Sustain: Development for next stage artists and companies

Sustain: Development for next stage artists and companies


BPH are seeking 6 artists or small companies based in Bradford who have been creating work for a substantial* amount of time, want to move to the next step in their development and would like to be part of a new peer network in the District.

(*for this opportunity we define a substantial amount of time as working in the creative industry for 10 years or more)

Sustain is a 6-month programme which will support you to move forward and address the specific challenges that you or your company are facing. It will also help BPH to understand more about these challenges so we can look at more ways to put more support around mid-career artists in the future.

Experienced artists and companies need specific expertise, time and space to reflect, explore and test new or different approaches in a supported way. Sustain is an invitation to co-create a bespoke programme with a group of your peers, to help break down barriers, glass ceilings, limitations to growth, and help you take your next steps individually and as a group.

We’ve paired up with Dramaturg and development specialist Lou Cope to lead us through the process, Lou’s practice takes the principles of dramaturgy and successfully applies them to support artists and companies with organisational and career development. We asked Lou to explain a bit more:

“Dialogue with a dramaturg is about holding space for the really important and challenging conversations that can sometimes get neglected when we are busy or facing difficulties. Working together, in a process that is full of empathy, creativity, rigour and candour, we will unpack, question and evolve ideas, processes and output.

By creating a space for artists to look both inwards at their own work and outwards at the potential support and opportunities of connecting with each other, BPH and I hope this programme will create much needed time and space for the refocusing and re-energising of the brilliant work the artists in this region do.”


21 February – applications open

11 March – online information session to answer any questions you have about applying at 12 pm on Zoom. Register here.

21 March – application deadline

1 April – successful applicants informed

April to October – programme runs

The Programme

Sustain will run for 6 months from April to October 2022 and will comprise of one-to-one meetings, group sessions and self-directed time, including:

(Individual meetings will be scheduled at a time that works for you and Lou, dates of the group meetings and Away Day will be agreed together)​

The Facilitator

Lou Cope is a Performance Dramaturg with over 15 years experience in working with artists, organisations and academic institutions to creatively and collaboratively develop both their processes and productions. Lou is also Dramaturg in Residence for South East Dance and works as an Organisational Dramaturg to a number of companies. She is an alumna of the Clore Pulse Leadership course.

Shows Lou has worked on have won: 2 Olivier awards, The Benois Prize for Dance, The Critics Choice Award, UK Theatre Award, Total Theatre Award, Amnesty International Freedom of Speech Award, ACTA Eastern Eye Award, Herald Angel Award & a Lustrum Award.

What sort of commitment is it?

You will need to be able to commit around 2 days per month to this programme; around 0.5 days for the meetings etc and around 1.5 days to concentrate on what has come from the sessions and putting things into action.  We also ask that you are willing to:

Is this for me?

We think you will get the most out of Sustain if you are around mid-career artists or small company* (working in the creative industry for 10 years or more) who has identified some specific barriers to development or progression needs.  This might be things like:

Please note, Sustain is not aimed at Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisations (NPO) – though you may be planning to apply in the upcoming or future rounds.

What will I get from it?

Through this process you will:

Please note, Sustain does not include additional individual funding other than bursaries and access support. If you are not looking for a structured development opportunity with peer support and just need funding or 1-2-1 support, take a look at our alternative programmes: Expanding Horizons, Spare Bob or Mentoring.

How do I apply?

Please submit your application in the button below.  You are welcome to apply in writing, through audio or video, 5 minutes maximum for audio and video files, selfie-style on your phone is fine.

The deadline to complete the application form is 21 March at 6pm. Selection will be made by a panel of 3 people, and will be based on clarity of barriers and aims, and pulling together a varied group of people with different needs and perspectives

If you have any questions or need any support with your application, please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected]

Bursaries and Access Costs

We can provide bursaries and access costs to enable you to attend Sustain. Please let us know in the registration form, however these are only available to Bradford People.

We do not means-test or ask you to prove that you need  financial support, but we need to agree in advance what costs we will cover (wherever possible), and may ask you to provide receipts to claim costs back from us.

Bursaries are a contribution towards your time to help you attend when you might otherwise be working. You can claim £50 per day for the 6 individual and group sessions.

Access Costs are for additional costs you have to pay to enable you to attend, things that other people might not have to cover, such as disability support, translation, or childcare. If you have any access needs to take part, please get in touch straight away to tell us what you need and we will do our best to support you.

How do I find Out More?

Register here for the information session on 11 March at 12 pm on Zoom.

More training

BPH are seeking 6 artists or small companies based in Bradford who have been creating work for a substantial amount of time, want to move to the next step in their development and would like to be part of a new peer network in the District.
+ Arts Council England Project Grants - Music Focus with Dean Freeman 28 February 12pm - 4pm
Arts and Wellbeing Training with Displace Yourself Theatre (DYT) is a new training programme for artists and creative practitioners to use their practice to support people's health and wellbeing.
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