16 March 2020




Manchester-based SICK! Festival and Young Identity are seeking poets, poetry collectives and/or spoken word artists for a major new commissioning programme entitled MINDSCAPES.

We are looking for an artist(s) to be part of a “reverse graffiti” poetry project embedding the experiences of migrant communities in North Manchester into the physical landscapes where they live

We are looking for an artist(s) who has a potential to engage a broad and diverse audience, with experience of working with and developing work within communities to reflect the lived experience of individuals engaged in the process.

We are looking for an artist(s) who has experience working in a community setting developing work that will reflect the lived experiences of the individuals engaged in the process.

The successful applicant will explore the lives of people for whom a sense of place is intimately, and problematically connected to their own mental health. With support from SICK! and Young Identity you will work with a group of between 10-15 local residents experiencing complex health and social issues in North Manchester to develop their own short, powerful pieces of poetry.

The resulting poems will be installed into the streets of the participating neighbourhoods for the October 2020 showcase. Using the technique of “reverse graffiti”, in which blast cleaners and stencils are combined to create images in the grime of city streets, participants’ words will be embedded into the landscape of their neighbourhoods, literally cleaning the streets with words and personal experiences.

MINDSCAPES is a year-long programme of co-operation and co-production between cultural institutions in The Netherlands and Manchester. Working with Dutch artists and arts organisations spanning performance, poetry, visual arts and digital media, the project explores the impact that our environment has on our mental wellbeing.

MINDSCAPES provides a unique space for cross-sectoral thinking and reflection, where a range of perspectives from the Greater Manchester and Netherlands can come together and consider the most effective ways to deploy cultural activity for a social benefit.

The project will consider how artists might make interventions into different environments, in ways that can have a profound and lasting impact on mental health. How might artists from different practices influence, shape and inhabit urban spaces in ways that combat social alienation, anxiety and depression?


We are seeking a Dutch poet(s) (individuals or collectives) to develop a new project responding to a number of parameters.

Participating poets will need to spend two weeks working in Manchester ensuring the project is developed and presented with thorough engagement with the city and its inhabitants.

The commission fee is £1500, plus per diems, travel to UK and accommodation to develop and deliver the project. The project will be produced by Young Identity



If you’re interested in applying, please send us a letter of application (no more than one page of A4), or an audio/video recording outlining:

  • Your name and contact details
  • Your artistic practice (including links to your work)
  • Your interest in the themes of MINDSCAPES
  • Your experience of working with migrant communities or have had a lived experience of migration or being a transient citizen.
  • How these might be incorporated into a commissioned project

Please send your application to nicole.may@youngidentity.org using the subject line ‘MINDSCAPES Commission’ by 15th May 2020.

Interviews will be held at the end of April

We’re committed to supporting and meeting the needs of people with learning difficulties or disabilities. If you have any specific access requirements, please call us to discuss alternative options on 07852222583.