Light and the Creative Economy – micro commissions callout





The Light Up the North network (LUTN) began in 2015 as a network to support 7 northern light festivals to collaborate, showcase new light work and support emerging artists.  After three years, it is a good time to reflect on what we have achieved. We are holding the LUTN National Conference in Blackpool 18-19 October 2018 in partnership with Nesta – the innovation agency. We want creativity to be at the heart of this process. With public funding from Arts Council England, we will award 5 micro-commissions inviting artists resident in England to interpret the content and the discussions of the conference in creative and innovative ways. 


The brief:

We are looking a range of creative responses that use light as the medium to communicate, interrogate, explore or play with the content or themes of the LUTN National Conference. These responses could happen on the day of the conference itself, or afterwards at LUTN partner festivals (dates below).

Examples of such commissioned work might be:

- a visual artist who works with text, to choose an overhead statement on the day, take it back to where they live, interrogate it in a workshop locally, and remake the results into a light-based temporary installation 

- a digital artist to create a light-based work inspired by people’s movement through the conference venue, that generates itself in real-time through the day

- a sound artist to make a composition based on all the light switches in the venue

- an animator to create a series of 15-second instagram videos inspired by the venue’s architecture, and released through the day

- a visual artist to use light to interpret mood and emotion associated with the conference content

- a programming team to create an extremely simple casual game, based on light, programmed and designed from scratch, in the day of the conference, that can be uploaded and played by participants before the end of the day


Eligibility: The commission is open to anyone resident in England. We welcome applications from individuals or collectives at any stage of their career.

What will I get? 

£1,000 towards the completion of your work, to be spent on materials, expenses and your time. You will also have the chance to work with a producer to realise the project (1.5 days/project) – please consider this in your application. The work should be self-contained, and require minimal additional installation, production or invigilation cost.

Successful applicants will also have the chance to showcase their work and portfolio at the LUTN National Conference, and be celebrated regionally by the Light up the North network and nationally by Nesta. 

How do I apply?

Summary of your idea (<300words) 

Links to 3 previous, relevant works 

Breakdown of the £1,000 budget

Please send your applications by email to with the subject line LUTN CONFERENCE COMMISSION. We will respect the confidentiality of both your proposals and personal data.

How will we assess your application?

A panel of LUTN partners will assess all applications, scoring on 3 areas:

Artistic quality  the strength & quality of the idea and the your previous work.

Public experience creative, interactive, with an understanding of who it is aimed at and how people will engage with it

Viability  realistic in terms of time and money

Commissioning process

Applications open: Monday 10 September 2018

Deadline for submissions: Thursday 27 September 2018

Shortlisted applicants Skype meeting: 2-3 October 2018

Artists announced 5 October 2018

LUTN Conference 18 October 2018  



Who is eligible for this opportunity?

Individuals or collectives resident in the UK

When is the deadline?

Thursday 27 September 2018


Can I show work which has already been completed?

We are very unlikely to commission previously-completed work


Do I have to be based in the north of England to apply?

No. Applications are open to any artist or collective based in the UK


If I am successful in my application, what else will I be expected to do / submit?

You will be asked to attend an interview and/or site visit. If commissioned you will need to send us text and images by the copy deadline to ensure your project information is included in the conference programme and other marketing. You will be invited to present your idea and your portfolio at the LUTN National Conference on Thursday 18th October in Blackpool .


I have a great idea but am unsure how to make it happen.

The LUTN partners have technical experts on hand to help with the ‘how do I..?’ questions.  Please get in touch before you apply with any questions.


Lightpool Festival – 18 October, 25-27 October 2018

Light Up Lancaster – 4-5 November 2018

Lightwaves Salford – 7-16 December 2018

Enchanted Parks Gateshead – 4-9 December 2018