At the heart of Factory International sits the engine of artistic ambition and experimentation. This is the place for artists to dream big and to venture boldly into collaborations and artistic conversations not possible elsewhere. At the festival we’ve pioneered many ways to support artists as they develop their ambitions, and with Factory International we will offer space year round for artists to stretch out, invent and evolve.

Opportunities ↓ 

Artist Takeovers

We're handing over the keys of Factory International to up-and-coming artists who want to explore working at epic scale.

Factory International 2023 Fellowship

Want to get closer to the action? Factory International Fellowships provide bespoke mentorship and behind-the-scenes insight that allow Fellows to explore and expand their practice as artists.

Factory Sounds

Large gig with red and blue spotlights lighting the stage
Factory Sounds supports groups and individuals based in Greater Manchester who are involved in music – performers, composers and DJs, producers and promoters, even label owners and managers.

Artistic Networks

A group of people gathered in a club space talking with a neon lights
A space where creatives from Manchester and beyond can meet, share advice and support, and dream up new projects together.

About Artist Development

Our approach

At Factory International, our approach to Artist Development strives to be ambitious and inspiring, offering a wide range of opportunities locally and internationally, across artforms and scales.

Artist Development can be for all artists – emerging or established – and can help redress the balance in the sector, inventing together new possibilities, pathways and imaginations to feed artists’ ambitions.

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The story so far

Some of our past initiatives at MIF have included the Jerwood Creative Fellowship programme and Factory International Fellowship, Fellows Alumni, Creative 50, Creative Lab, Creative Call Out, Artist Drop In, Matchmakers, MIF Sounds and Introduction to Virtual Tools.

We're also a member of the Greater Manchester Artist Hub, a group of 14 arts organisations in the region that have supported hundreds of independent practitioners in the area. Since it formed in 2020, the hub has offered hardship bursaries to excluded freelancers, funding and training to early career artists and private advice sessions to local artists. Moving forward, Factory International will continue to be a key partner for Manchester Independents, which in 2021 provided over £100,000 of support to Greater Manchester artists to develop and showcase new creative projects throughout the city region.

What's next?

Future opportunities will range from access to digital tools and studio time with our growing list of tech partners, to a new programme for young Black creatives. All of this work will reflect our belief in care – care for the artist, the contexts and conditions, the processes and methods of making and presentation: supporting a transformation of thinking, ideas and creation.

Over the next three years, we also hope to offer more opportunities for under-represented artists here in Greater Manchester and the North, artists from the global majority, trans and non-binary artists, and artists who self-identify as disabled and neurodivergent. Together, our aim at Factory International is to become a new creative powerhouse, where our tomorrow is made stronger and brighter through new voices and new visions of the world.

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Watch ↓ 

MIF19 Creative Lab

Special Projects

We are also looking out for artists who are underrepresented in the sector. D/deaf, disabled and neurodivergent creatives, for instance, who want to explore their practice.

Factory International supports New Earth Academy, which offers training and opportunities to over-18s from South East Asian diaspora who are interested in working in theatre.

CASE STUDIES

Intro to Virtual Tools

A man and a woman standing in a darkened art gallery, each wearing a Virtual Reality headset and holding a black controller. They are playing a game by the artist Rachel Maclean.

Intro to Virtual Tools workshop, one of Factory International's Artist Development programmes.

Factory International’s Intro to Virtual Tools programme brought together 20 artists based in Greater Manchester to develop new skills, learning from artists operating at the cutting edge of technology – Team Rolfes, Khadija Raza, GLOR1a and Keiken. Workshops covered a huge range of topics, from introducing live streaming and building worlds to music, technology and Afro-futurism. The Greater Manchester artists taking part each received a £300 bursary to support their time, equipment and learning across two weekends. You can meet three of the artists who took part and find out more about their practice below.

  • Jack Jameson

    "It has opened my thinking about how I create, how the imagination of a world can now be very easily created, it doesn’t have to be a physical set."
  • Tina Ramos Ekongo

    "The workshop opened up the possibility of using these technologies to create art that is redefining the different disciplines of visual arts."
  • Jennifer Jackson

    "Getting the chance to learn from artists at the cutting edge of their practice, who are finding and developing new art forms, was a unique opportunity."

Festival In My House... and Yours

From an online Queer literary festival, to a cook-along party and a club night for the living room,  we loved seeing how Greater Manchester artists responded to the challenge of re-imagining our popular micro-festival series for the lockdown. Our series of online commissions, Festival in My House… and Yours, was originally streamed via MIF Live, and many of them are still online.

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