Sheffield Doc/Fest // Site Gallery Call For Proposals

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Sheffield Doc/Fest // Site Gallery Call For Proposals:
Sheffield Doc/Fest and Site Gallery are delighted to announce a new opportunity for an international artist to create a Virtual Reality documentary work for Sheffield Doc/Fest in June 2016. This commission is made possible by support from Arts Council England.
We are offering £5000 for an artist(s) based anywhere in the world to create an imaginative virtual reality documentary work to be installed and presented as part of Sheffield Doc/Fest taking place later this year: 10th – 15th June 2016.
Deadline for proposals: Monday 14th March, 9am GMT
Context / About Alternate Realities
This is the first commission of its kind for Sheffield Doc/Fest, representing an amazing opportunity to truly innovate in the field of documentary-based interactive storytelling. The chosen project will be exhibited as part of Sheffield Doc/Fest’s Alternate Realities programme at Site Gallery in June.
Sheffield Doc/Fest’s Alternate Realities strand is a leading forum for interactive and virtual reality projects. It explores innovative forms of storytelling through experimenting with technology to deliver immersive experiences.
In 2015 Doc/Fest teamed up with Site Gallery to co-present Virtual Reality Arcade featuring nine of the most interesting and diverse VR experiences, including Doc/Fest's own commission from Oscar Raby, who won the Interactive Award that year.
Along with the Alternate Realities Summit, the Alternate Realities Exhibition and 26 new projects in the Alternate Realities Market, the 2015 festival included the most comprehensive programme yet, reaching 10,000 festival-goers.
VR at its most humanising, empowering and emotive.”
“One of the best showcases for VR yet seen, presenting an incredibly diverse range of experiences that between them educated, disturbed, delighted and, in some cases, proved every bit as powerful as some of the show’s headline acts.”
- VR Focus, June 2015

It's really pretty astounding and simultaneously terrifying what humankind is doing with technology at the moment, and the artists with exhibits in Doc/Fest's VR arcade are a massive part of the continuing story. I can only imagine where Sheffield will take us in a year's time.” - VICE, June 2015

The Commission / Eligibility
Artists and documentary makers from anywhere in the world are invited to submit proposals.
To be considered, projects must be specifically virtual reality projects: ie. uses a virtual reality headset as its main platform.
Applicants should be able to demonstrate a strong commitment to innovation in interactive storytelling in the realm of non-fiction and documentary-making.

Evidence a body of work and strong track record through new work, projects, exhibitions, publishing, and/or commissions is desirable.

The panel is open to projects that may have already been started or developed or are in production, providing they respond to the brief and we are made aware of any other partners or funding bodies involved in the project.
The commissioned project will be presented for the first time as a premiere in Virtual Reality Arcade at Site Gallery as part of the 23rd Sheffield Doc/Fest. One member of your project team must be available to be present during the Festival, 5th – 10th June 2016, plus one day either side for installing and de-rigging where necessary. We hope that the selected artist will document the production of this commission through a blog or Twitter feed or through supplying images that may be shared with our networks.

Support for the Commission
The commission will be supported by Sheffield Doc/Fest and Site Gallery with thanks to funding from Arts Council England. The selected proposal will be awarded 5,000 GBP including VAT to cover artist fees and all production costs and expenses. Travel (including international flights) and accommodation for the artist to install their work and participate in the festival will be covered in addition. The venue and AV equipment needed to exhibit the work will be provided, as will technical help with install for the Festival. Sheffield Doc/Fest and Site Gallery together offer additional support in the development, production, delivery, marketing, and touring of the commission as appropriate.

Selection Process
The deadline for submissions is 9am (GMT) on Monday 14th March 2016.
Selection will be made on the basis of materials submitted, and the chosen proposal will be selected on the basis of artistic merit and concept, how well they relate to our mission to support makers in the emerging field of VR, as well as benefit to applicant’s practice and feasibility of production.
The commission will be selected by the 30th March, for delivery 30th May.
The commission selection panel includes: -

Mark Atkin – Alternate Realities Curator, Sheffield Doc/Fest

Laura Sillars – Artistic Director, Site Gallery

Lucia Pietroiusti – Public Programmes Curator, Serpentine Galleries

Catherine Allen – Producer, iWonder, BBC Knowledge and Learning
Shortlisted artists will be invited for an informal Skype chat to discuss project details Wednesday 30th March.
How to Apply
All proposals should be submitted the downloadable form available at until 9am (GMT) on Monday 14th March 2016. It is free of charge to submit, and there is no limit to the amount of submissions that can be submitted by any one artist, though one form must be completed per proposal. For answers to any specific questions, please email, with the subject heading ‘VR commission.’ All applications will be considered and shortlisted by end of March. Those who have been shortlisted will be informed and may be asked to submit further information.
About Us
Sheffield Doc/Fest
Sheffield Doc/Fest is a world leading and the UK’s premier documentary festival, celebrating the art and business of documentary. We’re a hub for all documentary and factual content across all platforms, from feature length to shorts, and including interactive and virtual reality projects.

The Festival comprises:

- Film programme for the very best international screenings;
- Marketplace for international business;
- Talks & Sessions to inspire, inform and debate;
- Alternate Realities for digital and interactive innovation.

Every year, we’re proud to connect thousands of creatives in a nurturing environment, resulting in the discovery of new talent, new collaborations and new commissions for cinema, television and online.

We aim to create a festival experience that is creatively inspiring and the place for pioneering and innovative ideas, projects and thinking.

Sheffield Doc/Fest welcomes over 30,000 documentary makers and lovers each year, including 3,500 industry delegates from over 60 countries.

This year, the Festival takes place 10th – 15th June 2016.
For further info, go to
Site Gallery
Site Gallery is Sheffield’s leading international contemporary art space, supporting artists specialising in moving image, new media and performance. Pioneering emerging art practices and ideas, we work in partnership with local, regional and international collaborators to nurture artistic talent and support the development of contemporary art. At the heart of what we do, is to connect people to artists and to art, inspiring new thinking and debate through our public programmes and participatory activity.

Site Gallery’s exhibition programme is led by Artistic Director Laura Sillars.  We work with emergent and established artists to realise their ideas and produce new work for solo and group exhibitions. We specialise in artistic development, investing in artists at critical stages of their careers. In 2012-13, three of Site Gallery’s recent alumni won the most prestigious awards in the art-world; The Turner Prize, the Venice Silver Lion and the Frieze Emdash Award. Through diverse programming, we reveal the process of making art to invite our audience to engage, explore and connect.

The Panel
Mark Atkin - Curator of Alternate Realities, Doc/Fest

Mark, an expert in the realm of digital storytelling, has been involved with the Alternate Realities strand at Sheffield Doc/Fest since its original inception in 2009. Mark is also Director of Crossover and Former Acting Director of Sheffield Doc/Fest.

Laura Sillars – Artistic Director, Site Gallery

Laura Sillars has worked in contemporary visual art for fifteen years at Tate Liverpool, FACT and Artangel and on the curatorial teams for the Liverpool Biennial, Abandon Normal Devices festival and Art Sheffield. She is a Clore Leadership Fellow and Sheffield Culture Consortiums Founding Chair, she produced Artangel’s first US film commission with artist Mike Kelley, and has worked on exhibitions of leading artists such and Nam June Paik and Pipilotti Rist.
Lucia Pietroiusti – Public Programmes Curator, Serpentine Galleries

Lucia Pietroiusti studied critical theory at Birkbeck, University of London (MA) and gender studies at Trinity College, Dublin (M.Phil). As Curator of Public Programmes at the Serpentine Galleries, she is in charge of Park Nights, Saturday Live, Talks and Seminar series and Serpentine Cinema, among others.
Catherine Allen – Producer, iWonder, BBC Knowledge and Learning

Catherine is a digital producer, currently working at the BBC; producing one of the BBC’s first virtual reality documentaries. She specialises in non-fiction digital products that sit in the intersection between creativity and technology.

Her background is in both documentaries and tech. She is currently a resident at Bristol’s Pervasive Media Studio.

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