Open Call – Empowered: LGBTQIA+ Artists


Bradford Producing Hub presents, Empowered – a wide-spanning programme of projects, workshops and events focusing on artist and ally empowerment, training and development. 

Empowered: LGBTQIA+ Artists is part of a wider series focussing on supporting, responding to the needs of, and ultimately empowering marginalised artists. The programme launched back in November 2022 with Empowered: Black and Global Majority Artists, and now returns to collaborate with LGBTQIA+ artists. 

Application Deadline:
11pm on Sunday 2 April 2023

About the programme

Empowered: LGBTQIA+ Artists is a free programme which will take place across a series of full and half day sessions.

The project aims to create a safe space to share experiences, hopes and wishes for the industry, while acknowledging specific challenges and opportunities for LGBTQIA+ artists. 

We aim for these sessions to be a place to connect, spark creativity and inspiration, and collect insights that will inform our ‘Make the Change’ allyship strand of work, which is part of our mission to develop and sustain a strong and inclusive arts sector in Bradford and beyond.

Is this for me?

Bradford Producing Hub are seeking 15 established or aspiring artistic leaders from LGBTQIA+ backgrounds.

Participants will:

  • Be LGBTQIA+ identifying artists and creatives from all artforms
  • Be from Bradford, Yorkshire or the North (Bradford applicants will be prioritised)
  • Have some experience of the arts industry with an ambition to become a future creative leader
  • Be engaged and interested in productive conversations about their identity, and receiving training to support their future ambitions in creating a more inclusive industry
  • Be interested in collaboration, connecting with, and supporting other LGBTQIA+ artists both locally and on a larger scale
What we provide

The 15 selected artists will be eligible for bursaries to attend, plus access and travel costs to participate in each of the sessions, see below for more information. Meals will also be provided for the in-person sessions.

Following this series, we will continue to nurture marginalised artists through our Empowered and Series of Care programmes, as well as through our other training and networking events. We will continue to listen to the needs of marginalised artists, and respond to these findings within our Make The Change allyship strand of work and our Artists Charter. 

Programme sessions

Applicants are ideally expected to attend all sessions. These events will be run by experienced facilitators working in keeping the live arts industry accountable for practising anti-discrimination as well as being practising artists themselves. 

Session 1:
Part 1 –
The Consent Compass
Part 2 – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: What we need from the industry

Date: Wednesday 26 April 2023
Time: 10am – 5pm
Venue: Kirkgate Centre, Shipley

Do you ever find yourself wondering why you’re doing what you’re doing?

Do you sometimes feel like the cultural assumptions and social expectations laid out for you aren’t what you want or need?

Many of us aren’t making full use of our consent. We are influenced by systems and hierarchies, assigned roles and labels we did not choose, and pushed towards competition, conflict, inequity and harm. Conscious choices, deliberate decisions and intentional actions are things we consent to.
Consent is a practice that can free us from mainstream demands and help us work out what we’re really willing to do for each other, our selves, and the wider world we are shaping. 

Jenny Wilson kick-starts our time together with an invitation and framework to help each of us to give, ask for and choose what we really do (or don’t) want.

This session will find productive ways to hold space for collective and individual lived experiences. There will be a focus on how this discussion can be distilled and put to use through:

  • informing allies on the reality of our lived experiences
  • offering ways for them to be more lucid and accountable when implementing anti-discrimination in their programming, artist development, and general interactions with LGBTQIA+ Artists


The session will also hold space to dream

  • what would our ideal artistic work look like? 
  • who would be leading and making? 
  • what art would be made? 
  • how can we reach those goals collectively and individually?

Join us to collaborate, brainstorm, and reflect on how we can move forward together.

Session 2: Creating Community: how we nurture the creativity of ourselves and others
Date: Thursday 27 April 2023
Time: 10am – 5pm
Venue: Kirkgate Centre, Shipley

This session will focus on how we can build each other up as artists and support each other. We’ll also examine the goals, paths, and trajectories we envision for our individual careers, and places in the industry overall. 

The discussions, ideas, and provocations will be captured through a zine making workshop led by Sophie Powell. 

