Open call: Residency opportunities in partnership with Project Art Works and Outside In

Open call: Residency opportunities in partnership with Project Art Works and Outside In, for the Explorers programme in collaboration with The New Art Gallery Walsall and The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum. July – November 2022.


In 2016 Project Art Works were awarded an Ambition for Excellence grant by Arts Council England to deliver the Explorers programme. Taking place against a backdrop of increased hardship and intolerance toward disabled people, the aim has been to develop positive relationships between cultural organisations and the social care sector and to reposition people who have complex needs at the forefront of mainstream culture. The initial project has included awareness raising and encounter workshops, happenings, productions, commissions, exhibitions and seminars in collaboration with people who have complex needs and those who support them.

Explorers 2021-2023, aims to create equity for neurominorities and carers in civic and cultural life, creating platforms for neurodivergent people and pathways for cultural organisations to deepen their understanding and commit to inviting neurodivergent people and carers into their spaces. The project intends to change the discourse of how neurodivergent people are positioned and described in culture. Explorers project


This opportunity will support three artists who are neurodivergent to develop work over 5-weeks with the support and guidance from both participating organisations and a virtual or studio visit from a lead artist.

We are asking artists, or people who support and advocate for artists, who are interested in applying, to complete an application form with a proposal outlining how they would like to use the residency.

The successful artists will receive:

  • £1475 fee (inclusive of travel)
  • Up to £300 for materials
  • In-kind support (virtual or in person studio visits and curatorial guidance, advocacy and a presence across Outside In, The New Art Gallery Walsall and The Herbert Art Gallery online platforms as well as shared through the Explorers social media presence)
  • Access to remote technical advice, as appropriate
  • Access to a Lead Artist for 1 x visit
  • Additional budget for access costs including support at our Artist Support Days for guidance on your application

We are offering 2 x studio-based residencies with The New Art Gallery Walsall: 

The New Art Gallery Walsall will offer two artists use of a fully equipped, bespoke artist studio space situated in the heart of the Gallery. If this is not suitable or accessible for the selected artist, the artist may also choose to work at their usual place of making. The selected artists will use the time and space to develop a self-directed body of work. This may involve testing new ideas or approaches to their work, without pressure to produce exhibition-ready work.  The two residencies will take place independently of each other but there will be a crossover week, where the artists will come together and share the studio, which may spark dialogue, support and exchange. As part of the residency offer, The New Art Gallery Walsall will facilitate a public in-conversation or sharing event, whichever is more appropriate for the artists. Format and date TBC in consultation with the selected artists and Exhibitions and Artists’ Projects Curator, Zoë Lippett.

We are offering 1 x studio-based residency with The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum: 

The Gallery will offer the use of a self-contained community space onsite, which includes a sink and table space. If this is not suitable or accessible for the selected artist, the artist may also choose to work at their usual place of making. Access to the Herbert collections will be facilitated by the Curatorial team. There is also the possibility of additional support with arts organisations based in Coventry and a final event/sharing TBC with Senior Curator Martin Roberts.

Who can apply?

This opportunity is open to visual artists who are neurodivergent, working in any medium, who are based in the Midlands.

We would like to select artists who either are able to advocate for themselves, or have a person who can support and advocate for them to:

  • Actively engage in developing their practice with a demonstrable existing body of work
  • Generate work that can be shared and/or made accessible to a virtual audience
  • Commit time to the project each week over a 5-week period
  • Accommodate a Lead Artist virtual or studio visit
  • Be happy for artwork made to be shared on all partner websites to show the outcome of the residency
  • Not in full-time education (part-time students may apply)

Residency dates:

The residencies will take place between July and November 2022.

The New Art Gallery Walsall Residencies:

Residency 1: 18 July – week ending 21 August 2022 for 5 weeks at 2 x days a week.

Lead Artist studio visit to be confirmed in consultation with the artists chosen

Residency 2:  15 August – week ending 18 September 2022

Lead Artist studio visit to be confirmed in consultation with artist chosen

There will be a Crossover Week, where both artists based at The New Art Gallery Walsall will be present in the studio: (15 – 21 August) for dialogue, exchange and support.

The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum Residency:

Residency 3: 10 October – week ending 11 November 2022 for 5 weeks at 2 days per week.

There will be an opportunity for the artist to present their work through a final output event TBC.

Lead Artist studio visit to be confirmed in consultation with the artist chosen

Key dates:

Submissions open week commencing: 23 May 2022.

Applications close: 9.00am Monday 20 June 2022.

Selection announced: 27 June 2022.

Announcement (for all residencies): Monday 4 July 2022.


To apply for this opportunity, please see the application form.

Artists, or the person that supports and advocates for them can submit in different formats, including audio or film. For any enquiries regarding this opportunity please contact José Sunshine-Okoro, Midlands Hub, Programme Manager. E-Mail:
Do you need some support applying? We are running Artist Support Days in the Midlands where artists can gain support to apply for this opportunity. Sessions will take place on the following dates:

9.30 – 5pm -5pm, Thursday 9 June 2022 at The New Art Gallery Walsall, WS2 8LG.

9.30 – 5pm -5pm, Thursday 16 June 2022 at The Mac Birmingham, B12 9QH.

To find out more or to book onto a 1-hour session, please contact:

We recognise that people are often excluded from opportunities because institutions and organisations may not make provision to meet their ongoing support needs, so we are committed to fully supporting the selected artists as best we can throughout the residency period. We are happy to discuss an artist’s support needs as part of the application process.


Outside In is an established national charity, founded in 2006. It aims to provide a platform for artists who face significant barriers to the art world due to health, disability, social circumstance or isolation. Outside In’s work covers three main areas: artist development, exhibitions and training. These activities, supported by fundraising and communications, all aim to create a fairer art world by supporting artists, creating opportunities and influencing arts organisations.


Project Art Works is a collective of neurodiverse artists and activists based in Hastings, UK.

Intersecting ART and CARE, they promote the rights and representation of neuro-minorities through an expansive art practice, embracing holistic and practical support for individuals and caregivers alongside established artistic outputs.

Working in partnership nationally and internationally, they seek to reverse the entrenched power dynamics of inclusion, and to provide genuine opportunities for people to represent themselves within culture and society.

Definition of complex needs

The term ‘complex needs’ embraces a number of neurodiverse states of being such as severe learning disability and/or autism and/or cognitive impairments and/or behaviours described as challenging that combine to produce multiple and intersecting support needs. Sometimes these are also combined with complex physical needs as well. People with learning disabilities and behaviours that challenge are some of the most excluded in society. This is because they are very often dependent on carers and agencies for access to the wider world and experiences such as art and culture.


The New Art Gallery Walsall is an award-winning gallery in the heart of the West Midlands that presents, collects and interprets historic, modern and contemporary art through a dynamic, exhibitions, learning and events programme. The Gallery houses a purpose-built Artists’ Studio, which provides a base for its long-standing and respected residency programme. This programme exists primarily to support emerging and mid-career artists based in the region to test ideas and develop new work within a public-facing studio context. Curatorial guidance and critical conversation, often with external studio visitors, is a vital part of this work. The programme currently offers a mix of onsite and remote/virtual residency opportunities intended to support a broad cross section of practices and artists, some of whom may face additional barriers to accessing the building and working in the mainstream.

The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum is located in the centre of Coventry directly facing Coventry Cathedral. The collections include visual art, social and industrial history, archaeology and natural sciences. There are permanent exhibitions on the history of Coventry, the Lady Godiva story and the city’s role in Peace and Reconciliation, as well as displays of art from the collection. The gallery operates a programme of high-profile temporary exhibitions, which has recently included the Coventry Biennial and the Turner Prize exhibition, staged as part of Coventry’s UK City of Culture activities. The programme is delivered in partnership with national organisations, academic institutions, and local communities. We are committed to a socially engaged practice, including supporting career development for emerging and established practitioners and especially artists from diverse backgrounds. We can offer access to the Herbert’s wide-ranging collections and engagement with Curatorial and Exhibition staff who are able to share their experiences and knowledge, as well as access to partners and networks.

Outside In

Project Art Works


The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum

The New Art Gallery Walsall

by Chris Wilkinson

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