The works will form a permanent archive of Manchester’s creative response

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) is on the hunt for creative commissions from local freelance creators such as artists, songwriters and poets who have been inspired by the current pandemic.

It’s part of their promise to develop their approach to supporting freelance creators during these unusual and precarious times and their first measure is a set of 60 creative commissions of £500 available to artists and creatives based in Greater Manchester.

Artists want to continue to have the opportunity to create, and many are already doing so in response to the current situation

The works created will form a permanent archive of Greater Manchester’s creative response to COVID-19. Stories, songs, poems, paintings, games, designs and more, available online for all to explore, to help us collectively and individually understand these unusual and troubling times. 

A statement from GMCA said: 'The historical and social importance of capturing civic responses to this type of event as and when it happens, to support people to come to terms with and understand an incredibly challenging situation, cannot be underestimated.'

20180316 Art Materials
GMCA want to create a permanent archive of Greater Manchester's response to COVID-19

Given the scale of the impact of COVID-19 on Greater Manchester’s creative community, GMCA will not be able to support everyone working in this sector. This proposal makes up part of a developing package of support that already includes advanced payments to organisations in GMCA’S Culture Portfolio.

To apply, people need to email to request an application form. Applications open on 25th March and close on Wednesday 1st April. Successful and unsuccessful applicants will be informed of the outcome on Wednesday 8th April.

The COVID-19 Creative Commissions Programme has been developed following advice from sector partners and artists as to what would be the most helpful intervention. Many artists and creators have had commissions cancelled, but artists want to continue to have the opportunity to create, and many are already doing so freely in response to the current situation. 

“We hope that this approach will provide some work for artists, provide remuneration for that work, and create an archive of work which will be made available online for everyone to explore,” says Marie-Claire Daly from GMCA. 

2018 3 27 Mindful Writing Workshop
This could be a song, a drawing, a poem, a short story, a design, a game, a piece of music, a short play or more

Applicants are asked to provide information on previous work and a brief summary of the work they would like to create (GMCA do not want people to create speculatively, not be selected and not paid for the time spent on creation.) 

Proposed responses to this commission must be new work. A panel of independent industry experts, comprising representatives a variety of art forms and disciplines, will make decisions on who will receive the funds virtually. Once decisions have been made, artists will be advanced funds and given a month to deliver the commission. Artists will own the rights to their work, GMCA will be able to use and share that work as commissions come in, in an online archive available to all. 

2018 01 18 Dulcimer Live Music
Have you been inspired by the pandemic to write a piece of music?

How to enter

Applications open - Wednesday 25th March

Applications close – Wednesday 1st April, 5pm

Successful and unsuccessful applicants informed of outcome - Wednesday 8th April


  • Applicants must be based in Greater Manchester
  • Applicants must have a UK bank account
  • Applicants must currently make some of their living from creation (GMCA will be looking at capturing the broader creative response from residents over the coming weeks)


Artform or discipline:



Daytime telephone:

E-mail address:

Please describe your current work in no more than 100 words:

Provide links to previous work (website/dropbox/we transfer collection):

Please describe the work you would like to create as part of this commission. No more than 300 words. This could be a song, a drawing, a poem, a short story, a design, a game, a piece of music, a short play or more. If your work includes performance you must be able to record and submit if selected.

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