Open Call: Beyond the Edge

In partnership with Heritage Quay, Sound and Music is launching a new opportunity for a composer to engage with the British Music Collection physical archive and respond to its history and themes by producing a new work.

NOTE: We made some minor changes to the text on this page on 4 September 2023 to clarify the open call. Please ensure you are responding to the latest version of this page when applying. 

Beyond the Edge

Deadline for proposals: Tuesday 19 September 2023 at 23:59
Grant: £1,000 (and up to £500 for travel and accommodation)

We are looking for proposals which engage with works included in the British Music Collection physical archive (located at Heritage Quay) and the history of our founder organisations, and which respond by creating a new work to be presented publicly as part of Heritage Quay's Cutting Edge exhibition in Huddersfield on 15 November 2023. The work will be shared on the British Music Collection website and submitted back into the archive.  

This opportunity is open to composers and music creators of all backgrounds, either working solo or creating in collectives. 

Sound and Music, particularly through the British Music Collection, aims to create spaces to highlight and showcase our national history of composition, representing its richness and diverse range of backgrounds and social contexts. As a living archive of composers, new music and stories, we aim to understand how music creators relate to both our shared heritage and our evolving, contemporary world. We do this by helping to support the creation of new works and content that celebrates that. 

Sound and Music formed in 2008 when four organisations merged: the Society for the Promotion of New Music (spnm), Sonic Arts Network (SAN), Contemporary Music Network (CMN) and the British Music Information Centre (BMIC). The work and ambitions of these organisations has been embedded into our work at Sound and Music over the last 15 years, with their physical archives (with the exception of the CMN) becoming part of the British Music Collection group and homed at Heritage Quay, an information, records management and archive centre in Huddersfield.

You can see links to the Collections and digitised materials below: 
•    British Music Collection catalogue
•    SPNM catalogue
•    Digitised composer journals: Composer Journal, 1958-1987 – DIVERGENCE PRESS
•    SPNM New Notes programmes: New Notes, 1990 – 2009 – DIVERGENCE PRESS

The Cutting Edge was a concert series organised by the BMIC showcasing contemporary music in the UK to a global audience, followed by a nationwide tour and events, which, coupled with learning activities, provided exposure for composers. This year, Heritage Quay will revive this tradition with the launch of The Cutting Edge: New Music in the 20th Century, an exhibition of works from our founder archives, alongside events and activities, which will be open to the public from the 26th October 2023 – 12th January 2024.  


In collaboration with Heritage Quay, we're excited to launch Beyond the Edge, an open, paid opportunity for composers and music creators to further explore these organisations, their history and themes and to produce a new work. Proposals can respond in any way you choose, and we are particularly keen to support individuals who want to address gaps in musical heritage, push the boundaries and present new ideas.  

We will select one solo artist or collective who will have the opportunity to meet with the curators at Heritage Quay (in-person or online) to find out more about their process of selection and get ‘behind the exhibition’ to learn more about the items selected for exhibiting. The new work proposed can be a solo effort or a collaboration and can respond creatively to themes of heritage and archives, but you are not limited to this and we expect your proposal to evolve as you choose to respond either directly or indirectly to the material you are presented with. 

The new work commissioned will be:

  • presented during the exhibition at Heritage Quay at a special event taking place on Wednesday 15 November 2023 (applicants must be available to attend

  • shared widely with our online audiences on the British Music Collection platform 

  • submitted back into the archive itself—becoming a new part of this evolving narrative.  

“This project has been really exciting for me. It’s the first time I’ve been funded to make something without creative limitations. This commission has been an opportunity to further merge my own artistry and my composition; something that has felt actually quite natural.”

- Joy Nkoyo (British Music Collection, Black Composers Open Call 2022)

How to Apply

Applications to this call are now closed.

You can also send us the application documentation by email if you are unable to use the link above or for any access reason:  

Deadline for proposals: Tuesday 19 September 2023 at 23:59.

The selected artist will be awarded a £1,000 grant and we will cover up to £500 of travel / accommodation expenses for visits to the Heritage Quay archive in Huddersfield as well as a attendance at the event on Wednesday 15 November where the work will be presented. The scope and details of the final presentation of the work will be agreed with the successful applicant after the grant has been awarded. 
We can support your access costs related to completing an application. If you have any access needs or access related costs with regards to applying for this opportunity, please contact

The named applicant must be based in the UK and not currently participating in a Sound and Music programme (e.g., New Voices, Composer-Curator and Adopt a Music Creator). If you have received an award from us (e.g., Francis Chagrin, Covid-19 Composer or Seed Awards) you are welcome to apply. 

To apply you will need to provide:
•    your email (so we can get in touch with you)
•    up to 500 words or a five-minute video which outlines why you're interested in this opportunity, what you’ll aim to contribute, how your work will bring the idea of Beyond the Edge to life and how your work will resonate widely with audiences. 
•    Up to 500 words or a three-minute video about your experience. This should include links to previous work. Please note that videos do not need to be you talking to camera. Please apply in whatever way best suits your needs.

All applicants will hear back from us by Tuesday 26 September 2023 and we will offer feedback to any unsuccessful applicant upon request. We welcome applications from all composers and music creators and particularly those from underrepresented groups including but not limited to women, gender-diverse, D/deaf, disabled, neurodiverse, and people from the Global Ethnic Majority.


Proposals will also be assessed using the following criteria:

  • how you and your project show originality and a fresh perspective. How do you plan to bring something new or different to this open call? 
  • how your proposal speaks and connects to themes of heritage, archival collections, and inspiration. Does the proposal engage with these themes? 
  • does your project highlight underrepresented perspectives or voices in music and sound art? How will the project contribute to increasing diversity in these fields and help us continue to fill these gaps?  
  • is your project realistic, given timeframe and budget? Have you successfully completed projects before?  

If you have any questions about eligibility or are unsure if this opportunity is for you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by emailing Creative Project Leader, Laonikos Psimikakis-Chalkokondylis at: