Call for participants: Protest Lab – Act Up, Metal



“My favourite word? It’s act.’”
Ai WeiWei

Metal invites UK based artists to come together this autumn to investigate the role of art in the act of protest.

We are looking for eight artists to take part in an intensive research and development LAB to explore how art can continue to effectively respond to social, racial or political inequality and inform change. The LAB will explore the ability for all of society to participate in protest movements – and through which ask how artists might seek to document, memorialise or intervene with public direct action in an increasingly tribal society.

This four-day LAB is open to artists (from all artforms) who work with, or are curious to explore these themes with others. This LAB actively encourages participation from BAME artists, alongside those representing other protected characteristics, in order to enable the widest range of perspectives and opportunities for diverse collaboration.

This LAB, a continuation of a model practised by Metal for over 8 years, creates a forum for discussion and experimentation; a supportive and open space to think, enables mess and mistakes, and provides the opportunity to explore strategies for the foundation of new artworks.

As part of the LAB, we will present a series of sessions with guest speakers and mentors which aim to provoke, challenge pre-conceptions, bridge past influences with future possibilities, and above all fuel interest and support innovative new thinking.

Working with Creative Associate Sud Basu, the LAB is hosted and facilitated by Metal – and will take place at our Liverpool site in Edge Hill Station.

The LAB will provide:
● A £400 bursary plus travel and accommodation
● Support and input from the Metal team, and connection to wider networks
● Time and space to develop new work relating to art & protest
● Working and social time with peers for discussion and exchange of ideas and practice
● The opportunity to further develop new work in partnership with Metal


There are eight places available on the LAB for UK based artists. We encourage applications from artists from all backgrounds. You will be a practicing professional artist working in any creative discipline – i.e. visual art, film, sound, performance, spoken word, etc

You will be able to illustrate creative skills, experience and motivations, linked to at least one of the below criteria:

● Desire to create social change
● Practice that relates to the themes of activism or protest
● You must be available to attend the full LAB week in Liverpool: w/c 7th October 2019

All travel, accommodation and meals will be provided. We encourage all participants to stay in Liverpool for the duration of the LAB, maximising the opportunities to spend time with the other participating artists and speakers.

To apply please complete this form

The deadline for all applications is Monday 9 September

If you would like to discuss your application or have any further questions please contact Sud Basu via email.

Sud Basu: Creative Associate
Sud is a Creative Producer and has worked in the cultural sector for over 15 years – supporting artists, commissioning and presenting work across art form and creating nationally significant cultural programmes. His career has spanned local Government, funding bodies, commercial agencies, presenting theatres as well as artist led companies – with senior roles at organisations such as the Greater London Authority, Arts Council England, London Legacy Development Corporation and The Place. Most recently Sud was a Commissioning Producer for 14-18 NOW – where he developed an award winning five year arts programme marking the centenary of the First World War.

image credited to FOUR WORDS: JANUARY, curated by Alan Dunn, commissioner by Metal in collaboration with Ocean Outdoor, Liverpool Media Wall, January 2016, image shown – Julieann O’Malley, see