Bluecoat and Castlefield Gallery announce PIVOT: an 18 month development programme for mid-career artists living and working in the North West of England

PIVOT is a new scheme delivered in partnership by Bluecoat and Castlefield Gallery. Both organisations share the vision that the North West of England is a place where artists are able to live and work whilst experiencing national and international success. Five mid-career contemporary visual artists will be awarded a £5000 bursary and given access to a programme that helps support their practice over an 18 month period. 

Artists who have over five years experience and can demonstrate a strong track record in the field of contemporary visual art will be selected by a panel comprising artists Simeon Barclay (Leeds) and Chara Lewis (Manchester) with curators at Bluecoat and Castlefield Gallery, and a representative from the scheme’s funder, Brian Mercer Trust. With applications open from 10 September 2020, it is anticipated that the five PIVOT artists will be appointed in early October.

Developed to support those experiencing the long mid career – whether established or just past emerging – PIVOT recognises that existing artist development support is dominated by early-career opportunities for UK artists. PIVOT will support the participating artists with bespoke strands, tailored to each individual’s needs, including specialist mentoring. The artists will engage in a core development programme that includes 1-2-1s with the PIVOT team at Bluecoat and Castlefield Gallery, group crit and Creative Professional Development sessions, artist coaching, specialist communications advice and peer learning.  

The programme was first conceived before the COVID-19 outbreak and developed under lockdown; both organisations believe that it is more relevant than ever – the bursary and support that PIVOT brings can maintain as well as develop careers. The programme will initially take place on-line to adapt to the current times, with the idea that meeting together will become possible at a later date.

PIVOT is a pilot programme and will test new methodologies to support contemporary visual artists at a mid-career stage in the North West region. PIVOT has been shaped by the combined knowledge, skills and experience of Bluecoat and Castlefield Gallery, resulting from their commitment to artist development over the last three decades, as well as consultation with artists and academic research. PIVOT will progress the recommendations from a report by Rebecca de Mynn, produced as part of a collaborative doctoral award between Castlefield Gallery, Manchester School of Art and Manchester Metropolitan University: de Mynn, R (2016) Artist Development at Castlefield Gallery: Policy Change through the Counterpublic? Manchester School of Art at Manchester Metropolitan University & Castlefield Gallery, Slater, A. 

Further information on the application process can be found here 

Application deadline: 12noon, Wednesday 30 September 2020

Interviews: Thursday 8 and Friday 9 October 2020