The DARE Art Prize – Applications Close on 30 January

Opera North and the University of Leeds recently announced the Third DARE Art Prize, which challenges artists and scientists to collaborate on new approaches to the creative process.

The £15,000 prize is part of a groundbreaking partnership between the University and Opera North, in association with the National Science and Media Museum and The Tetley, who are hoping to award an artist who is both ambitious and innovative, and motivated by the prospect of working alongside leading scientific researchers at the University.

£10,000 of the prize money will be paid every quarter over 12 months, with the remaining £5,000 to be used for resources to help create and present new work.  Further opportunities will open up for residencies at the National Science & Media Museum and The Tetley.  Opera North may also make studio space, musicians and other resources available.

Samuel Hertz – Gunslinger. Photograph provided by Opera North.

Previous winners each worked on very different projects: Samuel Hertz, the first winner, worked with low-frequency infrasound, delving into climatology, the environment and the paranormal, with outcomes including a musical transcription of a glacier melting and a piece of music featuring sounds inaudible to the human ear. 

Anna Ridler, who won the second year’s prize, has spent her tenure investigating the points at which artificial and human intelligence intersect. Drawing on theories about the brain’s response to unfamiliar tasks, with the collaboration of staff in the University of Leeds’ School of Psychology she has taught a machine to draw, and employed an algorithm to process musical scores.  Anna had this to say:

“Winning the DARE Prize has been completely transformative to my development as an artist. It has provided space to develop my practice in ways that wouldn’t have been otherwise possible.  My collaborative research and development with staff at the University of Leeds, Opera North, and other organisations such as The Tetley in Leeds and National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, was continuously rewarding and surprising.  Working with researchers at the University has ignited a line of inquiry that I will be exploring over the coming months and years”.

Anna Ridler – Drawing With Sound

John Ladbury, Professor of Mechanistic Biology, Faculty of Biological Sciences at the University of Leeds, said:

“The DARE Art Prize shows that the thinking and experiences of artists and scientists are not mutually exclusive. With this invitation to share in ingenuity and imagination, the excitement and potential of a symbiotic creative relationship between the two fields is revealed. I look forward to reading this year’s submissions.”

If you are an independent artist, you are invited to apply for the latest DARE Art Prize.  Just submit your CV and a 500-word proposition.  This should include the area of scientific interest, evidence of your ambition to create something new and a notion of what this might be.  You should also explain your desire to engage with academic researchers at the University.

There are no restrictions on the form of the outcome: it could be any art form or channel – a performance, a poem, an interactive website or a song cycle for example – but the project must be achievable within twelve months ending in May 2021. 

Applications should be sent in the form of a single pdf or Word document to, before 12 noon GMT on Thursday 30 January 2020. For more information visit

Feature photograph is Samuel Hertz recording source material for Gunslinger.  Photograph by Reba West Fraser.


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