Blueprint Open Call 2023

Timeline | Eligibility & Guidance | BSL | Access  | Guidance Documents | Application | Online Q&A | FAQ and Glossary


Blueprint supports the Research and Development phase of new and ambitious outdoor arts projects.


It is designed to enable artists to experiment with new ideas, collaborations and approaches to creating work. Since 2018, Without Walls has supported the development of over 100 R&D projects. Many of these have gone on to full creation, some with the support of Without Walls and others through different routes.

Without Walls recognises that ambitious new work takes time to bring to fruition and that artists can benefit from the opportunity to explore new ideas as part of the development process, before committing to a production. This approach can also assist with fundraising for new work, and can be a useful way of engaging commissioners, supporters and partners.

Please note that being supported through Blueprint does not necessarily lead to a full commission from Without Walls, but applicants are welcome to apply for creation support separately if they wish to do so. An open call for the Creation and Touring programme will go live later in 2023, which is designed for artists and companies who already have clear details about a project that they wish to present and tour in 2024.

Find out more about the last cohort of Blueprint projects and take a look at the full archive.


Deadline for submission of all proposals: 12pm on Monday 16 January 2023

Notification of supported projects:  Mid-March 2023

Eligibility and Guidance

  • Without Walls is looking for work from all disciplines and genres, that is innovative and ambitious and challenges the idea of what outdoor arts can be. 
  • Without Walls supports work that is designed for outdoor festival touring and artists should be committed to exploring touring opportunities for the works beyond the Without Walls festivals.  
  • Proposals for work could be adaptable in scale, suitable for daytime and / or evening presentation and may also include promenade or processional based elements. 
  • Without Walls exists to support the development of new and ambitious work by UK artists; projects can be developed in association with international artists, but the lead partner on the project must be based in the UK. 

Without Walls has identified several priorities for development including: 

  • Work led by Black, Asian and other ethnically diverse artists 
  • Work led by disabled, Deaf, learning disabled and neurodivergent artists 
  • Work led by female artists 
  • Work led by LGBTQIA+ artists
  • Work that involves elements of co-creation with communities 
  • Digital work 
  • Work that incorporates an innovative approach to environmental responsibility 

Additionally, Without Walls is keen to support artists whose artistic process includes a clear focus on dramaturgy. This could include explaining the approach to structuring the work, producing a visual script, story board or similar document, or explaining the process by which dramaturgy will be addressed and by whom. 

Without Walls also encourages artists to apply even if this would be their first time working in the outdoor arts.  

We welcome proposals that align with these areas of special interest, but it is not compulsory that proposals should fall into any of these categories. 

Please note, there is no guarantee of Without Walls being able to support projects even if they do align with these priorities. 

BSL Trailer


Without Walls is committed to ensuring that all our processes and events are as accessible as possible.

The application materials are available in a range of formats on demand. Please let us know what your specific requirements are, and we will do our best to support you – whether through providing the documents in an alternative format or by arranging a support worker.

If you would like to request assistance with completing your application, please contact Daniel Teixeira at providing an outline of your access requirements. 

You can also answer Section 3 of the application in a video or audio format if that suits you better. Share a link to the video or audio in the sections provided in the submission form. Alternatively, you can send your video or audio to with the name of the artist/company and project title in the subject line. For more information, please consult the Guidance Document below.

Important Guidance Documents

Please read our guidance document before starting your application, which is available to download below as a PDF, easy read PDF or large print Word Document.

As you will not be able to save your application as you go along, we recommend you also download a template of the application form as a Word Document, to draft responses before copying it into the online application form below. You will be asked to submit a detailed budget identifying how you intend to develop the idea.

Blueprint 2023 Q&A

How many grants are available?

There is not a fixed number of grants available. The size of each year’s programme is entirely dependent on the number of projects shortlisted, the funding requirements for each project, and the number of performances that festivals wish to book. In recent years Without Walls has supported around 10 projects each year through Blueprint support.


Can I complete my application in an alternative format? 

Yes, you can upload your application in a video or audio format. If you’d like to complete your application in a different format, please email us at

You can answer Section 3 – Description of your work in a video or audio format if that suits you better. Share a link to the video or audio in the sections provided in the submission form, or email your video to: If emailing, please include the name of the artist or company and project title in your email, and make sure to submit before the deadline.

Your video should be no longer than 5 minutes. Please make sure you include in your recording:

  • An introduction to your company and work
  • What experience you have of outdoor arts
  • A comprehensive description of your project and what you plan to achieve in your R&D
  • Details about your creative team and whether you plan on offering a sharing of your work


Can I apply to both the Blueprint Open Call 2023 and the Creation & Touring Open Call 2024 with the same project? 

Yes – you can apply for the Blueprint Open Call 2023 and the Creation & Touring Open Call 2024. You will need to have finished your R&D process by August 2023 to submit your application for the 2024 the Creation & Touring Open Call 2024. It will go live later in 2023 for projects wishing to tour in 2024.


Can I apply to both the Blueprint Open Call and the Creation & Touring Open Call with two different projects? 

