest form [Word]. Forms should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, at which point they will be acknowledged and reviewed by one of our advisors.
If you are successful at this stage, you will be invited to submit an application form, which will be peer reviewed and assessed by a committee. If your application is shortlisted, you will be invited for interview where you will be asked to present your project and answer questions.
What projects have been funded?
You can read summaries of all our previous Arts Award funding.
We have recently funded the following projects:
This research and development project supports the construction of a performance installation for children aged six to ten to explore vocal anatomy, the science of vocal sound and speech science. Children will invent magical words and choruses of vocal sound by playing with ways they can speak and vocalise, in a digital environment at The Point in Hampshire. The artists will engage with an expert from voice medicine and an international scientific advisory panel in the development of the work. They will also involve young people, teachers and carers in testing and refining the interactive experience. Age-appropriate and curriculum-adapted science education activities will be integrated into the work.
'Body Pods' is a series of podcasts created by 12 artists and 12 biomedical scientists in collaboration, each inspired by a different part of the body. Based on the contributors' previous set of commissions, 'Everyday Moments', these pieces will be artworks in themselves, using the podcast form to engage audiences in their own time and space and intimately communicating to them as individuals. Distribution will be one per month through Fuel's website, through media partners and, potentially, through listening points within scientific and medical institutions.
'R.I.P.' is a 16 mm film, events series and website exploring Western culture's relationship with death as seen through the experiences of an embalmer, an alternative funeral director and sociologists from the Centre for Death and Society at the University of Bath. It will investigate aspects of contemporary embalming, including the technical and anatomical processes, as well as the philosophical and sociological significance of the practice.
Science and Superstition
'Science and Superstition' explores the extraordinary life and times of Lydiard Park's herbalist and society hostess, Lady Johanna St John, using a combination of her correspondence and medicinal writings. A collaboration between Lydiard Park, Sixth Sense Theatre, biochemist Professor Timothy Peters and historian Clare Hickman, the project will develop and produce a site-specific youth theatre performance with accompanying lecture series and education pack illuminating her life and practice.
This Mess is a Place
Through large-scale installation, an interdisciplinary public event and fiction writing, 'This Mess is a Place' builds upon connections between collection and compulsion in Zoe Mendelson's art practice, interpreting current psychological understanding of hoarding disorder. Through consultation with clinical psychologist Dr Alberto Pertusa and Satwant Singh, a nurse consultant in cognitive behavioural therapy and mental health,, the project investigates the psychopathology of hoarding, its onset and its treatment, and questions how and when hoarding separates from collecting to become pathological.
D R Hood
'The Session' is a short animated film examining communication between a schizophrenic patient, family members and professionals (a family therapy team). The film draws on material from a family therapy session to illuminate communication within a family unit in the context of schizophrenia - when the patient's reality is in a different dimension to the family's reality. The film will be made in consultation with consultant psychiatrist Dr Tom Stevens and will be a mix of stylised live action, stop-frame and hand-drawn animation. Three different directors of animation will highlight the three different perspectives and conflicting 'truths' of those present in the therapy session.
Working with psychiatrists specialising in the treatment of seasonal affective disorder, arts producers Trigger will install a prototype sculptural installation created from white light sources inside Kibble Palace, a glasshouse in Glasgow's botanic gardens. Local arts organisations and venues will co-curate with Trigger a programme of performances within the space to attract audiences to experience the installation. The aim is to build dialogue about research into the impact of light on our health.
On Torture: research and development
The play 'On Torture' will explore the psychology and ethics of torture. It asks two questions: 'Why do good people do bad things?' and 'How do we judge them?' 'On Torture' will critically explore the social and environmental factors that affect individual behaviour. The team will research the theories of experts - such as Professor Philip Zimbardo, originator of the Stanford Prison Experiment, Professors Alex Haslam and Stephen Reicher, and psychologist Dr Jeffrey Kaye - as well as personal experiences of torture victims and ethical perspectives on the subject. The final piece will be a multi-layered exploration of the factors that influence human behaviour in extreme circumstances.
Tropical Medicine: Poems
Researching poet Cameron Conaway will work directly with Professor Nick Day, Director of the Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Programme in Thailand and Laos, and other senior researchers there, in order to absorb the science and social/ethical scope of their work for the purpose of creating a full-length book of poetry. This book will be published in late 2013 by renowned international poetry press Salmon Poetry.
Nancy Evans, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
'Resolution' brings together emerging biomedical scientists and composers to work with young people at Key Stage 4 to create new music that explores the theme of inflammation. It is a partnership project between Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and the Rheumatology Research Group at the University of Birmingham's Institute of Biomedical Research. The project will consist of professional development for the composers and scientists, in-school composing workshops, the creation of online resources and scores, and a public discussion and performances.
James Wilkes, University College London
Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience Poetry Residency
As poet-in-residence at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, James Wilkes will collaborate with Professor Sophie Scott and other researchers to produce a new work of poetry that engages with the Institute's research into speech production and processing. He will also write a research blog and curate three public conversations between neuroscientists and humanities researchers. The residency will culminate in the publication of James's work and an interdisciplinary symposium, co-hosted by the Institute and the London Consortium, bringing together poets, neuroscientists, literary scholars and philosophers. Recordings and films of these events will be made available online.
