Now & Next 2020: Open Call for Applications Round 1

Part of Now & Next

Starting to Happen, Liberation Films and the Community Programme Unit, 1974

LUX Scotland is seeking artists and creatives from across Scotland to make new short audio or moving image content for BBC platforms.

BSL information video about Now & Next by EJ Raymond, Founder of Turtléar.

Now & Next is a talent development scheme that nurtures and showcases emerging creative voices, offering artists the opportunity to create audio only or audio-visual commissions for BBC platforms.

Now & Next aims to support Scotland-based artists from a wide range of disciplines (visual arts, moving image, dance, spoken word, theatre) to make high quality short audio or audio-visual content, offering the opportunity to widen your networks, gain mentorship and support to develop your ideas and realise them to broadcast standard.

Over the course of one year, Now & Next, in partnership with BBC Arts, Screen Scotland and LUX Scotland, will commission 20 new pieces of content, comprising 15 audio-visual and 5 audio only content. These commissions will be created by artists working across a wide range of disciplines and will be accompanied by an extensive professional development programme tailored to the successful artists.

The aim is for this content to be published by the BBC on all public service platforms including radio, television or digital such as BBC iPlayer, BBC Sounds, BBC TV channels, BBC Arts’ social channels and BBC websites. LUX Scotland will deliver the project on behalf of BBC Arts and Screen Scotland.

LUX Scotland will issue two commissioning calls over 12 months. These calls are open to all creative practitioners from a range of backgrounds and disciplines, currently working, studying or living in Scotland.

The deadline for the first call is Friday 29 May 2020, midnight. A second call will be made later in the year. Good luck!

How To Apply and Support

To apply please complete the online form here.

For PDF preview of the application form, please click here.

For each round of submissions, LUX Scotland offers Application Advice Sessions to discuss any aspect of the application process and project ideas. These 30 minute one-to-one meetings are aimed at addressing any questions or queries you may have about Now & Next, to discuss the suitability of the opportunity to your practice and ideas, and to discuss how best we can support you to make an application if you have any access requirements. We have reserved some Application Advice Sessions specifically for artists living outside the Central Belt as part of our commitment to supporting artists working throughout the country.

We will be in touch with you prior to the meeting to arrange an online link or to exchange telephone numbers, whichever is most suitable for your situation, and to arrange any support needed in order to participate.

LUX Scotland has Application Advice Sessions with British Sign Language Interpretation available to D/​deaf and Hard of Hearing artists who use British Sign Language (BSL). The sessions will take place online using Zoom with the support of a BSL interpreter and will be live captioned, a transcript can be downloaded afterwards.

LUX Scotland is offering Application Support: A Guide to Budgets webinar addressing frequently asked questions about the content and formatting of budgets. This event will have live captions and will be BSL interpreted. The event will be recorded and this video and a transcript will be made available afterwards.

If you would like to apply, but have particular access needs or submitting a written application is difficult for you, please get in touch with Annie Crabtree at LUX Scotland by email on email hidden; JavaScript is required or by phoning or texting 07394 042450.

Due to limited resources, we are unable to give feedback on individual applications which have not been shortlisted.

Application deadline for Round One: Friday 29 May 2020, midnight.

Completed work deadline for Round One: Thursday 17 September 2020.


We are seeking proposals for fresh, innovative moving image and audio commissions from creative voices in Scotland. We will commission new content that demonstrates the breadth of possibility offered by the form of audio-visual or audio only, which should aim to be accessible to a wide audience, so should also have a clear, relatable idea or concept at its heart. The form is up to you: it could be animation, dance, drama, comedy or anything in between.

For audio only commissions, we are interested in proposals for content that will push boundaries and surprise listeners with their inventiveness and ingenuity. Audio content might take the form of spoken word, poetry, experimental narrative and storytelling, or soundscapes, or combine these forms to create new approaches to sound and story. Audio content can range between 5 – 12 minutes.

For audio-visual commissions, we want to hear new voices and see visual approaches that are exciting, and memorable. We’re looking for strong proposals that demonstrate the breadth of possibility offered by the medium – this might be through innovative style or structure, or fresh ways of working with storytelling, visual and audio combinations, animation, performance, or through other means. Above all it should work in short film form with durations ranging from 90 seconds to five minutes. Final delivery will be required in both 16:9 and 1:1 (square) format and approaches to production should reflect both of these.

We welcome proposals from artists of all backgrounds, including those from minority ethnic groups, those who consider themselves to be disabled and those who are currently underrepresented in media and the visual arts. We are also encouraging applications from artists living outwith the Central Belt. Travel and childcare costs to attend meetings, briefings and training & professional development workshops will be covered.


The current government advice is for everyone to stay at home, so applications (particularly for Round One) should include details of how you would plan to record and produce the commissions from home, if deemed necessary. We will access the situation following the first deadline at the end of May and advice the successful applicants accordingly.


We would ask that you consider how to make your content accessible to as wide an audience as possible. You can read more on BBC’s guidelines here. The audio-visual commissions will be supported by industry professionals to produce captions for D/​deaf and Hard of Hearing audiences and audio description for blind and visually impaired audiences, working collaboratively to incorporate access and communication from the beginning of the commissioning process.

Professional Development Programme

The selected artists will partake in a professional development programme tailored to suit their needs and ambitions for their projects. This will include information on making content ready for broadcast and editorial guidelines, incorporating access considerings into the content from the beginning of commissioning, and a range of workshops, seminars, talks and mentorship with artists and industry professionals on topics such as editing, sound design and script writing.

The professional development programme will be devised to suit the needs of the selected artists to ensure it meets their access requirements, including provision for travel and child care costs, remote access, BSL interpretation, live captioning, transcripts and audio description.

Who is the BBC’s digital audience?

The BBC’s digital audience is a broad 25 – 45 years audience residing in Scotland. They are inquisitive and love shareable content they can engage with and talk about. They are not a typical arts audience and so your proposal should consider how you will engage them: strong ideas, striking visuals, insights into the human condition and humour are likely to help your proposal. It’s worth noting that the modern digital audience has a relatively short attention span due to the sheer volume of content they are exposed to. Some say you have two seconds to capture their attention and keep them watching. There is strong evidence to suggest that videos aimed at social media platforms perform better with on-screen subtitles since 80% or more users watch without headphones. Also, we have found that 1:1 ratio (square-shaped) shot videos perform better as the audience can watch these on their mobile devices without having to rotate the phone into landscape mode.


You will be asked to submit a rough budget outlining all anticipated costs for your proposed content, which should include your and your collaborator’s fees, copyright fees, equipment hire, research costs and post-production costs. If you are successful, we will work with you to define a more detailed budget, which is likely to be in the region of £3,000 – £5,000 in total for audio visual content and £2,000-£4,000 for audio-only content. Please take this range into consideration when drafting the budget.

We recommend that you refer to Creative Scotland’s Guidance on Industry Standards, which includes recommended rates of pay for artists, musicians and those working in theatre, dance and the performing arts. If you will be working with actors, you will not be obliged to adhere to industry rates as outlined in the BBC/​Equity agreement, but you may like to use these as a rough guide to help ensure you are paying actors fairly.

It may be helpful for you to refer to Art Quest’s information on how to put together a project budget here.

Project duration

The process from commissioning to delivery of the completed film is approximately 12 weeks.


Please check the project FAQs here before applying. If you still have unanswered questions, please email email hidden; JavaScript is required

Part of Now & Next

Now & Next was a talent development scheme in partnership with Creative Scotland and BBC Scotland that ran from 2019 to 2022.

Learn more