The Ship of Tolerance at Royal Victoria Dock

Join the Docks returns: Apply for funding

The Royal Dock's annual celebration of culture and creativity - Join the Docks - is now open for submissions. Taking place across the 4km stretch of London’s historic Royal Docks last year we worked with local partners and individuals to host over 150 creative and cultural events. Now for autumn 2020 and spring 2021, we need your help!

Building on last years’ event, we’re looking to collaborate with artists, organisations, and local collectives to create activities that explore the people, heritage, and places of the Royal Docks. However, this year’s edition of Join the Docks is going to be different as we negotiate the ‘new normal’ presented by COVID-19. To manage this, we’re rolling out the festival and funding in two phases:

Join the Docks Autumn Programme (Phase 1): From September till December 2020, we will be funding innovative projects taking place online and in person in the Royal Docks in ways that adhere to the current Government Covid-19 social distancing guidance.

Join the Docks Festival (Phase 2): A follow up 10-day live celebration in the Royal Docks will take place in February 2021 (this is dependent on Covid-19 social distancing guidance).

What we’re looking for

We’re inviting applications for projects for the Autumn Programme including research and development commissions. We’re excited by innovative creative ideas, and imaginative projects that focus on the Royal Docks, and we are particularly interested in applications that include skills sharing and collaboration. Do you want to choreograph a socially distanced dance – or dance class - in the Thames Barrier Park? Host a live stream pop-up cabaret? Write a play about a Royal Docks character? Or have visions of creating a jaw dropping art installation outside The Crystal? This could all be possible in Join the Docks.

When completing your application we want you to think of how you’ll use the Royal Docks as your creative playground and to connect with local people as audiences or participants. There are small and medium grants to support your work, plus we’re offering funding for six research and development projects to be developed now in preparation for a possible Phase 2.

Apply for the following grants:

Small: £500 - £5,000

Medium: £5,000 - £14,000

Research and development commissions: £5,000 - £14,000

Download the full prospectus here.

Six tips for starting your application

To understand how to strengthen your application we’re hosting a digital workshop in July 2020 that will help guide you or your organisation through the process. Below are six tips to help your application succeed.

  1. Show us how your project will be a really creative and exciting idea and how it engages directly with the people or place of the Royal Docks.
  2. Be mindful of your audience, highlight how your project will be accessible, environmentally sustainable and inclusive to a diverse London-wide audience.
  3. Consider how your idea exists within the current Covid-19 social distancing rules.
  4. Social media, radio, live streams, digital events and web screenings might be a clever way to work around the current constraints we face with hosting events.
  5. Think about the collective, how will this project support communities in the Royal Docks and Newham to showcase local talent, express their creativity and support their wellbeing.
  6. And the golden rule, remember that your event must be free to attend or low cost to all attendees.

Good luck, we look forward to receiving your ideas.

Begin application for Join the Docks

Groundwork are managing the applications on behalf of the Royal Docks Team.