Session 3: Inspo – Hear from Leading Artists 
Date:  Friday 28 April
Time: 10am – 3.30pm
Venue: Online via Zoom

This online event will consist of sessions, talks and Q&A’s with leading LGBTQIA+ artists from across the arts sector, working in a range of artforms and from a range of backgrounds. 

Go and See trip: Jaivant Patel Dance: Waltzing the Blue Gods 
Date:  Friday 28 April
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: Kala Sangam, Bradford

Waltzing the Blue Gods is a liberating tale in two parts, that reimagines the Queer symbolism of the Hindu gods, Shiva and Krishna, and the role they played in Jaivant Patel’s sexual awakening and spiritual relationship to faith, to becoming an openly homosexual British-Indian man.

Part auto-biographical, part fantasy, the evening celebrates new possibilities for a rich and traditional art form, Kathak, in the context of modern contemporary Britain that’s proud of its LGBTQI+ narratives.

Featuring some of South Asian Arts’ globally respected choreographers, composers, and musicians, expect beautiful, authentic choreography by Urja Desi Thakore and Jaivant Patel, soulful rhythms composed by Alap Desai, paired with heartfelt, live music performed by, Yadav Yadavan, Vijay Venkat, John Ball and Sahib Sehmbey.

Jaivant Patel Dance is an award-winning arts organisation rooted in Wolverhampton (UK) and is considered one of the leading voices in South Asian LGBTQIA+ narratives, intersecting across the boundaries of race, gender, sexuality, faith, and spirituality.

Kathak is a North Indian classical dance form embedded in storytelling.

Jaivant Patel Dance is an associate of Kala Sangam and is excited to be previewing their new production in Bradford.

Read more on kalasangam.org

Apply now!

Applications close at 11pm on Sunday 2 April 2023

Meet the facilitators

Jaivant Patel

Jaivant will be part of the Hear From Leading Artists session on Friday 28 April.

Jaivant Patel completed a BA (Hons) at Northern School of Contemporary Dance, and is currently under the guidance of global exponent Nahid Siddiqui for Kathak.

Jaivant’s artistic journey seeks to incorporate Kathak into his creative practice to compliment his contemporary dance background. Jaivant’s approach to Kathak integrates a curiosity in understanding the classical form’s unique nuances rooted in diaspora heritage and relationship to his own British-Indian identity. In particular his solo choreographic work challenges the complexities of inherited notions, perceptions and stereotypes surrounding British-Asian identity.

He has worked with world-renowned and established choreographers such as Sharon Watson (née Donaldson), Nahid Siddiqui, Shirley Jacobs, Tanushree Shankar, Jeremy Nelson, Shobana Jeyasingh, Laurent Cavanna & Bisakhsa Sarker to name but a few.
He is the first named Associate Artist at Arena Theatre (Wolverhampton), Associate Artist at Midlands Arts Centre and a member of the board of Directors for Dance4.

Jaivant was named on Akademi’s 2019 Powerlist of ‘40 Under 40’South Asian Dance Artists to look out for in the UK. Jaivant was also named on India Gazette London’s 2018 ‘High And Mighty’ Powerlist of individuals ‘you should know’ in the UK-India Corridor.
He is a member of Chisenhale Dance Space & Once Dance UK and a former Independent Artistic and Quality Assessor for Arts Council England.

Jenny Wilson

Will lead The Consent Compass session on Wednesday 26 April as well as provide wellbeing support throughout the programme.

Jenny is a performing artist, producer, writer, instigator and entertainer.

Jenny is the founder of the International Day of Consent, Chair of Happy Valley Pride and leader of The Irregular Way. She has lived and worked in Bradford for over 3 decades, engaging with communities and making innovative performance work, including infamous genderqueer drag persona Mysti Valentine.

She will be providing well-being support throughout the programme, bringing her professional practice as a therapeutic coach and her lived experience of neurodivergence, queerness, creating and facilitating, to hold space for the group and individuals taking part. 

She is there to support you to reflect on what is emerging for you, process challenges and turn inspiration into action.

Kate O’Donnell

Kate will be part of the Hear From Leading Artists session on Friday 28 April.

