Black Dogs Artist Bursaries

Call for Artist Applications

Are you an artist, art collective or creative type with an urge to do an event/action, exhibition or publication that would be made possible with a bursary of up to £1000? Then read on.


Black Dogs was an art collective formed in Leeds in 2003 as a way to pool resources, skills and learning, and explore alternative ways of making art happen. For over a decade the collective explored questions of what art is, how it’s made, where it happens and who makes it. 

Influenced by the DIY music scene, Situationist theory, pub and party culture, the ‘crap towns’ in which we lived or came from, and a belief that making art is more fun and rewarding when done in ‘spare time’ and outside of the institutional Artworld, Black Dogs projects included: 

– group exhibitions on the top floors of restaurants, former shop units and empty spaces exploring themes of work and play, the everyday and value

– public interventions on the streets of Leeds

– contemporary cabaret events at The Brudenell Social Club

– open call publications exploring art, place and identity 

– a 12-inch compilation record of artist sounds and images

– guided walks around South Leeds exploring its hidden histories

– a DIY survival kit for Milton Keynes

– a replica of a Leeds pub in Tate Modern in which to discuss the politics of independence

– a radio play exploring Bradford’s countercultural histories and failed regeneration attempts

– an alternative art education project in Holbeck, Leeds

and much more.

Go to for an archive of projects, or visit Leeds Arts University where there is an archive of the group’s publications and print.

Although Black Dogs was ‘militantly not-for-profit’ – all members were unwaged and projects were either self-directed or undertaken regardless of funding – the collective built up a wad of cash through sales of publications & editions and accrued fees from public commissions. Recognising that Black Dogs was ‘of a time’, we would now like to distribute these remaining funds to enable new art activity to happen that acknowledges, develops and/or critically lifts its leg on the group’s legacy.


Three of the organisations that are today (part)-run by members of Black Dogs – Pyramid of Arts, South Square Centre, Bradford and 38b London – will select an artist or art collective to receive a bursary of up to £1000. The selections will be based on response to a brief (below) and the selection panel will comprise members of Black Dogs and these three organisations.

38b and South Square Centre bursaries will be selected from an open call. Pyramid of Arts invite artists directly to submit a proposal for consideration.

The brief:

To develop a project with a public output (e.g. an event/action, gig, exhibition or publication/edition – the format is up to you and does not have to be already defined in your proposal) that explores, responds to, develops or questions the activity and ideas of Black Dogs between 2004 – 2014:

– collectivity and collaboration

– peer-led education, and the notion that anyone can be an artist

– everyday creativity

– the Do-It-Yourself ethos in art

– art in unusual spaces

– art as intervention

– dark matter (art that’s not presented or encountered as art / creating art outside the mainstream)

– play, and the radical potential of having a good time

– reclaimed work, labour and time 

– building alternatives to capitalism and the institutional artworld

Artists will be selected in September 2019. The selected projects will need to produce a public output (event/action, exhibition or publication/edition) by the end of April 2020. The size/location/format of the output is up to you.

The proposed project does not have to directly reference Black Dogs’ history, but instead take the collective’s activity and ideas/approach as a starting point for developing your own project.

How to apply:

  1. Please provide a short explanation (up to 300 words) about why you are interested in and suitable for the bursary, using examples of your past work/activity if you have any.
  2. Please provide up to 500 words (and up to 8 images/videos) that illustrate your approach to the brief.

Proposals that demonstrate an inventive approach to developing the final output through collective and collaborative processes will be given priority over those with an already fixed idea of the output. 

We also welcome proposals in other formats (e.g. a video presentation) following the equivalent structure/length.

  1. Please provide an indicative budget with breakdown of any fees, expenses, materials etc. 

Black Dogs, via the selecting organisations, will contribute up to £1000 towards the activity to be spent how you like.

The total budget for the project can be in excess of this amount – that is it could include support in kind, voluntary time, additional funds – but these extra funds must be secured at the point of submission of proposal. 

Proposals should be received by 12noon Monday 16th September 2019. Interviews, if required, will take place w/c 23rd September 2019. 

Please email proposals to Yvonne Carmichael:


If you have further queries please feel free to contact:

Yvonne Carmichael – South Square Centre

Eva Rowson – 38b

James Hill – Pyramid of Arts

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