Made in the Middle: Applications

A partnership between Craftspace and the Leicester Gallery at De Montfort University.

A view of an exhibition in a gallery. In the foreground is an embellished knitted jumper on a frame. Behind are ceramic vessels and on the wall are bright woven wall hangings.

A view of Made in the Middle 2016 showing work by Kay Williamson, Emily-Kriste Wilcox and Theo Wright (Photo: Jamie Gray).

Apply by 9am, 22nd April 2024.

“Made in the Middle is so important for the midlands as it connects to a long history of material knowledge and creative making, engaging with craft. Made in the Middle introduced my work to a wider audience and opened up new opportunities to work with curators and participate in exhibitions across the UK and abroad.” Rajesh Gogna, silversmith.

We are making an open call to invite artists based in the East and West Midlands to apply for free to feature in our exhibition Made in the Middle, an exhibition which attracts audiences of around 30,000.

Work selected will highlight the wide range of innovative and excellent contemporary crafts being made in the Midlands today. We are interested in work that experiments with materials, techniques, form and new technologies. Also work that reflects the world we live in; it may connect with issues e.g. climate justice or sustainability or reference personal experiences.

Exhibiting artists can choose if their work is for sale or not. There may also be the opportunity to sell smaller works as shop stock. Exhibitors will receive 50% commission on sales.

We want to support artists to make and show work which extends their interests and practice. We will accept applications to show existing works but encourage exhibitors to use the time and curatorial support during the exhibition development to create new work.

You can book advice and support sessions to help with your application and information is available in a variety of formats below.

What is Made in the Middle?

Made in the Middle is a recurring touring exhibition by Craftspace. This will be the ninth in the series and will launch at the Leicester Gallery at De Montfort University on 25 January 2025 and tour the region for approximately 18 months. Other venues include: Hub, Sleaford; Midlands Arts Centre (MAC), Birmingham and Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery.

Made in the Middle plays an important role in raising the profile of individual artists and excellence in making. It also aims to develop visitors’ appreciation of craft processes, expertise, skills and thinking. The exhibition creates accessible opportunities to see and purchase work by regional artists across a range of venues.

A specially curated section of invited artists will highlight the positive cultural impact of global migration to the region.

For information about previous Made in the Middle exhibitions and exhibitors please visit: www.madeinthemiddle.org

Who can apply?

  • You are living and/or working in the West Midlands Metropolitan Districts, or Staffordshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Shropshire or Warwickshire or the East Midlands including Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland.
  • You work in a craft medium such as: ceramics, textiles, jewellery, metalwork, paper, mixed media, furniture, glass, leather, automata, lighting, calligraphy, recycled or natural materials, digital and multi-disciplinary work.
  • You have an ongoing commitment to building a professional creative career.
  • You create work that demonstrates a strong idea, thinking and expertise/skills in a craft process or processes.

We welcome applications from:

  • A range of exhibitors: from early career to established artists, including people who are self-taught or have completed apprenticeships.
  • Artists who reflect the diversity of the Midlands population including: people from the Global Majority, minoritised, disabled, D/deaf, neurodiverse, LGBTQ+ people, people with a working class background and artists represented by support studios.
  • Artists who have previously exhibited in Made in the Middle provided their work has changed and developed.

What are the benefits of being selected?

  • £100 fee.
  • A curator visit to discuss your work.
  • Invitations to attend development, advice and networking sessions.
  • Invite people like curators and buyers to see your work at private view events at tour venues.
  • Feature in a printed catalogue, see examples of previous catalogues.
  • Feature on the Craftspace website.

How do I apply?

You can access the application form:

  • By downloading here.
  • Ask for one to be posted to you by emailing [email protected].
  • Ask for one to be posted to you by calling 0121 608 6668.
  • If you need another format contact Craftspace [email protected] or 0121 608 6668.

You can apply by:

  • Sending the application form by email with your images attached to [email protected] Do not paste images into the email or application form.
  • Recording a video with responses to the application questions. Email the video and images to [email protected].
  • Recording an audio response to the application questions. Send the audio and images to Craftspace 07394 745 865.
  • Posting your paper application with printed images to: Emma Daker, Craftspace, Unit 15 Highgate Craft Centre, 8 Highgate Square, Birmingham, B12 0DU.

The deadline for applications is 9am, 22 April 2024.

Application form

These forms are all the same. Please pick the format that you prefer to use. You can fill out a word document on your device, fill out a pdf form on your device or download a print version and fill it out by hand.

Introduction to Made in the Middle – Artist Development Event

Tuesday 26 March, 7-8.30pm – Zoom

Craftspace is hosting an online event to answer any questions about Made in the Middle and the application process. Two previous exhibitors will talk about their experience of the exhibition.

