Long Division started back in 2011 because there was inordinately high amount of music being created for such a relatively small city. As crazy as it seems seven years later, PRS declared Wakefield the UKs third musical city, based upon the amount of people claiming royalties.
There were a high number of creatives but there were very few opportunities for those people to have their work heard. So we created a festival that was just too good a proposition for (most) people to turn down. That drew audiences to the city and gave these artists the platform they deserved.
Over the years we became more and more interested in the wider culture of Wakefield and in building on that idea of collectively offering something too good to miss.
Yet in many respects, the struggles for those artists trying to find their place, or find an audience for their work have remained, if not increased. The trouble can be knowing where to start or, in an increasingly risk averse arts world, finding someone who will take a punt on something unknown.
It’s something we want to help with. Our Arts Council funded project “A Manifesto For A New Wakefield” will set out our vision for a future Wakefield. And we want that to be formed by the city’s creatives.
One way that anyone can get involved in this is through our Seed Fund Programme. Artists can apply for up to £250 to fund a new idea that will then be debuted at the festival in June. We want the artists to the think about the concept of what a manifesto for the future of Wakefield might include. Beyond that, there are no limits. It can be fully realised, it can be an experiment, it can be music, poetry, film, photography and a hundred other things we aren’t going to waste your time by listing.
Aswell as the Seed Fund, we will be directly commissioning artists to create significant new works and will be handing over programming budgets to new Curators – and offering mentoring as required.
After the festival we will compile all the Seed Fund and other Commission work (and plenty of other things too) into a physical Manifesto which we will proudly wave in people’s faces.
Applications are open until February 19th. The full brief and the application form can be found on our website.