The Syllabus at Wysing Arts Centre

Wysing Arts Centre, Eastside Projects, New Contemporaries, S1 Artspace, Spike Island and Studio Voltaire invite applications from artists for The Syllabus; a new programme that will support ten artists across ten months. 

Starting in June 2015, The Syllabus will provide selected participants with a series of intensive seminars at each of the partner venues; to encourage enquiry into individual participants’ work, offer practical guidance on surviving as an artist, and offer ongoing access to curatorial and other staff at the partner organisations. The Syllabus has been developed for artists with the input of established artists who have a connection to each of the partners and who will continue to contribute to its development and delivery. The Syllabus aims to reach artists from a wide geographic spread within the UK and, mindful of the current economic climate and changes within higher education, offers an intensive and cost-effective learning programme. 


The people who have developed The Syllabus and who will be involved with the programme throughout the ten months are Ruth Claxton, Eastside Projects; Louise Hutchinson, S1 Artspace; Mat Jenner, Studio Voltaire; Helen Legg, Spike Island; Donna Lynas, Wysing Arts Centre and Kirsty Ogg, New Contemporaries. Content for The Syllabus has been developed by artists Céline Condorelli, Andy Holden, Charlotte Prodger, Niki Russell, Keith Wilson and designer James Langdon.


The programme is structured around six seminars which all participants are required to attend. The seminars are themed and will offer time for discussion around topics alongside critical feedback sessions on work. Seminars last between two and four days. At the end of each seminar a task will be set that participants will need to develop ahead of the next seminar. This could include a reading list or a work related task. During periods between seminars, texts and reading lists will be uploaded onto a shared web page, such as Basecamp, which will also allow discussions to be continued remotely. In addition, each participant will be offered mentoring to enable their individual practices to develop.

The benefits of the programme include:

  • One to one contact with staff at the partner organisations
  • An intensive programme of seminars that have been devised by artists in association with each of the partner organisations
  • The opportunity to develop within a cohort of ten peers
  • Individual mentoring across ten months


15-18 June 2015 Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridgeshire

A four day retreat, with onsite shared accommodation provided, that will introduce participants and their work to one another.  The retreat will include critical review sessions and group discussion and will be led by artist Andy Holden, focused around an exploration of what it means to be an artist. The session will include an introduction to The Syllabus programme alongside introductions from staff at the partner organisations, who will give detailed information on upcoming sessions at their venues. (A full schedule for this session is enclosed as an example of what to expect from the seminars).

August 2015 Spike Island, Bristol

Spike Island is an international centre for the development of contemporary art and design; comprising working space for around seventy artists, designers and creative businesses alongside a series of large galleries, exhibiting predominantly new commissions from contemporary visual artists. It is a vibrant hub for the  production, presentation and debate of art and artistic practice. Spike Island will present a two-day programme that will be developed by artists currently working closely with the organisation, including Charlotte Prodger.

October 2015 New Contemporaries at Primary, Nottingham

Working in collaboration with artist-run space Primary, Nottingham, New Contemporaries will host a two day session around archives and the artists’ use of archive and memory as material and mode of production. The session will coincide with the installation of New Contemporaries across Nottingham.

December 2015 Eastside Projects, Birmingham

Using Eastside Projects’ exhibition Display Show as a context and testing ground, this two day session will focus on forms of display, and manifestations of blindness towards them, re-imagining these through relations between context, exhibition, work, and the public in order to allow the questioning of these categories and the notions they form. Led by artist Celine Conderelli and designer James Langdon the weekend will be grounded in practice with workshops and practical activity underpinned by historical and theoretical material and discussion. In both, the notion of ‘support’ will be used as a critical lens through which to interrogate the development of forms of display, by examining that which sustains them.

February 2016 S1 Artspace, Sheffield

Led by artist and Professor Keith Wilson, this weekend session will focus on the challenges, considerations and potential pitfalls of commissioning and presenting new work. With contributions from established artists and curators from across the UK, this weekend session will provide an opportunity for participants to consider who is involved in allowing their work to go public, and how context might alter the perception of it.

April 2016 Studio Voltaire, London

Studio Voltaire will host a two day session exploring the breadth and diversity of socially engaged contemporary practices that put people at the centre of the artistic process.  Led by Studio Voltaire’s educational curator, with critical input from invited guest artists from previous and future educational commissions, curators and writers, this two day session will provide an opportunity to explore critical issues such as the role of the artist in co-creation, the politics of representation in contemporary art, authorship, and consent. Workshops will provide an opportunity for artists to develop ideas and explore practical ways of working and approaches to developing artworks with audiences. 

June 2016 A final two-day meeting at Wysing to evaluate the programme and agree next steps.

Please note: Advertised content of seminars may change as the programme develops across the ten months


The Syllabus costs approx.  £3,000 per artist to deliver. However, we have secured Arts Council England funding to cover the majority of these costs, meaning that in 2015/16 the cost to each artist will be £500 for the ten month programme. The £500 can be paid in monthly installments and payments are made to Wysing Arts Centre who is co-ordinating the programme on behalf of the partners. Additional costs to participants will include travel and some accommodation which is estimated at an additional £500 per person. However efforts will be made to ensure that low cost rail fares and accommodation can be booked well in advance.


We are particularly keen to hear from applicants outside or not engaged with formal education. 

We will be looking to establish a cohort that represents a diversity of artistic practices.

The Syllabus is open to artists based in the UK.
To apply, please provide:

  • A statement on why you would like to participate in The Syllabus (max 500 words)
  • A general statement on your work (max 500 words)
  • A current CV

Please upload selection of six images or other relevant material (video, sound etc or links to websites hosting material such as Vimeo or YouTube).

Applications must be made online via

Applications that are not made via this process will be ineligible. 

The deadline for applications is 12 midnight Friday 20 February 2015.

Interviews for The Syllabus will take place over the weeks of the 16 and 23 of March 2015.