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Open Call - Artistic Programme

The first call for artistic work to be delivered as part of Transforming Narratives is now closed. See the successful artists and organisations here

Our second round of grants for creative people will open in early 2020. Sign up to the Transforming Narratives newsletter to be the first to know.

We are still looking for project proposals that reflect the Transforming Narratives project vision, aims and programming criteria. Can you expand on our vision for making great art and memorable cultural experiences?

Transforming Narratives project vision

To establish Birmingham as a leading international centre for contemporary South Asian arts practice, presenting multi-art forms through an artistic exchange programme, for the mutual benefit of Birmingham and cities in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Open Call Opportunities

There are three funding strands available: 

  • Exchanges programme: To broker new partnerships or develop existing ones through international residencies, exchanges and critical dialogue in Birmingham, Pakistan or Bangladesh. 
  • Collaborative projects: To support showcasing contemporary artistic programme and on building long-lasting cross-country relationships. 
  • Reciprocal showcasing: To support ambitious cross-country collaboration projects to develop new work and build on existing ideas. 

All projects within each of the opportunities must meet the overall programme criteria guidance. 

What do we mean by critical dialogue and archive and legacy?

We’d like to see artistic work that has longevity – whatever the art form is, we’re looking for ways to make the impact long-lasting beyond the end of Transforming Narratives as a programme.

We also want to see dialogue and discussion incorporated into proposals to encourage critical dialogue around narratives relevant to the project. 

Some examples of these could be:


This could be online content / exhibitions e.g. film / photos for Instagram / Facebook / Twitter, blogs / vlogs.

Generally we're interested in creating a digital or paper archive as a long term record and legacy of the project. This can eventually be deposited with Birmingham City Archives or Birmingham Museums Trust as part of a single TN project archive (see below). It could include: 

  • Digital content eg photographic records, films, digital copies of planning meeting notes, artist agreements etc, 
  • Digital or paper copies of related marketing and publicity
  • Creative documentation e.g. print publications, zines, illustrations, visual note-taking

Legacy (beyond March 2021)

Demonstrate additional opportunities created as a result of Transforming Narratives e.g.

  • Future programming 
  • New relationships and collaborations
  • Acquisitions: where relevant, the potential for supporting the acquisition of new artworks into the city’s public museum collection managed by Birmingham Museums Trust, as a long term legacy. For instance, an artist commissioned to produce a new piece of work may be willing to donate 1 or 2 preparatory works to the city’s collection as part of the commission fee; or project partners may be able to encourage participating visual artists to consider offering an exhibited artwork(s) for sale to the city’s museum collection as a permanent legacy to the project. The process of acquiring artworks and any related fundraising would be led by Birmingham Museums Trust. If anyone would like to discuss ways to support acquisitions in more detail please contact Toby Watley or Rebecca Bridgman.

Successful proposals will demonstrate how these Critical Dialogue, archiving and legacy have been considered as part of the artistic work, and – where relevant – how acquisitions could potentially be supported.

Archive as a resource for learning or inspiration 

The South Asian Diaspora Arts Archive (SADAA), stored at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, is available as a resource for learning and inspiration for any TN artists and creative programmers interested in learning more about first generation South Asian artists (from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka) who came to Britain up to 30 years after Partition in 1947. It is the only organisation actively collecting archives relating to the work of first generation South Asian artists working in Britain. The collections include visual arts, music, literature, dance and theatre. 

SADAA has a comprehensive website  where information on much of the archive can be accessed online in addition to many essays and articles about South Asian Diaspora artists.

After looking thorugh the archive on the website, if anyone is interested in viewing parts of the archive, please contact Caroline Villiers-Stuart to make an appointment.

Project research as a resource for applications

Community Facilitation reports

We have a summary of emerging themes that have been uncovered through various research and development trips, along with community facilitation research carried out in Birmingham.

This is available to review and can be considered as part of your proposal – however, this is not a requirement for your application.

Find out more about Transforming Narratives research resource.


Festivals Calendar

We also have a festivals calendar available as a resource. The calendar contains key dates and festivals taking place in Birmingham, Pakistan and Bangladesh. This can be used as a reference for when planning your application.

Please click here to download the calendar.


Open call deadlines and notifications of outcome

  • Open call round 1: Now closed. 
  • Open Call round 2: Early 2020.  Successful applicants will be notified by early May 2020. Sign up to the Transforming Narratives newsletter to be the first to know the open call dates.

Find Out More

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