Phillip Warnell, Kingston University
Ming of Harlem
'Ming of Harlem' is an experimental documentary film examining the case study of Ming and Al - a Siberian tiger and an American alligator - who secretly shared a high-rise Manhattan apartment with Antoine Yates until 2003, when their discovery caused a public outcry and widespread disbelief. Working with psychologist Dr Sarah Knight, the project draws on interviews with those directly involved and project advisers, presenting an analysis of animal studies through ideas and images of human-animal relations. Framing anthrozoological research in a film format, it will discuss and investigate the use of predatory, territorial creatures as extreme pets, proposing four further perspectives, with Yates, both animals and the apartment as protagonists.
'Significant Walks' explores the reality of walking for individuals with chronic lower back pain. Initiated by the collaborative team of artist Shirley Chubb, musculoskeletal physiotherapy specialist Professor Ann Moore, biomedical engineer Dr Kambiz Saber-Sheikh and digital artist Neil Bryant, the project involves a group of participants from East Sussex. The aim of the project is to present an immersive digital artwork synthesising eye-level video documentation of the participants' personal walks with simultaneously gathered biomechanical data. Exploring the interpretive qualities of visual effects processes, the team will then work with participants to identify the most effective ways to express the nature and challenge of their personal movement. The resulting films will be presented at visual arts and science venues, including learning and public environments, where the life-size scale of the work will engage viewers in micro-journeys that both interpret clinically accurate data and express individual experience.
The 'Occasional Cobra' Project
David Clegg has spent more than 9000 hours interviewing people with dementia in care homes and hospitals, often returning to the same people over several years to document changes in their autobiographical memory and language use. This project opens up for research and creative purposes a vast, uncensored archive of this first-person testimony to offer an insight into the progress of dementia and into aspects of national and social history that are too often forgotten. Experts from the biomedical sciences, linguistics, philosophy and the arts will have the opportunity to share ideas across disciplines and edit the individual stories. Leading actors will then record their adaptations as dramatic monologues, and the results of the project will be released as a book and CD pack. The book will combine newly commissioned essays, digital imaging and hand printing to explore visually how the dementia has changed the stories over time. David will be working with Andrea Capstick of Bradford Dementia Group, Dominic Ffytche of the Institute of Psychiatry and Alison Wray from Cardiff University School of English.
'Mess' is a new theatre piece by Caroline Horton based on her personal experience of anorexia and recovery. Created by artists in collaboration with experts from King's College, Maudsley Hospital and the Ethox Centre, it is darkly funny and deeply moving, and offers a window into an internal world of addiction, control and obsession that is finally rejected for the outside world. It aims to open up discourse about anorexia that is robust and accessible to a non-specialist audience. 'Mess' will launch at the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe Festival and will tour to studio theatres.
Systematic Art - Revaluing Autistic Thinking
Jon Adams is an artist with Asperger's syndrome. His art reveals his naturally systematic thinking: his inclination and ability to uncover systems within everyday interactions and landscapes. He will work with Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, Director of the Autism Research Centre in Cambridge, who believes that systematic thinking is one particular characteristic of people on the autism spectrum. Through a process of residency, conversations, testing and making, Jon will develop a 'stratigraphic symphony', a sound performance incorporating visual material, and an online presentation that can explore this subject.
'Stream' is the research and development phase of a collaboration between visual artist Emma Hunter and heart-imaging consultant Philip Kilner of the Royal Brompton Hospital. It will focus on water flow properties inherent in the structures and flow dynamics of the human heart and blood system. The artist will create a body of work that will be a poetic reimagining of the inner landscape of the human heart, capturing its embodiment of water and inviting the viewer to make visual connections between inner and outer landscapes.
Alexandra Coulter, Dorset County Hospital
2 kidneys 5 tales
Film maker Peter Snelling and renal dialysis patients at Dorset County Hospital will explore the experience of renal failure, the science and pressures of diet restrictions, and the tension between home and hospital life. A renal dietician will collaborate to creatively explore the relationship between renal science and lived experience. A local food producer and cook will encourage a creative and imaginative approach to a restricted diet. The film maker will create five short films with the patients about the subject.
Deadlines and contacts
Small Arts Awards (up to and including £30 000)
Upcoming deadlines are:
- 28 June 2013 (17.00)
- 1 November 2013 (17.00)
Funding decisions will be made approximately three months after the relevant deadline; we will tell you the result shortly afterwards.
Large Arts Awards (over £30 000)
Expressions of Interest forms can be submitted at any point in the year; however, we are no longer accepting proposals for the 2013 deadline.
The deadline for full applications for 2013 has now closed (5 April 2013) and a final decision will be made approximately three months after this date.
You can contact us at:
215 Euston Road
London NW1 2BE, UK
T +44 (0)20 7611 8806