2020 Recap

As 2020 draws to a close we want to take the opportunity to look back on some of the positive things that have taken place in the last 12 months. This has undoubtedly been—and continues to be—one of the most challenging times in recent memory and we are so proud of the resilience, fortitude and kindness of our members and partner organisations across the sector in the face of myriad obstacles.

We hope we can continue to build on these positives in 2021 and beyond.

During 2020 Axis has:

  • Offered much needed financial support during the pandemic to over 100 artists through our Hardship Fund

  • Offered subscription breaks to those members most in need so they can continue to focus on the important aspects of their creative practice in spite of losing some or all of their income

  • Profiled 12 incredible Artists of the Month, drawn from our membership

  • Supported ober 150 artists and their work through our Vacant Spaces 

  • Funded over 60 projects through our Awards and Bursaries

  • Showcased projects from 150 artists, producers and writers in our Social Art Library

  • Featured over 500 of our members in Five2Watch, Highlights and Playlist features

  • Started work on a Diversity Action Plan to ensure inclusivity and equity are at the forefront of our planning and commissioning

Our Members are at the heart of what we do and we’ll continue to support them as we head into the new year. As always, we’ll be promoting their activities on our site and through our social media channels, profiling them in our regular features and announcing more awards, bursaries and residencies to support important and necessary projects. We’ll also be launching a couple of exciting new projects, including the Social ARTery project—a collaborative networking platform for artists to share, connect and support each other whose mission is to provide an alternative to mainstream social media sites.

We have been so grateful for your support across the year, whether through donating to our Hardship Fund, sharing your work in our directory, or engaging with our social media posts and we hope you will continue to work with us in 2021: as many of our Members switch their focus to web-based activities, it’s good to know the £10 million Public and Product Liability insurance that comes with our Network Associate membership also covers digital and online projects.

Wishing you a very happy (and safe) seasonal period and a happy new year ahead!

Our Artist of the Month feature is a little different this month. In a change from our usual format we’ve created a podcast interview with melissandre varin as part of our Live Out Loud series. Our Programme Producer Harlan Whittingham talks to melissandre about a range of topics including collaboration, parenting, identity formation and the problematic whiteness of cultural and educational institutions. Live Out Loud is introduced by our Social Producer Lucy Wright.

We’ll shortly be announcing the winners of our Axis Digital Residency. We’ve been very impressed with the quality of proposals that have been submitted and are in the midst of lengthy discussions to decide the two successful recipients. The residency seeks to support artists who require additional resources and support to develop and disseminate new work over a three month period. The successful artists will receive £1,500, a bespoke package of support, critical engagement from a writer, use of our digital platforms, as well as opportunities to engage with our content and members.

Lost and found in Lockdown - this week in Social Art Library

How has lockdown 2.0 been treating you? This video artwork, lostandfound by Darshana Vora was created during the first lockdown from people's stories of physical and emotional losses—and some unexpected gains—of the Covid-19 crisis so far. First shown as part of the Online Alternative Arts Education Marathan on in July 2020, you can now watch an abridged version of lostandfound here. Let us know what you think, by tagging us @Social_Art_Lib on Twitter, or @social_art_library on Instagram! We love to hear from you.

As always, we're still on the lookout for new submissions to the Library. If you are an artist who works with people - or you work with artists who do - please do join us by sharing your own projects via the Social Art Library submission portal. It’s our ambition to create the first really comprehensive archive of documentation and stories from and about social projects and we’re feeling really excited about the quality and breadth of projects we’ve been able to include so far. 

To find out more, check out our FAQs or get in touch if you have any questions: [email protected]

Artist Quilla Constance continues to reveal her lockdown experiences in episode 2 of #NAVIGATING_NEW_NORMAL Follow link to read all about it and catch QC's BBC IDEAS interview for How Limits Can Boost Your Creativity.

As the prospect of life returning to some kind of normality seems ever closer, we’re looking forward to attending more physical events in 2021. With that in mind we’ve come up with a handy guide for anyone planning on hosting an event and who wishes to document it properly. Read our imaginatively titled How to photograph and art event for some useful tips and advice.



Artist of the Month - melissandre varin

Our Artist of the Month for December 2020 is melissandre varin


Lost and found in Lockdown

Our latest feature from the Social Art Library



Episode 2 from Quilla Constance


How to photograph an art event

Tips and advice on how to photograph an art event.


Network Associate membership increase in cover

The PPL insurance cover that comes with our Network Associate membership has been inceased to £10 million.



For #Five2Watch this week we've selected five artists who have made work that examines parenthood: Edward Adam, Natalie Ramus, Fliss Quick, Lexi Strauss and Townley and Bradby.



New Art Highlights of the week includes: Katy Beinart, James William Murray, Pen Dalton and Clare Chapman.


Live Out Loud - Conversations with Artists

A collection of conversations with artists and creative practioners about specific topics. Published every week on our website, SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple, Google and Stitcher. 


Help and Advice

We've created a list of links to resources and advice for artists and freelancers during the coronavirus pandemic.