How were Commissions Selected for Manchester Independents 2023?

How were Commissions Selected for Manchester Independents 2023?


We’ve received an overwhelming 184 submissions for 2023, to the total financial ask of £1,128,701.79, and with a commissioning pot of £50,000 we had to make some hard decisions on what have been really exciting proposals for new work in Greater Manchester.

It was incredible to see the range of creativity that Greater Manchester has to offer. Manchester Independents places artists at the centre of decision making, and we do our best to make the commissioning process as transparent as possible.

Selection was undertaken by a panel of 6 independent Artist Advisors, and decisions were made based on a number of factors; primarily the artistic vision of the work to be produced, its viability and the balance of artform, demography and geography. While all project proposals had much value in their own rights, the panel was asked to place focus on Manchester Independents’ primary goal; to support creation of new professional work by Greater Manchester artists.

The Artist Advisor panel selected 12 commissioned for the 2023 round, who will develop and deliver new works between 1st June – 30th September 2023. To ensure a fair representation of art forms, geographic spread, and diversity, we used a 5-point scoring system based on the following criteria:


      • Artistic Quality: is the outcome clear, exciting, and in line with Manchester Independent’s aims?

      • Practicality: is it realistic, financially viable and possible in the timescale?

    Additional points were given for Inclusivity, Reach beyond the city centre to the GM boroughs, and Public Impact.

    After an individual scoring process, the Artistic Advisors panel came together for a 4-hour long discussion to decide on finalists. Once the list was confirmed, the Project Manager had 30 minute introductory calls with successful applicants to discuss the project in detail. The artists are then matched up with a cultural partner who could offer bespoke support for individual needs of the project, such as rehearsal or gallery spaces, mentoring, or equipment. We’re thrilled to see and support these ideas unfold and develop into final projects throughout the Summer months.

    Working with limited funds of £50000 has made it difficult for us to support each and every one of the brilliant ideas that came through, as we would have done in an ideal world. We’re still eager to support all applicants through our What’s On page, where you can upload your own projects to join Manchester Independents and benefit from the support of our growing list of partners. Click here for step-by-step guidance on how to do this.