PS² Freelands Artist Programme
2021 - 2022


Saturday 19 September 2020

Call for artists 2021-22

Ends 19 September 2020

PS² Freelands Artist Programme 2021-2022

PS² invites emerging or re-emerging Northern Ireland-based artists to apply for the PS² Freelands Artist Programme 2021-2022, a two-year creative and professional development programme for emerging artists funded by the Freelands Foundation. You can download the brief here.

Supported by ongoing peer learning and critique, curatorial support from the project curator, and additional mentoring, the PS² Freelands Artist Programme enables emerging artists of any age to focus on, and develop, significant new work and research. The programme also includes the realisation of an exhibition/project at PS², research trips, a symposium, visits by external curators, and the possibility to show work in a curated exhibition at the Freelands Gallery (London).

Five artists will be selected to participate in the 2021-2022 programme. They will each receive:

  • £5000 fee per annum for two years
  • financial support for materials/production and additional mentoring support
  • travel support
  • individual tailored curatorial support
  • access to PS² resources and workshop space
  • the full commitment of PS²

More information about the Freelands Artist Programme and our current cohort artists can be found here.

Who is eligible?


  • Must have a minimum of three years of demonstrable high-quality artistic practice at the point of selection for the programme [October 2020], either since the commencement of their artistic career or since the completion of any formal academic qualifications in the arts.
  • Must be an 'emerging artist' in the process of forming/establishing their career, or a ‘re-emerging artist' whose career has been interrupted due to personal circumstances (child care, care for relatives, illness, etc…)
  • Can be of any nationality, age and background, work in any medium, and will live and work in Northern Ireland for the two-year duration of the PS² Freelands Artist Programme.
  • Must not be in formal education (this includes PhDs) at any point during the programme period and able to fully commit to the full duration of the programme (January 2021 – December 2022).
  • Must be keen to take part in this creative and professional development programme and be open to the critical advice and curatorial input, dialogue, and peer networks on offer.

If you have any questions about your eligibility for the programme please check out our Q&A section further down this page, where we have answered some previously asked queries.

What will we be looking for?

We are aware that the terms ‘emerging’, ‘re-emerging’ and ‘artist’ are fairly open for interpretation.

PS² has a very broad understanding of art and therefore artists and recognises that even if you had some success as an artist at some stage, creative and professional progression is seldom linear. This programme is therefore open to emerging and re-emerging artists.
There are no upper age limits and we encourage anyone to apply who feels this programme fits them, except if you already have a well-established (international) career, an extensive exhibition history, or have recently received a significant solo exhibition in a UK-based or international institution. We accept applications from artistic duos.

We are not seeking finished project or exhibition proposals, nor budget lines. Instead, we are interested in fresh and imaginative ideas and developments based on your past and current work, projected into the next two years. We are looking for participants who will benefit the most from the programme’s creative and professional development opportunities.

You are expected to be flexible and able to fully commit to the programme. This will continue to be an exciting learning process for us and for the selected artists.

How do I apply?

Please send us:  

  • Your name and contact details (address, email, phone number).
  • Names and contact details (phone and email) of two people who can advocate for you and your artistic practice, should you be successful in your application.
  • An artist statement- i.e. a description of what your work is about, the relationship between your personal experience and the wider social/political and contemporary art context....(max. 500 words).
  • A project proposal broadly describing how you will use the programme to research imaginative ideas and visions and develop and produce new outcomes (max. 500 words, no budget required).
  • A relevant and up-to-date artist CV (including graduation details, if applicable) of no more than two A4 pages.
  • Up to seven images of previous/current work or links to websites, including film/video/sound work uploaded to YouTube/Vimeo/SoundCloud, or similar, and, if necessary, password protected. When including links to artist moving image work please provide an edited extract of no more than three minutes, as well as a full version of the work. Please include short descriptions to accompany all work and links. 

Please send your completed application as a single PDF file no larger than 5MB to with your full name as the subject heading.

The application deadline for submissions is Saturday, 19 September 2020, 11.59pm.

On submission, you will receive a response confirming receipt of your application and a link to an anonymised Equality Opportunity Monitoring Form which we would be grateful if you could complete.

