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What We Do

The Arts Foundation is a registered charity that supports artists and creatives in the UK with unconditional financial support. It was set up by anonymous bequest in order to support UK-based artists from across the spectrum of the Arts, and since 1993 we have given nearly £2million to creatives. 

The annual Arts Foundation Futures Awards (AFFAs) gives out five £10,000 fellowships every year. These are awarded on the basis of past work and enable future development.

The contribution of the Arts Foundation Futures Awards to the Arts in the UK is demonstrated by its past Fellows, many of whom have become leaders in their respective art forms, including Wayne McGregor (1994), Alice Oswald (1996),  Sarah Kane (1998), Asif Kapadia (2001), Ali Smith (2001), Rufus Norris (2002), Lynette Yiadom-Boakye (2006), and more recently, Simon Fujiwara (2009) Hollie McNish (2015), Evan Ifekoya (2017), Holly Hendry (2019), and Bethany Williams (2020).

Playwright Alice Birch receiving her award at the Arts Foundation Futures Awards (2014)

Each year the awards focus on both broad and innovative art forms, across Craft, Design, Film, Literature, Material Innovation, Music, New Media, Performing and Visual Arts, and aim to highlight lesser-known areas of creative practice and also include emerging multidisciplinary artists.

To identify artists resident in the UK who are at a pivotal moment in their career, the Arts Foundation is fortunate to work with a range of professionals close to the art forms, who feed into the process of nomination and judging. The recipient of the fellowship is awarded £10,000, and all shortlisted artists each receive £1,000.

The impact of the award was so succinctly highlighted on our 25th Anniversary by Arts Foundation Fellow and Artistic Director of the National Theatre, Rufus Norris:

‘It certainly had the most profound effect on my career because it did exactly what it was meant to do. In that it brought me time, time to follow my own initiative, my own instinct rather than trying to persuade anyone else that I could follow theirs. In that year I laid the foundation, of my own art for projects which took me, rung by rung, towards what has for some years been a very compelling and fortunate way to spend a working life. So, I for one am eternally grateful.’