It Gets Lighter From Here – Regional Commissions

The 21st of December is the shortest day of the year. It is also the last Monday before Christmas… the start of a festive season that is likely to be seriously overshadowed by the growing Covid-19 pandemic.

Following discussions and initial planning in recent Arty CRU meetings, it is proposed that on the night of the 21st, artists and cultural institutions across the Midlands come together to provide hundreds of moments of happiness and hope under the banner: It Gets Lighter From Here.

We’re delighted to say that 34 organisations are now signed up for the event, meaning that there will be at least 165 x 1-minute films published on the day (and still more to be confirmed). Total commissions are in the region of £34,000 – these are a mix of open calls and in-house commissions for 60-second digital content focused on moments of happiness and hope.

Current open call commissions are:

Culture Central – one commission of £3000 for a West Midlands artist/filmmaker to create three or four x 1-minute films. Deadline 1 December.

Birmingham Opera Company – up to ten commissions of £250 each combining the theme of It Gets Lighter From Here with the opening music to The RhineGold.  Deadline 2 December.

Jewellery Quarter BID, JQ Townscape Heritage & JQ Cemeteries Project – three commissions of £250 to create content inspired by the Jewellery Quarter. Deadline 3 December.

Birmingham Repertory Theatre– ten commissions of £250 each for artists aged 18-30 based in the West Midlands. Deadline 7 December.

There may also be further commissions offered over the next couple of weeks – please keep an eye on our Twitter and newsletter for full details.

All commissions will be showcased online on 21 December: the shortest day of the year, alongside the work of artists and cultural institutions from across the West Midlands, providing hundreds of moments of happiness and hope during these uncertain times.




The one minute limit.

We have imposed a One Minute Limit on the 21st December ‘Weekender’ for a few reasons:

1: This ‘Weekender” is experimenting to see what happens if we make artworks that are more suited to sharing on social media. By keeping works to one minute or less we open up these possibilities.

2: We are excited about trying to share each other’s audiences. By keeping each work to one minute or less we increase the chances audiences will continue watching through things that don’t appeal to them as they know the next thing is less than a minute away.

3: By choosing an ‘awkward’ length we looking to challenge artists in a new way and make work especially for this medium.

4: This duration limit is a distinctive characteristic of this weekender that marks it out from previous efforts and other streamed events. It is part of the branding. There will be other opportunities to share longer format content.

5: One minute shouldn’t be too intimidating and it means there are lots of ’slots’, we hope it will encourage a broader range of artists to submit material


While no individual piece is allowed to be more than 60 seconds long we encourage people who wish to work on a longer format to consider editing they work so it functions episodically. Returning to the next instalment of a familiar work would be lovely