Kate, an accomplished transgender performer and theatre maker, is the Artistic Director who founded the Trans Creative arts company in 2016. 

She has also spearheaded Manchester’s first trans arts festival, Trans Vegas, in 2017, providing a platform for over 300 trans voices. 

Kate has an impressive repertoire of theatre work, including her award-winning “Big Girl’s Blouse,” her critically acclaimed one-woman show “You’ve Changed,” and her roles as Feste in “Twelfth Night” and Electra in “Gypsy,” both at the Royal Exchange. 

Kate has directed Transpose at the Barbican for two consecutive years, has curated Manchester Pride’s Vigil for the last five years, and has frequently been a guest speaker on panels and live shows, such as the Guilty Feminist podcast. In 2018, she received a nomination for the Gay Times Arts and Culture Award.

mandla rae

Will lead The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly session on Wednesday 26 April and Creating Community on Thursday 27 April.

mandla is a Zimbabwean-born, agender and queer writer, performer and facilitator.

mandla’s work draws on the artist’s intersectional existence. Using words as a medium, the artist is heavily concerned with communicating the many sensations associated with being a person.

‘as british as a watermelon’ is the artist’s first solo show and will be premiering in Scotland and the 75th Edinburgh International Festival 2022.

mandla uses names in place of English pronouns, this is because mandla is agender and gendered pronouns do not exist in mandla’s first language, isiNdebele.

mandla is obsessed with words and uses their power both written and performed to carve out a mandla-shaped space in the world.

Sophie Powell

Sophie will host the zine making activity during the Creating Community workshop on Thursday 27 April.

Sophie is an artist, youth worker and creative producer from the North of England. Currently they are working with Keighley Youth Service developing a Youth Council and Sound youth group, with Equity Partnership developing a creative programme for LGBTQ+ adults, and with Cecil Green Arts on a Clean Air programme in a local school. 

They enjoy bringing people together in spaces to tell their stories in imaginative ways, usually with the help of scissors, glue, a pile of old magazines and biscuits. Sophie has been making collaborative zines for over 15 years, and really know their way around a photocopier! They live in Bradford with 2 cats and a large zine library.


To apply, please complete this form. Answers can be submitted by typing directly into the form. Some of the questions can by answered by uploading a video or audio file. To help you prepare your application, some of the questions are listed below. 

We will confirm your place week commencing Monday 3 April, please pencil the progamme session dates in your diary when making your application.

If you need to submit your application another way, please email us at hello@bdproducinghub.co.uk

To help you prepare your application, we have listed some of the application questions below:

  1. What would you offer by being part of the Empowered: LGBTQIA+ Artists group?
    What would you gain by being part of it?
    Feel free to tell us about your experience, or the experience you wish to gain and what interests you about this programme
  2. Do you have any access needs we need to consider so that you can attend the in-person and online events?
  3. We’d like to know a bit about you and your background.
    In your own words, please state below how you identify. Please tell us about as many of the following areas as you feel comfortable with: Age, gender, ethnicity, class, education level and disabilities.

We can provide bursaries, access and travel costs to enable you to attend this programme. Please let us know what you need on confirmation of your place.

Bursaries are a contribution towards your time to help you attend when you might otherwise be working. You can claim up to £75 per day.

Access costs are for additional costs you may have to pay to enable you to attend; things like disability support, translation, or childcare. 

Travel costs are to help you with the costs of travel to our events using public transport. 

We do not means-test or ask you to prove that you need this financial support, but we need to agree in advance what costs we will cover (wherever possible), and will ask you to provide receipts to claim costs back from us. We can reimburse your travel costs for the sessions on standard class public transport (bus or train) – you will need to provide us with a receipt, so please keep hold of this. If you need to take a taxi, please get in touch with us as we’ll need to approve this in advance.

The work created during the marginalised artists series will inform our Empowered: Make the Change allyship strand of work. 

It will also inform the Artists Charter we are developing in partnership with Bradford Cultural Voice. This will be an empowerment and accountability toolkit for the arts and cultural sector and the freelancers, artists and staff who make it.

If you have any questions, or would like to discuss your application before applying, please email us at hello@bdproducinghub.co.uk

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