Dance Film Commission

Akademi and Watermans are commissioning an artist / small collective working with South Asian dance forms to create a new dance film based on issues around climate change. The film will be screened as part of Watermans Season for Change Programme in November 2021.


Climate change is the defining crisis of our time and it is happening even more quickly than we feared. Art and arts-based practices are increasingly seen as a powerful way of developing meaningful connection with the issues of climate change for the public.

Artists have used their artistic practice as a tool to interrogate wider socio-political concerns caused by the negative impact humans have on the physical environment.

However, dance has not as yet been prominent. We believe dance has the ability to emotionally connect people to issues around climate change. Most recently, human culture has become a fusion of natural and digital elements and screendance is a result of this conglomeration. We believe screendance can translate the ephemeral nature of movement and dance into something everlasting.

The commission

Artists are asked to respond to the broad theme of climate change, to be interpreted in whichever way they see fit.

We want the dance film to reflect the artist’s personal interests and concerns about climate change and environmental degradation. Akademi will invite a scientist to be part of the commission to collaborate on the scientific aspects of climate change to inform the film and its development.

The film should be 12-15 minutes long and we are seeking creative ideas that are high quality, engaging and accessible, but also challenging and thought provoking

The works should conform to the genre of screen dance and South Asian Dance.

Proposals should be for new commissions. Proposals for the presentation or adaptation of existing works will not be accepted.

This opportunity is open to individual dance artists or companies or collaborations between a dance company and artist(s) from another discipline.

The film will be screened as part of the Season of Change Festival at Watermans in November 2021 and be made available online both on the Watermans and Akademi websites. The commissioned artist will be required to participate in the launch event.

Applications are welcome from artists based across the UK.

Support to the artist/company includes:

Support and advice throughout the development and making process from Akademi and Watermans.

Akademi will work with the artist to find a relevant scientist to collaborate on the project.

Akademi will caption the film and aim to audio describe the film with specialist support.

Technical  Requirements

The film should be supplied in DCP format with 5.1 sound. It can either be 1.85:1 (flat) or 2:39.1 (scope) aspect.  The film can also be filmed with stereo sound.


The inclusive fee available for this commission is £8,000 (plus VAT if applicable).

The commission total is inclusive of all artists fees, collaborator fees, materials, costume, set, props, technical equipment hires, transport, travel, accommodation, and subsistence costs associated with the work, so your initial indicative budget will need to demonstrate this. Match/additional funding may be added to the budget if applicable so long as the requirement from the commission does not exceed £8000.

The Proposal:

Choreographers and filmmakers are invited to apply by *writing a proposal outlining the following:

  • A synopsis of the idea – We want to hear about your concerns and experiences about issues around climate change and why you want to make a dance film. These can include images and text that describe the concept. Locations and choreographic filmic approaches should be included. (up to 500 WORDS)
  • Tell us a little about you (100 WORDS)
  • Who will you be collaborating with? (200 WORDS)
  • Describe how this work would impact your own practice and professional development (200 WORDS)

An indicative budget outlining how you plan to spend the commission.

Accessibility and diversity will be assessed in the proposal.

Akademi and Watermans are committed to being equal opportunities employers (including opportunities that award commissions) and recognises the importance and advantages of diverse workplaces, artistic communities and public communities.

Should you need this information in another format, or require reasonable adjustment, please let us know.

*If you wish to apply in another format, such as video, please do so but ensure the word count remains within the parameters above to ensure fairness for all applicants.


Proposal Deadline                                          12noon, Thursday 12th August

Shortlisting Stage One applications               Monday 16th August  – Thursday  18 August

Shortlisted artists notified                               Friday 20th August

Stage Two – Interviews (via Zoom)                 Wednesday 25th August

Artists notified of outcome                             Friday 27th August

Please send submissions to

Join the mailing list

Sign up