British Music Collection – Digital residency opportunity
Sound and Music seeks artists, composers, curators, thinkers, or collectives from the African and Caribbean diaspora to take part in a new digital residency opportunity with the British Music Collection.

Sound and Music seeks artists, composers, curators, thinkers, or collectives to take part in a new digital residency opportunity with the British Music Collection – part of our fourth series celebrating Black histories, sounds and stories.   

Timeframe: January – March 2022. 

Deadline for applications: Sunday 28th November 2021, 11:59pm

Fee: £1000 (plus £500 for production, travel and research expenses) inclusive of VAT 

The opportunity:  

Following the conversations  and learnings from our past editions, which celebrated Black composers and music-creators, Sound and Music are pleased to announce a new digital research residency exploring the  British Music Collection.  

This residency is open to UK-based artists, composers, curators, thinkers, or collectives from the African and Caribbean diaspora who have an interest in exploring the British Music Collection (past and present) and undertaking self-directed research on a freelance basis from January - March 2022.  

The resident will spend approximately 10 days over the three-month period delving into the British Music Collection and will have the opportunity to critically engage with and reflect on the materials that are present, as well as what is missing, share research-in-progress and produce new creative responses, storytelling, scholarship or programming for our online audiences. 

The resulting outputs will be shared uniquely with audiences and communities via the British Music Collection , Sound and Music’s social media channels and newsletter and in an online webinar (that you can help to shape) to take place in Spring 2022.    

Funding is available to cover production expenses and research trips to the British Music Collection’s physical archive at Heritage Quay, University of Huddersfield, or to other relevant archives. You can find out more about the physical archive and view its catalogue here.  


What are we looking for?  

The brief for this project is intentionally open and isn’t tied to any specific themes. We want to support the resident to spend time with and respond critically and creatively to the British Music Collection in ways that are as open-ended and self-directed as possible.  

For example, you might choose to interrogate the British Music Collection as a whole, or research a particular aspect of the collection. Or you may wish to do something entirely different… 

If you are looking for guidance, some topics that we are interested in at the moment include:  

  • Decolonising music collections and archives.
  • Black Britishness, music and cultural identity.
  • Figures who are absent from the British Music Collection, or dominant musical histories more broadly.
  • Black British composers, music-creators and composition in the broadest sense so anyone creating new music from jazz, electronic, techno, pop, grime, folk, non-western music, contemporary classical, in fact just about any form of experimental new sound and music.
  • The intersections of race with class, gender, sexuality, disability in the production, dissemination and consumption of new music in the UK.

Following the research period, the resident will produce two or more digital outcomes (to be agreed with Sound and Music) by Spring 2022. These may take many possible forms including new musical or sonic works, articles, interviews, online exhibitions, photo essays, short documentaries, video content, podcasts, radio art, zines, curated programming – we encourage you to think creatively about how your research can be communicated digitally to audiences on the British Music Collection platform. 

Sound and Music will support with signposting, networks, advice on creating your audience-facing outputs and will offer regular support throughout the project. Note you may be asked to participate in evaluation and feedback at the end of the project.  

About the British Music Collection:  

The British Music Collection is a discovery platform for new music in the UK. It is an exciting and creative online space for UK-based composers of any background or style to create profiles showcasing themselves and their works. Our community respond to this growing collection through curated digital and editorial content and new commissions. This provides unique and original ways for audiences to discover composers and draw new connections and , take part in conversations relevant to the landscape of music-making in Britain today.  

The platform is closely related to the British Music Collection physical archive – a publicly accessible collection of over 70,000 scores, 21,000 recordings and other artefacts including books, programme notes and photographs that are cared for by our partners at the University of Huddersfield and housed at their archive centre Heritage Quay.  

"Heritage Quay is pleased to support Sound and Music's digital residency opportunity. At Heritage Quay, we have been exploring ways we can transform our service to be more inclusive and representative of all of society through our collections, peoples and spaces. Through Broadening the Archive we are committed to widening engagement and participation with out collections, diversifying our collections and exploring diversity in our existing collections where we might not be aware this exists. The digital residency provides a fantastic opportunitiy to begin uncovering the hidden stories as well as reveal the absences in the British Music Collection discovery platform and the physical BMC archive, and will contribute to wider public discussions surrounding diversity and representation in music collections and archives." Dr Rebecca Bowd, University Archivist, Heritage Quay - University of Huddersfield. 

How to apply:  

Deadline for application: Sunday 28th November 2021, 11:59pm.

To apply you will need to provide: 

  • Your email (so we can get in touch with you).  

  • A description of your practice and previous experience (up to 250 words or a 2 minute video).  

  • Links or examples of your previous work (music, articles, videos or other relevant content)  

  • A statement outlining your initial proposal and areas of interest as they relate to the British Music Collection (up to 300 words or a 3 minute video). 

  • You will also be asked to complete a Sound and Music equal opportunities monitoring form.  

Please note that videos do not need to be you talking to camera. Please apply in whatever way best suits your needs. 

If you have a question, you can contact: Heather Blair, Creative Project Leader –  

Selection Process  

A panel of 2-3 Sound and Music staff will select one successful applicant.  

Sound and Music is committed to equality, inclusivity and diversity across all our programmes. We actively encourage applicants who are D/deaf; disabled; LGBTQI+; from low-income backgrounds; who have experienced racism; and applicants who feel they have had less access to opportunity, or who have experienced barriers or discrimination, due to a protected or other characteristic. 

You can find out more about our commitment to creating open and inclusive opportunities by reading our Fair Access Principles.   

If you have any questions or would like this document in another format, please contact Alex Noble, Executive Administrator:  


Past projects:  

The first edition, in this series, featured video work by composer Des Oliver and musician and researcher Clifton Harrison, addressing the complex interplay of identity, history and musical style for composers of colour today. 

Des Oliver curated documentary series by, explores issues surrounding Black identity with the breadth of new music produced by Black composers across the UK, under the theme ‘identity and the anxiety of influence’. My digital gallery is a showcase for the diversity of thought, attitude, creativity, and musical language among musicians who are black. 

Clifton Harrison explored the notions of identity and aesthetic and the relationship between the two. This project looks at this relationship with five incredible and distinctive composers, Eleanor Alberga, Hannah Catherine Jones, Hannah Kendall, Dr. Shirley J. Thompson OBE, and Errollyn Wallen MBE. 

You can see more about these projects here: 

The second edition, composer Daniel Kidane, sparked by a call for curation by the British Music Collection, created, Daniel Kidane’s Composer Club, involved three students, nominated by their violin teachers. Over the course of a few weeks, and working on their pieces at home, each student wrote a short piece for their instrument. Not only were these pieces eventually scored, but the children participated in live rehearsals with LMM Ambassador Agata Szymczewska, who helped them understand how their music could be lifted from the page and into performance. 

You can see more about this project here: 

The third edition, launched the Black Composers Open Call, part of our work to address the underrepresentation of black composers and their works within the collection, and in the new music sector more widely. This was a nationwide call to support British composers and music-creators from the African and Caribbean diaspora, to create new sonic works. The grant winners were Damsel Elysium and Usher Lavelle. Their completed works will launch on the British Music Collection in October 2021.  

You can see more about their project here: