Artist Development Programme 2022

IOU are open all year round to any artists, organisations or students who would like support in getting a project off the ground.

STTA: Space | Time | Tools | Advice

STTA is IOU’s artistic development programme for individuals or groups practising any discipline who are interested in IOU’s approach to making. It is designed to help realise projects that are in development by providing support in the form of studio space, IOU staff time, workshop tools and advice from IOU arts professionals or a combination of all four.

IOU’s approach is inventive, imaginative and distinctive.

Guidelines for applicants for IOU’s Space Time Tools Advice mentoring programme

What is IOU?

  • IOU’s core purpose is to make new, surprising, original productions exploring the intersection between art, engineering, performance and technology. 
  • IOU’s work is experimental in concept and content and often presented in new and unusual ways for audiences to experience.  
  • We aim to reach underserved audiences in the local area and nationally. 
  • We are keen to support and encourage young and mid-career artists and welcome new and underrepresented artists through our work. 
  • Through Space Time Tools Advice and IOU’s other support activities, we aim to develop  artistic talent in the arts sector helping individual artists, groups of collaborators and arts companies to produce the best work they can.

If your work is in-tune with this approach, IOU’s STTA may be able to help you to:

  • Develop your ideas
  • Develop and produce your new piece of work
  • Develop your own art practice
  • Something completely new we haven’t thought of
  • Co-produce and present your work


The type and style of work we can help with is very broad:

Installations, painting, sculpture, film, photography, animation, dance, digital art, virtual worlds, music/sound, location/site specific art, landscape art, performance poetry, performance art, street art and performance art, architecture and art forms we’ve missed from this list or haven’t thought of yet.

In all these art forms we are looking for something new and special in your ideas and for artists with talent and potential.


Please note:  There are some types of work that we have great respect for, but are unlikely to be accepted for the STTA programme.  This is because they don’t feature in IOU’s work or we don’t have the facilities to support them, or they are better supported by other institutions and organisations:

  • Plays for regular theatre venues
  • Scripts or art forms that rely heavily on dialogue
  • Circus skills
  • Work intended for commercial or popular culture

The STTA programme is fluid and can be adapted to your project and the funding you seek. 

When can you apply?

IOU is open all year around to any artist or organisation who requires project support.  Your idea can be at an early stage when we may be able to advise you on next steps or more developed, perhaps having some development funding attached to your project that is for working with IOU on the STTA programme. 

If accepted:

IOU will help build an IOU support team with you that most suits what you are trying to achieve.  This may be just someone to feed back at important moments in the works development or provide key members of your creation team, eg. director, technician, producer, maker etc.

IOU also scouts for projects that the company may wish to help produce and tour in a more involved collaboration. Please let us know if you would like IOU to be involved with your project as a co-production.

If you have a project or idea and are interested in this opportunity to develop it, use the form below to get in touch.




Contact our Producer, Lydia Murrãy


Introducing the artists currently working with us in the IOU studio. Each producing their own unique works, they present a diverse range of creative output.

Anna Clarkson

Anna Clarkson is an experienced theatre maker, writer and immersive artist. She founded her company TrixLiminal in 2019 to take immersive experiences to underrepresented audiences. IOU have helped Anna on her current ACE, Creative UK and UK Edge funded project A KIND THING by providing rehearsal and recording space, technical advice and by being an erudite sounding board for the future development of the project.

There is a boat on a canal, in the background there are hills in view, and sat on the boat are four people, and a sculpture of a yellow boat with gold sails.

Sonya Moorhead

Opal’s Comet is a short story, written by Sonya Moorhead questioning how we might navigate personal grief, loss and transformation as, globally, we veer towards social evolution and climate crisis. The show was rehearsed at IOU before its presentation on the Leeds/Liverpool canal in November 2021. Opals Comet will be exhibited in IOU Walkway Gallery from Dec-Jan.

The image is bright yellow, with a teal colour text over the top. The text says Trans Creative and is shaped in a way the text starts small and then gets bigger.

Trans Creative

Founded by Kate O’Donnell in 2017, Trans Creative produces high quality, accessible, political arts, creating a safe space where trans people tell and hear their own stories and rally for urgent social change in an arena where we’re not debated & legislated against. They deliver a combined arts festival called Trans Vegas, which is created for, and by Trans people annually. The event attracts thousands of people live and digitally, as well as year round live and digital events. 400 people have now joined the Trans Social Club which provides a rare opportunity for Trans artists to create work and share in an encouraging environment to the wider trans community in a safe Trans and allies space, connecting Manchester-based, national and international artists with audiences.

A white man stands in a dark room wearing a woolen jumper and a cap. He appears to be dancing and has his arms out in a wiggly shape.

Gavin Rees

This is a small scale dance project where Gavin explores new methods in dance and AV , Gavin has recently become disabled after a career as a choreographer and is now seeking new ways to make work outside of his own physical boundaries. He would need the studio space for a short period and no other spaces to write, present or build. JM has been doing some coaching sessions with Gavin to support him with a step change in his career and also helping him take his work outside of the dance sector and into the digital arts sector and also the outdoor arts.