Creative Lab

We’re looking for 20 creatives from Greater Manchester to join Creative Lab, our three-month programme of digital experimentation, creative thinking and play leading to MIF19 this summer (4–21 July 2019).

Creative Lab is an artist development programme that will explore how digital technologies can be pivotal in your artistic practice, with a focus on experimentation, intervention and performativity. Over three months and two special Creative Lab weekenders, we’ll explore how digital ideas can build your own artistic development through masterclasses, mentoring and hands-on workshops.

You’ll join a cohort of digitally curious artists, technologists and creative producers to share ideas, learn new skills and explore new practices. You’ll also get priority access to selected MIF19 events and an £800 bursary to spend on developing your own digital creative responses to our Festival programme, with opportunities to promote these responses via MIF’s channels and other online platforms. A film from last festival’s programme can be viewed here.

Creative Lab themes include:

  • Streaming, capture and sharing
    We’ll be looking at the possibilities of online expression through the lens of live performance and broadcast.
  • Creative media
    We’ll be experimenting with the language of the internet, from social media, bots and memes to interventions into existing platforms and editorial practices.
  • Hack and play
    We’ll be using different off-the-shelf technologies, both hardware and software, to play in both physical and digital worlds.
  • Augmenting performance
    We’ll be learning from immersive technology pioneers and discovering the opportunities and challenges of working with mixed reality.



Running from May to July 2019, Creative Lab is open to Greater Manchester-based artists aged 18+ from across the spectrum of the arts and creativity, regardless of whether or not you’ve previously used advanced technology in your work.

You don’t need any creative qualifications. However, you should be eager to learn and experiment with new ways of making and creating art, and we’d encourage you to consider how technology might build upon and expand the trajectory of your own work. You should also be interested in the intersections between art, technology, public space, online practice and the digital realm.

Key dates: 

  • Applications open: 18 March
  • Application deadline:  19 April
  • Selection workshop: 1 May
  • MIF19 CreativeLab: 18 -19 May
  • MIF19 CreativeLab: 1- 2  June
  • Manchester International Festival 2019 4 – 21 July 2019

You’ll need to be available for the selection workshop and the two Creative Lab weekenders (for the dates, see above), and you’ll need to be in Manchester for at least part of MIF19. If all this applies, we’d love to hear from you.

How to apply

Please complete the online form which includes an expression of interest, either written or as a short film, that tells us:

  • About you, as an artist/creative, and your key achievements
  • How you think you could benefit from being part of Creative Lab?
  • If you could undertake a residency/collaboration anywhere in the world, where it would be, with who and why?

The closing date for applications is 9am on Friday 19 April 2019. A selection workshop is expected to take place on 1 May 2019.

We’re expecting to receive a large number of applications, and as such we’re unfortunately unable to reply to each one individually. If you haven’t heard from us by Friday 26 April 2019, please assume that your application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.

If you have any specific accessibility requirements, please contact Punam Ramchurn, MIF’s Talent Development Manager, at or 0161 817 4546.

Apply here