Unlocking change

Live Work Fund

The Live Work Fund is an innovative funding programme that will provide financial and career support to early-career artists, creatives and producers to enable them to adapt and thrive through the challenges of COVID-19.

It brings together Jerwood Arts, Wolfson Foundation, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Linbury Trust in a new funding partnership to offer substantial support to individuals whose work relies on live performance, which has been impacted by COVID-19.

Launched in October 2020, the Live Work Fund will support at least 33 exceptional individuals over 12 months with awards of £20,000 to adapt their approach to making and sharing live work. It is open to artists, creatives and producers based in the UK with no more than ten years' experience and whose practice before the pandemic relied on live performance.

The fund will also provide meaningful professional development support through expert mentors.

To find out more about the fund, including how to apply, visit: Jerwood Arts - Live Work Fund. Please note that applications close at 5pm on 16 November 2020.



Challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has meant there are limits to bringing artists and audiences together to experience live work. Research suggests artists in the early phases of their careers and those who already faced barriers pre-pandemic are being hardest hit.

Impact goals

A new, inclusive generation of leaders and artists

Nkisi at Café OTO, 2019. UK Artists Residency Fund. Photo_ Jonathan Crabb.jpg
Caroline Mason OBE, Chief Executive, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

We know this is an incredibly difficult time for the arts sector - particularly for the many freelancers who make up a significant proportion of the workforce. Through this exciting new fund, we hope to support and develop a generation of artists and leaders who use art to tackle challenges in the sector as well as in our communities. We’re also delighted to be collaborating with Jerwood Arts, the Wolfson Foundation and the Linbury Trust on the fund. We believe that working in a partnership such as this, we can achieve so much more.

Lilli Geissendorfer, Director, Jerwood Arts

We’re delighted to be working with Wolfson Foundation, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Linbury Trust for the first time, in a new model that we hope will strengthen best practice among arts funders at a time with potential for radical change. Our experience of funding and developing outstanding artistic practitioners through significant, long-term grants has shown us that this fund will enable the awardees to make powerful contributions to their artistic communities as they navigate this intense period of change and transition. The emergency funding that is being provided by a number of funders is absolutely vital, but we believe that transformative opportunities for artists in the early phases of their careers are also needed. We are hoping to support a generation of visionary ideas that can mark a new beginning for live work in the UK.

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive, Wolfson Foundation

This is a time of uncertainty and anxiety for artists. We hope that this funding programme is an imaginative response, and I am delighted that it is also a response borne out of partnership with our friends and colleagues at Jerwood Arts, Esmée Fairbairn and Linbury.

Stuart Hobley, Director of The Linbury Trust

We’re really pleased to be in this funder partnership that will help to retain creative talent in the sector, and underpin professional artistic development at a time when it is needed now, more than ever.

Learn more about the Live Work Fund in a blog by Lilli Geissendorfer from Jerwood Arts and download the full press release