Four people sleeping on four beds in photograph taken from above.

Developing UK arts through research with international research trips

Posted on 14 March 2013

Our Artists’ International Development Fund gives UK artists the support to develop as performers and curators. To help boost diverse practice in the UK, arts organiser Luke Pell contacted creatives in New York and Washington to learn more about the way diverse art is promoted in the States. We funded his bid to find insights that would promote diversity here through performance and philanthropic funding.

Artist Luke Pell's work The Long Time featuring a blurry image of Pell against a bleak horizon.
Luke Pell: The Long Time. Photo © Kitty Fedorec, courtesy of Luke Pell

Getting a different perspective

Luke has a long-standing career in programming festivals, venues, live art, dance, theatre and community projects. For the past five years he has been Head of Learning and Research at Candoco Dance Company, a role he recently left in order to develop his own work.

Luke's research was part of his artistic development, but he also hoped to improve his grasp on diverse practice in the UK. His objectives were to find ways to increase diversity in dance and performance, and build a good international network.

How our funding helped?

Luke Pell applied to the Artists' International Development Fund for a 17-day research trip to New York and Washington, aiming to develop his practice as a performance curator working with diverse artists and communities.

Luke met with fellow artists who acted as hosts for his visit. They each had similar artistic and socio-political concerns. And they also were in a position to offer insight into different funding and development models.

Luke was able to learn from a range of influential and experienced artists including:

  • Mark Russell, Director, Under the Radar Festival, New York
  • Heidi Latsky, Independent Dance Artist, Heidi Latsky Dance, New York
  • Ellen Chenoweth, Managing Director and Cassie Meador, Artistic Director, Dance Exchange, Washington DC


Luke gained a deeper understanding of how artists operate in these environments. His newfound knowledge developed his teaching and mentoring outlook. Speaking to his partners, he gained an insight into how a model of philanthropic funding might make a difference to diverse practice in the UK.

Luke also gained peer feedback on his own ideas and was able to consider how his own work and UK programmes, such as Unlimited and the Creative Case for Diversity, might work well abroad.