Now & Next 2020: Open Call for Applications Round Two

Part of Now & Next

TV Interruptions (7 TV Pieces) by David Hall, 1971

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

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. See examples from Now & Next 2019 here.

The deadline for the first call is Monday 7 September, 5pm. Good luck!

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

How To Apply

Application deadline for Round 2: Monday 7 September 2020, 5pm

Completed work deadline for Round 2: Monday 25 January 2021

To apply please complete the online form here.

For PDF preview of the application form, please click here. All applications must be made via the online portal unless a submission in an alternative format has been agreed in advance. We do not accept submissions via email or post.

Application Support

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. We will be happy to work with you to make an application in a format that suits your needs and requirements. This must be arranged in advanced of the deadline.

Now & Next FAQs – a detailed document running through frequently asked questions and essential information for applying to Now & Next. We highly recommend anyone considering applying to Now & Next read this document prior to beginning their application.

Application Advice Sessions – for each round of submissions, we offer one-to-one meetings with a member of the LUX Scotland team to discuss any aspect of the application process and project ideas. These 20 minute 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.

Application Advice Sessions for Artists Outside the Central Belt – we have reserved some Application Advice Session dates for artists living outside of Glasgow and Edinburgh, as part of our commitment to supporting artists working throughout the country.

Application Advice Sessions with British Sign Language Interpretationwe have Application Advice Sessions reserved for BSL users, these one-to-one meetings with British Sign Language interpretation are available for D/​deaf and Hard of Hearing artists who use BSL. The meetings will take place online using Zoom with the support of BSL interpreter Jill Gallacher and will be live transcribed, and a transcript can be downloaded afterwards.

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.

We have several how to’ video guides to assist artists in making applications:

Application Support: A Guide to the Application Form – a captioned video guide with LUX Scotland Project Coordinator Annie Crabtree going through the Now & Next 2020 Round 2 application form. This video answers frequently asked questions, gives a break down of each section of the application form explaining what we want to see and why, including an explanation of what to include in the proposal and supporting material.

Application Support: A Guide to Budgets – recording of a live webinar with LUX Scotland Project Coordinator Annie Crabtree and Director Kitty Anderson addressing frequently asked questions about the content and formatting of budgets for Now & Next projects, including links to industry guidelines.

Due to limited resources, we are unable to give feedback on individual applications.


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.

Project duration & Important Dates

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

Successful applications will need to be available for the following dates and be able to commit to this intensive production period:

Week commencing Monday 12 October 2020 – half day briefing with LUX Scotland and BBC (exact date to be confirmed to suit availability)Weeks commencing Monday 19 October and Monday 2 November 2020 – one-hour progress meetings with LUX Scotland mentors (exact date to be arranged between artists and mentors)8 two-hour sessions across October & November – Professional Development sessions (tailored to suit the needs and availability of successful applicants)October to December 2020 – production period25 January 2021 – final deadline for delivery


We are following government guidelines closely during the COVID-19 pandemic, so proposals should include details of how you would plan to record and produce the commissions from home, if deemed necessary. Please refer to industry guidelines on production during COVID-19. Guidance specific to Now & Next will be provided to successful applications.


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 commissions will be supported by industry professionals to produce access measures for audiences, working collaboratively to incorporate access and communication considerations into the projects from the beginning of the commissioning process.

There is opportunity in the application form to let us know about any support you may require in order to participate in Now & Next.

If you would like to be in touch with us to discuss any aspect of Now & Next and support you may require in order to participate, the Application Advice Sessions offer opportunity to discuss this further with a member of the team. Alterntively, you can be in touch with Project Coordinator Annie Crabtree by email on email hidden; JavaScript is required or by phoning or texting 07394 042450.

The commissioning process and professional development programme will be tailored to suit the needs of the selected artists to ensure it meets their access requirements, including (but not limited to) provision for travel and child care costs, remote access, BSL interpretation, live captioning, transcripts and audio description.

Professional Development Programme

The selected artists will partake in a professional development programme tailored to suit their needs, requirements 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.

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 watch the recorded webinar Application Support: A Guide to Budgets, which includes links to industry standards and guidelines.

Using Archive Material

If you are considering using existing material, such as photographs, footage, sound or music from an archive, collection or existing source, it is important to have the appropriate permissions to do so. This must be reflected in your budget. We recommend seeking permission prior to application in order to demonstrate the likelihood of being able to successfully complete your commission. This is due to the potentially difficult nature of gaining appropriate permission to use such material for broadcast purposes.

We cannot accept the use of commercial music or material used under fair use /​fair dealing’.

We advise applicants to consider if using archive material is necessary to the success of their proposed project and encourage you to think through alternative ways to achieve your ambitions for the commission if gaining permission for the use of the material was not successful. We recommend being as clear as possible in your proposal about how and why you will work with archive material and why it is important to the project.

Working with People

If collaboration and participation is a part of your project proposal, it is important to consider how you will work with people with their permission, safely and appropriately, especially as the final commissions are intended to be broadcast on BBC platforms and during produced COVID-19.

We appreciate that at the stage of the project you may not have confirmed participants and contributors. However, in your proposal we would like to see that people’s participation and contribution has been thoroughly thought through and considered, including how you will find these people and what their participation will look like. We recommend being as clear as possible in your proposal about how you will work with people and why it is important to the project.

Artists wishing to work with young people, particularly those under the age of 16, work with vulnerable groups or address sensitive topics will need to demonstrate how this will be done ethically and safely, taking into consideration the wellbeing of both participants and the commissioned artist. Artists wishing to work with people in a collaborative or participatory way will need to gain written permission from their participants during the production of the project. If your application is successful, we will work with you to support people’s participation in your project and provide appropriate release forms, mentorship, guidance and training.


Please check the project FAQs before applying. If you still have unanswered questions, 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.

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