Fabrica has been commissioning and re-presenting artists’ works in response to its building, an unconverted Regency church, since 1996.
Although our approach to programming has evolved over time, the nature of the space, its historic, and other resonances have remained a constant, providing both a starting point for artists’ responses and a reference for interpretation by gallery visitors. We produce three large-scale exhibition projects each year, interspersed with smaller ‘work-in-progress’ projects, and our programme is normally planned eighteen months-three years in advance.
To find out more about Fabrica’s past exhibitions and approach to programming we recommend that you visit our exhibition archive and read Fabrica the First 10 Years which outlines our programme from 1996-2006. This publication is available in the AR library and can also be bought new from the gallery.
As an educational charity we are committed to developing the broadest possible audience for the work we commission and present. To achieve this we work in partnership with a range of arts and non-arts organisations, create residencies for artists and deliver an events programme for each exhibition that is designed to engage a wide variety of visitors and participants.
Commissions for the main programme
The artists commissioned for Fabrica’s main exhibition programme tend to be mid-career with a track record of working on a large-scale, ideally with a site-specific approach. We have exhibited artists who are based in the UK, and those based abroad. We select these artists through a variety of methods, including: open calls for submissions; limited calls through our curatorial networks; as part of a co-commissioning process (where we might be offered the opportunity to work with a specific artist through partnership with another arts organisation); and through following the work of a particular artist over a period of time until there is a relevant opportunity to fundraise specifically to work with them on a major project. Very occasionally we have commissioned artists as the result of an unsolicited proposal (if you wish to submit an unsolicited proposal please see the guidelines at the end of this text).
The artists that we commission for our residency programme tend to be based in, or within easy striking distance of Brighton & Hove. They tend to be mid-career with considerable experience in engaging people through art. The residency programme supports and profiles artists for whom engagement with non-arts audiences is a key part of their practice (rather than just an adjunct to it). These residencies provide a concrete moment for artists to reflect on and consolidate their thoughts about the trajectory of their practice whilst at the same time asking artists to communicate their ideas, dilemmas and ways of working to a wider audience through online and in-person methods. The residencies frequently have a published outcome such as a blog. Artists suitable for the residency programme are currently identified via our curatorial, artist and gallery education networks.
Making Space programme
We also work with artists through our Making Space programme, which supports artists to make work-in-progress and present this to an invited audience. Artists are selected through application via an open call.
To send an unsolicited proposal for the main exhibition programme
We request that you send no more than 1 side of A4 with links to any relevant websites. We ask that you familiarise yourself with our past, recent and current exhibition programmes before you submit your proposals. Unsolicited proposals are now reviewed on a six-monthly basis. Unfortunately, due to the volume of applications, it is not always possible to give individual notification or feedback.
Periodically we advertise opportunities for exhibition commissions through our website and the Artist Resource mailing list, as well as other outlets. If we make a call it is because we are genuinely interested in receiving expressions of interest (i.e. we do not have an artist in mind who we would like to commission).