Blue Dot - Artist Commission Opportunity - Observe. Explore. Experiment.

Bluedot is a festival of discovery, hosted by Jodrell Bank Observatory, which celebrates the infinite playground that exists around us all. It is a weekend thriving with ideas, inspiration and fun beneath the stars in the Cheshire countryside. In 2019, the festival is offering two brand new commissioning opportunities, with one being offered in partnership with Leeds Light Night. Artists are invited to apply to create a commission that celebrates the idea of:

Observe. Explore. Experiment.


Light Night is one of the UK’s largest arts and light festivals, and over two special nights in early October some of Leeds’s most recognisable indoor and outdoor spaces are transformed by spectacular artworks and captivating performances by local, national and international artists.

In 2018 over 80,000 people experienced the city in a new light, discovering over 70 art events across ten zones in the city centre; from large-scale light projections and interactive artworks, to music, dance and street performances. 2019 will be the 15th annual event and will focus on the themes of ‘Body, Mind and Spirit’ kicking off with a vibrant parade celebrating the wonders of the human imagination.


  • Call For Artists

  • The festival is inviting artists to apply to create one of two new commissions for the festival in 2019. The first commission will be awarded in partnership with Leeds Light Night with artists being expected to create a commission that explores light art and interactivity. Successful artist applicants of both commissioning levels will receive funding, publicity around their commission and support from the festival's production team and Creative Director to realise their idea. This opportunity is open to artists at any level of their career, and anybody residing in the UK is eligible to apply. We welcome proposals from artists who wish to develop an existing work, as well as proposals for new pieces of artwork.

    Bluedot festival is committed to promoting equality and diversity across our programme and we actively encourage applications from artists of any ethnicity, gender and irrespective of any disability.

    We are particularly interested in light art, digital artwork and installation work that:

    1) Has a sufficient scale and impact in the setting of bluedot festival at Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre and Leeds Light Night.

    2) Is visible at night, as well as during the day as the artwork will be showcased in a predominantly after-hours area.

    3) Encourages interaction and exploration of the work.


    Please note: applicants are required to show their work for the full duration of the festival. The artwork at bluedot festival must be rigged and signed off by the Health and Safety officer by Wednesday 17th July and derig will not be possible before Monday 22nd July.

    The successful applicant for the co-commission with Leeds Light Night will be expected to have the artwork shown for the full duration of both festivals.


    Application and Commissioning Process:

    Commission Levels

    bluedot festival will be awarding two new commissions in 2019:

    1 x Co-commission with Leeds Light Night / £10 000

    1 x Support commission / £5000


    Artists are invited to submit proposals until 5pm on 15th April 2019.


    Commission Application Budget—What to include

    You will be asked to submit a commission budget which breaks down project expenditure. We would expect this to include:

    · Cost of materials

    · Artist fees

    · Accommodation and travel


    Commission Application Budget—What not to include

    While the work is expected to be as self-sufficient as possible, the festival would expect to cover the costs of:

    · Security and stewarding

    · Power, barriers, safety lighting



    The commissions are open to all, provided the lead contact is a resident in the UK. This includes early career artists and any form of creative organisations.
    Applicants with additional funding (who are applying for a portion of the cost of a co-commissioned work) are eligible. 
    Proposals for developments of existing work are eligible. 
    The project must be presented at bluedot festival and the co-commission must also be presented at Leeds Light Night 2019 
    All project expenditure must take place after the panel decision has been formally announced to successful applications.


    Commissions will normally be paid in two installments:

    90% at the start date following confirmation of funding and provision of a detailed budget.
    10% on satisfactory completion of the project and the project self-assessment and evaluation.


    Deadline for submissions - 17:00 15th April 2019 
    Selection of artists to feature in project – 30th April 2019 
    Site visit for artists to assess requirements (where relevant) - May 1st - 31st. 
    Live Events:

    • bluedot: 18th - 21st July 2019
    • Leeds Light Night: 3rd - 4th October 2019 (tbc)

    Evaluation period – October/November


    PLEASE NOTE: commissions will be awarded subject to a positive outcome of an Arts Council England funding bid.




Closing date: 
Monday 15th April 2019
Opportunity type: