Face to face project still

Sheffield Doc/Fest is delighted to announce a £20,000 opportunity for an artist to create an imaginative digital artwork.

Supported by Arts Council England, Site Gallery, British Council & MUTEK.

With thanks to support from Arts Council England, Site Gallery and British Council, we are offering £20,000 for an artist(s) based anywhere in the world to create an imaginative digital project in documentary to be installed and exhibited in the Alternate Realities exhibition programme as part of Sheffield Doc/Fest’s 26th edition later this year: 6th – 11th June 2019. Additionally MUTEK will be inviting the successful commission winner to their 20th edition in Montreal (20-25 August, 2019) to speak about the work and then tour their project to MUTEK Montreal in 2020.

About the Commission

This is the sixth Alternate Realities Commission at Sheffield Doc/Fest. Previous commissioned artists include, Heather Phillipson, Alex Pearson/Marshmallow Laser Feast, Darren Emerson, Michaela Holland/Michelle Gabel. The commission is an opportunity to truly innovate in the field of documentary-based digital storytelling.

About Alternate Realities

Alternate Realities Programme

Sheffield Doc/Fest’s Alternate Realities is a digital art programme exploring the changing forms of storytelling through experimenting with narrative and technology.

The Alternate Realities programme comprises a number of elements at the Festival including:

Alternate Realities Exhibition

The prime platform to discover the most challenging, powerful and potent digital artworks focused on non fiction from around the world.

Alternate Realities Summit

A one-day symposium bringing together artistic practice and academia to share insight into the most compelling areas of narrative, design, production and strategy.

Alternate Realities Exhibition Tour

Since summer 2017, Sheffield Doc/Fest’s Alternate Realities programme has toured its exhibition successfully nationally to:

In addition the programme has toured internationally to:

In Autumn 2019 Sheffield Doc/Fest will tour its exhibition nationally to 3 venues in which the commissioned project may be a part of site specific exhibitions (subject to selection).

Belongings (Still)

Belongings, 2018, Noviembre Electrónico, Buenos Aires

About Site Gallery

Site Gallery is Sheffield’s international contemporary art space, specialising in moving image, new media and performance.Pioneering emerging art practices and ideas, Site works in partnership with local, regional and international collaborators to nurture artistic talent and support the development – and appreciation – of contemporary art.

Site connects people to artists and to art, inspiring new thinking and debate through exhibitions, talks, events and other public activity.Site works with early career to established artists to commission new work, produce solo and group shows, deliver residencies, performances, events and community programme. Through diverse programming, the gallery reveals the process of making art and invites our audiences to engage, explore and connect. In 2018 Site Gallery re-opened after a building programme which trebled the scale of its public area. It now has a large scale gallery, a dedicated projects space, café (Kollective Coffee and Kitchen) and shop as well as a beautiful new façade and main entrance. In 2019 Site celebrates its 40th Year.

About British Council

British Council’s Creative Economy team works with the next generation of artists and creative entrepreneurs around the world to tackle today’s challenges. Working in more than 30 countries a year, they provide the research, tools, space, opportunities and connections that creative communities need to experiment, learn and flourish. They connect ideas and experience from the UK with emerging global cultural leadership; building networks and supporting collaboration, for long-term impact, mutual benefit, and greater international understanding.


MUTEK is a Montréal-based not-for-profit organization dedicated to the dissemination and development of emerging forms of digital creativity in sound and audio-visual practice. Its main activity is its annual namesake festival, which will hold its 20th edition from August 20-25, 2019. The MUTEK festival is conceived as an environment of discovery and encounters, where artists and audiences are encouraged to meet and exchange. Firmly rooted in the Montréal community, it supports local talent while also presenting exclusive international content, combining music and audio-visual performances, installations, film and video presentations with professionally oriented conferences and workshops.

In addition to the festival, MUTEK organizes a diverse range of local events such as MUTEK_IMG and its Virtual Reality Salon, and maintains activities around the world, including yearly festival offshoots in Mexico City, Barcelona, Tokyo, Buenos Aires, Dubai, and San Francisco.

Who is this for?

Artists and documentary makers from anywhere in the world are invited to submit proposals.

We are particularly interested in projects that push the boundaries of what is technically possible within factual storytelling.

Applicants should be able to demonstrate a strong commitment to innovation in digital storytelling in the field of non-fiction. Evidence of a strong body of artistic work, including a proven track record of recent work, projects, exhibitions, publishing, and/or commissions is desirable, but not essential.

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.

We hope that the selected artist will document the production of this commission through their social media channels or through supplying images that may be shared with our networks.

Support for the Commission

The selected proposal will be awarded £20,000 GBP to cover artist fees and all production costs and expenses. Travel (including international flights) and accommodation for between 1-2 artists to install their work and participate in the festival will be covered in addition to the funding (subject to travel requirements). The venue and AV equipment needed to exhibit the work will be provided (subject to technical requirements), as will technical help with install for the Festival. Sheffield Doc/Fest offer additional support in the development, production, delivery, marketing, and touring of the commission as appropriate.

Submit Your Application

Please click here to read the Alternate Realities Commission Guidelines.

If you have any enquiries regarding the Alternate Realities commission, please email alternate.realities@sheffdocfest.com.

Closing Date and Selection Process

The closing date is 25 February 2019 (12 midnight GMT) 

This years panel will be comprised of
Sheffield Doc/Fest, Site Gallery, British Council and MUTEK.

Selection will be made on the basis of application 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 non-fiction storytelling, as well as benefit to applicant’s practice and feasibility of production. The commission will be selected by mid March,for delivery by 24th May 2019, ready to be exhibited at this year’s Sheffield Doc/Fest (6-11 June).

Shortlisted artists will be invited for an informal Skype chat to discuss project details Thursday 14th - Friday 15th March. The primary contact listed in your proposal form will be contacted about the status of your entry by 20th March 2019. Due to the volume of entries received, Sheffield Doc/Fest cannot offer feedback or individual comments for proposals not selected for the commission.

 Arts Council LogoSite GalleryBritish Council MUTEK Logo

Thanks to support from Arts Council England to tour projects from our 2019 Alternate Realities Exhibition to venues across the UK this Autumn. Projects selected for Sheffield Doc/Fest will have the chance to be seen beyond Sheffield and beyond June as part of our touring activity.