Explore Fund

A new £3000 fund for artists to test new ideas, materials, processes or ways of working


An illustrated character holding a torch illuminating symbols representing various art forms such as books, pencils, paintbrushes, paint pallets, instruments and juggling hands.

This new development fund is for artists in Bradford working in any art form to explore, experiment, research; or test new ideas, processes or media.

Through the Explore Fund we will allocate 7 grants of £3,000 to support the development of creative practices and the exploration of new ideas. 

Who is it for?

All artists from the Bradford district

How much is it?

It's a £3,000 grant

Apply by

Sunday 28 January 2024 at 11:00 PM

What is the Explore Fund?

This brand new R&D fund will provide you with £3000 to carry out a creative development project between March and July 2024. 

This might be through exploring a new idea, art form, collaboration, process or technique. 

Or, it might be an opportunity to test, try, or ‘do that thing’ that you think will take you or your practice to the next level of your creative ambitions!

Who is it for?

This fund is for you if you are:

  • aged 18+, at any stage of your career or artistic practice
  • living and/or working in Bradford
  • clear about what ideas, processes, or techniques you want to explore
  • either an individual or a micro arts organisation* without NPO funding
*under 5 employees
Book your place at our online info session
What this fund is NOT for

We want to be clear about what this fund is not for:

  • output or outcome – if you need to ‘make’ something as part of the process that’s fine with us, but we don’t require that – the focus is on exploration and development
  • something you would be doing anyway 
  • paying yourself for work you have already done
  • work you are already undertaking
  • putting on an event, or paying for your own or someone else’s costs related to a performance or event
  • redeveloping something that already exists
  • exploring ideas where there’s no clear creative development
  • creative development where you’re not exploring an idea

Your project also won’t be eligible if it’s solely about one of the following things, but they can be part of what you do if it’s clearly going to help you explore your idea:

  • development of business skills, commercial development, marketing and promotion (check out our Mentoring scheme and other training programmes for this)
  • attending a course or training (check out our Spare Bob grant for this)
  • paying someone to do a job for you (e.g. fundraiser, producer, marketer, etc)
  • exclusively buying or trying out equipment
BPH is not just a funder

If you’re just looking for £3k to do your thing, this isn’t the right opportunity for you, BPH works with and provides direct support to the artists we fund. 

  • We have an additional Wrap Around fund that means we can help you with specific things that arise during your project, or help you take the next step after your project has finished, see below for more information on this.
  • You will be part of the Explore Fund cohort of 7 creatives. As part of this, you will take part in cohort gatherings and a final full cohort sharing event. We will pay an additional £100 towards the cost of meetings.
  • You will have a named person at BPH who will check in with you about once a month, and will be there to help you as you go along.
How to apply

Please read the following guidance carefully before making your application.

  • To apply, first prepare your ‘Idea and Impact’ submission (see guidance below). Applications should be prepared in advance and submitted using our online application form.
  • You can tell us about your ‘Idea and Impact’ in whatever format, way or order that makes most sense to you / your project, this can be in writing, audio or film.
  • There is no strict word count or time limit, but in order to have the best chance of success we’d advise your ‘Idea and Impact’ submission is presented in no more than 2 pages of A4 or 2 minutes of audio or film. 
  • Please don’t send us more than you need to: remember that the assessors will have a lot of information to get through and more is not necessarily better, so do try to keep it to the point and answer the questions detailed in the section below. Using headings or sections is helpful for the assessors to find the information they need.
  • If it’s helpful, you can also send us a couple of examples or links to help illustrate your idea – please keep this to either 1 additional page of A4, 2 links or 2 images.
  • You will be asked to upload your files directly to the online application form, the files need to be under 10mb each. Alternatively, you can save them all to a shared folder, like Dropbox or Google Drive and provide us with the link in the application form. If you do this, please ensure the links work and the files are viewable when not logged in by you – you can test this by pasting the link into an incognito tab in your internet browser.

In your Idea & Impact submission, please tell us:

  1. What idea will you be exploring?
  2. What do you hope to find out or test?
  3. How will you know whether it’s been successful?
  4. What impact do you hope it will have on you, your career or your creative development?
  5. Who else will be involved (if there is anyone)?
  6. Where will it take place?
  7. Your plan / timeline: what will you do in the 4-month period?
  8. Your budget: what will you spend the money on (in detail)

Money Stuff:

We want to be able to assess whether your project is fully thought through and deliverable. We have provided an example budget template here for you to use as part of your application – you don’t need to use this if you prefer to present your budget in your own way.