Yes – but it would be unlikely that Without Walls would support the same company to develop two different projects in the same year. If you choose to do this, please use the Blueprint submission form for the project that you wish to request R&D support for, and separately complete the 2023 submission form for the project that you wish to request Creation & Touring support for.


Can I put in two applications for the Blueprint open call for two different projects? 

Yes, you can. Make sure the two projects are different and you detail this in your submission forms. It is unlikely that Without Walls would support the same artist/company to develop two projects in the same year.


Can I apply for support for a project that has been unsuccessful in an application for R&D or Creation & Touring support in the past?

Yes, but please explain how your new proposal is different from your previous proposal, and whether any further development work on the project has been carried out since your last application.


Can I request support towards an installation or durational piece?

Yes. If possible, please explain how many people you expect will experience the finished piece in the course of one day/ session.


Can I apply for Blueprint with a piece that requires the involvement of local / community participants at each festival?

Yes, but please explain your requirements in terms of recruiting and supporting community involvement, including what is required from the festival in recruiting local participants.


Can I include international cast members or collaborators in my project?

Yes, however please be aware that this may cause additional logistical complications and costs for festivals wishing to present your work, which may make your work less affordable and practical to present and tour. Without Walls supports work from UK artists and companies and therefore would not expect to support international travel costs of team members for each date of a tour, and would encourage the company to look carefully at the cost, practicality and environmental impact of this arrangement.

If this is the only way you can develop your project, when submitting your proposal please indicate how many performers this would apply to, their nationalities and which territories they will be travelling from. Artists and companies will remain responsible for guaranteeing that they will be able to provide a full company for all performances and will hold primary responsibility for ensuring that all Visa or Covid travel restrictions are met.


Who makes the decisions about the programme?

Both the Blueprint and Creation & Touring programmes are selected by the Without Walls Artistic Directorate – a group of nine organisations responsible for the artistic decision making of Without Walls. You can find more information about the organisations that make up the Artistic Directorate in the Appendix to the Guidance Notes.


Do I need to have made outdoor work before to submit a proposal?

No – many of the projects that Without Walls supports are by artists who are creating work for the outdoors for the first time. You may wish to refer to our website, which contains resource guides and information on subjects such as pricing and making your work accessible.


Do I need to know one of the Artistic Directors of the AD in order to be selected?

No – part of the purpose of running open calls is so that our partners have the chance to discover artists whose work they may not be familiar with. Every year the Without Walls programme features many artists who are new to either the outdoor arts sector or to creating work through Without Walls.


What is the role of the XTRAX team? 

XTRAX manages the Without Walls consortium. The XTRAX team do not make the decisions about the programme but support the Artistic Directorate by facilitating the open call process. From April 2023, Without Walls will operate independently of Without Walls.


What do you mean when you ask whether a project is ‘led by’ a particular group of people?

In order for us to consider a project as being ‘led by’ a particular group of people the majority of people involved in the creative direction of the project should identify as belonging to the group in question. For a full breakdown of specific criteria please refer to the ‘Creative Case for Diversity monitoring’ section in the Guidance Notes.


How can I request further support with completing the proposal form?
Please contact Daniel Teixeira at or give us a call on 0161 227 8383.

What amount can I request?

Grant awards for Blueprint tend to be in the range of £5,000 – 10,000.


What do I need to include in my budget? 

Please include all costs related to the research and development that you will be undertaking, including all artists/creative fees, materials, rehearsal space and costs. If you are VAT registered, please do not include VAT that you can reclaim.


Is there any guidance to how much match funding you might expect towards the Blueprint funds?

No match funding is needed for Blueprint.


Payments to Artists 

You need to show the fees and wages of artists involved in your project. Please show how overall fees have been calculated and the rates at which people are paid.

We are committed to making sure that artists are paid appropriately for their work. The amount is likely to depend on a number of things, including the experience and skills of the artist, the type of work and the length of the contract.

There are recognised codes of practice set by relevant lead organisations. If you need any help or advice on this, Arts Council England has an information sheet on fair pay. You can also take a look at Independent Theatre Council’s rates of pay.


Can I include the costs of a producer in my project budget?

Yes. If doing so, please provide a clear breakdown of producer fees as part of your project budget.


What other sources of income should I include?

Most artists will seek other funding for their projects, including earned income, commissions, Local Authority funding, private income, income from grant making trusts, crowd funding or other Public Funding. Please clearly describe the funding, whether this is expected or confirmed and, when applicable, when you are expecting to have an answer. It is not an absolute requirement from Without Walls to have additional funding, but it is prudent for artists and companies to look at a range of potential sources of financing their work.


Do I need to include funding from commissioners and co-commissioners and other partners outside of the Without Walls Consortium?

Yes, if you have them. Please explain which other partners have committed support and explain any conditions attached to their investment.


Do I need to include in-kind support?

This is dependent on how you choose to construct or present your budget, but it is helpful if you can demonstrate external partnership support.


I have received some development money from Arts Council England National Lottery Funds to research my piece; can I still apply for Blueprint funds?

