Activate: Creative Communities in Quarantine

Micro-commissioning support for artists / creative practitioners based in Dorset, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.


Discver the successful applicants.

Elliott Franks_Inside_Out_Dorset 2018.jpg

Activate supports the development of performing arts across Dorset, including dance, theatre and work outdoors in the landscape and open spaces. Due to the recent coronavirus outbreak there have been drastic changes to our everyday lives. In the arts sector we’ve also seen many changes: we’ve had to postpone Inside Out Dorset 2020, venues have closed their doors, companies have stopped touring and artists are missing out. This is not what we had imagined 2020 to look like.  

As the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt within communities, isolating people from their family and friends and taking away many of the pre-existing activities and networks that supported them, we are looking for creative ideas to help overcome this. A small micro-commission fund of £500 will be available to five artists, based in Dorset, including Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, to create and test a new idea or initiative that builds creative communities in quarantine.

Your idea

Do you have an idea for a creative intervention? It might be designed to engage with older individuals in isolation, be something for family groups to collaborate on, or it could be a way that a community can come together as lockdown lifts to share their experiences and explore new ways of being together. 

The team at Activate will work with you to help find the best way to ‘deliver’ your creative idea to people and participants. In line with our Artistic Policy, ideas should have the performing arts at their core and be something that a wide range of people can engage with. Some of the most isolated people might not have the best digital skills or equipment, so we ask for this to be taken into consideration.

The funds on offer are small, therefore we are not expecting proposals for fully-formed projects. We are interested in supporting you to test a new idea or action, or start a very small initiative.

Examples of project ideas that we would like to hear about:

  • Build social networks, in line with current guidance around isolation and social distancing, and that may further develop once this period of isolation has ended.
  • Help vulnerable isolated people and families, particularly those living in rural areas.
  • Explore outdoors in green spaces that could be part of the daily exercise hour.
  • Ensure older people remain connected with the outside world during this time.
  • Support families with home schooling.

What can we offer?

We have 5 micro-commissions of £500 each.


In order to support individuals and communities during this challenging time we are looking for ideas that can start as soon as possible. However, we are also looking for ideas that can be delivered later in the year, as communities move into a new phase of social distancing. Tell us how long your idea might take to develop and deliver and we will support you with this.

How do I apply?

Download the opportunity in pdf form

In your application, as well as describing the creative idea please outline the following:

  • Who can engage with your idea (your audience / participants)
  • How it will reach people and how you will make your idea accessible and inclusive
  • What support you might need from the Activate team to realise the delivery of your idea.

Written proposals should be no longer than one side of A4, we also welcome applications via video or audio recording.

Please apply by email to

Proposals need to arrive by midday on Wednesday 13th May and we will notify you by Friday 22nd May if you have been successful.

If you would like to have an informal chat with a member of the Activate team before submitting your proposal please email: or


We welcome and encourage applications from people from a wide range of backgrounds. If you have access requirements, please let us know in your application.

If you’d prefer this application information in an alternative format, please get in touch by email or phone 01305 260954.

Chorus by Ray Lee, Inside Out Dorset 2016, photo by Tony Gill.jpg

Photo: Ray Lee's Chorus, Inside Out Dorset, 2016, photographer, Tony Gill

Top photo: Museum Of Trees, Gio Garancini, Inside Out Dorset, 2018, photographer, Elliott Franks