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Emma Rice's production of Wise Children

Culture in Quarantine

Together, we are living through an unprecedented time as the world faces COVID-19. Just at the very moment when the brightest creative minds are needed to make sense of the fears and uncertainties thrown up by the pandemic and to unite us, many of the traditional ways of making and experiencing art are closed: theatres are dark, galleries have shut down, studios are silent.

But the cultural sector has been far from quiet: a rich range of offerings, opportunities and plans have emerged swiftly for audiences and artists alike. The vital role of the sector – in helping us to process what’s happening around us, in bringing us together, in providing moments of distraction and delight – has rarely been so important.

The Culture in Quarantine Fund is a new commissioning strand launched by BBC Arts with Arts Council England to support England-based artists of any discipline to produce new works in creative media – video, audio and interactive – in spring 2020.

We are looking for creatively ambitious ideas that feel that they could have been made at no other time. Commissions do not need to be about the current emergency but must engage imaginatively with ideas of social isolation. The requirements of social distancing must also be adhered to in the making of the work.

The work proposed should be novel and aim to deliver a creative and engaging audience experience and be clear about the specific audiences they aim to appeal to.

The Space is managing the Culture in Quarantine Fund on behalf of BBC Arts and Arts Council England, in collaboration with cultural sector partners, to be announced shortly.

You can apply via our online system, using the links below. We are requesting a brief overview of your idea and how it could be made, an estimated budget and information about your previous work. Ideas can be submitted by individual professional artists based in England or by cultural organisations on behalf of artist(s) based in England. 

The deadline for applications is 5pm BST, Wednesday 8 April 2020. We expect to notify applicants whether they have been successful or not by Friday 24 April 2020 and all projects must be delivered by the end of July 2020. Please see the timelines in the Commissioning Brief for more detail. To help us to make commissioning decisions as quickly as practical, we encourage you to submit your application as soon as it is complete, rather than waiting for the final deadline.

If your project is urgent or time sensitive, it may be possible to approve it in a shorter timeframe. If this is the case, please mark your application as urgent and submit it as soon as possible. We will then review it as soon as practical.

Eligibility criteria 

Applicants must either be:

  • An established professional artist (or artists) resident in England or 
  • A cultural organisation with a registered office in England that is applying on behalf of such artist(s)

An established professional artist is a person who has been paid to produce artistic work in the last three years, whether through public funding or private sales or commissions.

We are providing funds for the creation of artistic works that can be initially experienced by audiences on the BBC’s online platforms, TV channels or radio stations before potentially being published elsewhere. Formats might include:

  • TV broadcast or online video content
  • Radio, podcast or other audio content
  • Interactive content (e.g. 360-degree videos, interactive narratives)

Commissions need to comply with the principles and requirements of social distancing.

The amount requested from the Culture in Quarantine fund should be in the range £3,000 to £8,000 (ex. VAT). We can 100% fund projects or part-fund them. 

The project must be delivered before the end of July 2020. Please note that the purpose of this programme is to respond during the period of social distancing, so we will be looking for some projects that can be broadcast/published as soon as practical, with others to follow over the subsequent weeks.

Supporting diversity

We want to support a diverse range of applicants that work in a broad range of artforms, disciplines and geographical areas. We will select a balance of artists and creative practitioners who are representative of this country and who contribute to the Arts Council’s Creative Case for Diversity, including applicants who identify as a D/deaf or disabled person, have a long-term health condition or are from an under-represented protected characteristic group.

How to apply


All applicants should also review the following documents:

You can also download a PDF copy of the application questions for reviewing offline, but your final application should use the online form:

If you require support accessing the commissioning briefs, applying online or with any other aspect of the application process, please contact us: or telephone 0121 663 1488.

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