Budget tips:

  • We look for budgets that are fair, make sense, and will deliver what you need to do.
  • Bear in mind that there is only a short period of time to deliver your project, so your plans need to be realistic and deliverable within this period. 
  • Remember that your budget also tells your story – if something is important in your project, make sure it’s also clear in the budget.
  • Make sure your budget is based on reality – get some quotes and check how much things cost as you’re pulling your plans together, this can also help you get agreements on things people will provide for free or ‘in kind’ (like rehearsal space, specialist advice etc.)
  • Include ‘in kind’ agreements in your budget in both the income and expenditure sections – this helps funders see the true value of your project and can help you reach any match funding you might need.
  • You don’t need to have match funding for BPH, and you will not be more likely to succeed if you do have match funding in place. 
  • If your plans mean that you do need additional funding, make sure you tell us how you plan to get it, and what you will do if you don’t get it. 
  • You must include ‘fair pay’ for everyone involved. You can get guidance on fair rates of pay from organisations like EquityITC or Artists’ Union England – or drop us an email if you need advice.
  • Don’t forget accessibility – what do you need to put in place to ensure your project is a great experience for everyone – creatives, employees, participants, and audiences?
  • You can spend up to 50% of the Explore Fund on equipment – but we want a clear understanding on why this is essential to this project.
  • Don’t include BPH wrap around support in your main plans / budget – we want to be clear on what you will do with the amount of money you have. 
  • You do not need to be a registered company or charity, but if you are a freelancer, you will need to be registered as self-employed and pay your own tax and national insurance. You can arrange for your budget to be held and managed by a trusted partner or producer if you would prefer this for access or other support reasons.
  • It’s OK if once your project starts, your plan or the way you use the funding, changes, as long as you’re still working on the same Idea & Impact. Just make sure you keep in touch and let us know what’s happening.

About You:

1. Name of the person filling in this form

2. Organisation name (if any)

3. Email address

4. Phone number

5. Project, organisation or personal postcode 

6. What is your/company/project’s connection to Bradford?

7. What is the title of your project or idea?

8. How would you describe the main art form of your project or idea?

9. Upload your Idea & Impact document, film, audio file, or provide links to your files.

10. Tell us about any help or support you might need.
Are there any areas of your project or your own development where you feel you would benefit from additional support, including access support? Or other things you would do with this project if you had further funding or support?

11. For monitoring purposes we need to know a little about you and your creative team’s background.
Please state below how you identify in as many of the following areas as you feel comfortable with. Such as; age, gender, ethnicity, class, education level and disabilities. We use this information to understand the various barriers a creative faces.

The deadline to apply is Sunday 28 January 2024 at 11:00 PM. 

For more information, you might want to book a place on our online information session on Monday 15 January at 12:00 PM

If you have any questions or need to complete your application another way, please email us at hello@bdproducinghub.co.uk.

A bit about the review process

This section explains the process of how your application will be assessed at each stage, who does the assessment, and how we will make our decisions.

The aim of the review process is to select 7 successful Explore Fund applications. We want the successful applications to be representative of Bradford’s communities, stories, styles and art forms.

This stage is carried out by 2 members of the BPH team. Your application will be assessed against the following essential criteria:

  1. The applicant meets the following criteria:
    • aged 18+, at any stage of their career or artistic practice
    • living and/or working in Bradford
    • either an individual or a micro arts organisation (under 5 employees) without NPO funding
  2. The idea is clear
  3. The potential impact is clear
  4. The application information we asked for is provided

This stage is carried out by a mixture of the BPH team and independent creatives. At least 3 people will review your application. 

Each person in the selection team will review and rate your application independently. Their individual reviews are then brought together and discussed as part of the final decision making. 

These are things we think about when coming to a decision, you don’t have to be ‘strong’ in all areas to be successful:

  • The idea is clear
  • The idea is interesting or exciting
  • The fund would have a significant impact on the creative/team involved
  • The way they’re approaching the idea is different and new to what they have done before
  • The project has a realistic budget and timescale
  • They have considered how to evaluate the success of the project
  • They represent or consider diversity in Bradford in their team or audience (e.g. people from different backgrounds, ethnicities, disabilities, sexual orientation, etc)
  • They have considered access for different people and needs
We will contact everyone who applies with an outcome. We give everyone a small amount of feedback, and will give more detailed feedback if requested.

Yes. The Explore Fund is open to everyone that meets the eligibility criteria. 

Yes, however, our recommendation is to focus on one application and make sure that is as strong as it can be – don’t forget it’s a competitive process, and your idea needs to stand out. We also want to discourage people from doing too much unpaid work when applying for funding, so focussing your time on one application may be a better plan.

Yes, you can split the project into two stages, as long as they are clearly linked and dependent on each other. Remember not to stretch yourself or your project too far.

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