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Second Dare Art Prize announced by Opera North and the University of Leeds

Transmission_multimedia piece conceived by the late Becs Andrews during her time as DARE Cultural Fe


The pioneering DARE partnership between the University of Leeds and Opera North is seeking applications from creative practitioners in all media for the second DARE Art Prize.

Launched last year, the £15,000 prize is aimed at challenging artists and scientists to work together on new approaches to the creative process. Shortlisted proposals for the inaugural Prize included a whale choir and an exploration of cosmic bubbles, and the winning entry from Berlin-based composer Samuel Hertz: an electro-acoustic chamber piece incorporating sounds below the level of human hearing. Samuel is currently working on his commission, due to be unveiled in April next year, with performers from Opera North and academics from the University of Leeds.

The deadline for applications for the second DARE Arts Prize is 12 January 2018, and the winner – an innovative, ambitious, early-career artist who is motivated by the opportunity to work in partnership with leading scientific researchers at the University of Leeds – will be announced on 12 February.

The successful artist will be matched with a researcher who shares their vision and can bring knowledge, expertise and networks to support the creation of something new. There are no restrictions on the form of the outcome: depending on the interests of the collaborators and the direction that the work takes, it could be a piece of visual art, a dance performance, a poem, an interactive website or a cycle of new songs, but the project must be achievable within twelve months. It is expected that around £5,000 of the Award will be invested in the creation of new work.


Dominic Gray, Projects Director, Opera North, comments:

“As a uniquely collaborative art form, opera is a natural home for new creative partnerships and shared knowledge. The challenges facing individuals and society in the 21st century can appear complex and chaotic, and understanding ourselves and the world we live in calls for us to look outside our normal comfort zones. The DARE Art Prize aims to generate new work and new working methods that can bring the arts and sciences closer together.”


Professor Frank Finlay, Director of the Cultural Institute at the University of Leeds and Executive Dean of its Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures, says:

“It’s been tremendously exciting to see the extent to which the first DARE Art Prize winner has been collaborating with academics across various disciplines in the University. We very much look forward to welcoming applications from a new group of emerging, talented artists keen to work at the intersection of the arts and sciences.


Individual, independent artists working in all disciplines are invited to apply by submitting a CV and a 500-word proposition that summarises the area of scientific interest - from astrophysics to climate change, microbiology to nutrition; an ambition to create something new and the germ of an idea of what this might be; and a genuine wish to engage with academic researchers, expertise and resources at the University of Leeds. Access to musicians, studio space and resources from Opera North may also be available.

Applications will be judged by a panel comprising Opera North’s Dominic Gray, Professor John Ladbury, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Biological Sciences and Professor of Mechanistic Biology, School of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Leeds, and Lisa Jamieson, former Head of Engaging Science at Wellcome, and now an independent advisor, consultant and assessor working in arts and culture.

Applications should be sent in the form of a pdf or Word document to Lesley Patrick, Partnerships Director at DARE:, before the deadline of 12 January 2018. Shortlist interviews will take place in the week commencing 5 February 2018, and the recipient will be announced on 12 February.

For more information on the DARE Prize and the partnership, visit