Find out more about events to support artists making applications.

Book your place for this event.

Application Advice Sessions:

If you feel you face a barrier to applying to Made in the Middle, Craftspace is offering Application Advice Sessions. You can book a slot for support with:

  • completing the application form
  • recording video or audio application
  • writing statements about your work
  • photographing your work

West Midlands

Join us on Tuesday 16th April, 2.00pm – 8.30pm
Deloitte Room, Midlands Art Centre (MAC), Birmingham

Drop-in support available at this event.

East Midlands

Join us on Saturday 13th April, 10.00am – 4.30pm
Leicester Gallery, De Montfort University, Leicester.
Drop-in support also available at this event.

Online

Join us on Zoom on Tuesday 9th April, between 4pm and 8pm.

How are the artists chosen?

25 – 30 artists will be selected by a panel of professionals including:

Ndidi Ekubia, Silversmith
Rajesh Gogna, Senior Lecturer: BA Hons Design Crafts, De Montfort University – Made in the Middle partner
Varuna Kollanethu, Director, Ruup and Form Contemporary Gallery, London
Amanda Sutton, Director, Venture Arts, Manchester
Hugo Worthy, Arts Curator, Leicester Gallery – Made in the Middle co-curator

The panel will consider each applicants’ images and statement. They will select work which reflects the aims of the exhibition and are briefed in advance.

 What have other artists said about the opportunity?

“Being part of Made in the Middle had a greatly positive impact upon my creative practice. It was across this 18 month touring show that I felt I truly made the transition from emerging maker into a professional maker. I was delighted to receive the Made in the Middle digital arts award, which I used to launch one of the first and still relatively rare Apps for iPhone. This boosted my profile in a far greater way than I’d expected, and it opened many new doors for me. Working closely with Craftspace at this time was a great experience as I learnt a wealth of information that I could feed back into my own professional practice.” Anna Collette Hunt

“Made in the Middle definitely kickstarted my profile at the start of my making practice as a new graduate. Now a few years on I still have strong contacts and links with Craftspace, makers, venues and organisations linked to the exhibition. This has continued to develop and extend my practice, including mentoring, being part of exhibitions with other makers and also teaching within higher education. Being part of the exhibition and tour also gave me so much confidence to continue to apply and show at many UK and international shows, building my CV and profile.” Rachel Butlin

“I benefited by having a focus and time to make a piece of work that was apart from other more commercial projects. The Made in the Middle piece helped to move my practice forward in terms of being able to freely make work without commercial constraints. I believe this work is the most meaningful work I have made to date.” Melanie Tomlinson

Terms and Conditions – What do we expect from you?

  • If selected, work will be committed to the exhibition for its full tour. In no circumstances can work be removed or substituted.
  • Selected artists will be contracted to submit up to five pieces for the exhibition.

The amount of pieces will be decided with the curators.

  • Artists are responsible for ensuring their work arrives at Leicester Gallery by/on 13 January 2025. If delivery is a potential barrier to participation this can be discussed as part of the curator visit.
  • The £100 exhibitor fee will be paid when work has been received.
  • Artists will co-operate fully in the supply of information for the exhibition. Craftspace and Leicester Gallery reserve the right to use submitted imagery for the purpose of display, press and PR, including social media and for promoting the exhibition within other arts organisations. This may include the use of these images on the organiser’s and tour venues’ websites and social media platforms and accounts.

Glossary

Automata: a moving mechanical device

Early career: artists whose work has not been widely exhibited or sold, or within the first 5 years of starting out.

Self-taught: artists who haven’t completed formal education in a creative subject: e.g. completed a creative degree or apprenticeship. They have learned their skills in different and informal ways.

Diaspora: The dispersion or spread of any people from their original homeland.

Global Majority: people who are Black, Asian, Brown, dual-heritage, indigenous to the global south, and or have been racialised as ‘ethnic minorities’.

Alternative versions of this information

This application information presented in an easy read format.

This application information presented in BSL.

BSL logo

This application information presented in video with subtitles.

Partners

De Montford University logo


Where Next?

Made in the Middle: Applications

Deadline 22 April 2024.

A view of an exhibition in a gallery. In the foreground is an embellished knitted jumper on a frame. Behind are ceramic vessels and on the wall are bright woven wall hangings.

The Big Give

Help us raise £2500 to double the difference.

A young woman sits at a workbench working on a silver chain with pliers.

Made in the Middle 30: online exhibition

Browse the Made in the Middle online exhibition. Great for schools and anyone doing an arts award.

A screen shot of the home page of madeinthemiddle.org showing the logo and a large necklace.

Made In The Middle: Series

Made in the Middle is the Midland’s principal exhibition of contemporary craft.

A small rustic vessel made using all parts of the willow.


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