Uprising & Resistance – open call for three commissions


We are seeking to commission two poets and one visual artist aged 18-30 years old who are London-based and of Black African or African Caribbean heritage to be part of Uprising & Resistance, between October 2022 – March 2023.

The project will respond to new research by Johns Hopkins University and Black Beyond Data as part of a research collaboration with Lloyd’s insurance market, exploring its Collection to investigate its direct involvement in slavery and in associated business practices profiting from slavery.

Poets and artists will produce material for an anthology edited by Gboyega Odubanjo and published by Ink Sweat & Tears Press. The project is wholly independent of Lloyd’s and funded by the Mellon Foundation.

The commission will involve:

  • Working with the lead artists (Remi Graves, Keith Jarrett and Jess Nash) and project historians and archivists (Alexandre White and Victoria Lane) to develop your own new work in response to Johns Hopkins University’s historic research into the involvement of Lloyd’s insurance market in the transatlantic trade in enslaved people

  • Working with editor Gboyega Odubanjo and Ink Sweat & Tears Press to progress your writing and hone your craft

  • Your commissions being published in the project anthology by Ink Sweat & Tears Press

  • Participating in the launch event in March 2023

The commission fee for each poet is £2,400 inclusive, covering approximately 8 day’s work.
The commission fee for the visual artist is £1,500 inclusive, covering approximately 5 day’s work


You must:

  • Be based in London and aged between 18 – 30 years old

  • Be of Black African or African Caribbean heritage

  • Be a poet for the writing commission or a photographer, illustrator or visual artist for the artist commission

  • Be able to demonstrate a passion for and commitment to the art form you are working in

  • Be unagented and not have had a full-length work published or collection of work exhibited

  • Be available to work on the project between October 2022 – March 2023, with a deadline for first drafts of Fri 23rd Dec, and final drafts of mid-January (exact date tbc)

  • Be willing to work with an editor from Ink, Sweat and Tears to develop your work

  • Be available for interview via Zoom on Weds 5 or Thurs 6 Oct (we’ll let all applicants know the outcome of their submission sometime during the week of Mon 26 Sept)

  • Be available for a visit to the Lloyd’s archive on Mon 17 or Weds 19 Oct.

Access support will be provided where required and applicants can choose to answer narrative sections of the form either as text or audio/video. Please let us know using the email address below if you require any support with the application process.

You can read more about the project here: www.spreadtheword.org.uk/uprising-resistance

All applications are to be made through our Submittable page. On some parts of the application, you can submit a video or audio file instead of a written response if that’s better for you. For reference, what the application form asks for can be downloaded in a Word document here: Uprising & Resistance submittable notes

Only one submission can be made per applicant.

NB. Extended deadline for applications: 5pm on Wednesday 28 September

We’ll let all applicants know the outcome of their submission by Friday 30 September.

Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed on Zoom on Weds 5 or Thurs 6 Oct.


Please apply via our Submittable page.

If you have any questions about the open call please contact [email protected]

Published 30 August 2022