For many budding digital artists, there are considerable barriers between their hobby and a potential career or business. It can be hard to know where to start, how to get advice and guidance, to find somewhere suitable for building larger projects, and that's before even considering the financial barriers to working on projects full-time. For those within easy commuting distance to Manchester, though, there's a new programme that should be of considerable interest: Arts+Tech.
An accelerator run by the excellent MadLab and sponsored by the Arts Council England and Innovate UK, Arts+Tech does exactly what the name suggests: offers support for creative professionals working on projects involving digital technologies. That support is plentiful, too: MadLab is planning to offer workshops, masterclasses, and one-on-one practical guidance, to mentor the successful applicant - or applicants, as small teams are welcome to apply - and to provide 24/7 access to the MadLab makerspace itself, which offers everything from laser-cutting facilities to a community biotechnology lab.
To help makers concentrate on their projects full-time, there's also financial support available: a grant of £10,000 is being provided as part of the programme to both support the maker or makers and to fund the creation of whatever project has been selected. Better still, it comes with no strings: MadLab is to take no stake in any company or product that comes out of the accelerator, nor make any claim on intellectual property surrounding it - meaning that if, as part of your project, you end up building a better mouse-trap the creation is yours and yours alone.
It's an absolutely fantastic opportunity, and we can personally vouch for the guys and gals over at MadLab. If you're interested, more details are available on the official website - but hurry, as applications close at midnight on the 25th of November!
The programme is aimed at creative professionals, at any stage in their career, with a demonstrable passion for building (and/or growing) a sustainable creative practice around new and emerging digital making technologies. In particular, we're looking for: a distinctive creative voice; an excellent idea (or ideas); a UK resident; full-time availability between January and April 2016, and much of May/June 2016.