'Death is a Place', Monica-Shanta. Photograph: Helge Mruck

'Death is a Place', Monica-Shanta. Photograph: Helge Mruck

Everything has changed. Nothing has changed. Change is coming. 

No-one expected 2020 to look like this. Covid-19 has affected all our lives in countless ways. Many artists have been adversely affected by the current situation with the loss of employment and commissioning opportunities. Yet, perhaps more than ever, we look to art and culture to provide comfort and respite and to inspire and restore, whether through music, film, theatre, dance, visual arts, reading or storytelling.

The Arts Institute supports the development of new ideas and thinking across art and culture, providing a platform for emerging, mid-career and established artists to test out new positions. As part of this The Arts Institute is launching four art commissions inviting artists working within film, visual arts, performance and spoken word to give voice to the current situation.


To develop new work that responds to the theme ‘Everything has changed. Nothing has changed. Change is coming'.

Each commission invites reflections from artists on the current situation with an emphasis on considering the impact of change, whether at a domestic level or at a global level. Big or small, incremental or fast-paced, we welcome new imaginings and new perspectives that will prompt conversation and discourse, as well as provide a legacy for the future. The outcome from each commission will be presented in a digital format as part of The Art Institute's Legacies & Futures digital programme in Autumn 2020.

There are four commissions, one for each art form:  

  • Visual Arts
  • Film/Moving Image
  • Performance/Dance
  • Spoken Word

Each commission will be £800, with the Performance and Spoken Word divided into two commissions at £400 each. The award includes artist fee, materials, production and all associated expenses. A panel of academics and art professionals will help select artists from each category.

Submissions are now closed.

'We Are Here', Beyond Face. Photograph: Dom Moore Photography
'We Are Here', Beyond Face. Photograph: Dom Moore Photography

See the work

5x5x5 series

30 October–13 November 2020

5 x artists. 5 x writers. 5 x researchers. Bringing together diverse voices for an online series of arts and culture, in response to the global issues of 2020.

Experience 15 days of new work. Each day reveals new perspectives that intersect with previous voices to provide a multi-layered cultural narrative as to our current situation. It does not shy away from tackling the difficult questions that are bubbling at the surface and instead seeks to provide insight into issues that have been amplified in the current crisis, including: historical memory, social injustice, the Black Lives Matter movement, and caring for the vulnerable and the marginalised.

Free to access online – find out more

'Narrenschiff', 2017, Kehinde Wiley Three-channel digital film Duration:16.40 minutes. 'Kehinde Wiley: Ship of Fools', The Levinsky Gallery, University of Plymouth | 29 September - 20 December 2020
'Narrenschiff', 2017, Kehinde Wiley. Three-channel digital film. Duration: 16:40 minutes. 'Kehinde Wiley: Ship of Fools', The Levinsky Gallery, University of Plymouth | 29 September–20 December 2020

The Arts Institute

The Arts Institute is the curated public arts programme of the University of Plymouth which plays a pivotal role in building culture and art in the city and South West region, supporting established, new and emerging artists from around the world.

It comprises The Levinsky Gallery, a space for engaging, contemporary artworks; the Jill Craigie Cinema which screens a diverse range of classic films and contemporary cinematic masterpieces; a cutting-edge theatre and dance programme in The House; musical performances and concerts, and a year-long series of fascinating talks that open up a world of art, literature and history.

Open to all – learn more about The Arts Institute

The House