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Open Call for South West-based Curators: Spike Island Engagement Fellowship 2023

Open Call for South West-based Curators: Spike Island Engagement Fellowship 2023

Sriwhana Spong Ida-Ida (2019) Performance still, Uniform art collective, Spike Island, Bristol. Photograph by Max McClure



Spike Island is pleased to invite applications from independent curators based in the South West of England to plan, develop and deliver a programme of events and activities as part of Spike Island’s Engagement programme throughout 2023.

Working closely with the programme team and local partners, the successful applicant will develop an inclusive approach to engagement, specifically including community groups, children and young people. The proposal must include a variety of events, such as workshops, tours, talks and reading groups, developed in response to Spike Island’s Exhibitions programme. This is an exciting opportunity for a curator wanting to further their career working with local audiences.

This opportunity is part of the West of England Visual Arts Alliance, supported by Arts Council England.


The successful applicant will receive:

  • A £4,000 fee to plan, develop and deliver a yearlong programme of events as part of Spike Island’s Engagement programme throughout 2023
  • A £6,000 budget to develop and deliver a yearlong programme of events
  • Support and mentorship from Spike Island’s Programme team
  • Annual membership to our Spike Island Associates programme which offers free access to regular talks, one-to-ones with artists, critics and curators, and other opportunities for peer-to-peer learning and support

The delivery of the programme will be supported by Spike Island’s Assistant Curator: Artist Development and Engagement, as well as other members of staff when necessary.

DEADLINE TO APPLY: Monday 5 September 2022 at 23:59 GMT




The Fellowship is for an independent curator based in the South West of England with experience of running engagement and public programmes for a broad range of audiences. You will have a good knowledge of contemporary art and a clear understanding of the current debates in the sector. Please note that we are not able to accept applications from curators currently undertaking an undergraduate course.

Spike Island is committed to anti-racism and to addressing inequality in the arts sector. We strongly encourage applications from people who identify as D/deaf, disabled or neurodivergent, come from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds and/or who experience racism. Spike Island will work with applicants to ensure their access needs are met during the interview process, while also ensuring that these needs will not influence our decision-making.

We realise that text-based applications do not suit everyone, so if you would like to apply in a different way, for example via video or audio, require this information in a different format, or need support in writing the application, please get in touch with us by writing to Saphia Abrahamovitch-Venner, or by calling Spike Island at 0117 929 2266. We want to remove as many barriers to applying as we can.


How to apply

Applications will be submitted by filling out the form below with the following information:


  • A proposal for a year-long programme of events and activities (including workshops, tours, talks and reading groups) which clearly outlines your intentions and explains why you think this would be relevant for Spike Island (up to 750 words)
  • A production budget, outlining how the £6,000 will be spent (please note that Spike Island is unable to support additional fundraising for this opportunity)
  • A current CV (maximum two pages)
  • 10–15 images and/or up to 3 video files of recent work, with relevant captions (you may prefer to include a download link for a file-sharing platform such as Dropbox or GoogleDrive in your application).
  • Your access document (if applicable)
  • Your contact details


Following the submission of your application you will be prompted to complete an equal-opportunities form which will be separated from your application form and used for monitoring purposes only.


Join Spike Island online on Monday 18 July at 2pm to learn about the Engagement Curator Fellowship. Hosted by Carmen Juliá, Curator, and Saphia Abrahamovitch-Venner, Assistant Curator, this session will provide details about the fellowship, funded through the West of England Visual Alliance, and you will have the opportunity to ask questions and get advice on how to apply. Please book your place via EventBrite.


DEADLINE TO APPLY: Monday 5 September 2022 at 23:59 GMT


Download a Word version of this open call brief.


All applicants will receive an automated email to confirm that their application has been received successfully.


Selection process

All applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application by Monday 26 September. Applications will be reviewed by a panel of three staff members from Spike Island.
Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an online interview with Spike Island’s staff on Tuesday 20 September. Questions will be sent in advance. The panel will value applicants’ experience of running education, learning or engagement activities for a wide range of audiences, an inclusive approach to audience development and the relevance of the proposal in the context of Spike Island’s wider programmes.


Please take a look at this year’s Engagement Curator Fellow programme for guidance:

The Body-Forest programme launch – Spike Island


This opportunity is one of three Engagement Fellowships for South West-based Curators taking place between 2021 and 2024, as part of the West of England Visual Arts Alliance Programme. Spike Island is committed to develop and support artists, young people and independent art workers based in the South West.


Upload your application

Application received: Open Call: Spike Island Engagement Fellowship for South West-based Curators 2023

Accepted file types: pdf, doc, docx, Max. file size: 10 MB.
Max. file size: 128 MB.
Max. file size: 128 MB.
Max. file size: 128 MB.

FAQs for applicants

  • Is there any support available to help with submitting an application?

    We are happy to receive applications in alternative formats (video, audio file). We may also be able to find other ways to make the application process more accessible to you.

    If you require access support with your application, please contact Saphia Abrahamovitch Venner:

  • Will my access costs be covered?

    Any access costs you incur as an artist or practitioner should be covered by Access to Work* if you have self-employed artist status or work as part of an organisation or company. If you do not draw an income from your work, we will work with you to meet your access costs if you are selected – please include these figures in addition to your production budget. 

    *Access to Work is a government scheme that is designed to meet the additional costs of employing a disabled person where they are directly a result of that person’s impairments. For more information go to:

  • How do I let you know what my access needs are?

    We welcome all artists and practitioners we work with to share their access documents with us. This can assist us with accurately forecasting timescales for the production and delivery of projects, as well as with budgeting accurately. We recommend using a template from if you would like to prepare and submit your own access document along with your application.

About Spike Island

Spike Island supports, produces and presents contemporary art across an 80,000 square foot former industrial building near Bristol harbourside. Our diverse artistic programme includes free major exhibitions, events and engagement activities taking place on-site and online. The programme champions outstanding work by emerging and underrepresented local, national and international artists, and enhances access to contemporary art and culture for audiences from all backgrounds.

Spike Island directly supports artists through ambitious new commissions, subsidised studios and critically-engaged artist development opportunities that widen access to our programme and facilities. Our Exhibition Services business supports the bespoke production and installation of artists’ film and video throughout the UK and internationally. Spike Island is home to a dynamic community of hundreds of artists and creative businesses, working in flexible, affordable workspaces, alongside UWE Bristol’s Fine Art programmes and café bar Emmeline.


Partners and supporters