Decriminalised Futures

Artist Open Call

Decriminalised Futures is a collaborative project using creative tools to explore a wide range of topics that impact on sex workers. Our emphasis is on supporting artwork and popular education that speaks to sex worker experience; intersects with sex worker rights; and connects with broader social, labour and movement struggles. The project is lead by organisers and artists from SWARM (Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistance Movement), in partnership with Arika and the ICA.

We are looking for artists to create work for an exhibition to be held in September 2020. These artworks will also be included in a chapbook and be featured as part of an online archive. Participating artists will have access to approved transcripts and audio from the panels and discussions which took place at SWARM’s 2019 ‘Festival of Resistance’, and should use these as stimulus for the artwork they create.

We invite artists and sex workers interested in the project to submit a 300 word proposal detailing the work they would like to create (application form below). Possible themes and topics the work might choose to explore are detailed in the Additional Information section but are broadly structured around survival, resistance and visibility.

The work created should link in some way to sex worker struggles or experiences – please explain the connection between the work you hope to create, the theme(s) you are utilising, and the connection to sex work in your project proposal.

Mentorship and peer-feedback sessions will be available throughout the project for artists to receive feedback and support while developing artwork. This will be optional, but we would encourage artists to participate in these opportunities.

Who can apply?

Anyone with an interest in the project is welcome to apply. Sex working artists will be prioritised but we welcome and encourage proposals from non-sex-workers. If you wish to indicate you are a sex worker in your application but are concerned about privacy please be assured that we will take all possible steps to protect this information and any knowledge about sex working status will not be shared beyond the selection committee.

Groups or collaborative projects are welcome but will be considered as one application and given the same fee as one project.

How to apply:

Please send the application form, up to 2 pages of supporting material and a CV (optional) in an email to with the subject line ‘Artist Proposal’ by 11.59pm on January 2nd 2020.

The application form can be found in the final pages of this application pack. Please type directly into the document or include your responses in a separate document.

Additional information:

Please send any questions to

  • This is a paid opportunity. The fee awarded to each successful artist will be £1000. We recommend that a maximum of £250 of this is used in producing the artwork and £750 kept as payment. Some additional funding will be available for travel and expenses.
  • Proposals should be for a new artwork you wish to create around the suggested themes (see application pack). Selected proposals will then be developed from January onwards and included in a small book/zine published on the project, an online archive and a two-week exhibition at the ICA in September 2020.
  • Mentorship with curators and peer-feedback sessions amongst the selected artists will be available throughout the project for artists to receive feedback and support while developing artwork.
  • Applications should be in English, and applicants should be aware that our working language is English. If you have questions about this or require support please contact us.
  • If you have any concerns about applying please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Previous experience is not a requirement for participating in this project and we want to encourage as many sex workers to apply, regardless of your background.
  • Answers to some FAQs about our open call for artists can be found on our twitter @decrimfutures