British Council Creative Economy

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30 January 2019

Calling all digital storytellers, apply now for Sheffield DocFest's Alternate Realities

We are supporting Sheffield DocFest 2019's Alternate Realities commission. This is an incredible opportunity for creatives working in immersive tech to create an imaginative digital artwork.

2018 winning commission, Face to Face

We are excited to be part of this year’s Alternate Realities commission alongside Arts Council England, Site Gallery and MUTEK. Now in it’s 6th year, Sheffield DocFest are once again looking for imaginative and innovative digital storytelling. Previous commissioned artists include, Heather PhillipsonAlex Pearson/Marshmallow Laser FeastDarren EmersonMichaela Holland/Michelle Gabel. The commission is an opportunity to truly innovate in the field of documentary-based digital storytelling.

The selected proposal will join this year’s Alternate Realities exhibition at Sheffield Docfest (6 – 11 June) and additionally invited by MUTEK to their 20th edition in Montreal (20 – 25 August 2019) to speak about their work and tour their project to Montreal in 2020. 


About Alternate Realities

Sheffield Doc/Fest’s Alternate Realities is a digital art programme exploring the changing forms of storytelling through experimenting with narrative and technology.

The Alternate Realities programme comprises a number of elements at the Festival including:

Alternate Realities Exhibition: The prime platform to discover the most challenging, powerful and potent digital artworks focused on non fiction from around the world. 

Alternate Realities Summit: A one-day symposium bringing together artistic practice and academia to share insight into the most compelling areas of narrative, design, production and strategy. 

Alternate Realities Exhibition Tour: Since summer 2017, Sheffield Doc/Fest’s Alternate Realities programme has toured

its exhibition successfully nationally to:

In addition the programme has toured internationally to:

In Autumn 2019 Sheffield Doc/Fest will tour its exhibition nationally to three venues in which the commissioned project may be a part of site specific exhibitions (subject to selection).

The commission

Artists and documentary makers from anywhere in the world are invited to submit proposals. Sheffield DocFest are particularly interested in projects that push the boundaries of what is technically possible within factual storytelling.

Applicants should be able to demonstrate a strong commitment to innovation in digital storytelling in the field of non-fiction. Evidence of a strong body of artistic work, including a proven track record of recent work, projects, exhibitions, publishing, and/or commissions is desirable, but not essential.

The panel is open to projects that may have already been started or developed or are in production, providing they respond to the brief and we are made aware of any other partners or funding bodies involved in the project.

The selected proposal will be awarded:

  • £20,000 GBP to cover artist fees and all production costs and expenses. 
  • Travel (including international flights) and accommodation for between one and two artists to install their work and participate in the festival will be covered in addition to the funding (subject to travel requirements).
  • The venue and AV equipment needed to exhibit the work will be provided (subject to technical requirements), as will technical help with install for the Festival.
  • Sheffield Doc/Fest offer additional support in the development, production, delivery, marketing, and touring of the commission as appropriate.

To learn more about the commission, submission guidelines and submission please visit Sheffield Docfest’s website here.

If you have any enquiries regarding the Alternate Realities commission, please email alternate.realities@sheffdocfest.com.