Yes, provided the R&D work that you want to undertake as part of Blueprint is clearly separate from the R&D work supported by National Lottery Funds. Please note that Without Walls R&D funds cannot be used as the 10% minimum contribution to an Arts Council Project Grants application.


I am waiting on the outcome of a grant/funding application; do I include this in the budget?

If this will form part of your budget please include it and give the date of when the outcome of the application will be known.


Should I still complete an Arts Council application as well as a Without Walls proposal?

Without Walls cannot guarantee to support every proposal that we receive, so it is advisable for artists to research all possible avenues of financial support for the project.

What happens after I submit my proposal?

You will be contacted by Without Walls by mid-March 2023 to let you know whether your project has been shortlisted. At that point we may ask for an update on your plans or for further information about the material you have provided. We will also provide you with an update on our planned timeline for confirming 2024 programme decisions.


For further information please contact the Without Walls team at

This is a list of words and phrases that we use in our application process, the definitions are to offer clarity on what we mean by these terms within the context of the open call, they may be used differently in other organisations or groups. 

  • Access – When we talk about making work more accessible, we mean removing the barriers which disabled people may face accessing the arts and providing solutions to ensure everyone can experience the arts. 
  • Artistic Directorate – The Without Walls Artistic Directorate is made up of some of the UK’s most highly regarded outdoor arts organisations and festivals. The Artistic Directorate partners all invest their own commissioning funds into the Without Walls programme of new outdoor shows and present a selection of the works at their festivals and events. Click here to find out more about the partners that make up the Artistic Directorate. 
  • Arts Council England – Arts Council England (ACE) is the national development agency for creativity and culture. They invest public money from the government and The National Lottery to help support arts and culture across England. ACE is the major funder of Without Walls. Find more information. 
  • Blueprint – A Without Walls investment programme dedicated to supporting Research and Development projects. See definition of Research and Development below. 
  • BSL – British Sign Language 
  • Consortium – A consortium is an alliance of companies, individuals, or other entities that work together to achieve a specific objective. 
  • Creation Support – Without Walls uses the term ‘creation support’ to describe funds that we provide to artists to help them create new work. 
  • Creative Case for Diversity The Creative Case for Diversity is the framework that Arts Council England uses for approaching questions of diversity. The Creative Case for Diversity is a way of exploring how arts and cultural organisations and artists can enrich the work they do by embracing a wide range of influences and practices. Find out more about the Creative Case for Diversity. 
  • Diversity – Diversity is the range of human differences, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical values system, national origin, and political beliefs. 
  • Environmental Sustainability – Without Walls recognises the role that it needs to play in tackling the climate emergency. This includes facilitating opportunities for artists and festivals to explore how they can make the creation and touring of their work more environmentally sustainable. Environmental sustainability is defined as responsible interaction with the environment to avoid depletion or degradation of natural resources. 
  • In-kind support – Support in kind means a non-cash contribution to your project, such as materials or services that are provided free of charge or at a reduced rate. 
  • Match Funding – Match Funding is funding from other sources. 
  • National Lottery Project Grants – This is one of the main ways in which artists can receive funding from Arts Council England. Visit the Arts Council England page on Project Grants for more information. 
  • NPO, short for ‘National Portfolio Organisation’ – National Portfolio Organisations are leaders in their areas, with a collective responsibility to protect and develop our national arts and cultural ecology. They receive long-term funding from Arts Council England. Without Walls has been a NPO since 2018. 
  • On costs – All performance-related costs that are not included in your presentation fee (=artist fee), This could include accommodation, transport, per diems and technical costs to be covered by the presenter. 
  • Outdoor Arts – Outdoor arts, also called street arts, includes many different art forms including theatre, dance, music, puppetry, comedy, pyrotechnics, visual art, digital art and circus. Outdoor arts take place in public space in a variety of contexts including city and town centres, shopping centres, high streets, parks and a variety of rural locations. Outdoor arts can take place in daylight or darkness throughout the year, and are often (but not always) presented in the context of a festival, and often (but not always) free of charge to attend. 
  • Partnership – An association between two or more people, groups or organisations 
  • Presentation fee – Your artist fee for presenting the work. This usually does not include accommodation, transport, per diems and technical costs associated with your performance to be covered by the presenter. 
  • R&D – Short for Research and Development [see full definition below] 
  • Research and Development – Going through a Research and Development phase means that a person or group takes time to develop a new idea or explore a new way of working. 
  • Touring show – A touring show would visit a number of locations over a period of time, and would be designed to be presented in a variety of locations 
  • Touring Support – Without Walls uses the term ‘Touring support’ to refer to financial support that we provide to festivals to help them present a Without Walls show/work. 
  • Without Walls – Without Walls is a consortium of festivals and organisations dedicated to supporting the development, creation and touring of new work by UK artists. Without Walls is a commissioning and touring network, not a funding programme. 
  • Work led by – Without Walls will consider a project to be ‘led by’ a particular group of people if the majority of key creative team members identify as belonging to that group. This means that some projects may be able to answer ‘Yes’ in more than one category. Please refer to the guidance notes for more detailed information. 

Image credit: Ancient Giants, Inspirate 2022 © Tom P Morley