  • The application deadline for submissions is 19 September 2020
  • The shortlisted artists will be informed around 12 October 2020
  • The interviews for shortlisted artists will be on 06 November 2020
  • All interviews will now be online via Zoom/ or- if an artist is uncomfortable with this format- via WhatsApp)
  • On the selection panel are artist and curator Michele Horrigan, our new curator for 2020-2022 Ciara Moloney and Peter Mutschler/PS²
  • The five selected artists will be announced on 09 November 2020

Please contact us if you would like to receive this information in a different format e.g. paper format, large print version. Email:; phone: 07733457772.

Artists with specific access needs can submit an application in an alternative format and are offered in-person support.

We welcome applications from people irrespective of disability, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family responsibility, race, ethnic origin, nationality (subject to issue of work permit, where required), trade union membership and activity, political or religious beliefs. 

Online advice sessions are planned for Wednesday 26 August, 6pm, and Wednesday 2 September, 6pm. If you are interested, book a place via Eventbrite.

If online isn’t your thing, contact us and we can arrange a one-to-one session.

To download this brief click here.

Video conversation

We thought it might be helpful for anyone thinking of applying to hear directly from artists who are currently on the PS² Freelands Artist Programme. Jan McCullough, Julie Lovett and Thomas Wells kindly agreed to talk about the programme and their experience with the application.
This video is 22:43min long.

00:40min- Can you quickly introduce yourself and what you do as an artist?
03:24min- What does the PS² Freelands Artist Programme mean for you?
07:53min- At what stage of your career did you apply?
12:25min- Do you have any advice for putting together the application?
20:42min- One last tip of encouragement?

Jan McCulough and Julie Lovett are on the programme since it started in 2018 and both will finish this year, Thomas Wells started in our 2nd cohort last year.


We have collected some frequently asked questions and our answers from our recent advice sessions and previous open calls below.

If I only graduated 2 years ago, can I still apply?
If you graduated with a BA and don't have at least three years of demonstrable high-quality artistic practice before that,  you can not apply, unfortunately.
The guidelines set by the Freelands Foundation state clearly that applicants 'must have a minimum of three years’ of demonstrable high-quality artistic practice at the point of selection for the programme, either since the commencement of their artistic career or since the completion of any formal academic qualifications in the arts'.
This would be slightly different if you would have just finished an MA of PhD and have three years of demonstrable high-quality artistic practice either before or after your BA studies. But you don't need to have a degree in art.
However, this funding and our open call is around for another year in 2021.


If I am shortlisted but can’t come to the interview, especially under the current COVID-19 conditions, can there be an online session instead?
Yes, responding to the re-inforced Covid-19 regulations, we decided that all interviews will now be held online.

Can we apply as a group, producing work collectively?
Yes, you can if you are an ‘artist duo’ with a proven track record and outcomes in your collaborative practice, or a group with a clearly defined practice and vision, that meets all our other criteria.

I have a job to earn my living. Is this still possible, because you write under 'Who is eligible' that applicants have to be 'able to fully commit to the full duration of the programme'?
Yes. We understand that you can't live of £5000 a year. Ideally, the funding might allow you to reduce your working hours (the Foundation knows that this amount might just be the equivalent of one day off per week of someone on a full employment wage) or to pay for childcare or assistance. 'Fully committed' isn't so much measured in hours but in terms of dedication to what you set out to do in your application.

I graduated from an MFA over two years ago and can demonstrate at least two years’ of high-quality artistic practice since completing the MFA. Before starting the MFA, and after completing a BA, I have over one years’ worth of demonstrable high-quality artistic practice. Can I apply?

Yes, if you have a minimum of three years’ of demonstrable high-quality artistic practice at the point of selection for the programme, either since the commencement of your artistic career or since the completion of any formal academic qualifications in the arts, and provided you meet our other criteria, you can apply.

I finished my PhD less than three years ago, but I have more than three years’ of practice between the end of my MA/MFA and the start of my PhD, can I still apply?
Yes, if you have graduated from a PhD within the last three years, but can demonstrate you had a high-quality artistic practice of at least three years after you received your formal academic qualification through an MA/MFA and before starting your PhD, and provided you meet all our other criteria, you are eligible.

This programme is funded by the Freelands Foundation.
PS² is supported by the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.