New radio talent wanted for Verb New Voices

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Calling artists in the North


Verb New Voices 3 is looking for four artists based in the North of England who would like to make a new piece of work for BBC Radio.

Created by Arts Council England in partnership with the BBC and arts organisations from across the North, Verb New Voices 3 will support four artists to receive professional development to create innovative work for radio. We particularly encourage applications from artists with diverse perspectives.

Each artist will receive a commission from the BBC to create an eight-minute piece for Radio 3’s The Verb. Part of the commission will include spoken word or written narrative. Your broadcast on The Verb may be a short piece or an excerpt from a longer project. We are particularly interested in hearing from artists who want to integrate multimedia forms to enhance the audience’s experience of their work. Multimedia forms may include animation, music or sound, photography, film, interactive media, or site-specific work. Besides the opportunity for broadcast on The Verb, the partners can also support you by providing advice on showcasing your work elsewhere including on web-based platforms or in gallery and theatre spaces.

The package

Creative development workshop

Successful candidates must be available from the evening of Sunday 15 March to late afternoon on Tuesday 17 March to take part in a creative development workshop over two days at BBC MediaCity in Salford. Sue Roberts (Editor Audio Drama North, The Verb Radio 3) will lead the workshop, and she along with other BBC staff will support the Verb New Voices 3 (VNV3) artists to develop their ideas.

On the afternoon of Tuesday 17 March, VNV artists will be asked to make a presentation about their project to project partners New Writing North, The Writing Squad, DaDa Fest, Arvon, and Freedom Studios, the BBC and the Arts Council. The project partners will then discuss with artists a package of developmental support and creative input that they can contribute in-kind or can buy in (there is a modest budget for this). New Writing North will manage the project to ensure that identified support is in place for each artist.

Mentoring and creative collaboration

Between April and November 2015, VNV3 artists will work on their projects with their mentors/collaborators.

Arvon course

The package includes an opportunity to undertake a fully funded residential creative writing course of your choice with Arvon (subject to availability) as part the Verb New Voices 3 project between April and August 2015.

Broadcast and other public platforms

In November 2015, VNV3 artists will appear at BBC’s Free Thinking Festival in the North East to talk about their projects in front of a live audience and (if appropriate) to record the piece for BBC Radio 3’s The Verb. During the developmental period the partners will support artists to identify other public platforms for showcasing their work.

Grants for the Arts

Should a project require further development once the Verb New Voices 3 scheme is complete, partners can provide support to apply for further funding, including from the Arts Council’s Grants for the Arts scheme.

Public events

We will be holding up to three public events across the North of England during the course of the project, which will provide further exposure to the methods for creating innovative multimedia work for radio. We would like VNV3 artists to attend these public events (dates to be confirmed) as part of the project. We will cover expenses for travel and accommodation to these events across the North.

Payment and expenses

Each artist will receive a bursary of £2,500 to support their involvement in the Verb New Voices 3 programme. They will also receive a fee of £300 if BBC Radio 3’s The Verb commissions their work. They will receive a further £100 for appearing at The Free Thinking Festival in November. The BBC can provide each chosen artist with up to £150 to help cover expenses for travel to MediaCity and Free Thinking. The project will also pay for two overnight stays in Manchester for the two-day workshop in March. There will be extra expenses to cover any support costs required by disabled or deaf artists. Besides this the bursary must cover all other expenses accrued in undertaking the Verb New Voices 3 programme.

Alison Boyle, Arts Council England’s Literature representative, said: “We are excited to announce that there will be additional opportunities this year for innovative artists to receive expert mentoring for their new writing and performance on radio and social media platforms. The strong partnership of BBC MediaCity, the Arts Council and its funded organisations in the North will see four innovative pieces of multiple media created for radio and other broadcast platforms. And we’ll get to meet many more talented artists in the North of England at our public events. Keep watching for news of the times and places you can get involved in these events, which will include Grants for the Arts advice.”

The deadline for submissions is midnight on Sunday 1 March 2015.

For more information about The Verb, see


Please apply by sending the following information presented in one single document that clearly states your name, address, contact information and email address at the top of the sheet. The title of the document should be your name.

  • • A proposal (of no more than 500 words) for the project you want to develop as part of Verb New Voices 3
  • • An outline of your artistic experience to date (of no more than 500 words)
  • • A sample of your writing. Up to ten pages can be attached to your email application as a Word doc, PDF, or a Jpeg screen grab from an app or website
  • • At least one example of your work using other media which may include (but isn’t limited to) a website, a performance, photography, animation, film, music or sound

To submit your application please send the above to [email protected] by the deadline of 5pm on Sunday 1 March 2015.

The judging meeting is taking place on 9 March so successful applicants will hear from us on 10 March. You will need to make arrangements to attend the residential at BBC MediaCity the following Sunday.


The awards are open to submissions, written in World English by artists of any nationality or descent who at the time of entering are permanently resident in the North of England. The North of England is defined as the areas covered by Arts Council England in Yorkshire, North East and North West. You can check your eligibility for entry by looking at the map at We regret we are unable to accept submissions from outside these regions because this opportunity is devised to support new voices in the North. The Verb New Voices 3 steering group will make final decisions on eligibility.

We welcome applications from across a range of artistic approaches, but the quality of the writing which features in your submission will be an important part of the selection process. (Please note: we do not want to receive ideas for radio drama for this particular scheme.)

We welcome applications from all sections of the community. We are particularly encouraging submissions from Black and Minority Ethnic and disabled writers. If you have access requirements we have a budget to cover these.

Applicants must not have previously had work broadcast by the BBC.

We must receive submissions to the project no later than 5pm on Sunday 1 March 2015. Submissions received after this date and time will not be eligible. Please note the New Writing North office is closed at weekends, so if you have a question about your application, please contact us before the submission weekend.


1. All submissions must be submitted via email to [email protected].

2. Incomplete submissions will not be considered or acknowledged.

3. The work that you enter must be your own original work.

4. You may be asked to prove your place of residence and identity in order to qualify for the bursary.

5. You must be 18 or over on 1 March 2015.

6. The Verb New Voices 3 Steering Group reserves the right to withdraw your right to participate in Verb New Voices 3 and to reclaim the financial value of the bursary if it is discovered that you have fabricated any information in your submission.

7. This opportunity is not open to employees of any of the partner/supporter organisations.

8. Submissions received after the deadline will not be eligible for entry.

9. The Verb New Voices 3 Steering Group’s decision on selection is final and there will be no correspondence or discussion about the process.

10. Successful applicants must be available to attend the two day workshop at BBC MediaCity from Sunday 15 to Tuesday 17 March. If you are unable to attend we may withdraw the offer of a place on the scheme.

11. If selected to take part in Verb New Voices you must be available to participate in media and PR for the project, at suitable times to be agreed, if required. Your name, hometown and county may be announced publicly.

12. If selected to appear on the BBC as part of Verb New Voices 3, the BBC will contract you as a contributor on its standard terms and conditions, for a standard radio contributor fee.

13. We reserve the right to modify, suspend or cancel the project and/or vary the rules and conditions of entry and to make any amendments to the published schedule as are deemed necessary.

14. We will acknowledge all applications within three working days of receiving them. If you do not receive acknowledgement of your entry please contact us at [email protected].

15. We will write to everyone whose work we have received and inform them of the outcome of their application once the selection process has concluded. All applicants will hear from us by 13 March 2015.

16. We apologise in advance that we are unable to enter into individual correspondence with writers about their submissions after the closing date, or to give specific feedback on work.

17. The information that you provide will be collected by New Writing North, who will share this information with the project partners and supporters for the purposes of managing your submission and participation in the project. Each of the Verb New Voices 3 partners and supporters may use this information to contact you with regard to your participation in the project. Your details will not be passed on to anyone else.

Please note

By entering you are confirming that the work that you are submitting is your original work and that you have read and agree to the Conditions of Entry.

Please also note that the BBC reserves the right to refuse to broadcast any work that is produced as part of this project if it is deemed unsuitable for broadcast for any reason.


If you have any queries about eligibility or how to enter please contact [email protected] in the first instance.