Ambition for excellence is aimed at stimulating and supporting ambition, talent and excellence across the arts sector in England.
Audio-visual, broadcast and transmission, commissioning, digital creation, exhibition, festival, original work, performance, production
Organisations that have submitted an expression of interest and received our invitation to apply, and are a:
- National Portfolio Organisation
- organisation based in England
- museum, or
This is a rolling programme, from 28 May 2015 to 27 October 2017. We will receive applications in two stages: an expression of interest followed by an invitation to apply.
|28 May 2015||27 October 2017|
About the fund
Ambition for Excellence aims to:
- contribute to the development of strong cultural places
- grow and develop talent and leadership across England and across artforms
- give an international dimension to excellent work
- create the highest quality new work, including for outdoor and festival contexts
The fund will support the creation of work for major national moments that build on the legacy of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, enabling organisations to reach international and national audiences.
Our expectation is that 80-90 per cent of this fund will be committed outside London, to support our target that a minimum of 75 per cent of Lottery funding is committed outside the capital by 2018.
Great art and culture for everyone
Our 10-year vision, with five ambitious goals at its heart. Originally published in 2010, this 2013 update reflects our newly-expanded remit for museums and libraries.Find out more
How to apply
We will receive applications in two stages: an expression of interest followed by an invitation to apply.
Those thinking of submitting an expression of interest must download and read the Guidance for applicants in full.
Read the guidance carefully and contact us
Our Guidance for applicants (below) includes all the information first-time and previously unsuccessful applicants need before applying.
We strongly encourage you to speak to a member of the Arts Council’s staff before submitting an expression of interest.
You can contact our Customer Services team to speak to someone in your Arts Council area office who will offer advice on your proposal.
Complete and submit your expression of interest form online
Go to our online portal where you can complete an expression of interest form. You can save any work you've done on the form and come back at any time to complete it further.
Complete your application form online
If you are invited to make an application, you will have four weeks in which to develop your full application and provide the mandatory supporting documents, as shown in the guidance document.
You must apply through our online application portal using the standard application form.Apply Now
Ambition for Excellence - Guidance for applicants
See below for the most recent successful applicants to this fund. To see the successful applicants for previous funding rounds, download the document at the bottom of this page.
Wysing Arts Centre
Grant: £600,000 | Area: South East
Wysing Arts Centre will receive £600,000 towards ‘New Geographies of the East’, an ambitious new three-year international project that will see the East Contemporary Visual Arts Network collaborate with three partners in the Netherlands, including The Riijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, world-class talent development residency programme in Amsterdam. It will see the creation of ten major site-specific commissions, each of which will be developed with and for communities in the East of England. Alongside the extensive community engagement programme, ‘New Geographies of the East’ will also include a strand of work dedicated to supporting the talent development of artists and curators.
The project aims to develop new audiences for contemporary visual art, whilst strengthening international relationships between the East of England and the Netherlands. The project is led by the East Contemporary Visual Art Network (ECVAN) in partnership with a range of community organisations.
Humber Museums Partnership
Grant: £547,400 | Area: North
An investment of £547,400 will support ‘Surroundings’ – a programme produced by the Humber Museums Partnership, in association with arts and science organisation Invisible Dust. Launching in 2017 – the year of Hull City of Culture – the programme will include international public art commissions with an environmental theme, a young curator’s project, residencies and exhibitions. 16 museums across Hull, East Riding and North Lincolnshire will work together to attract high quality contemporary artists, skilled curators, and more diverse audiences. This will improve the infrastructure of the visual arts in the region – leading to a more sustainable future.
Grant: £498,500 | Area: South East
Cambridge Junction will receive £498,500 towards ‘Diverse Actions’, an exciting new three-year national talent development programme from Live Art UK. It is dedicated to supporting the ambition, excellence and talent of Black and minority ethnic artists. Led by Cambridge Junction, working in partnership with 25 organisations across England, ‘Diverse Actions’ will help Black and minority ethnic artists to develop and tour new work.
The programme will focus on four key areas: professional development, new work, leadership and legacy. Each will help to increase opportunities for talented BME artists, whilst also strengthening current and future leadership. The programme will also promote the national discussion around cultural diversity and its importance.
Corn Exchange (Newbury) Trust
Grant: £747,250 | Area: South East
With the support of £747,250 funding from the National Lottery, Corn Exchange will embark on an ambitious new programme of activity for 101 – the UK’s principal centre for the creation of outdoor arts. As well as developing the range of facilities at 101, the funding will also provide essential talent and skills development opportunities, alongside a series of residencies. The work will help to create a significant change in the level of support available to outdoor artists in the UK.
Pop Up Projects
Grant: £341,883 | Area: South East
With the support of £341,883 funding from the National Lottery, Pop Up Projects will create a new international exchange mentoring scheme designed to help expand diversity and translation in children’s illustration and comics publishing. It will see some of the very best illustrators in the Baltic States and the UK supporting talented young visual artists develop new graphic stories that will be professionally published for London Book Fair 2018.
Grant: £750,000 | Area: North
Culture Liverpool will be using the £750,000 investment to commission Heading for Home. This major commissioning programme involving world renowned artists and home grown creative talent will be announced in mid-March.
Jerwood Charitable Foundation
Grant: £498,555 | Area: London
With support of £498,555 from Ambition for Excellence, Jerwood Charitable Foundation will enter a new, ambitious phase of work by significantly scaling up the reach and impact of its talent and diversity development programme, the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries. Working with new delivery partners including the British Council, it will create a peer network of 40 organisations and 40 talented graduates from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds across the UK, investing in their creative and leadership potential through national and international training and residency opportunities.
The New Vic Theatre, Stoke- On-Trent and North Staffordshire
Grant: £749,592 | Area: Midlands
The New Vic Theatre in Newcastle-under-Lyme has been awarded £749,592 to host Circus Past, Present and Future, a highlight of the 250 year celebrations of Philip Astley, the father of modern circus.
The theatre will become the centre of the Circus 250 festivities during 2018, which will include an ambitious programme of exhibitions and installations, spectacular performances and professionally-led community projects. Circus Past, Present and Future will bring to life the history of the local area by revealing Astley’s extraordinary legacy and will further develop Newcastle-under-Lyme into a nationally recognised destination for dance, drama and circus.