Artistic Opportunities

We have many ways for aspiring and established artists to realise and show their work at Salford Quays as part of Quays Culture’s annual programme of events. Please check back for specific opportunities in the future. If you are an arts practitioner with an idea of how you could contribute to our programme, please get in touch.

Open Call: SHINE Emerging Artist Programme

We are pleased to announce that Quays Culture and Light Night Leeds are joining together once again to support up to 3 emerging artists through the SHINE Programme. Selected artists will be supported to exhibit or perform their work for Light Night in Leeds City Centre on Thursday 5th and Friday 6th October 2017, and then on to Lightwaves at Salford Quays/MediaCityUK in December 2017.

Laiki #5 by Edyta Masior at Lightwaves 2016. Image c/o ShortForm

SHINE  aims to identify, nurture, and develop new artistic talent. Commissioned artists will be awarded bursaries of up to £2,500 to realise their idea on the theme of ‘The Elements’. As well as financial support, each artist will also receive support and mentoring from the Light Night and Quays Culture teams, and be offered training in areas relevant to them, which could include setting up as a professional artist, marketing, finance, production, risk assessments or event management.

To be eligible to apply to the SHINE programme you must be an artist who can be recognised as an emerging artist with the ability to achieve their ideas to a high quality level. We are specifically looking for artists who involve digital technology in the making and outcome of their proposal. Please read the full information and FAQs before submitting your application. The deadline for submissions is 5pm Monday 5th June 2017. 


Useful Information 

What can you create?

The theme for the 2017 Light Night Leeds event is ‘People and the City’ and we are especially interested in showcasing interactive work which requires direct engagement from audiences or requires ‘people power’.  Proposals must be for work of a contemporary nature, which utilises digital technology, and the creative use of light. Artwork needs to be weatherproof, able to withstand high winds, and structurally sound (if applicable), and be suitable for presenting outdoors at both locations and timescales. Performance based work is also permitted and artists would be expected to deliver at least three 15 minute performances throughout an evening. We are especially interested in interactive work, work which can cater for large audiences, and activities or events which are accessible to families.

What locations can you use?

Leeds – Light Night events and activities are concentrated in Leeds city centre so audiences can easily access a variety of work during the festival. Work can be exhibited or performed outdoors in the streets, on one of the city’s designated events spaces, or at a range of local venues.

Salford Quays/MediaCityUK – For Lightwaves there are a variety of outdoor spaces available in Salford Quays which will be specified by the Quays Culture programme.

In your application please specify a particular location you would like to use, or tell us the type of space required for your work and we can suggest suitable sites.  

How we assess your application

A panel of Light Night Leeds and Quays Culture experts will assess all applications and curate a mixed programme based on the submissions received. The aim is to ensure a variety of high quality work and the best experience for artists, audience members and venues. They will assess the applications based on 4 areas:

  • Artistic quality – the strength & quality of the idea and the artist’s previous work
  • Public experience  who is it aimed at and how will the public engage with it
  • Financial viability – can the activity be delivered effectively within budget?
  • Project management – can the piece be created within the time available and is there a suitable space for the activity?  Can the work be delivered over a number of hours / days? What materials are you using when considering the digital and outdoors?

When will you find out?

The deadline for submissions is 5pm Monday 5th June 2017. We will review applications and arrange interviews and site visits with artists where applicable over the following 7 days. We aim to let all applicants (successful and unsuccessful) know by Friday 23rd June 2017.

Things to consider when completing your application:

  • Be clear about your project aims and the artistic idea behind the work. How can you demonstrate quality through examples of your previous work?
  • Be specific about who your work is aimed at. Can the public engage with your work in an interactive or immersive way? What do you want the audience to get out of your work, and what impact will it have?
  • Demonstrate how your project can be realised for the budget available. If you require match or additional finance for your project let us know which funding schemes or sponsorship you plan to apply for. (Please bear in mind that Light Night is partly funded through Arts Council England and you therefore may not be eligible for additional funding through any of their schemes.)
  • Give a clear indication of how your project will be managed from start to finish including the venue you plan to use and how work will be delivered on the night.


Light Night activities start at 6pm and finish at 11pm, however some light-based work will not be able to start until at least 7pm.

Lightwaves at Salford Quays is a 10 day exhibition of work, with visual artworks expected to exhibit for the whole period, and performance works to be over a full single day.

You will need to be able to either perform a short durational piece which can be repeated throughout the evening (with suitable breaks) or have your installation or exhibition functioning for the full event. You will also need to consider your install / de-install plans.


The £2,500 SHINE bursary includes all artist fees and materials. If needed you can apply for match funding from other sources such as Leeds Inspired, and we can support you with any applications you make.  Funding will be given to artists based on the quality of their idea and will need to include all technical, installation and material costs. We will not fund accommodation, food, general overheads, parking, and personal travel.

Terms and conditions

By applying to be an artist during Light Night you agree:

  • Your project/activity will be ready for exhibition / performance at Light Night Leeds 2016 and as part of the Quays Culture Lightwaves winter event in December 2016.
  • Your work is deliverable within the timescale of the programme and will be delivered on budget.
  • If it is an outdoor activity is sufficiently weatherproof to withstand outdoor autumn / winter conditions, including strong winds and rain.
  • If your activity is interactive, it will be sufficiently strong enough to withstand use by large audiences.
  • To attend marketing, production meetings and site visits where reasonably required.
  • To source appropriate permissions and licences for the use of non-Leeds City Council spaces.
  • You must have relevant Public Liability Insurance for your activity.
  • To support the Light Night and Quays Culture marketing campaigns, supplying advance copy and images as and when required and utilise social media and blogging as well as being available to give interviews to the press and media.


If your application is successful the Light Night / Quays Culture Team can offer you:

  • Production advice and practical support, including technical support where suitable.
  • Health and Safety management.
  • Site security, staff and volunteer stewards.
  • Project PR and marketing including all promotional materials and special events.

Key Dates 2017:

  • Deadline for applications – 5pm Monday 5th June
  • Interviews / Site visits – Thursday 22nd June
  • Applicants informed if successful – Friday 23rd June
  • Marketing deadline for copy and images – 1st July
  • All Artist H&S Documentation submitted for review – 1st August
  • Light Night programme / website launch – 1st September
  • Light Night Event – 5th & 6th October
  • Quays Culture Lightwaves – 8-17th December


About Light Night Leeds

Light Night Leeds started in 2005 and is an annual multi-arts and light festival which takes place on one Friday night in October at multiple venues across Leeds city centre.  It’s a celebratory night for the huge range of diverse and thriving creative activity taking place in Leeds all year round, and gives local people and visitors to the city free access to art and venues that they might not normally see.  Light Night is a great opportunity for artists and arts organisations to change the dynamics or perceptions of the city centre at night, and the festival motivates people to “come to town” by offering different events, exhibitions and shows from a variety of artists and performers.  In 2015 approximately 60,000 visitors attended over 60 unique events across 30 different city centre venues.