Connect: Freelancer Development Programme

Convene, Challenge, Connect: West Midlands
Connect: Freelancer Development Programme

Are you a creative, cultural or heritage freelancer who has been underserved by the sector? Do you want to develop your creative practice, and receive mentoring and a bursary to attend the convene challenge connect programme?

Convene, Challenge, Connect: West Midlands aims to build on the positive disruption that the Birmingham 2022 Festival brings.

We’re looking for freelancers in the West Midlands historically underserved by the sector to take part in our freelance development programme.

What we’re offering

A freelancer development programme for 30 arts, cultural or heritage freelancers working in the West Midlands. This programme is a part of Convene, Challenge, Connect: West Midlands – an accessible and imaginative sector development programme being delivered for the Birmingham 2022 Festival.

The freelancer programme will include:

• Creative Life Story Mapping workshops
• Bespoke mentor matchmaking
• Three 1 hour mentoring sessions
• £500 bursary to cover your attendance at some or all of the programme, including life story mapping, mentoring and conference days
• Culture Central 2022-2023 membership

What is Creative Life Story Mapping?

Friction Arts will support you through bespoke workshops with a wellbeing expert, focusing on your creative practice, ambitions and dreams.

Matchmaking and mentoring

After the mapping workshops, we will hold one-to-one conversations to help identify who would be a great mentor for you, then match you with a mentor who will hold three mentoring sessions with you.

Timeline & Bursary

The programme will run between August and October.
Each participant will receive a £500 bursary, plus additional access support where needed.

Who is this programme for?

This programme is specifically targeted at creative, cultural and heritage freelancers in the West Midlands historically underserved by the sector.

Applications are open to arts, cultural and heritage freelancers working in the West Midlands who identify as ethnically diverse, (d)Deaf, disabled, neurodiverse, LGBTQ+, care-experienced*, from a refugee, migrant, Gypsy, Roma or Traveller community, and/or from working-class/ low-income backgrounds, or who have identified as such in the past.

*Care-experienced is defined as anyone who has been or is currently in care or from a looked-after background at any stage in their life, no matter how short, including adopted children who were previously looked-after.

How to apply

To apply,
1. Please answer three short questions (we accept written, audio or video responses)

2. Complete our monitoring form

First application deadline: 26th July, 4pm

Second application deadline: 15th August, 9am

If you feel you have any barriers in applying or require additional support to apply, please email or call 0121 2856466 (please note, due to working from home the phones are not monitored on a daily basis, but if you leave a message, we will get back to you).




Freelancer Network Groups

The Connect programme also includes nine Freelancer Network Groups, who are working together to define and deliver activity to build spaces of connection, networking and collaboration with other creative freelancers. Spaces in these groups are limited, please email if you are interested in finding out more.


What is Convene, Challenge, Connect: West Midlands?

Convene, Challenge, Connect has been co-created with the region’s arts, cultural, heritage and community sector, and brings together our collective knowledge from across the region to deliver the programme, ensuring it is effective, sustainable and useful for organisations, community groups and freelancers.

The programme will run from July to October 2022 and will include a freelancer development programme as well as a range of strategic and practical events, workshops, webinars and Q&As that will be open to all.

Convene, Challenge, Connect: West Midlands – an accessible and imaginative sector development programme being delivered for the Birmingham 2022 Festival. Generously supported by Arts Council England and The National Lottery Heritage Fund.